In the beginning there was Olodumare, the primal spiritual energy that makes up all life. Westerners call this energy God and the Africans call it Ashe. When Olodumare visited our corner of the universe He created our galaxy and our solar system. Then He moved on leaving behind Olofi, a part of Himself to watch over creation.
Olofi was a bit lonely and to entertain himself created the first Orisha, Obatala. Then Olofi created Yemmu as the female aspect of Obatala and gave her to Obatala for a wife. Obatala and Yemmu were put in charge of the material world in our planet earth. This soon proved an enormous task and more than Obatala and His new wife Yemmu could handle. Olofi then cast the breath of life onto a set of shining stones (otanes) and from these stones different Orishas were born. Obatala then shared His power with these new Orishas to rule the natural world. Thus Eleggua became the keeper of the crossroads, Yemaya became the Orisha of the oceans, Oshun, the godess of love, became a river Orisha, Oya was the wind Orisha, Babalu Aye ruled over disease, Ochosi the Orisha of the hunt, Oggun ruled over metals, Aganyu over volcanos, Chango over lighting and so on.
After the Orishas were put in charge of the world, human beings were created. Human beings are in contact with Olofi through the Orishas, and the orishas can be reached through, "ebo," or offerings. The magic of Santeria is based on the mysteries of the orishas and how human beings can interact with them. The correct interaction help better the lives of the participants and everyone around them.