As an iyalosha I have taken hard choices. One of them led me to lose a goddaghter, but there is no regret in my actions. She came to me from another house, claiming unhappiness and with stories of high derechos (fees) for ebbós (workings) and in general, she had grown appart from her godmother.
Godchildren are gifts life brings to you, gifts with strings of responsibility attached. The duty of an elder is to instill the concept of Iwá Pelé (good character). Iwá Pelé is built day to day with our thoughts, words and actions. I try to teach my godchildren to go to bed every night with a balanced score card of their own where they have done good for themselves, for others and harmed none.
All godchildren are different, and this one had her mind set on a man. The man in question was completely uninterested in her as a romantic partner, but she was obsessed. One day she told me about a friend who went to a babalawo in Miami who took pride in subduing anyone for the right amount of money. This babalawo supossedly had helped a male client to break a heterosexual marriage in order to sway the male partner for himself. I was disgusted at her implication.
Days went by and she directly approached me begging for a binding to subdue her romantic interest. I explained to her that no amount of bindings would keep a man at her side forever, those bindings would have to be periodically re-done and eventually, they could even unhindge her partner and bring unwanted consequences. Besides, who would want to have a forced relationship? It is not in keeping with iwá pelé as it speaks poorly of self-respect and respect for the free will of the intended partner.
After explaining that my itá (lifetime reading that guides an initiate) forbides me to do bindings of this nature, to remind her to have selfpride as a woman and to remember the sea is still filled with other fish to catch, I requested the ingredients not for a binding, but for a petition to Oshun (Orisha of love) to bring them together and share their thoughts about each other. Communication, I felt, was key to this relationship either congealing or tanking. I did a beautiful lantern to Oshun which she kept lit for five days and then took to the river. I asked the orisha who rules love and emotions to bring them both face to face within five days and to have them communicate and express what kept them apart and what could bring them together. I asked my goddaughter to set aside expectations and simpy go with flow.
Five days later, he invited her to have lunch. They had a conversation where he stated gently that her friendship was a treasure but that they had little in common to form a stronger and permanent bond as a romantic couple. She was devastated and I was very sad for her.
My actions were not guided just by my morals or my itá, I had also to request Oshun’s permission to do the working. Withouth her blessing, nothing would happend. I had also learned a lesson by oberving a case that my husband took on years ago when a woman came to him seeking the same thing. My husband has no prohibitions like I do, and he reluctantly did the work as he holds Iwá Pelé dearly but this woman was not a goldchild, but a client. Therefore, he made the binding. After a few weeks the man became so obsessed with his love interest that he quit his job just to be near her at all times. He took her to her office in the morning, waited outside sitting under a tree for her to come out for lunch and at the end of the day, and followed her everywhere like a lap dog…even to the restroom where he waited sitting on the edge of the tub while she used the restroom. The woman came back to my husband desperate, he told her she got just what she wanted, the man to be at her beg and call. It was now out of his hands and she simply needed to wait until the working ran its course and wore off as he fortunately did not do a permanent binding.
But back to my story, there was no amount of words to console my goddaughter. She was very mad at me. We spoke in front of Yemaya as she requested the Orisha permission to leave the house. It was a sad moment, I had followed my itá, acted within the scope of a responsible godmother but she had to be allowed to select where to place her trust and so I did say goodbye. Yemayá on the other hand, did not, as she foresaw troubled times ahead. The reading counseled her not to leave…but she was not willing to listen, I wished she would had because the turn of events was not what she expected in the long run.
When it comes to love, the strongest of our bonds with Olofi (God) one must carefully consider as did Shakespeare: To bind or not to bind, that is a question I leave to each Orisha, Voodou, Wicca or Magic practitioner out there.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá