On Friday the 21st of September, in a gathering that I consider a historical milestone, Miami’s Oriatés came together to discuss the recent terrorist attacks and the upcoming war, and to determine a religious course of action for us as a religious community. We met in the house of an Olorisha of Elegbá, Cristina Hernandez, Osikán, my omó Orisha, who graciously offered me her house for the meeting.
Almost every Oriaté in Miami, as well as a varied group of Babalawos and senior Olorishas were invited, though not everyone was notified for various reasons, including lack of time as the meeting was called very abruptly, as would be imagined. Nonetheless, a considerable number of Miami’s Oriatés were present and those that could not attend expressed they would support whatever decision the majority arrived at. Unfortunately, the babalawo’s presence was lacking. Though a number of different babalawo were notified, only one came, and one other who was sick, sent his wife.
Due to the urgency of the matter at hand, it was determined by mutual consensus that we as Olorishas would effect our own divination and subsequently whatever ebó the oracle determined. If the babalawos later determined to gather and bring down Ifá as well, we would guarantee our participation in whatever ebó Ifá recommended.
We brought down the dilogún of Elegbá. It was agreed by all of us that Elegbá was the ideal orisha to consult since he is the voice of all the orishas. Likewise, since we were in the home of an Elegbá priestess, we determined that her Elegbá should be the one to consult. Roque “Jimagua” Duarte, the oldest Oriaté in the United States, sat on the mat to perform the divination.
Elegbá recommended the following course of action:
1. Adimú to Shangó- an offering of fruits to Shangó. The length of time and destiny of said offering is to be determined by the individual through obi. This adimú should be repeated as often as possible throughout the duration of this difficult period.
2. Ogún came to our defense and asked for a wemilere. Ogún requested that the community come together and play batá for him. He refused sacrifice and requested that on the day of the wemilere, everyone bring him fruits. At the close, the fruits are to be taken to seven different places of importance such as river, ocean, and so on.
3. Prayer to Oduduwá for peace with a cup of seltzer water with four pieces of orí inside. This should be renewed throughout the long and difficult period that awaits us. It is not necessary to have Oduduwá to perform this ebó. The cup may be placed beside Obatalá, Shangó, or simply in somewhere high, in a corner or shelf in the igbodú.
It was determined that the wemilere be given as soon possible. We are now in the process of gathering the funds to perform the wemilere, which will be held in two or three weeks.
The consensus among the Oriatés was that we would also spread the word about what transpired in Miami to Olorishas in other cities so that if possible, elders would call for a similar meeting in the different U.S. cities where there are Orisha communities. The elders in these cities should determine if they want to follow suit by performing the same ebó dictated by the oracle in Miami or if they choose to perform divination independently and determine their own course of action as per the indications of the oracle.
We are now in the process of transcribing the minutes from the meeting and will gladly make them available to those who would want to see them. Additionally, we are putting the machinery in motion to perform the ebó that were prescribed. When the date for the wemilere is set, I will follow up with an email and letters will be sent to as many members of the orisha community as possible asking for their collaboration and participation.
All donations for the Miami wemilere should be sent to Ernesto Pichardo and the Church of the Lukumí. We also need people who can contribute their time for the preparations. Whatever funds are left over from the money that is gathered for the wemilere will be donated to the NY Fireman’s fund to help the families of those courageous firemen that perished in New York.
Any questions may be directed to myself or to Ernesto Pichardo: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ki Olorun n’agbé ‘wá!
September 21, 2001
Minutes from the meeting of Oloshas, Oriatés and Babalawos of Miami, Florida
On the 21 of September 2001, at 12635 SW 188 Terrace, Miami, Florida, here took place of priests of the Lukumí religion in order to decide what could be done religiously following the tragedies in New York and Washington DC on the 11th of September 2001.
The Oloshas were summoned by Willie Ramos. The meeting took place in the home of Cristina Hernandez, Omó Elegbá.
Those present were:
Roque Duarte, “El Jimagua”
Miguel “Willie” Ramos
Pedro “Perico” Alfaro
Carlos “Machito” Bresó
Carlos Jesús Bresó
Mercedes Santana, wife of Babalawo Guillermo Santana
The following Oloshas and Oriatés could not attend the meeting, but they were aware of and approved that which was discussed and decided:
Willie Ramos opened the meeting and explained the reasons why he called it and the urgency of the matter at hand.
El Jimagua expressed the necessity to divide the goal of the meeting in two parts. First, the massacre that had taken place, recognizing that among those killed or wounded were Oloshas and devotees of the religion; secondly, the possibility that godchildren, Oloshas, sons and daughters, and other family members would participate in the war and the fact that they would need the protection and help of the Orishas through our actions. It was
Also discussed that although many Babalawos have been made aware of and been invited to this meeting, with the exception of Mr. Leon, they had not come and it was necessary to take quick action.
Mr. Mederos agreed with El Jimagua when he proposed that since that Babalawos were not there to assist in the meeting, that the Oloshas would take their action and leave it to the Babalawos to deal with this situation if and when they saw fit.
Mr. Mederos expressed his belief that the tutelary Orisha of the oldest Olosha in Miami should be the one to speak in this situation. El Jimagua did not agree, saying “whatever Orisha of whatever Olosha had the faculty to speak and guide us,” and that, although the eldest priests were not present, it was necessary to take immediate action. Willie Ramos stated that if any Orisha were to be brought down, it would have to be Elegbá. This proposal was accepted by all who were present.
El Jimagua stated that since they had a good turnout, it would be ideal to do the divination immediately that night. This was accepted by all present, and it was decided that the Elegbá of the head of Cristina Hernandez (Osiká), the owner of the house in which the meeting was taking place, would be the Elegbá that would be brought down to the mat.
El Jimagua sat on the mat.
Obi to Elegbá asking if he wanted to be brought down to the mat: Alafia
Odu: 6-9 (Obara Osá) Iré Arikú Koto Yale, Shangó atí ishé odu oniré
Recommendations of Elegbá:
Adimú – prayers and offerings of fruit to Shangó (each person in their own house)
Añá to Ogún, in the countryside
Ogún asked for the following at the Añá:
Opolopo asogí (lots of fruit) from the hands of all the Oloshas who attend the drum. After the drum, the fruit should be taken to 7 different places.
Ogún should be dressed in white
It was asked whose Ogún would be in the throne, and Elegbá marked that it should be the Ogún of Cristina – Osiká
Offering to Oduduwá:
Everyone (in their own home) should put a cup of soda water (seltzer) with four pieces of cocoa butter in the glass.
All the people who come to the drum should dress in white.
Mr. Alfaro spoke of a godchild who has a farm where the drum can be held. He
will ask and have an answer by the beginning of next week.
Willie Ramos requested that, since a meeting of many of the elders and Oriatés of the Lukumí faith had finally taken place, although not in the best of circumstances, that a society of Oriatés and Oloshas be formed. Mr. Mederos seconded the motion, as did Mr. Lazaro Ramos, who added that the society would have to work under a pattern of respect between all the Oriatés.
Mr. Pichardo (and the Church of the Lukumí) was named treasurer for the drum, and
Mr. Ramos was named the administrator of this money for the activities of the drum.
He stated that this drum was a public event, opened to all the people, of all religions.
Willie Ramos suggested making a flier to invite the community, thus making sure that a great majority of the population of the city was notified and could participate in this event. A copy of the letter will be sent to each person who attended the meeting. They will then be in charge of making photocopies of the flier and passing them on to their godchildren and other acquaintances.
Mr. Pichardo suggested that those who, for reasons of age or physical disability could not actively participate in the preparatory stage of this event could, from their homes, help to notify Oloshas, their godchildren, and other acquaintances by telephone. They could also solicit help from those who are able to help in the preparations for the event.
Donation for the Añá is open to any person who can contribute. If, after the expenses of the drum are met, there is money left over, it will be donated to a charity that benefits the victims of the attacks and their families.
Additionally, Mr. Pichardo suggested that people who do not have the means to donate money, they may want to donate articles like refreshments, food, panels, or other elements that are necessary for the drum. A list of these items will be prepared.
Mr. Ernesto Pichardo
Email: Clba@earthlink.net, or Olukumi@hotmail.com
Mr. Willie Ramos: