Getting Involved in Candomblé V: What do I receive first?

by Iya Melissa

Recently, I received an email from someone that went a little something like this:

I’ve been studying the religion for a while and I’m ready to get started.  How much does it cost to receive warriors in Candomblé ?

Flabbergasted doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction to this question.  This person mentioned nothing about finding an Ile that they could call home.  Their email represents the Walmart generation in which we now live; get what you want, when you want it, and at the lowest price you’re able to pay. Unfortunately, there are no roll back deals in Candomblé.


Understanding Ori plays a big roll in one’s ability to comprehend how many things work within Candomblé.  No two Oris are alike; no two people have the same exact destiny.  Even if two people happen to take the same exact paths in life, they each experience that same path in their own unique way.  Our experiences in life are tailored to what each of us needs at any given  moment, even though there are many times when things don’t quite feel as such.  So when you’re  taking your first steps in Candomblé, what do you receive first – you ask?

I think it might seem too flippant to say that you first receive the intangible. Some may receive perspective.  Others receive patience.  Still, others receive humility, self-esteem, respect, love, acceptance, a sense of belonging, etc.

In terms of the tangible, you certainly won’t be receiving your warriors as assumed by my inbox inquiry; in Candomblé it is very uncommon to “receive” Orisha outside of the context of initiation or obrigação (besides the fact that we don’t, conceptually, do “warriors”).  Depending on the individual, a cleansing or offering may need to be performed.  One might need an herbal bath, a Bori or beads (ileke).  One might need initiation.  One might need something that has absolutely nothing to do with Candomblé at all.

There’s no guide book or road map when it comes to Candomblé.  Because we each have a unique Ori and destiny to follow, we all come to the religion needing different things for whatever we’re going through in life.  If you’ve made up your mind that you’d like to follow Candomblé as a religion and way of life, it’s important that you connect with a Baba/Iyalorixa and develop a relationship.  When you’re comfortable, you might want to ask for a reading; the divination system determines everything and will reveal exactly what you need.