Second Thoughts on working with Spirits

Are all spirits trustworthy?
Interest in spirits, ghosts, Spiritism and spiritualism has been on the upswing the past decade or so. There has been a torrent of books, films, websites all about these subjects. But, we need to pause and ask ourselves if trafficking with spirits is always a safe and beneficial practice.

There is a tendency these days to assume that spirits (with a little work) are eager to help us and that contact with them is a necessary and beneficial process. For example, I have seen many instances where an individual visits a spiritist, santero or palero. The individual is told they have a “spirit close to them” such as a gypsy. The person is instructed to pay attention to the spirit, giving it prayers, candles, coffee, etc. But what no one may realize, is that yes, the spirit is indeed close to the person, but that it is not a good thing the person is giving attention to the spirit.

In the instance of the gypsy spirit, she in life may have had a difficult upbringing that pushed her to be conniving and rather resourceful in obtaining goods or thieving. By working with that spirit, one is strengthening it. The person is giving it energy to be able to intervene in this world, and to influence thoughts and behavior. Soon the person is experiencing problems in his or her life. The person may even start to exhibit behaviors the spirit was partial too in life. The spirit may even drag down and ruin the person’s life.

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Basic Divination Skills: The Pendulum

Before I ever considered getting seriously involved in Santeria, I had already started to have the need to ‘see into the future.’ When I was in my teenage years I came across a book on Dowsing and Pendulums. I was fascinated by the fact that people could use very simple tools to find water, find lost items and in general, to answer questions in a rather simple yes or no format. So I read the book eagerly, and, since it came with a basic pendulum I started to use it to answer simple questions.

What is a pendulum? A pendulum is simply a small weighted object hanging from a string, chain or wire. The object may or may not have significance to you. It could be a perforated stone or a nut or bolt you find on the sidewalk. It could be a diamond ring passed down to you as an heirloom, or it can be store bought.

Ideally a pendulum should be a small object of about 1 inch in diameter with a string attached to it. The string should be about 12 inches long and although it should be thin, it also needs to be strong.

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Olokún: The Oubliette of Emotions

My Olokún and personal Oubliette of Emotions
There are things that are revealed to orisha initiates as they go along in their life’s journey. Tradition has it that libretas (notebooks) would be the resting places of those discoveries. Those libretas would be guarded with great zeal and only passed along as a treasure chest of knowledge to one or few selected initiates in the ilé (Orisha household). However, some orisha initiates take their secrets to their grave.

I may not have very many pieces of information to share, nor many years yet to have accumulated a significant treasure chest of data, but I am about to share one which I sincerely hope can ease the pain of many who have loved and lost a loved one for whichever reason. Sometimes life deals us tough hands, but Olofi has mercy and also gives us the means to ease pain.

This is not the panacea for all love inflicted heartaches, but I have indeed seen it work like a charm twice in the last 20 years. I call this petition to Olokun, The Oubliette of Emotions.

The term oubliette originates from the Latin oblivisci to forget or oblivion. An oubliette is a construction in a dungeon where there is only one opening from the top. Does that sound familiar? Traditionally an Olokun is housed in a ginger jar or a tall Chinese style jar with an opening at the top. That was my first hint of inspiration to put together this petition, but more inspiration came from a trip to France, exactly to Mont Saint Michel in the Normandy coast.

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Celebrating 7 Years of Yoko Osha Oggun

A doggie cake for Oggun

As promissed, here are some photos of the celebration from Oggún Addá Araí. He outdid himself working all afternoon to have a great meal assembled with literally no help from me or his father.

He was careful in the preparation of the amalá ilá and the product was so good that it was hard not to want to eat all the tasty okra cooked in spices and epó or palm oil.

Amalá ilá

Sweet potato cacerole
Oggún Addá Araí also worked hard on getting a nice batch of coconut candy done for Yemayá, his orisha mother and also placed a small cake in the shape of a dog to honor Oggun.

Enjoy the photos!

Oní Yemayá Achagbá

Oggún in His 7 Year Simple Splendor

Oggún Addá Araí prepares his Shrine
Oggun is simplicity and he is also splendor. He is splendid in his love for his omó, in his strong and handsome disposition and in the way in which he devours life with great passion. Oggún is the simple pleasure of a hard day of work, of a task well done. Oggún is in the sweat rolling off the hot arms that forge humanity’s character.

Seven years ago my son had the blessing of becoming for life a member of the household of Yeguedé José Merced and his oyugbonakan Omíkuya, Modesto Martínez. His godfather worked tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of Oggún Addá Araí’s yoko osha was done by the book. I ran the kitchen, made the clothes for the iyawó and lots of brothers and sisters participated in the ceremony. Ventura Santana did a wonderful job with the pretty gourds painted as gifts for participants in the ceremony and we had really a wonderful time bringing Oggún into my son’s life. Every bit of work was worth it.

Today, I have left Oggún Addá Araí and his papa Elefunké do the shopping. Normally I do it, but this time around, the guys took over. They have been most of the afternoon running around markets brandishing their long list of fruits, candles and other things for tomorrow’s family feast. Traditionally we would do a huge to do about this day, but this year, since we are newly arrived to a new state and have yet to connect with the local Orisha community we have decided to keep it a family affair.

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