Learn Iyawó: Why the orishas go on the mat for their first three months.

This is no simple straw mat, it is a sacret space upon which your orisha will dwell for the first 3 months

Every single step taken in your first year of existence as a new initiate has a reason.

This is the year to learn the fundamental blocks of this religion, use your time wisely and learn to observe and ask intelligent questions.

Speaking about foundation, when the orishas are brought to your home for the first time they should be accompanied by your elders, or at least by your oyugbona (second godparent) who will find a suitable location where to place them.

It is your duty to have your place clean and neat so there are no delays in placing a mat on the floor and your orishas right on top of that mat. The orishas must go on the floor for a space of three months, the same three months that you will observe by eating on the floor and using a spoon.

Why are the orishas placed on the floor? The orishas are the foundation of your life, of your home and of your future. Their placement upon a mat on the floor allows them to irradiate the very foundation of your home. It also allows you to sit with them and share with them as you eat, take a nap on a mat by them, and to have a place where to ‘level’ with them and read, study, and overall spend time with your orishas.

There are those houses that immediately put the orishas on a cabinet, or on pedestals or whatever other arrangements they deem appropriate. Why would your orishas be elevated and away from you as you eat, pray, sleep or nap by them? Why would they not have the time to irradiate the foundation of your home with their energies?

There are various Oddú that make reference to the mat (estera) such as Oddí Ogundá, Osálofubeyó, and Iwori Koso to mention a few. The mat is fundamental and key to our practices so meditate upon this as well.

As the ebbó meta raises you to a different level within your year of iyawó, so should the orisha then be raised and other steps follow. The ‘in my house we do it this way’ nonsense should not apply here. Learn to use your intelligence iyawó, to ask the right questions in the proper way at the right time… If there is indeed a logical answer to elevating the orishas immediately as they get to your house, lets then hear it.

Oní Yemayá Achagbá

9 Replies to “Learn Iyawó: Why the orishas go on the mat for their first three months.”

  1. Ashe excellent article in all the years in lucumi I had never heard anyone give the exact explanation to why the orisha go on the mat for three months.

  2. well i dont fully agree with the idea, i mean what you say does make sense but you make it seem as though the orisha’s are not reasonable to your living conditions. some people may by force to do so due to money, lack of space, and pets. i believe faith, patience, and commitment is the key to building a fine relationship with your orisha and that through this their energy will flow trough out your home.

    1. Wateriron777

      There are circumstances that require adaptation, but at no time I have said or infered that the orisha are not reasonable. However, I do not bend rules on account of pets or my own comfort. I go out of my way to preserve tradition. If accomodating cats and dogs or fish for that matter is more important than orisha, then there are some serious priority issues to be addressed.

      There are those who learn and those who simply go about bending rules. That is the nature of this world. There are tradition keepers and tradition breakers. This is why it is imperative to look before one leaps into the way of the orishas.


  3. well let me start by saying this im only 17 and im still learning about the religion as we all are everyday. My point is circumstances like mine in which i have very few people to gide me make things almost impossible to have known or understand things like having orisha’s on the floor the first 3months. I always try to keep tradition alive the best way i can but because of money there is a limit to what can be done so i keep it simple and speak to them, make them food and buy what they ask or what i think they need. My point is i love my Santos and i believe they understand that people in to days and age can not always go by they book. so long as you have respect and faith for them i believe they will understand and let certain things pass. i am from what people whould say the “ghetto of nyc” so you could imagine the space in my home. Your right we most look before we leap into the way of the orishas. but this is my path and so long as things are working and i pay respect and know they are happy with what im doing then im okay with that, just wish i had more guidance but im sure my mother will put that in my path when im ready until then i will be patient.

    By the way Omimelli i learned a lot from your post’s do you have any advice to give me since i am so new and not part of a home yet. Thank You

    1. Wateriron,

      The best advice I have for you is to be very patient and to fully study the person you intend to select for godmother and godfather. There is a post on that subject on the blog. Read it carefully for you do not want to place your religious future and your training in the hands of a crook or worst, of ignorant people.

      When you find he article, tell me what you think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *