On the 23rd of December, 2001, sacrifice and agbán—cleansing ceremony—were performed for Babaluaiyé in Miami, Florida, on behalf of the entire community. This ceremony had been prescribed by Oshún during the wemilere for Ogún back in November. On the third day, Babaluaiyé spoke to us through an itá ceremony that took place at the home of alagbá Babalorisha Abelardo Hernández, Oshún Funké.
Abelardo Hernandez, Oló Oshún
Carlos “Machito” Breso, Oní Shangó
Antonio Pena, Oní Shangó
Carlos Breso Jr., Oló Obatalá
Nelson Hernandez, Oní Yemojá
Manuel Medero, Omó Elegbá
Luis Gonzalez, OníYemojá
Lazaro Ramos, Oló Oshún
Lazaro Pedro Alfaro, Oní Shangó
Miguel “Willie” Ramos, Oní Shangó
Roberto Abreu, Oní Shangó
Jeffrey Gonzalez, Oló Obatalá
Hector Pelaes, Oní Yemojá
Jose Esquia, Oló Oshún
Gilberto Lopez, Omó Elegbá
Jakie Ben, Oló Oshún
Flor Decker, Oní Yemojá
Ana Alfaro, Oní Shangó
Ileana Zambrano, Oló Obatalá
Cacha Sanchez, Oló Oshún
Torciana “La China” Helleo, Oló Oshún
Cristina Miguez-Hernandez, Omó Elegbá
Roque Duarte, Tinibú, better known as el jimagüá, officiated as Obá Oriaté. Since the ceremony was performed with the Church of the Lukumí’s Babaluaiyé, Ernesto Pichardo sat as the receptor of the itá in representation of the entire community. This is what the orishashad to say.
Odu: 9-8 Arún (9-5) elese Araorún (9-5)
Proverb: After frying lard, we shall see what remains.
Jimagüa asked: What is more powerful, water or fire? He states that there is no natural element that can completely extinguish a fire once it acquires strength.
Abebé iná. Elegbá says that in many ways, the “fire” that has affected us all was a necessity—it awakened us to stark realities. It was necessary to reduce everything to ashes so that from the ash, a new prosperity would arise. This odu is like the Phoenix bird of Greco-Roman mythology that resurfaces from the ashes. Sometimes it is necessary that things fall or break apart and turn to ash so that something positive arises. Elegbá says that all the negative occurrences will lead to new and more positive rebirths.
The odu speaks of diseases provoked by Araorún—citizens of orún. It addresses psychological problems, and especially the emotional trauma that we are all facing at this point in time. We have all been affected by the tragic events of September 11th, the wra in the Middle East, and the terrorist’s threats, so much so that we are seeing an increase in affections to the nervous system and psychological stress and disorder. The odu speaks of psychological and nervous disorders.
Elder in general—parents, godparents, siblings, heads of households, must avoid conflicts with those that are younger than them and directly linked by blood or religion. Elders should avoid conflicts with their juniors. In this odu, conflicts with one’s juniors can lead to devastation and chaos. In this odu, elders can lose their life because of conflicts with people with whom they have ties that are younger than they are.
One cannot be impulsive. We must keep a level head.
Basing himself on the typical mechanics of this odu, Alagbá Abelardo Hernández spoke of the possibility of sacrificing an ewe to Egún. Obá Willie Ramos intercede, reminding that in spite of the established patterns of the odu, the osobo was not produced by Egún, but by Araorún, and clarified that though related, they were two different sets of entities. Ramos stressed that what could be creating the conflict the odu announced were the iwín—lost souls; spirits of people who had lonely deaths, committed suicide, or died before their allotted time, that are seldom remembered or attended.
It was agreed that to ask Elegbá directly with ibo if he agreed with Oshún Funké’s recommendation to sacrifice an ewe to Araorún and he said no. Immediately after, Elegbá was asked if taking care of iwín was a way of appeasing the osobo and he said yes. He prescribed the following ebó:
Gather all types of tubers—yams, potatos, taro, etc.— boil them without salt, and place them in a basin. On top of these, in no particular order, add three smoked herrings, a raspadura (sugar-cake), sweets of all types, candies, brown sugar, raw corn meak, gofio balls with honey, and any candy or sweet that are usually appealing to children.
The basin should be placed behind one’s door and three candles will be lit before it. This is dedicated to the iwín and prayers and invocations are done before the offering.
The following day, cast obí and ask where this should be taken. An ideal place would be a corner in the back yard—for those who have them. Another ideal place is one’s roof. Otherwise, abandoned tombs, a refuse heap or dump, solitary places in the forests, or paths that serve as the principal access to a town or city. It should never taken to anywhere public.
It is also advisable that on the 31st of December, after attending to the orishas, to offer obí and omi tutu to Elegbá. This adimú should await the new year in front of Elegbá. The following day, cast obí and ask him where it should be taken. Elegbá will help us to move across the difficult paths we encounter in the coming year.
Obá Lazaro Ramos spoke about the need to take proper care of iwín, stressing that not doing so could bring very bad consequences.
Obá Roberto Abreú suggested baths and house cleanings with collard greens.
Obí: Etawó mejí
Odu: 6-9 Ikú (5-6) Otonowá (11-5) larishe (8) adimú (6-7) ñame (7-7) asado a Asojano (9-7)
Proverb: You are either insane or attempting to appear so.
The larishé is to place a roasted yam—white name—with plenty of palm oil to Babaluaiyé. After offering it, cast and ask him where it should be taken.
Asojano asks us to be level headed, tranquil and serene. We need to provide for our own peace of mind. As it was insinuated during Elegbá’s itá, we are living through an era in which we are all “headless,” strongly affected by the attacks and the tensions that the country faces. This is the odu of the zombie. We cannot allow the country’s current troubles to affect us individually as we all must be strong and stable. Our heads need to be in its proper place. We have done many ceremonies to appease the negativity. Nonetheless, we must now search for stability for our own selves. We cannot continue feigning insanity nor thinking like a mad person. The situation that has affected our country has taken us all to the border of insanity.
Whomever owes anything to Babaluaiyé must pay up/ He insists that we cannot feign to be insane as far as he is concerned.
The osobo—ikú otonowá— though a negative sign, is nonetheless a neutral osobo. It stresses that we each hold our destiny in our own hands and the results are heavily depended on our actions. It speaks of a “death” that is handed down from heaven: otonowá—that which we went to heaven to bring. We need to keep our actions in check so that we do not bring an early death to our own selves by improper behavior.
It is important that we have organization, but above all, faith, faith and more faith. We have enemies and people who are in total opposition to what we are trying to accomplish (the Council of Oriatés). Obara’sá is an odu of betrayal and treachery. We cannot cancel the proceedings that we have already set in motion for the creation of this council no matter what our enemies attempt. It is important that we remember to maintain a strong sense of morality and dedication when faced with any disparaging words or acts that may be directed toward any one of us at any given point. These will be numerous. There are many people out there who feel threatened by our union because it signals the beginning of a degree of respect and order that they cannot, or will not, accept. We must have much patience in order to confront these enemies.
Obá Willie Ramos stressed the importance of being prudent and sensible, even amongst ourselves. The disgrace that the odu announces cannot have a place among us so that these foundations we are laying to day can evolve into a sturdy structure that will last for generations to come.
Obá Manuel Mederos emphasized the following:
We have accomplished something that has never been done before and that has been that in spite of the insanity we are all living through, we have been able to maintain this unity. We must remain sensible and have a clear head, and place ourselves above any maligning criteria that our enemies can have against our union. We are a young chain that can break if we allow any of its links to be debilitated. We must remain united.
Insanity must reign outside of our group, never within us. We must have principles and know that what we do today is the legacy that we will leave to our children, grandchildren, and godchildren for tomorrow. If we do something wrong, or permit something that is against our precepts, our legacy will not be a good one; but if we do and permit positive things, this is what our legacy will be. Let us not feing insanity.
After Babaluiayé said that that was the totality of his advice for the day, Obá Willie Ramos stressed that what had been said to the moment was what the orishas had wanted to say and nothing else. There was nothing left out or else Babaluaiyé would have asked for us to continue deciphering the odu. Since he said éboadá—this is sufficient—we must understand that that was the totality of the message. There should be no further interpretation of the odus, because if further interpretations were needed, Elegbá and Babaluaiyé would have asked us to continue with itá until this advice surfaced. Therefore, there was nothing else to be said.
This is an important clarification to avoid that other Olorishas who learn of the itá add their own evaluation of the odu and create confusion by stating what was not said in itá. If the Obás that were present that day left something unsaid, when the orishas were asked eboadá, they had to have said “no” continuously until that specific message was voiced. Since it was not this way, no further interpretation is needed nor should any new “wisdom” be added. Further interpretations that do not take place on the day of itá, with the dilogún on the mat overhearing what is being said, are not valid as the orisha could not accept, nor decline anything, because it was not there to determine.