means a female priest in the Afro-Brazilian
religions. It means Mother of Saints. It is given to the female priests of Umbanda
and the ones of Nação
, all religions with African
- related origins. The term is Brazilian
and is a translation from the African name for female priests "Iyálorisha" where the word Iyá means mother and the contraction l'orishá means of Orishás (gods) meaning altogether Mother of Orishás. The word Orisha
and its plural Orishás was translated, as a product of the syncretism, into Brazilian as Saint
or Saints. In the Afro-Brazilian religions the priests are the owners of the tradition, knowledge and culture and the ones responsible to pass it on to the new generations because there are no sacred written books.
See also: Pai-de-santo.