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.
I took a tour of this fascinating island-community that since the 8th Century AD has been the seat of the Saint Michel monastery. Now, for those who have been on guided tours, timeliness is crucial. Tour guides do not monkey around with the schedule and I was not really aware of that. As you progress through the guided tour of the monastery, doors are locked behind you and others opened in front of you. Thus, when I got distracted at the oubliette trying to take some photos, I got accidentally left behind there, locked in the dark. The only source of light was a narrow opening nearly 30 feet above me. Its rays pointed to a large iron basin filled with spikes where I suppose candles would burn. I was terrified. Ten minutes later, or what seemed to me like an eternity in a dungeon, the tour guide realized there was a lost sheep and came to my rescue. I learned my lesson to stay with the group. However, I also took with me a sense of foreboding and a nearly religious experience. Solitude, quiet and darkness had left within me an indelible mark.
I came back to America to deal with the remains of a messy divorce and with the pain of a rebound relationship that followed and its unavoidable heartache. I wanted to be rid of the pain, I had enough. I was tired of being miserable and ready to move on. While tending to my warriors and tidying up around Olokun (I was not yet an olosha), I was inspired to uncover Olokun. The light in the room filtered through the narrow opening casting a glow that reminded me suddenly of the solitude and quiet I had found at Mont St. Michel. I felt a force guide me; I bent in awe of this energy and placed my mouth over the opening of the ginger jar containing Olokun. I poured out my desire with all intensity. I did not asked for much, mostly I asked to be cleaned of pain, to be allowed to start anew, to simply forget all traces of the love that now had turned to stones in my chest.
Guess what? My prayers were answered. I was amazed of the degree of efficacy and speed this showed. I was able to face this person without a shred of lingering emotion. My heart was as neutral as Switzerland. I was blessed with a new beginning and indeed the orisha had surprises for me as I met my life’s partner in love and spirit later on that year.
I shared this ‘working’ with a trusted friend years later. She too had Olokun and is an olosha. She also experienced the same results I had. Different Olokun, different circumstances and certainly not my story to share out of respect for her privacy.
I am sure that the secret to our success was to go into it with purity of heart in our intent. We did not go to Olokun to seek vengeance or punishment or to request to have a loved one ‘enslaved’ to our own petty desires, we went to be cleaned of pain. Olokun heard our prayers and took the pain to the depths of its watery realm and recycled the pain into future opportunities.
I believe Olokun has an important role in the ‘recycling of souls’, but that is another subject of equal fascination and depth. However, you can make an extension from that role to a recycler of emotions.
Beware of one thing, I have found with my experience and that of my friend, that there is no turning back on the petition. Once it is done, the emotions are uprooted for good, or at least in our cases they were.
I can’t tell people what to do or not to do, but I can suggest to those of you out there that like to hoard knowledge and feel bigger and better because you think you have an edge over others with such knowledge, learn to be generous. The orisha is an ever balancing force and rewards equally those who share, as it may withhold future inspiration from hoarders. A generous heart is a clean heart.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá