Basic Hierarchical Terms

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Understanding the hierarchical structure of Candomble takes a lot of time.  Here are some terms used to describe specific classes of people within Candomble that are used often in this blog:

Abiyan – Someone who has not yet been initiated, but does belong to an ile and has undergone preliminary rituals.

Iyawo – An initiate who enters into trance, but has not yet completed their 7 year obligation.

Egbomi – An elder or initiate who has completed their 7 year obligation, regardless of their function within the ile.  Ogans and Ekedjis are also Egbomis independent of how many years of initiation they have.

Oloye – An Egbomi who has a specific function within the ile: cooking, taking care of shrines, etc.

Ogan – A male Egbomi who does not enter into trance and specializes in many things including drumming, performing sacrifice and singing for Orisha.

Ekedji – A female Egbomi who does not enter into trance and specializes in many things including taking care of Orisha, dancing, singing, and preparing Orisha clothes.

Babalorixa – A male Egbomi who has received his deka and has the right to open his own ile.

Iyalorixa – A female Egbomi who received her deka and has the right to open her own ile.

There are, of course, more details involved in describing how each of these roles function.  This list is just a quick description to help you understand what’s being discussed elsewhere on the blog.