Ilarí Obá

Norberto Fernández, better known as “El Nene,” has been installing Orisha thrones since the 1960s. He was ordained in Cuba to Yemojá, in 1958 by Armando García, Shangó Dina, a very well known Obá Oriaté, who also eventually migrated to the U.S. El Nene was one of the pioneer throne makers in the U.S., and possibly the first to actually begin installing thrones as a specific function within the religious realm. Though he had installed many thrones in Cuba since the 1960s, he did so for his friends and religious relatives, but he was not considered a throne maker per se. He simply had the creativity to express himself in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Soon after his arrival, Nene says, Yemojá told him in divination that he had to “work” the religion (i.e. function in some religious capacity). Nene says that he asked Yemojá for the liberty to choose the area that he would like to function in and she agreed to his request. This is how it all began. Nene gave birth to a new field in the religious world of the Lukumí that would eventually spread as others began following in his footsteps.

Nene’s craft is a true demonstration of syncretism at its highest peak. Western materials and embroidered panels, Oriental jars, European beads strung in African-influenced patterns, and a number of other elements, recreate a non-Western religious ideology and cosmos, in an elaborate installation used for ordinations, celebrations, and ceremonies, usually open to the public. Lukumí thrones are a true marvel for they accentuate the beauty and finesse of the orishas and the expressivity of the artist in ways that gratify both Divine and mundane exigencies. Nene’s work, although religious in nature, is also one of the best examples of the richness, diversity, and adaptative nature of Lukumí/Yoruba religion, something that facilitates its growth as it continues to spread to different areas of the world.

Nene’s work has been featured in various museum exhibitions, most notably two exhibits in Miami, “Caribbean Percussion Traditions,” and “At the Crossroads: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami,” both at the Florida Historical Museum in Miami. Most recently, a throne installed by Nene is at the Museum Kunst Pallast in Dusseldorf, Germany, as part of the “Altars of the World” exhibit which will travel through Europe in the coming years.

by Nelson Mendoza

The evolution of Lukumi Orisha religion in Miami has impacted the creative process of the thrones and the artists that produce these textile microcosms. Materials from different parts of the world are permanent components in the installation of a Lukumi throne. The artists creating these thrones are able to express their art form in more elaborate and creative manners than their Cuban predecessors due to the mass availability of textiles and other materials as well as the demand from patrons of more unique, often sensational designs. The artist or designer is in charge of displaying the colors, materials, objects or attributes, and any other references appropriate for the specific deity for whom the throne is built. The Lukumi build three types of thrones which are identified according to the ritual for which they are intended: the consecration (ordination or initiation) throne, the observance throne, and the ritual throne.

The consecration throne is representative of the orisha that the person is going to be ordained to. This throne is created for the sole purpose of this most important ceremony, a rite that can only happen once in the olorisha’s life. The iyawo (newly ordained priest/ess), re-born into a new life, is confined under this throne for the seven days of the ordination ritual and in most ways attended to as if he or she were a newborn child.

The observance throne is typically constructed once a year to celebrate the anniversary of an olorisha’s ordination. In this case, the throne is built for the deities, not for the olorisha. This type of throne tends to be more elaborate than the ordination throne because it is part of the celebration of the ordained person’s “birth” in the Orisha religion. The artist has more freedom to display materials, colors, artifacts, and most importantly, the orishas who are placed in the throne and exalted with their ritual paraphernalia and decor. In the observance throne there is a hierarchy in which the orishas should be placed. Various orishas are consecrated for the iyawo in the ordination ritual: at minimum Elegba, Obatala, Oshun, Shango and Yemoja. The olorisha’s tutelar deity is considered the “mother” or “father” orisha and an accompanying orisha is identified during the rituals as the “second parent” or deity. When an observance throne is built, all the orishas consecrated during the ordination must be placed in the throne in specific positions defined by hierachy. The highest level is reserved for Obatala, the most senior deity and father of all the orishas. Next in importance is the olorisha’s tutelar deity, usually placed in the center, immediately below and before Obatala. Were Obatala the tutelar orisha, the devotee’s second orisha, would be placed in front. Finally, the remaining orishas will be arranged on the right and left sides of the throne, following less stricter guidelines.

The ritual throne is erected for any orisha. The ritual throne is built for specific occasions that arise as need prevails or as determined in divination. When an olorisha consults the oracles and these recommend specific ceremonies such as wemileres (drum feasts) or other types of celebrations, a throne is usually required. This throne is specifically erected for the ceremony and exclusively for the orisha who requested the celebration. This throne is also often more ornate than the ordination throne and its artistic beauty can be appreciated much better than in an observance throne because typically only one orisha is highlighted. In terms of openness, there is more to see and the thronemaker tends to play with the available materials to mesmerize the devotees who will come to pay homage.

In both the observance and ritual thrones, a variety of fruits, pastries, puddings, breads, and other offerings are placed before the orishas. Once the ritual has concluded, these items are distributed to everyone who attend the ritual. These foods are considered sacred. They have ashe-the divine energy of Olodumare and the orishas. To consume these foods is to commune with the deities and thereby ingest their revitalizing energy.

Since time immemorial, Lukumi Olorishas have expressed their devotion to their orishas through different artistic expressions that for the most part have not been given due recognition for their aesthetic value. Creators of orisha arts play an essential role in the Lukumi religious community. Theirs is a function that caters to divine as well as human predilection. These artists produce many different art forms, such as beadwork, tools, garments, cloth panels, meals, and music, that are used by both the deities and the priesthood.

Lukumi artists do not see themselves as artists nor do they consider that their creations are unique artistic productions. These artists will seldom dettach their work from its religious connotation as the major catalyst behind the production is not aesthetic but devotional. The Lukumi must be well versed in a series of traditional rules that guide the creative process. The artist must be familiar with the general aesthetic preferences of the orishas to whom they are catering and often the specific preferences of an orishas roads, or avatars, as well. Gratifying the orisha is an extremely important consideration, for the orishas pleasure or displeasure with the work can have divine influence on the artists prosperity in the community. Additionally, the artists must create an item that is aesthetically pleasing to the olorisha who has requested the work and to the community, who will frequently see the work during ceremonial functions and gatherings. The community is very influential in spreading the word about an artists grace and dexterity or lack thereof. They can be influential in closing roads if they do not find the work appealing and worthy of the orisha for whom it was created.

This section will pay homage to the work of a community of Lukumi artists.

Extendemos un pésame a la familia y ahijados de la Iyalorisha Lydia Ruíz, Shangó Niké, quien falleció el pasado 8 de noviembre. Que en paz descance. Ibá é layén t’orún Obá Niké.

Eriwo ya,

May the peace and blessing of Olódùmarè be upon you all as you witness the beginning of yet another Ifá annual calendar. May Olódùmarè in His infinite mercy continue to guide and guard us all, Àse. May we not experience the contention of evil spirits throughout this year and forever more Àse.

Here are the messages of Ifá for the year 2005 – 2006 as revealed to the world, Africa, Nigeria and in particular Yorùbáland. The Odù revealed on the night of June 4, 2005 was Iwori Méjì. Anyone interested in having the ebo performed on your behalf please send all your particulars & prayers to your Awo Ifa that has sent you this letter of the year, and we will process your request and get back with you directly.

Please find below the messages of Olódùmarè as revealed in this Odù:

1. Ifá assures all its followers that they will be blessed with special favours throughout this year. In this Odù, Ifá says that the favours are coming from Olódùmarè through Orí, Ifá, and Aye (fellow humans/Iyami). Ifá advises us to make this special ebo (contact for more info) If all these are done as prescribed, then special favors and fondness of Olódùmarè are guaranteed. In this Odù, Ifá says

Kekenke lawo kekenke

Gegenge lawo Gegenge

Dia fun Orimonikee

Omo atorun keri keke wale aye

Ebo ni won ni o waa se

O gbebo, o rubo

Nje Ori maa kemi niso

Ifa maa kemi niso

Eniyan maa kemi niso

Gege laa keyin adiye


Kekenke (to pamper) is the awo of special favours

Gegenge (to indulge) is the awo of special privileges

These were the messages of Ifá to Orimonikee

She who had brought a specially favoured Orí to the earth

She was advised to offer ebo

And she complied.

Let Orí continue to show me favour

And let Ifá continue to show me fondness

And Aye continue to shower me with special privileges

With care do people handle fresh eggs.

2. Ifá says that the favour that Olódùmarè guaranteed for all Ifá loving nations, groups and individuals are unlimited. Ifá however states that the level of favour that each nation, each group and individuals will receive depend entirely on the level of dedication exhibited by such group or individuals. In other words, to receive a high level of favour from Olódùmarè and Ifá, there is the need for us to pay more attention and be more dedicated to Ifá. Ifá advises all Ifá loving nations, groups and individuals to offer a special ebo (done upon request) and those seeking children a special appeasement for child bearing chances. There is also the need for us to offer1 mature she-goat to Ifá. (make arrangements to perform special ceremony in Nigeria)

On these, Ifá says:

Eni a ba wa’de

Laa ba rele

Eni aja bawa laja nba lo

Dia fun Eleji Iwori

Ti yoo teju no akapo re girigiri

Ebo ni won ni o wase

O gbebo, o rubo

Ifa teju mo mi koo wo mi’re o

Eji koko Iwori, omo re lemi nse o

Boo ba teju mo ni a maa lowo lowo

Eji koko Iwori omo re lemi nse o

Boo ba teju mo ni, a maa laya

Eji koko Iwori omo re lemi nse o

Boo ba teju mo ni, a maa bimo

Eji koko Iwori omo re lemi n se o

Boo ba teju mo ni a maa segun

Eji koko Iwori, omo re lemi n se o

Boo ba teju mo ni a maa nire gbogbo

Eji koko iwori, omo re lemi nse.


He who a person follows out

Is he whom he ought to return home with

For he whom a dog follows to a place

Is he whom the dog returns home with

These were the declarations of Ifá to Eleji Iwori (Iwori Méjì)

The one who shall take intense look at his Akapo (disciple)

He was advised to offer ebo

And he complied

Ifá, please take an intense but favourable look at me

Éjì Iwori, I am truly your child

If you take an intense look at one

Such person is guaranteed with financial success

Éjì Iwori, I am truly your child

If you take an intense look at one

Such person is guaranteed the blessing of a good spouse

Éjì Iwori, I am truly your child

If you take an intense look at one

Such a person is guaranteed the blessing of good children

Éjì Iwori, I am truly your child

If you take an intense look at one

Such a person is guaranteed victory over adversaries

Éjì Iwori, Iam truly your child

If you take an intense look at one

Such a person is blessed will all Ire

Éjì Iwori, I am truly your child

Éjì Iwori.

There is however the need for us to remind ourselves that the children of Ifá/Òrúnmìlà are those people who think, say and do only those things that please Olódùmarè at all times. Consequently, there is the need for us to imbibe the idea of thinking/ speaking and doing only those things that will make Olódùmarè happy at all times. These are the only criteria to qualify us as children of Iwori Méjì.

3. On this year, Ifá says there’s nothing which we fervently wish to achieve that will not be achieved. IFA ASSURES US THAT YEAR 2005/2006 IS OUR YEAR OF MIRACLES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Ifá advises us as a nation, group, and individuals to offer ebo with plenty of cotton wool, and other specific items as ebo.

On this, Ifá says:

Ogodo owu gboke odo payin kekeke soloko

Dia fun Alantakun

Ti yoo maa se ohun gbogbo bi idan bi idan

Ebo ni won ni o wa se

O gbebo, o rubo.

Bi idan ni mo se ti mo fi lowo

Awo l’ogodo owu gboke odo

Payin kekeke soloko

Owo bi idan l’Edu n se o

Bi idan bi idan ni mo se ti mo fi nire gbogbo

Awo l’ogodo owu gboke odo payin kekeke soloko

Owo bi idan l’Edu n se o


The cotton wool tree stays across the river

And smile invitingly at the farmer

This was the message of Ifá to Alantakun (the spider)

The one who shall perform all things in a miraculous manner

He was advised to offer ebo

And he complied.

Miraculously, I became blessed with financial success

All praise to Ogodo owu gboke odo payin kekeke

Soloko (the cotton wool tree stays across the river and smile invitingly at the farmer).

Ifá manifests in a miraculous manner

Miraculously, I became blessed with all ire in life

All praise to Ogodo owu gboke odo, payin kekeke soloko

Ifá manifests in miraculous manner.

4. Ifá assures all Ifá believers, individuals, groups, associations or communities that they will be elevated from the position of security to that of prominence and comfort. Ifá advises to aim for the third position in all things we are doing and cautions against over ambition. In other words, Ifá warns us not to aspire for the first and second positions, as these two positions are fraught with danger, cut throat competitions while the third position guarantees peace, comfort and lasting bliss. (need to make ebo and special Ifa preparation, while appease Oba, Sango and Eegun)

Iroke idi abidi sangele sangele

Dia fun Eleji Iwori

Ti yoo se keta Odu wale aye

Ebo ni won ni ko wa se

O gbebo, O rubo

Mo keta Odu mo sinmi o

Eyin O r’Eleji Iwori bo ti keta odu wale aye

Mo keta Odu mo sinmi


The Ifá tapper made with brimstone wood with spherical base (alias of a Babaláwo)

He was the Awo who cast Ifá for Iwori-Méjì

Who shall occupy the third position from heaven to earth

He was advised to ebo

He complied

Behold, I occupy the third position and have a peace of mind

Can’t you see Éjì Iwori who had occupied the third position

from heaven

I occupy the third position and I’m blessed with comfort.

In this Odù, Ifá explains to us how the sixteen principal Odù occupy their present positions of seniority. Ab-initio, Orangun Méjì occupied the first position with Ose Méjì occupying the second position. Iwori Méjì occupied the third position, while Èjìogbè occupied the sixteen position with Òyèkú Méjì in number 15. Iwori Méjì was advised never to aspire beyond the third position and he complied. Thereafter there came a time of crises, altercation, contention, etc whereby Orangun Méjì moved to the sixteenth position, while Òsé-Méjì moved to the fifteenth position. Èjìogbè and Òyèkú Méjì moved to the first and second positions respectively. However, Iwori Méjì remained at the third position despite all the contention among the Odù. At this position, he acquired peace of mind, comfort and bliss.

5. Ifá promises that Ifá religion shall spread rapidly and take over from the hitherto relatively popular religions. Ifá advises us to lay a solid foundation for this spread with truthfulness honestly, benevolence, dedication and humility. Ifá says that we shall not be forgiven by the future generations if we fail to take advantage of this golden opportunity. Ifá says that it shall not only take over the world, but shall shield the whole world against all vagaries of life. This is the more reason why all Ifá disciples need to work extra hard in order to ensure a well-protected and secured living in this world. It is important here to perform a collective ebo for the town / community / family for growth and stability (contact for more information) On these Ifá says:

Obamubamu pirapira

Opokipoki nirin efon

Dia fun Orunmila

Baba blo ree r’ata bo gbogbo ile aye

Ebo ni won ni ko waa se

O gbebo, o rubo

Orunmila gba mi o

Iwo lo to ni i gba, tii gba’ni

Owo bewe olajangbalu u mi o

Kerekere, n’Ifa o maa gba’lu lowo o won


The clumsy trekking of the Elephant

And the powerful gait of the buffalo

(Aliases of two prominent Babaláwo)

They were the ones who cast Ifá for Òrúnmìlà

When going to spread his protective umbrella over the whole world

He was advised to offer ebo

And he complied

Please Òrúnmìlà, come to our rescue

You are the only one who has the capacity to rescue and

who shall surely rescue us

We now have Olajagbalu leaves in our possession

Gradually, Ifá shall take over the whole world from them.

6. Ifá challenges us to break new grounds in our business endeavors for the year 2005/2006. Ifá says that if we move out of our localities and explore business opportunities elsewhere, the outcome shall be blessed with success. Ifá went to the extent of stating that even where we are relatively unknown, we shall record business success.

Ifá advises us to secure several kola nuts to serve Ifá and other Deities. At the same time Ifá warns against forceful retrieval of loans as this can only lead to regrets. In this Odù, Ifá says:

Otootooto nifa nje

Oroorooro nifa n je

Otooto laa j’epa

Otooto laa jimumu

Lotoloto ni won nso olu esunsun senu

Ohun toori ni toori

Ohun toori ni too ri

Ohun tori-toori laa fifun Obamakin lode Iranje

Ko le baa fi ohun tori-toori tani lore

Dia fun Ajeji Omu

Ti nsawo lo si Ilomu Esikan

Ebo ni won ni ko se

O gbebo o rubo

Nje Ajeji Omu ma ma lo o

Aje weere n b’Olomuu bo

Ajeji Omu ma ma lo l

Ire gbogbo n b’Olomuu bo

Ajeji Omu ma ma lo o


To do things in different ways

And to do them in comfort

Differently do we eat peanuts

And differently do we eat monkey nut

Differently do we consume mushrooms

What belongs to Oori should be given to Oori

And what belongs to Oori should be handle over to oori

Both what belongs to Oori and Oori are usually

Handed over to Obamakin in Iranje land

This will enable him bless us with different gifts

There were Ifá’s declarations to the stranger in Omu land

When going on spiritual mission to Omu land

He was advised to offer ebo

And he complied

Stranger in Omu, don’t go yet

Financial success is assured in Omu

Stranger in Omu, don’t leave Omu yet

All Ire in life is assured in Omu.

7. Ifá says that in the next twelve months there is a tendency to give birth especially to male children who shall eventually graduate into problems for the society. Consequent upon this, Ifá advises all pregnant women and those intending to become pregnant during

this period to as a matter of necessity offer ebo with one mature he-goat each and prepare the ground for socializing these children in the ways of the Irúnmolè and Olódùmarè as soon as they are born. This will enable the parents to have rest of mind whenever they eventually grow up. If not, the parents shall be blamed by the whole society especially the mothers to be. A special appeasement goes to Ogun, Oya and Sango after the special ebo is performed. On these, Ifá says:

Ogun ja bi iji wolu

Orisa oko lo rin hoho woja

Dia fun Yewande

Ti yoo loyun olosa nnu

Ebo ni won ni o wa se o

O fi eti otun gbebo, o fi tosi daanu

Yewande, iwo loo seun o

Yewande, iwo loo seeyan

Iwo lo wa loyun sinu

Iwo lo wa b’ole lomo

Yewande, Iwo loo seun


Ògún rushed into the town with tempestuous anger

And Òrìsà oko walked nakedly into the market

These Ifá’s declarations to Yewande

The one who conceived the pregnancy of a band it.

She was advised to offer ebo

But she failed to need the advice

Now Yewande are irresponsible

You are uncultured

You are the one who became pregnant

And gave birth to an armed robber!

8. (i) Ifá says that generally there will be developments especially in Yorùbáland that would require the physical intervention, guidance and elders and those in position of authority in order to clarify issues and guarantee peace in the society. This is the reason why those vested with position of authorities need to participate move fully in the welfare of those who are under their umbrellas.

(ii) Ifá equally advises that all Ifá disciples the world over must as a matter of course investigate anything properly, hear all sides of any and all matters before taking a position. This will make them to avoid being blamed or castigated for taking sides where they were supposed to be neutral. In other words, no leader should rush into taking any decision this year 2005/2006.

In the same vein, Ifá wants all its disciples the world over that whenever they want to serve Ifá for themselves, they must go and procure their own materials afresh and never use any material brought by their clients for their own ebo. If they do, the reward that will accrue from serving such Ifá will never go to them but to those who had brought those materials themselves. By extension, anything presented to us as gifts must not be used in return as gift to others or us but to those who had originally given those gifts to us. A stanza in this Odù supporting this assertion goes thus:

Owo ewe o to pepe

Tawon agbalagba o wo keregbe

Ise ewe be agba ko ma se ko

O nise ti baba nse e f’omo

Dia fun Orunmila

Nijo ti Akapo re pee lejo lodo Olodumare

Orunmila ni oun sa gbogbo agbara oun fun Akapo

O ni ipin Akapo ni ko gbo

O ni bi oun se ngbe etutu Akapo de Iwarun

Ori elomiran lo nyo ni be

Olodumare wa ni komo araye mase dajo enu enikan mo

Anikan dajo oo seun o

Anikan dajo o o seniyan

Nigbati o o gbo tenu enikeji

Emi lo dajo se o


The hands of children can not reach the altar

While those of the elders can not enter the bottle calabash

The errands that children send the elders

Let them refuse not

For there are assignments which fathers ought to carry out for their children

These were Ifá’s messages to Òrúnmìlà

When his disciple dragged him to the court of Olódùmarè

Òrúnmìlà defended that he tried all he could

But Akapo’s destiny could not respond

That each time he took Akapo’s ebo to Iwarun

It was another person’s image that appeared and received the blessings

Olódùmarè then decreed that human beings should never

Judge, based on one side only

Those who do this are irresponsible

Those who do this are unworthy of being leaders

When you have not listened to the other side

Why did you pronounce judgment?

9. Ifá warns all Ifá followers especially those in position of authority never to violate the rules or laws in which they partook in legislating. Ifá says that leaders should always obey and practice what they preach. They must not say one thing and practice the other. If they do, it may end up in disgrace. Ifá equally warns the followers never to take laws into their hands. They should be calm, Ifá will definitely expose the evil doers as at when due. This year, according to Ifá is the year of exposing all pilfering leaders who engage in stealing what belong to their subjects. For this to happen, we should offer ebo and serve Èsù. On these, Ifá says:

Agba to sofin yanmoti

Ki won ma se ka okan mo apo re lailai

Dia fun orunmila

Baba alo ree dako etile

Won ni o kara nle ebo ni sise

O gbebo o rubo

Mo roju ole lokoo mi o

Emi ma roju ole emi o je wi

Mo roju ole loko o mi


The elder who legislates against the possession of Benin seed

Let’s find no seed in his pocket

This was the Ifá’s message to Òrúnmìlà

When going to cultivate a farm within the vicinity

He was advised to offer ebo

He complied

Now, I have caught a thief in my farm

I have apprehended a thief but decided to keep mum

I have caught a thief in my farm

10. For this year, Ifá says that we should propitiate Oya from time to time for success

And prosperity. Ifá says that the level of our success depends on how well we propitiate Oya. We need to ask Ifá what Oya required for propitiation after all necessary ebo is performed. The stanza in support of this goes thus:

O nwo mi mo nwo e

Ta lo seun ninu wa

Dia fun Anye Oniwo Mate

Omo a bo finfin koo to bo sise

Omo a borisa kan jingbinni nife

Igba to nse ohun gbogbo ti kan ko yori

Ebo ni won ni o wa se

Ko bo Oya

O gbebo , o rubo

Ko pe, ko jinna

Ire gbogbo de

Onile e si’kun f’Oya


We are both looking at each other

Whom among us can we commend?

This was the Ifá cast for Oniwo Mate

She who offered sacrifice and was accepted

She who propitiate Òrìsà Deity in Ifè

When she was doing everything but was not successful

She was advised to offer ebo

And to propitiate Oya

She complied

Not too long

She became successful in all she embarked upon

The owner of house, open the door (of success) for Oya!


  1. Ifá
  2. Orí
  3. Aye (witches)
  4. Egbe
  5. Oya
  6. Èsù
  7. Sango


  1. No double standard
  2. Not to eat dog
  3. Must not kill or use spiders for any purpose
  4. Must not steal
  5. Must not be over ambitious
  6. Must not use elephant or buffalo parts for anything
  7. Must avoid playing with cotton wool

Article from World News Network
The Associated Press


Haiti’s government has officially sanctioned voodoo as a religion, allowing practitioners to begin performing ceremonies from baptisms to marriages with legal authority.

Many who practice voodoo praised the move, but said much remains to be done to make up for centuries of ridicule and persecution in the Caribbean country and abroad.

Voodoo priest Philippe Castera said he hopes the government’s decree is more than an effort to win popularity amid economic and political troubles.

“In spite of our contribution to Haitian culture, we are still misunderstood and despised,” said Castera, 48.

In an executive decree issued last week, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide invited voodoo adherents and organizations to register with the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

After swearing an oath before a civil judge, practitioners will be able to legally conduct ceremonies such as marriages and baptisms, the decree said.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, has said he recognizes voodoo as a religion like any other, and a voodoo priestess bestowed a presidential sash on him at his first inauguration in 1991.

“An ancestral religion, voodoo is an essential part of national identity,” and its institutions “represent a considerable portion” of Haiti’s 8.3 million people, Aristide said in the decree.

Voodoo practitioners believe in a supreme God and spirits who link the human with the divine. The spirits are summoned by offerings that include everything from rum to roosters.

Though permitted by Haiti’s 1987 constitution, which recognizes religious equality, many books and films have sensationalized voodoo as black magic based on animal and human sacrifices to summon zombies and evil spirits.

“It will take more than a government decree to undo all that malevolence,” Castera said, and suggested that construction of a central voodoo temple would “turn good words into a good deed.”

There are no reliable statistics on the number of adherents, but millions in Haiti place faith in voodoo. The religion evolved from West African beliefs and developed further among slaves in the Caribbean who adopted elements of Catholicism.

Voodoo is an inseparable part of Haitian art, literature, music and film. Hymns are played on the radio and voodoo ceremonies are broadcast on television along with Christian services.

But for centuries voodoo has been looked down upon as little more than superstition, and at times has been the victim of ferocious persecution. A campaign led by the Catholic church in the 1940s led to the destruction of temples and sacred objects.

In 1986, following the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s dictatorship, hundreds of voodoo practitioners were killed on the pretext that they had been accomplices to Duvalier’s abuses.

Extendemos nuestro más sentido pésame a la familia y los omorishas de Oraida Ortega, Oloyomí, fallecida en Puerto Rico el domingo 13 de febrero. Oloyomí acababa de cumplir 50 años de iniciada a Yemojá. Ella fue hermana del reconocido Juvenal Ortega, Shangó Dina, quien falleció este año pasado, y viuda del nombrado olorisha Gilberto “Beto” Estrada, Oshún Niké. Rogamos por la serenidad de sus seres queridos quienes de seguro le extrañaran muchísimo ya que fue una madre y amiga ejemplar. Ibá é layén t’orún Oloyomí.

We join the immense chorus of mourners lamenting the sad loss of Oba Adefunmi I of Oyotunji African Village who passed away on the 11th of February. Seije, as he was known to many of us from the early days in New York, was instrumental in introducing many of our African American aburo to the Lukumí-Yoruba religion. His unrelenting mission that began in the Yoruba Temple in Harlem and eventually evolved into the Oyotunjí Village is a strong example of the tenacity of this admirable man who had a dream and worked hard to fulfill it. His legacy is immense, though walking in his shoes may not be an easy task for those that follow, as he was unique and inimitable. May his energetic zeal continue to guide those who will uphold his dream and continue to take Yoruba religion to its rightful place alongside the other religions of the world. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and omorisha. Ibá é layén t’orún.

Nos unimos a la comunidad cubana y a la diáspora lukumí en general a lamentar la muerte del gran apuón Lázaro Ros quien falleció este pasado 8 de febrero. Ros, quizás mejor que ningún otro apuón lukumí, realzó la imagen de la música sagrada lukumí, internacionalizándola con su inconfundible voz y estilo. Extendemos nuestro más sentido pésame a sus familiares y seres queridos. Indudablemente, el coro celestial se ha enriquecido ya que el terrenal ha sufrido una pérdida más. Ibá é layén torún.

Tomado de
Latino MSN Noticias
Por Raquel Martori

La Habana, 4 ene (EFE).- Las predicciones del oráculo de las religiones afrocubanas (santería) contenidas en la letra o el signo que regirá este año 2005, vaticinan grandes epidemias y recomiendan consolidar los matrimonios y mejorar la higiene y la agricultura.

Más de 860 sacerdotes de Ifá (santería) se reunieron en una casa-templo en una populosa barriada habanera el 31 de diciembre, donde celebraron hasta el 1 de enero sus rituales y confrontaron y resumieron sus valoraciones en la llamada “Letra del Año”.

Esta “Letra”, presentada hoy, martes, a la prensa, advierte sobre enfermedades contagiosas, en particular tener cuidado con la lepra, y también sobre padecimientos neurológicos, trastornos en la garganta y las cuerdas vocales, y marca impotencia en el hombre.

Prevé, entre otros acontecimientos de interés social, grandes epidemias que pudieran propagarse a una extensa área o nación, modificaciones en el sector de la agricultura, alteración en las relaciones interpersonales y tragedias entre vecinos.

También anticipa intervenciones militares y rupturas de convenios entre países amigos por maquinaciones de un tercero.

Como recomendaciones propone tener cuidado al dar albergue a personas ajenas, cumplir los compromisos religiosos adquiridos, mejorar los sistemas hidráulicos en general, y aconseja incrementar las presas y los embalses para garantizar el consumo del agua.

En la santería, uno de los cultos sincréticos más extendidos en Cuba, cada letra o signo comprende una historia de las deidades o los “orishas” del panteón yoruba, que hablan por ella y lleva implícita una enseñanza o recomendación en general.

Para 2005 predice que estará regido por el orisha Shangó, deidad del fuego, el rayo, la justicia, la guerra y el baile, pero también de la música y la belleza viril.

A esta divinidad oriunda de Nigeria se le considera también protector de los soldados, y castigadora de los mentirosos, corruptos y de los que han cometido actos inmorales e irreverentes.

Shangó contará con una divinidad acompañante, Oyá, orisha femenina que es reconocida como dueña del cementerio, del remolino, de la centella y se estima que domina a su antojo el viento malo o bueno, el vendaval, el ciclón y las tormentas.

Lázaro Cuesta, quien presidió la Comisión de sacerdotes que elaboró esta “Letra”, afirmó que “es positiva” porque “advierte del peligro que nos rodea y nos da elementos para ayudarnos a contrarrestarlo”.

“Hacemos nuestras valoraciones para Cuba y el resto del mundo. Aquí nadie es político, somos sacerdotes de Ifá y las concepciones políticas que pueda tener cualquiera de manera individual está terminantemente prohibido plantearlas aquí”, señaló.

Explicó que la “Letra del Año” es resultado de “un análisis minucioso de los textos de Ifá”.

En la fachada del templo, los sacerdotes colgaron una pancarta con el texto, ante la cual se detienen transeúntes y religiosos que buscan conocer los augurios de este oráculo de la santería cubana.

Cuesta aseguró que la manera en que se practica la santería en Cuba ha tenido “resultados positivos”.

Consideró que prueba de ello es que durante más de cuatro siglos han “tenido el valor de subsistir a pesar de todos los inconvenientes, porque hoy la religión es aceptada” pero “hubo momentos en que fue perseguida y ser religioso era una limitante para todo”, recalcó.

“Aquí en Cuba, vivimos, subsistimos, estamos luchando porque nuestros preceptos religiosos se mantengan lo más puros posible y aspiramos a que el hombre sea mejor”.

Según datos extraoficiales, el 80 por ciento de la población cubana practica o acude a recibir la asistencia de los sacerdotes de la santería conocidos también como babalawos o padrinos.

Los cultos sincréticos, llegados a Cuba con los esclavos africanos en la época colonial, se trasmiten por tradición oral de una generación a otra a través de rezos, ritos, conjuros, fórmulas mágicas, refranes, bailes, cantos, sacrificios y liturgias.

La santería tiene en la adivinación una de sus principales prácticas y entre sus elementos propios a los caracoles, destinados al acto de consulta, y el uso de los llamados “collares de fundamento”, confeccionados con cuentas de los colores que caracterizan a cada deidad.

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