Babalu Aye-Saint Lazarus Orisha of Health & Sickness
One Orisha who is loved, respected & feared all in one sentence is Babalu Aye, also known as San Lazaro or Saint Lazarus.
The name Babalu Aye means “Father of the World” as he holds influence over many aspects of humanity in this earthly realm.
Babalu Aye is commonly associated with the Catholic Saint, Saint Lazarus for many reasons. The stories behind each of these deities or spiritual beings are very similar. Both were men who were shunned for their illness & poverty while only having dogs for company.
In the catholic tradition, in death Lazarus was granted entry into heaven and no longer suffered as he did on earth.
As told in the Yoruba/Lukumi traditions, Babalu Aye eventually was given back his health & prosperity for following the instructions as given by Orunla, the great diviner. (Faith & trust will always result in Ire, but you must truly believe it!)
Babalu Aye is an orisha who deals with all matter relating to health, especially virulent issues and all illnesses of the skin. Whether it be spiritual, physical or mental health matters, he is venerated and asked to intercede on behalf of the person. He is prayed to when severe health matters have come up, also when there seems to be great difficulties ahead health wise.
Example of a shrine honoring Saint Lazarus
Babaluaye as he is portrayed
in the Lukumi Pantheon.
Babalu Aye was punished by Olofi with all sorts of sickness & afflictions. He lost his riches & prosperity for not having good character. Babalu Aye, for not balancing his life & behaviors, lost everything!
In that same way, his trials on earth should be a lesson to us: Balance & good character are integral keys to leading successful lives.
It is through self-discipline, humility & hard work that we appreciate ourselves & everything around us.
He is also known as a protector of all animals, but especially dogs. Dogs were his only companion (besides Elegua) when he was suffering his trials & tribulations for living a disobedient life. It is for this reason, many who have to receive this orisha or if he is very close to that person, may need to have a dog with them! They must ALWAYS respect dogs & animals of all kinds, lest they incur the wrath of this loving but stern orisha.
His colors are royal purple, yellow and brown. His ritual or sacred number is 17. December 17th is a day commonly associated as his feast day, many set up shrines & altars to him to offer their thanks for his many blessings.
Burlap is sacred to him and is used in his offerings & items made for him, as well as Mariwo or Palm Fronds. At one point he was so poor & his body so ravaged by illness, he could only clothe himself in Palm Fronds as that was the only thing available to him.
Toasted Corn of all types
Toasted Corn Kernels, Popped corn (plain nothing on it)
Beans, Grains & Legumes of all kinds
Bread, Dry White Wine & Cigars
Spiritual Oil Working for Health & Healing with Babalu Aye/Saint Lazarus
- Toasted Corn
- Saint Lazarus Oil
- Open Road Oil
- Olive Oil
- Life Everlasting Herb
- Cedar Herb
- Basil Herb
- Chrysanthemum Flower
- Marigold Flower
- All Heal
- Small Jar with Metal Lid that screws closed(Like an empty glass baby food jar, one of the larger ones)
- Small Key-that will fit into jar
- Saint Lazarus Candle
What to do:
Take the jar, put in the key, 17 grains of toasted corn and the herbs (about a good big "pinch" will do).
Then fill the jar with Olive Oil, Open Road Oil & Saint Lazarus Oil. Close the jar & shake it up very good so the herbs & oils are mixed well.
Then put this jar next to the Saint Lazarus Candle. Use a little of the oil to anoint the candle. Pray for the things you need, health, healing to be free of sickness. Maybe read your favorite psalms in the bible, whatever you choose.
Let the oil jar sit next to the candle until it finishes burning out. This oil is now blessed for use in the future. Whenever you are feeling sick, wear some of this oil or if you are having health problems, wear a little every day. You can give some to a friend or family member if you choose.
Every once in a while, burn a Saint Lazarus Candle next to this oil to ask for continued blessings in health and to "charge" it with healing vibrations.