Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Altar Staff for the Candomblé Orixá Ossaim

Catalog Number: C036


34 cm tall


Religion and Denomination: Candomblé (Brazil)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: Brazil
Materials: Forged/wrought
Usage: Ritual (non-yet-used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

This is an altar staff for the god Ossaim, the god of herbal healing.  The bird is surrounded by 7 spikes because Ossaim’s number is 7. Many such staffs feature a bird at the center and 7 birds around.  In West Africa, this configuration represents the power of one person of mystical power to bring the witches to hell, thus healing the victims of the witches and bringing order to society in general.  In Candomblé, similarly mastering dominating and driving away malevolent forces is necessary for healing.  It is believed that the body is the natural vessel of multiple elements, some welcome and in need of strengthening, others harmful and in need of ejection.