What is Aché?
Aché (also spelled Ashé) is the primordial, mystical energy that exists in the universe and permeates everything in it. Aché comes from Olodumare, the Creator, and is manifested through Olorún, who rules the sky and is most often associated with the Sun. Without the sun, no life could exist, just as no life can exist without some degree of aché. For the practitioners of the Lucumí religion in Cuba, aché is their most sacred possession because it represents a link to the eternal divine presence of God. Aché is everything: divine grace, knowledge, authority, wisdom, and the inherited experience of all those who went before. It is also the life force that all humans possess, strength, power, vitality, the reason they are on earth. It's impossible to define aché in more concrete terms because it's a metaphysical concept that by its very nature escapes definition. It's too complex for the human mind to fully grasp. No matter how we try to describe it or imagine it, it will exceed the limits of our minds. Aché must also be understood as a bodily experience, because it's central to our physical being on earth, just like the blood in our veins. We absorb aché and carry it inside us. It's what makes us who we are.
The Origins of Aché
The Sun's energy is a manifestation of the Aché of Olorún
Olodumare, Olorún and Olofi (Olofin) are aspects of the one supreme God in the Lucumí pantheon, similar to the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the Christian religion. Olodumare created the universe, Olorún breathed life into it through the vital energy of the Sun, and Olofí communicates God's commandments directly to the Orichás, who in turn communicate with humans. The Orichás are semi-divine beings who are entrusted with helping Olorún spread aché in the world. They were among the first creations in the newly emerging universe. Most of the Orichás at one time were human and still retain human qualities, but they also have divine powers because they are the embodiment of Olorún's energy and they communicate directly with Olofi. Before the universe existed, Olorún was pure energy; from the explosion of that energy, the universe came into being and was charged with aché, which made it possible for everything to grow and flourish. One clear manifestation of aché is the life-giving force of the sun, which contains Olorún's divine energy. Aché also reaches us through interactions with the Orichas, who accompany us on our journey through life. With the guidance of the Orichás through prayer and divination, through ceremonies and rituals, through correct behavior and wise choices, humans try to acquire more aché, and to safeguard the aché they already possess. Those who are acknowledged in the community as having "tremendo aché" (a great deal of aché) are admired and respected, especially when they manifest it with humility and grace.