December 29, 2002, will be an unforgettable day in the history of Lukumí religion in Miami since none of the more than 600 people than were present at the wemilere given to Shangó in this city will be able to forget it. The blessing and the support of the orishas became evident from very early in the morning, beginning with the itá of the guineas that were sacrificed to Shangó, and continuing with the wemilere, and the visit of a great number of orishas that came to support our cause and to give validity to our event. Modupé or gbogbó orisha! We were graced with the presence of Elegbá, Shangó, Ogún, Oshún, two Obatalá, two Oyá and four Yemojá. Who could ask for anything more pleasing than this?


Shangó stressed that something “big” was coming for the world for which we have to be prepared. He announced that many deaths would come and that it would be necessary to cling to one’s faith and devotion in the orishas to face what is coming our way. He recommended that we frequently beseech Olofín for the well-being of humanity. In Fact, he conducted a beautiful ceremony with a white panel that he had asked for days ahead, significant because of its implications as a prayer for peace and the well-being of all who were present. Shangó also said that although the war would not be here in our territory, it was going to have repercussions here. He announced that there will be loss and deaths in the country which will arise through or as a result of the war. He committed himself to beseech Olodumaré on our behalf.


Oshún requested that we play to Elegbá three months from the date of this wemilere, and suggested that we play to Armando García, Shangó Dina’s Elegbá since it had been his Elegbá that had been present for this event. She requested that the community unite again for this act. Oshún reminded us that we had to be humbler. That Olorishas are sometimes confused and think that they are deities in their own rights. Oshún says us that we must take the orishas and our religiosity more into account so that we do not suffer the punishment that they can bring.


Ogún announced that the war was on its way and that we had to deposit our faith in Olodumaré and the orishas so that we do not suffer great losses. Like Shangó, he announced that attacks would take place in our own country, and that blood could run in the streets of our country. Ogún also spoke of situations that can arise in Cuba and repercussions from this war in Cuba.

Recognition and appreciation

The wemilere that took place this past 29th of December could not have been possible without the collaboration of all the Olorishas and Aborishas that contributed both with money and physical work, since it is a well known fact that to coordinate an event of this magnitude is not an easy thing. The aid lent by all in the space of a month and a half was most visible when more than 600 people marched past the doors of the Rancho Oddu Ará to share in the last wemilere of 2002 and comply with Shangó’s request from our community. Everyone that attended the wemilere clearly went home feeling renewed in their religious devotion and simultaneously relieved with the knowledge that our requests had arrived at the foot of Olodumaré through the intercession of our orishas.

The names are too many and it would be difficult to give credit to all for their aid without forgetting someone’s name. The contributions were also as numerous or even greater still. This makes the process of giving due recognition to everyone an arduous and difficult task. However, I will try to. I want to begin by asking for a thousand pardons given the case that I forget any person. Nonetheless, if I forget, it must be very clear that Egún and the Orishas most definitively will not forget them. In fact, they have to remember them!

As he did last year, Olorisha Roberto Berenger, Osha Lerí, owner of Rancho Oddu Ará, facilitated the farm again so that we could celebrate the wemilere. The generosity and the level of religious conviction have won Osha Lerí- and his employees- a multiplicity of blessings in the past. His attitude continues to be the same, always willing to collaborate with the Lukumí community and to contribute at any moment. The simple magnitude of the event required an ample site with the appropriate facilities to accommodate the great amount of people who we anticipated would attend these events. The Farm Oddu Ará proved to be the ideal place for this.

The second mention doubtlessly must correspond to the person who more arduously worked for this event, iyalorisha Jackie Ben, Oshún Funké. During many long hours she maintained communication with the directors of T.O.L.A (Temple Olorisha Lukumí of the Americas), and between the directors and the community, assuring that nothing escaped her attention to comply with Shangó’s request. Lamentably, the day of wemilere, her mother, Obdulia García, Iná Lojú, was the victim of a stroke. Nonetheless, the stroke did not rob her of the opportunity to contribute for the wemilere and her tutelar orisha. Many days before the event, Iná Lojú had been dedicated to sew the panels that were used by the orishas that visited us. The night before the wemilere, Ina Lojú cooked sweet amalá to offer Shangó and those who visited the event. Lamentably, the ironic games of destiny are sometimes cruel and Oshún Funké and Iná Lojú could not accompany us for the wemilere. Our most profound and heartfelt pleas are with this sister and her dear mother, asking the Supreme Being to be merciful with her.

We are greatly indebted to Obá Oriaté Armando García, Shangó Dina. After several attempts with a few Oní Shangó older than he that reside in this city, that for one reason or another declined our petition to give the wemilere to their Shangó, something we agreed should be done following religious age and hierarchy, Shangó Dina gave us the most honorable and noble answer possible: “Who I am to deny to Shangó the honor that you want to render?” His Shangó was just as noble as he when answering with a firm eyeifé when he was asked with obí if he accepted the wemilere. Also Mrs. Omaida García, Tinomí, Shangó Dina’s wife, deserves all our gratefulness. Both facilitated their house for the sacrifice that was done to Shangó and worked that day with the true devotion of Olorishas that feel a sincere love for our religion. And let it be said that all this without ever even requesting a single cent! Modupé ó Shangó Dina and Tinomí. May Shangó, Yemojá and Olodumaré compensate you with happiness, prosperity and much health for all your collaboration for this event.

Obá Oriaté Roque “Jimagüa” Duarte, Tinibú, and Babalorisha Abelardo Hernández, Oshún Funké were also essential at every moment. Tinibú directed all the ritual aspects and Oshún Funké sat on the mat to take ibo on the day of itá on behalf of our community. Their hands were clean and blessed that day since they communicated to us the iré elese osha- blessings granted by the orishas- and iré arikú- blessings of health that the orishas sent us. What more can we ask for?

The animals that were sacrificed to Shangó were donated by iyalorisha Barbara Yñígo, Ojú Oró, who also collaborated with the event from the beginning to the end. Again Cristina Hernandez, Osikán, facilitated her house for the initial meeting and she allowed us to consult with her Elegbá that indicated to us the will of the orishas. Like she did for previous activities, she lent all her energy to the event so that this it could be successful. Also Olorisha Joaquin “Papito” Mederos, Shangó Larí, and his wife, Maria Mederos, Olorisha Pablo Alvarez, Adé Funké, and Olorisha Omar Fernandez, contributed in so many facets of the preparation that it would require at least two paragraphs to detail all their efforts. My mother- as always in the kitchen!- cooked the amalá ilá that was placed in Shangó’s throne.

We are also very much indebted to Babalorisha Jorge Ortega, Ewín Sholá, who installed a beautiful throne for Shangó. Lamentably, respecting the desire of Shangó Dina who does not like to photograph his orishas, we could not take photos of the throne. However, all those who are familiar with Ewín Sholá’s work knows well enough that the throne had to be a true wonder. Many were surprised by the beautiful work of art made for the throne by Olorisha Robert Torres. Torres and Mauricio Pérez donated the floral arrangements for the throne, something that some of us hesitated about at first since typically flowers are not offered to Shangó. Torres’ work was a true artistic wonder!

Olubatá Ezequiel Torres and his group Ifé Bí Añá, donated their services again, and, like always, they played to their-and our- heart’s content, in their usual, inimitable style. We are once again deeply indebted to aburo Torres and his group for their indispensable cooperation for the success of this event. Lamentably, our sister Olympia Alfaro, Omí Sanyá-may she rest in peace- was no longer among us in body, but I am sure that her spirit accompanied us throughout. In addition, Obá Oriaté Roque “Jimagüa” Duarte, Tinibú, Philbert Armenteros, Obá Irawó, Luís Ruíz, Ikú’dayó, Afimayí Galarraga, Andrew Iglesias, and this humble servant sang in praise of the orishas.

We wish to mention the names of all the people who contributed to this event and to express our most sincere gratefulness for their contribution. There were those who gave money, those who lent their hands, and others that did both things. To all of you, ¡modupé ó! ¡Ki Olorún n’agbé ó!

Alajé Thomas
Alimayú Harris
Andrés Guerra
Aramís Cabrera
Ashabí Thomas—who came to miami from Chicago especially for this event
Bárbara García
Bárbara Pérez & her daughter Jess
Cacha Sánchez
Carlos Bresó Sr.
Carlos Bresó Jr.
Carmen Marrero
Darrick Griffin-who came to Miami from Chicago especially for this event
David Fonr-who came to Miami from Washington D.C. for this event
David Hoft
Diana & Sammy Domínguez
Dorian Hernández
Doris Martínez
Elizabeth y Valentín Llorente
Enrique Hernández
Erik Boone
Eunice Pereira
Flor Decker
Gerardo Durán
Glen Correidera
Graciela Collazo
Henry Pascual
Henry Rodríguez
Ileana Zambrano
Jeff González
Jorge Castillo
Juan Carlos Cabrisas
Juan Martínez
Lázaro Ramos
Lissette Noa
Luis González
Marlene López
Marta Dominguez
Mayra Chala
Migdalia Santos
Milagros Betharte
Nancy Vega
Nelson Hernández
Noel Lugo
Norberto Fernández
Odalis Ibáñez
Olga Ramos
Otto Tianga
Pedro and Annie Alfaro
Popi Cioffi
Ramón Lío
Raúl Piélago
Rita Guerra
Roberto & Michelle Abreu & omo’risha
Tony Acosta
Tony Pena
Willie Zapata
Xiomara Guerra
Yoleise Salomón

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