By Catherine Beyer
The orishas are the gods of Santeria, the beings that believers interact with on a regular basis. Each orisha has its own distinct personality and has a wide variety of strengths, weaknesses and interests. In many ways, therefore, understanding an orisha is like understanding another human being.
There is also a more removed being known as Olodumare, who created the orishas but later retreated from his creations. Some describe the orishas as being manifestations or aspects of Olodumare.