Tales of Yoruba Gods and Heroes by Harold Courlander

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Ever since I read God Is Not One, I’ve had a bit of an interest in Yoruba practices. There’s a whole section dedicated to the religion. It talks about the different orishas, divining, some of the stories, and also what it looks like in diaspora communities, how it’s formed and shaped into something new and covert thanks to other religions. I found it fascinating to read and I’ve finally gotten around to reading a book about it.

For once, I read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. I read the introduction, which I only sometimes do. I read the stories, obviously. Then, I went and I read the notes on the different stories — basically explaining the differences within the stories depending on the region and culture since all of this is based on oral history. I also read the appendixes. Or sort of did since one of them were just songs. But the appendixes talked about Yoruba practices in the Americas and Cuba.

The storiesย Courlander chose were pretty interesting. Repetitive and I had to be in the mood to read them, but interesting nonetheless. I still had some problems getting all of the orishas down. I wish there had been a place where Courlander explicitly put the names of different orishas and a brief explanation of who they were in relation to others. It just would have made it clearer for me since all of them had similar names.

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