On the 27th of April, Miami’s Lukumí community celebrated its third community wemilere, dedicated to Elegbá. As has been said on previous occasions, Oshún requested this event during the wemilere that we celebrated for Shangó in December of 2002. At said time, Oshún said that she and Elegbá would sit back and observe the actions of all those who would comply and cooperate with her request.

On the 25th, Popy Scioffi, Ikudaisí, Armando García, Shangó Dina and his om’orishas, and I performed the Egún, Osayín and sacrifices for Elegbá in preparation for the event. Elegbá was pleased. Itá was not made because Elegbá determined that this was not necessary at this time. Special thanks to Barbara Valdéz, Ojúoró, who donated the animals for the ebó and Fabian Hernández, Oyá Geruleó, who gathered the herbs for the omieró.

I must express my most profound respect and appreciation for Armando García, Shangó Dina, and his wife Omaidá García, Tinomí. As in December, their contribution and religiosity was tremendous. Likewise, Shangó Dina’s om’orisha, those that live in Miami as well as the ones from New York, California and other areas of the country. A special acknowledgment is owed to Luis Álvarez, and to María “la china” Álvarez, who made sure that everyone went home with a full stomach.

Though many volunteered to help and made numerous promises, few demonstrated their sincere religious devotion and actually kept their word. Among these was Rita Guerra, Okántomí, who took charge of the event and brought it to fruition. Her sense of obligation to her religiosity and her unwavering persistence made this wemilere a reality. Although many offered to help, in the end very few came forward. Among those, her mother Xiomara Guerra, Oshún Yemí and Emy Martínez, Obá Yemí, deserve the strongest mention as they supported Okántomí every step of the way.

Another very special participant was my om’orisha Pablo Álvarez, Adé Funké. Under a torrent of rain, he and Okántomí set out on Saturday to gather the herbs to make Elegbá’s throne, and then also installed the throne. We also appreciate the priceless collaboration from Ezequiel Torres and his group Ifé Bí Añá, his sons Aruán and Arelán, Angelito “pan de a kilo”, and David Font. We are especially indebted to Jorge Padrón, Ibú Lerí, Ileana Zambrano, Ewín Letí, Raúl Piélago, Arabí, Cristina Hernández, Osikán, Jackie Ben, Oshún Funké, Carmen Alfonsín, Ade’kún, Betty Rodríguez, Afolabí, Ester Amores, Ewínbí, Papito Mederos, Shangó Larí, Yoleise Salomon, Rafael Comas, María Sosa, and many, many others for their heartfelt contributions to this event.

Nonetheless, in spite of the hardships they faced and all the work these people put into making the event a reality, the community was not as supportive as it was for the wemileres for Ogún in 2001 and Shangó in 2002. Interestingly, the orisha that provides the most for everyone in this religion was the one to whom we as a community gave the least. Scarcely 200 people turned out for the event. Many were just passers-by, coming to fulfill their curiosity or sense of social obligation—most definitely not to be equated with religious commitment—as there were two other wemileres going on in the city on the same day. The wemilere groupies went on their usual Sunday afternoon rounds!

In most respects, Elegbá was pleased. When obí was cast at the onset of the oro igbodú, he replied with a firm Alafia. But it took a very long time for Elegbá to join us. And when he did, he was awfully playful, even distracted at times. Though he claimed to be satisfied, knowing the nature of this orisha makes me wonder whether Elegbá was truly pleased or not, as he is the only one that knows for certain. Albeit, whatever results from this event, one thing is undeniable: the orishas requested it and we—even if only a small group—complied. That, as far as I am concerned, is the most important consequence. All else is inconsequential. Let the orishas be the ones to judge.

Though Oshún, Yemojá and Obatalá joined us, only two orishas brought messages for the community: Ogún and Elegbá.

Ogún’s guidance:

Ogún said that after arayé reigns, iré follows. Though we are going through a difficult period and processes now, there are good signs in the horizons that much needed progress is on its way. Nonetheless, we are living in hard times and we need to apply the advice of Oshé Irosún, “If rain does not fall, the corn will not grow.” In order to receive the blessings, we must work for them. In order to reap the harvest, we must first plant the seeds. Every reaction results from an anterior action.

We must cultivate with our hearts and good behavior, not with malice and censure. If we behave with these maxims in mind, we will obtain what we seek. On the other hand, if we act maliciously, we will receive due punishment.

Ogún placed special emphasis on women and mothers. Everyone should take better care of his or her mother. He spoke of the womb and the birth canal through which we must all descend. Women need to offer ebó and take care of their reproductive system. In addition, special attention must be given to the children and their care.

Yemojá and Olokún are two orishas that we must pay constant homage to. Those who need to receive Olokún or pay debts to this orisha should do so. Offer fresh fruits to Yemojá—something that was already stated by Shangó in December. Ogún announced that this year we may see strange oceanic phenomena and storms that cause considerable damage. He also announced that there would be many inexplicable miscarriages and the loss of children.

Ogún expressed his appreciation for the wemilere and the collaboration of all those who made the event possible. He closed by saying that Olorún would measure us all with the same meter that we use to measure others. In other words, Olorún will give us as much as we put in and deserve.

Elegbá’s guidance:

Elegbá was intriguingly playful this day. He thanked everyone who cooperated with a donation and/or collaborated to give him the wemilere. He promised to compensate everyone according to his or her contributions to the event. He emphasized that people today, and especially Olorishas, are too disoriented and that their focus is not where it has to be. We need to give more attention to the orishas and to our religiosity.

Elegbá stressed that we had to appease Eshú and make offerings to him. In addition, he said that we should give special importance to Ibejí to overcome any obstacles that get in our paths. According to Elegbá’s advice, Olorishas tend to ignore Ibejí, and we need to take them into consideration more often. Finally, Elegbá asked everyone to make sarayeyé—a cleansing—with a rooster at the foot of Ogún.

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