Long time ago a work colleague of mine came to me with a great concern, she was pregnant and her baby was at risk. Her body for some mysterious reason had stopped producing amniotic fluid and the doctor had done everything he could, yet the situation was getting desperate.
Marie (not her real name) knew I was a Santera, although she was not a believer, she was a mother willing to do anything to protect her unborn child. Shyly she came to me and asked to speak in private. Upon confiding in me, I agreed to help her under two conditions, to first obtain the blessings from Oshún and second to bring her mother along for the ceremony.
It was as Friday afternoon when she came to my house carrying with her a pumpkin, coconuts, candles, honey, efún, orí and other things I had asked for her to bring. Her mother had come along with her as requested. I offered them something to drink and we sat at my kitchen table to talk for a bit while I prepared the Rogación de Vientre for Marie. They followed every movement of my hands with great curiosity and when I was done preparing I asked of them to take a leap of faith and let go of all preconceived notions about what they thought Santería was.
We entered my shrine and their eyes opened like saucers. I could tell both ladies had set aside their fears and were enthralled taking in all the colors and sweet scents, and finally, admiring the tureens where the orishas are deposited. I set a chair for Marie’s mother on one side of the room and kneeled by her. Finally I shared with her why I had invited her to be present at a ritual outside of her spiritual beliefs. No matter what her faith was, she was Marie’s mother and my instinct told me that nothing could stand in the way of the prayers of a circle of mothers: Oshún, Marie, her mother and I.
After obtaining a perfect reading from Oshún, an eye ife, and begging this wonderful orisha to bless my hands and guide me to protect the life of Marie’s baby, I started the process and poured all of me into the ritual while her mother broke into a litany of prayers dear to her in Spanish. I invoked the power of Oshún and all the mothers of our religion, of my own mother, and those who are part of the circle we then created with one single purpose, to save a life.
Soon the ritual was over. She wanted to pay a lot of money, I simply said that $21 would do and she could leave them by Oshún. They were gone, but right before they left the room, Marie’s mother and I hear the faint cries of a baby in the room, well more like coming from Marie’s belly. We looked at each other astounded and smiled. I have heard of children crying in the womb, children blessed with spiritual gifts. Before she left I asked her to bring her baby to me at a later time for she would be special to the spirits and the Orisha. I had no doubts this life would thrive.
On Monday morning, Marie went to see the doctor. When she arrived to the office, she was beaming with happiness. The doctor said that over the weekend her body had reacted and her waters once again were at an acceptable level. He had no explanation for what had happened, nor did she volunteer any information about the ritual. I could not wait to go to Oshún and fill her with praises.
I have since done this ritual for different purposes for many other women. This ritual is done to protect women from surgeries, to bless babies and ease childbirth and simply to give strength to the womb, the center of power of any woman—be it that they can conceive or not.
The Rogación de Vientre is not as many oloshas would like to make you believe, a big secret. I have even seen some oloshas scold aleyos for ‘knowing too much’ about a rogación. The fact of the matter is that a person can know of a ritual, but it does not give the person the faculty and the ashé to be able to pull it through with the same grace and strength that only the orisha can infuse through the hands of the initiated priest. I see no harm in discussing the subject; I am not explaining how to do it nor advocating for non-initiates to perform it. I am not revealing any sort of techniques or secrets. Iam simply sharing the beauty and power of faith.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá