The orisha does discriminate and so must we!

One Elegua tells the other..."Let's add a little chaos into the registro to see if the diviner is awake!"
Years ago, I was at a Batá to Oyá and while she mounted my godfather and dispensed advice to those at the event I was pleasantly surprise to hear her assert her discriminatory powers upon those who are part of the ilé. I remember quite clearly that she said to the crowd, “In this household there is one door to come in and two doors to leave.” There was no question in my mind that she sets the rules as the head orisha of the house. She made it crystal clear; those who do not conform to the rules of the ilé can expediently leave. To come in the house, there is a filter, one door, to leave…don’t let the door slam on your rear end…whichever door you choose. If I was to further analyze the implications of her statement, one could say that even leaving a household has a procedure. Either we leave in disgrace or we exit properly and following procedures.

Procedures are precisely what will save us from making mistakes. I am glad to see that the first post strokes a nerve on many who were inspired to post a response. I will address some of the points made by readers on this second part, starting with divination and its role on the discriminatory process of initiation.

Divination is not an absolute

The role of divination in the process of admittance to an ilé is never an absolute; it should not be the only guiding principle or the litmus test to admittance. Here is why. Divination in itself is an act of selective discrimination on the sharing of knowledge applied to a situation through the energy of Oddu. Meaning, for divination to be effective, it must first encounter an imperfect filter, the diviner him or herself, who is only human after all.

The diviner must not only be well versed in the oddú and its meaning, but also learn how to discriminate what information to apply and share with the person seeking advice. Of course, I have seen very good diviners advising someone to make osha and giving them a step by step approach on what to do to prepare. I have however, seen with more frequency the Spiritual Terrorism approach to induction into the Santeria ranks. You will find more often those diviners who warn of tragedies, illness and chaos if the person does not run right away to make kariosha.

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Is there a Future for Santeria?

One Elegua tells the other: "Yeah let's bring some riffraff with money seeking Kariosha to see what our Omo does. Betcha a Jutia he won't examine the situation as we would like him to do."
Over the last 20 years profound changes have taken place in the way in which humans communicate and interrelate. The advent of the Internet and the creation of blogs, websites, forums, and finally, the emergence of on-line social platforms created a double edge sword for our Afro-Caribbean religions. The power of enhanced communications and the availability of all sort of information without a system of check and balances has created the perfect breeding grounds for merchants of the religion and con artists to flourish and prosper. Before finding shysters was limited to the communities they inhabited and perhaps to the occasional ad to be found on newspapers or word of mouth communications. Now, any so called initiate can set up shop on the Internet, troll on sites like Facebook looking to insert themselves as experts in conversations and forums, establish a blog or a website and drum up a hefty Santeria business.

How do I know this? I get to sift through piles of emails from people wanting help and advice after they have had a really unsavory situation thanks to having met the so called ideal godparent on line. I get to see a bit of everything, from those who find exploitative godparents who see their godchildren as meal tickets, to those who get really screwed with poorly done initiations. Overall, the feeling most people manifest is one of hurt; they feel deceived, damaged and abused. I have to say that one of the worse ways in which a human being can be abused is by having someone mess with their faith, with their spiritual being and thus with their development. If that is not akin to spiritual rape, then what is?

Under the premises of availability of quick information on line, some may argue that Santeria should not have any secrets and that initiates must share all of their knowledge without questioning to whom they entrust it and how they disseminate the information. I have gotten belligerent arguments from many on this regard; I make no apologies for being in complete disagreement.

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Santeria 101: Keeping Records of Your Readings or Registros

Some of my libretas have notes on more than just advice and readings...
There is absolutely no reason to live a life of strife and heartaches, particularly when one follows the Way of the Orishas or in short, practices Santeria. Perhaps it is partly because I do not trust memory to be perfect, or because of the years I spent pursuing a career in journalism, but I value greatly the art of record keeping for posterity. Thus, you can find in my orisha room a catalogue of readings done for me, from the very first one to the most recent one. They are all compiled in notebooks, organized by ceremonies and they include notes of results from the ebbós or workings prescribed from those readings.

This trail of notes is not a meandering one, it tells the story of my life and of the many stages and transformations in this spiritual journey, pretty much like this blog in a way weaves moments of my spiritual journey with the spiritual journeys of family, friends and anyone who is willing to spend a few minutes of their life here, reading along and sharing as they see fit.

As I was saying, there is no reason for living a life of frustration. Most of the answers to life’s challenges and to our very own shortcomings are in the readings we seek. Even the poorest of readings may yield a nugget of wisdom, a flash of divine inspiration passed by Olofi to the diviner. It is up to the person seeking that advice to listen with an open mind and heart, to understand that message and apply the advice diligently.

How do you go about keeping good record of your readings? The answer is simple. Select your recordkeeping method of choice. Perhaps you are one of those people who love to take notes on a portable computer, smart phone or you may be traditional, like I am, and find a certain amount of peace and reassurance in practicing the art of penmanship on a plain old composition notebook. Whatever you choose, know that the right decision is to keep notes, and plenty of them.

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The Ethics of creating Discordia…Just because You can, does it Mean You should?

Overall, I try to walk a pretty straight line when it comes to doing workings. I try to use momentum to aid my workings, to research carefully the ingredients and to outline a clean and organized path of action before I put the work in motion. Within all of these preparation steps I balance out the negative and positive impacts that my actions will unravel. In general, I try to do the least negative workings possible and to use the grace I have been given for good.

However, sometimes there are folks that cross me not once or twice but repeatedly. In those cases, far and few in between, I have no issues setting the balance back to zero…just because I can.
So here is a little something from the arsenal of simple and nasty little workings that I am willing to share, for the greater good of course. I hope you have a cool head to carefully evaluate if you really need to use it…or not. It is all in your hands.

To create Discordia

Ingredients:

Saltpeter, Peony seeds, Sea Salt, Gunpowder, Cayenne Pepper, Sulphur.
Visualization:

This is a rather simple working to do. All you need is to place all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle and grind them to fine powder. As you add each of the ingredients, visualize discordia emerging like a fog and filling out the space where you will lay this powder on. If it is a house, then imagine the area filled with disgust, discomfort and in general, visualize lack of peace and a strong desire to argue.

If you intend to use this say in an office environment, visualize people grumpy, short tempered and unfriendly finding reasons to argue for just any little thing.

Please do be careful NOT to drop any of this powder in your own home. If you are going to use it in your place of work, know that you will not be exempt from its impact, thus, use your logic. Do you really want to lay this trick on your own place of work? I think not.

Good luck on creating havoc. Remember, just because you can, it not always mean you should, but I leave to each of you the ethics of creating discord.

Omimelli
Oní Yemayá Achagbá

(Feeling pretty mischivous today)

A Bath for Lovers

A Bath for Lovers
Love is a child of Chaos. Its energies once released are impossible to gather back. Everything touched by love is unequivocally changed forever. Some people think that love needs sometimes a little bit of help. I would differ; it is love the force that helps us along the way. However, there is nothing wrong with enhancing time spent with a beloved one and with sharing cleanliness of body, mind and spirit.
Here is a bath that is meant to be shared with a special someone.

Ingredients:

1 blood orange sliced
1 stick of cinnamon grated (yes freshly grated)
1 pomegranate (just the seeds)
5 cardamom pods (just the seeds)
5 drops of clove oil or 5 cloves crushed to powder
2 teaspoons of honey
1 red candle

Slice the orange, place it in a deep container, then grate the cinnamon over the orange slices, add the pomegranate seeds, cut open the cardamom pods and extract the seeds, mince them with a knife or crush them then add them to the container, add the rest of the ingredients and pour 5 cups of warm water over the ingredients.

Since this is a bath for lover, one thing you could do is to pour each other’s energies and intentions onto this bath by holding hands over it and speaking at loud your intentions or petition.

The slices of oranges are meant to be used in the bath as scrubbers. Light the candle once you are done speaking your mind while holding hands over the container with the ingredients.

Enjoy!

Omimelli
Oní Yemayá Achagbá