Created from cowrie shells and seed beads, the Macuto is an amulet prepared for the Orisha, a spirit or deity in the Santeria or Yoruba system of beliefs. In Santeria, each of the Orisha is represented by specific colors and may be identified with specific Catholic saints. See this reference for more information.
The 7 African Powers amulet features multicolor beads and a cowrie shell on either end. This multicolor beaded amulet is also sometimes associated with the Orisha Oya (syncretized with the Catholic Saint Brigit), who is a female warrior, protector of cemeteries and a spirit of wind, storm, thunder and magic.The siete potencias or 7 African powers are believed to be spirit guides from 7 African tribes: Yoruba, Congo, Takua, Kissi, Calabari, Arar, and Mandika. They are believed to symbolic of luck, protection and power.
The Macuto is often called a bead, but there are no stringing holes that are easily apparent. Each amulet is hand made and therefore varies slightly. Approximate size is 7/8 inches tall (23mm) and 21mm wide (~3/4 inches) from cowrie to cowrie.