Kit and I were having a conversation about the hard long hours that spiritual work entails. There is hard work and discipline required to attain a decent understanding of the mechanics of Spiritism and spiritual communication.
Since Kit is in the process of learning how to better communicate with his spirit guides, I have been sharing with him what I have learned over the years, it is a process of trial and error and it is very personal. However, we both agreed that things do not happen quickly.
Speed in manifestation is not exactly considered success for me. Particularly because who is to say that the energies, forces or spirits that are manifesting fast in a neophyte’s life are really what they seem to be. Spirits have their own agenda, most are adept at adapting and masking and when a person eager to learn about spirits shows along fresh and filled with energy…well that is equal to laying out a feast in front of a hoard of hungry homeless spirits. Anyone can show up for the meal…and abuse the host they will.
Love and desperation are not really a good combination. When someone gets a whiff of desperation the immediate reaction is to bolt out the door. Desperation has a most unattractive vibe, one that smells of decay and sadness.
Today, December 12, is a special day for me. 15 years ago I gave all of who I am to Yemayá. There are so many lessons I have learned from her, so many blessings I have received. She along with Aganjú my father are the center of my spiritual life.
There is not one day I have regretted of this journey. Every day since she became my North has been one where I have had purpose, direction and love. She is at the heart of who I am.
I do not have a lot of time before I head to work today, but I can’t let this moment go by without publicly sharing it with all who read this blog. I also want to send blessings to my godfather Jose Bravo Jr. (Omioké) and to my oyugbona Jose Bravo, Sr. igbae (Adé Kolá). There were many who touched my life on that day, many more who helped me along the way, including my adoptive godfather Jose Merced, Yeguedé to whom I always am thankful beyond words. My husband, Elefunké, my children Oggún Addá Araí and iyawó Elegua (Ayótomiwá), and my mother, Omí Eshú Adé are my strength, than you for being with me every step of the way.
Thank you for sharing my life, this spiritual journey and for reading my words. These few lines are but a pathways to the depths of my brain, to the core of my soul where today there is nothing but happiness.
I have been quiet as of late, partly because of my heavy day-to-day workload. Yes, I do work for a living in something not related to Santeria. The other reason for my reduced frequency on posts has been introspection.
Elegua opens the roads to the world, to the mind and to the spirit. The recent initiation of my youngest son to Elegua allowed me to take the time to observe patterns and to reflect upon them. The pattern I refer to is the one of creation, the creation of a new priest. It is truly amazing to observe a young person initiate the steps towards a rich and rewarding spiritual life. Kariosha is not the end of a journey; it is the beginning of an arduous road of self-improvement and spiritual fulfillment. This is what my son understands from his commitment at the age of 8. This is what his godfather, my eldest son, who is 15, is instilling in him as the days go by. It is a blessing to be able to be there to guide and support them. I will make sure that my children carry on a spiritual legacy, but furthermore, that they become the pillars to new houses. In time those new houses will be able to change some of the things that are eroding our current practices.
Here we go to the crux of the matter. Our Santeria communities are polluted with sick people, and I mean sick people in the spiritual sense of the word. In order to heal our communities we need first to confront the malady with open eyes and then to take bitter medicine. Once we are done with the treatment, we need to stay faithful to a rigorous and vigilant regime to make sure we never again allow illness to creep into our houses.
June 1st was a day of transformation for my youngest son. He completed his initiation ceremony as an olosha at the hands of his godfather, Ogún Addá Araí and his Oyugbonakán Yegedé. The months leading to the kariosha were busy with preparations and planning. There are many elements that must be carefully sorted out to have a smooth kariosha. The initial steps involve coordinating dates for officiating oloshas, then come sorting out materials, planning meals, inviting participants, and then comes my favorite part, planning for the ashó orisha or the initiatory garments.
The ashó orisha varies depending on the orisha. However, in the New World initiatory clothes have become a textile codex. The ashó orisha can narrate a story, represent the symbols associated with the orisha or be a simple garment depending on the level of skill and imagination of the seamstress or tailor. For me, beyond a textile codex, the ashó orisha is an opportunity to prepare a spiritual armor for the new initiate. This armor will have elements sacred to the orisha, the appropriate colors and will indeed surround the iyawó with all the energy and good wishes I will imbue in them. In a sense, the ashó orisha is a ritual object of importance because it shows the stately position of the iyawó and it represents the presence of the orisha, the history and tradition behind the orisha and it becomes the focus of attention during the Throne Day.
I am particular about who I work an ashó orisha, when and why. Since being a seamstress is not my occupation, but rather a devotional activity and it involves a great deal of my personal time and energies, then I select carefully when and who I create for. Also it is crucial for me to know the iyawó, to be able to study their body, the way they move and their own sense of style. If the iyawó is to wear the ashó orisha properly, then she or he needs to be able to move well in it, to be free to dance in them and to feel comfortable to for one day, be the embodiment of an orisha on earth. Continue reading “Ashó Eleguá: Initiation Garments as Art, Ritual Object and Textile Codex”