The attraction part can be enhanced by means of workings to highlight positive aspects in a person as to be more appealing to prospective partners. I have nothing against trying to spruce up spiritually to be “lit from within” and attract a mate. When a person is spiritually uplifted through workings or spiritual discipline, they become a center of light and positive energies and that in itself creates a desirable magnetism that will indeed make people gravitate towards said person. They key here is to focus on a desirable type of individual to attract, otherwise, one may end up attracting the unbalanced and undesirable type and squandering.
However, I draw the line on workings when it comes to retaining a romantic interest against one or both parties involved. The freedom of choice in a relationship should be respected at all cost, particularly in the practice of African Traditional Religions which in the Americas survived at the expense of the freedom of our elders. What sort of hypocrites would orisha and palero priests be if we emotionally enslave a person for money when we owe the freedom to practice our religions to the sacrifices and dedication afforded to us by our slave ancestors?
Furthermore, one of the main prohibitions in my itá (lifetime reading) is to do bindings. The reason is simple; the itá states that a binding done by my hands is one that won’t be able to be undone. Think of it, it is a huge responsibility to link the future of two people in such a way. You may think, oh well, isn’t that what priests do on weddings, to bind for life? Yes, it is, but those entering that covenant should enter out of free will. The key element is freedom.
Let’s go over an example of one of the people that came to me –cash in hand- requesting a binding for love:
Case 1: A Married Man and his Mistress
A woman comes to me for a reading with Merindilogún. The reading indicates her dilemma and her desire. It also indicates that this relationship she seeks has the potential of violence possibly ending in legal troubles and loss of freedom. Furthermore, the reading describes a future relationship that could manifest upon her completion of ebbó. Therefore, she is given a recommended list of simple things to do, but she is unsatisfied with the advice and ebbó because she is looking for an answer I can’t make up for her and provide: A binding.
Eleguá clearly stated that the man had no intention of leaving his wife for the lover, which is why she would want the binding. I do my duty send her away with a proper ebbó as per the oddú from the Dilogún. However, she continued to e-mail me hoping to persuade me to do yet another reading and hopefully to go against my own restrictions and perform a binding. This person had blown away already hundreds of dollars with spiritual advisors that promised to fix her situation. People who are desperate are easy targets for shysters who feed on obsessions to turn a dime.
In preparation for this article, I was chatting with several oloshas and comparing notes on their perspectives and positions when it comes to bindings. One of my conversations yielded particularly interesting insights. A brother in my ilé, who also has Yemayá as main orisha, was telling me of Yemaya’s prowess in the realm of bindings, he called her “the Queen of Bindings.” The story he shared with me is interesting because it highlights how when binding someone the person seeking the work needs to be ready to deal with the results of the binding, both good and bad. Twisting someone’s freewill could be like sleeping with a cobra, one never knows when the cobra will strike, but strike it will because it is in its nature. A person being emotionally manipulated will eventually fight back one way or another.
Case 2: An Obsessive Love
The woman in question wanted to retain a man with whom she had fallen in love, but he was not to keen on the relationship. After insisting to the olosha for some weeks, he gave her some very stern warnings about the dangers of doing a binding, and the fact that she would be saddled with this man and would have to live with both the good and the bad consequences the binding would bring forth on the relationship.
She got all the materials needed, paid for the services requested and within a week, her man was by her side paying attention to every one of her needs. Weeks went by and he became jealous of most people around her, thus she had to stop visiting even her own friends. She visited the olosha sometime later; the relationship had turned violent and she was sporting a black and blue eye. She wanted the binding dissolved but the olosha reminded her of his multiple warnings, the nature of a working done and the responsibility she had freely accepted in her choice.
Being an olosha is also being a counselor, thus living a balanced and stable life is imperative because it provides a living example of the principles we should represent and uphold with our daily actions. However, there are times when no amount of logic, principles and living examples will help to dissuade a person from a harmful course of action. It is in such cases when it is prudent to recommend medical counseling. An obsessive personality can lead to uncover deep rooted issues that need to be addressed beyond the realm of religion and spiritual beliefs to help bring balance.
If you know of someone who is looking to find an olosha, babalawo, a tata nkisi or a yaya to get a love binding done, seriously consider this: Would you like someone to make a slave of you? Or would you rather have the freedom to choose whom to love? This is a personal choice for each person entrusted with the power and skills to do bindings, mine is quite clear. Where will you draw the line?
By the way, some of these folks that come to me asking for bindings still don’t get it, I consider myself a devoted person, not a merchant of religion. Money is not the reason why I selected to be an olosha and a palera, thus I am not driven by remuneration to perform. I selected these religions as an act of freedom, respect and love.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá