Moforí Ogún, Moforibale: Ogún’s Wemilere in Miami

Yesterday, November 4, 2001, Miami’s Lukumí Orisha community gathered to pay homage to Ogún and to pray to the god of war for world peace. With Hurricane Michelle causing havoc in Cuba and stretching its arms toward Florida and the Florida straits, many feared that the wemilere would be cancelled. Shangó and Oyá hailed in the heavens, as thunderstorms roared throughout the Miami metropolitan area. The rain was intensive, and deep pockets of rain in many sections of the city impaired visibility on the roads. Cars were moving at a snail’s pace in some areas of the city. In spite of it all, well over four hundred people dared the elements and attended the event that shall be remembered for many years to come as one of the most important Lukumí rituals of the 21st century.

Miami’s Orisha community must be complimented for their degree of dedication and devotion to our religious tradition. As required in the original divination, everyone came dressed in white and brought fruits to quench Ogún’s thirst. There were so many fruits surrounding Ogún that his implements were lost inside the throne under the mounds of nature’s sweet offspring.

Eleven orishas joined us in the celebration to whom we are all indebted for their support and guidance. Ogún joined us first, followed by three Yemojá, two Obatalá, two Oshún, and two Elegbá. Each of these orishas endorsed our cause by descending amongst us and dispersing their ashé, confirming that our prayers were heard in orun. To the faithful, this is sufficient, as we did not have to wait for any divine sign: we knew that our prayers were heard because the divine came to us and told us so.

This event would not have been so successful had it not been for the effort and cooperation of many people. Our appreciation must be extended to Ezequiel Torres, Aruan Torres, Arelan Torres, and the group Ifé Bí Añá. Additionally all the apuón who contributed with their chants including Olympia Alfaro, Roque “Jimagua” Duarte, Guillermo Monroig, Luis Martinez Jr., Andrés Iglesias, and Ashabi Thomas who came all the way from Chicago for the event. Añá and the chants never rested, playing and singing for over five consecutive hours. In addition, many of Miami’s Oriaté were extremely influential in stressing the importance of this ebó to their followers. These include Roque Duarte, Lazaro Ramos, Pedro Alfaro, Carlos Bresó, Popi Scioffi, Angel Riana, and others. To them, our most sincere gratitude.

This recognition would not be complete if we did not mention the many Olorishas who played an invaluable role in the preparation and the physical labor required to make this event so successful. Our first debt is to Roberto Berenger, owner of Rancho Oddu Ara, and his associates. We extend our gratitude and indebtedness to Cristina and Fabian Hernández, Otto Tianga, Betty Rodriguez, Isabel Urtiz, Henry Pascual, Alajé Thomas, Alimayu Harris, Sini Urtiz, Olga Ramos, Norberto “el Nene” Fernández, Ramón Orellana, Xiomara “Monga” Rodriguez, Jackie Ben, Obdulia García, Ester Amores, Pablo and Sara Alvarez, Dolores Rivera, Dorian Hernández, Erik Boone, and many many more. Last but not least, we are particularly indebted to Ernesto Pichardo, Carmen Plá, and the Church of the Lukumí. The Church’s commitment to our cause in every aspect once again serves as another example of the exemplary labor of a group of people who have dedicated and committed their lives to elevating the status of our religion to its rightful place.

To all of you, modupé pupo. Ki Olorun n’agbé ó!

Messages from the orishas:

Ogún’s guidance:

Ogún addressed the faithful and said that we must continue to perform ebó. He said that this war was going to last longer than we had anticipated and that there would be much bloodshed as a result. Ogún said that many heads would be lost, and warned that before the year ended, there would be another major impact. He warned us to manage our finances well and to save money for there would be periods of economic instability. He suggested that we continue to pray to Oduduwá and continue to ask them both (he and Oduduwá) to bring about a peaceful solution with minimal loss. He specifically stressed that we take care of the children for he says that they would be impacted most. He expressed his appreciation for the Oro that was performed for Egún two days before and stressed that those who did not attend and pay their tributes at this ceremony should compliment with Egún and Araorún on their own.

Yemojá’s guidance:

Yemojá seconded Ogún’s message, stressing that Olorishas need to remain united in this and every other cause we come upon in the future. Yemojá repeated the message brought to us by Elegbá in the original reading where we saw the odu Obara Osá. Yemojá says that like the odu, we have no heads (i.e. we are not thinking properly). She added that many heads would be lost as a result of the current situation and that we all should pray to our orishas to avoid major casualties. Yemojá recommended that everyone take a pig’s head and present it to Olorun on a white platter or dish, as prayers are said to Olorun asking for peace and tranquility. The head should then be placed in front of Obatalá and covered with plenty of efún (cascarilla) and orí (shea or cocoa butter). The following day, ask one’s orisha with obi where this head should be taken. One head per household is sufficient. [Please be sensible when asking where this ebó should be deposited.]


This ebó may be problematic for some, especially those who have Yemojá Asesú as their tutelary orisha. Let’s remember that it was Yemojá herself who prescribed it, though. In this case, it would be sensible to conclude that her authority as an orisha overrides the proscription for Asesú’s omó that would apply under any other circumstance.


“In the meeting that took place on November 14, 2001. By mutual consensus it was agreed that we would ask Obá Popi Cioffi’s Yemojá if the ebó that she recommended with the pig’s head could be altered so that the Council of Oriatés and Alagbas could perform the ebó with one head on behalf of the entire Miami community. When the meeting concluded, we asked Yemojá who agreed with our decision. This ebó will be performed on the 21st of December, before the agbán for Babaluaiyé commences.” CLICK HERE for more details

Oshún’s guidance:

Oshún warned of problems that would affect the skin. She asked that before the end of the year, Olorishas again gather and perform a community ebó: agbán for Babaluaiyé. We shall follow up on the agbán in a separate section that is currently in preparation.

Interestingly, Obatalá and Elegbá did not offer any general advice. Instead, they chose to take fruits and ekó from the throne and distribute these to the attendees so that they would clean themselves on their way home. This symbolic gesture is also very indicative of the fact that our orishas are with us and will succor us throughout the ordeal we are facing. Maferefún gbogbó osha!

Donations and contributions:

In the coming days, we shall post a list with all the names of the people who made donations of money and other goods for these events as well as the total sum of money that was gathered, the expenses that were incurred, and the final amount of money that will be donated on behalf of the Lukumí Orisha community to one of the relief efforts to aid the families of deceased New York City firefighters and police officers. It is not too late to contribute. Those who wish to send a donation can still do so. Please send all donations to:

Church of the Lukumí P.O. Box 22627, Hialeah, Fl 33002

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