In due time, some of those aborishas (outsiders) have realized that their level of involvement was to be as an aleyo (an initiate who does not reach priesthood level) and stay with the elekes and warriors for life. I applaud those who listen to their inner voice and do not become intimidated to go further.
Oftentimes, I see paths get ruined because instead of walking, people make the journey a race. I have seen many friends come to an ilé and become competitive. They want to see who gets what initiation first, who does kariosha first, who is the more powerful. Ego is not a friend of the faithful, but a force to be directed because it will slow down the process of development of good character or Iwá Pelé.
And then, there is the factor of not peer pressure, but pressure from above, pressure from initiates seeking to amass followers and grow their ‘kingdoms.’ I have sat at many a reading and seen oloshas and babalawos, intimidate people into taking initiations because they claim some big bad problem was coming. I say to those who are facing something like this, look before you leap. Question the olosha / babalawo; find out details on why these reasons are so imperative and if you are given vague statements, stop, think, and perhaps, then act.
For your health
I have spoken to dozens of people who have been corralled and intimidated into initiations in Santería “por su salud” or due to health reasons. Yes, there are cases where health is a legitimate concern, but to come to a religion because you are getting a material benefit from it hardly seems devotional to me.
Correct me if I am wrong, isn’t religion supposed to reflect an internal calling? To help you answer questions related to spiritual matters? To help you be a better person?
I am not denying the fact that there have been many whose health were poor and who have done the ultimate sacrifice and done kariosha. Their health has indeed greatly improved and in terminal cases, it has even been prolonged. I have a sister in osha who did wonderful after she made Obatalá, and her grandmother who also made Obatalá as a woman over 85 years when she did the ceremony, has extended her lifespan and improved her health considerably. However, I also have seen folks being unhinged because they were better off as aleyos. Mental stability sometimes suffers when too much is given too soon, I should know, I have lost beloved people as well. Loss teaches us the hardest lessons.
To save you from jail
Some other folks have been living ‘la vida loca’ and finally, when they find an olosha / babalawo who gives them an accurate Dilogún or the Ekuele (in the case of the babalawo) reading depicting the chaos their life is and pointing out imminent legal and law and order matters, folks tend to panic and think on how to preserve their freedom rather than why is it that they are coming to the orisha.
You can’t erase a life of osogbo (bad deeds/luck) overnight. No, it takes a sincere heart to make that leap of faith and lots of work to make up for bad deeds. I have seen lives changed, lives that were chaotic; but it took determination and courage to abandon drugs, vices, alcohol and other detrimental conduct.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t religion supposed to be a safe-haven for the faithful? Since when Orisha ilés became places to protect those who break the law, put other lives in danger and hurt the innocent? Part of developing Iwá Pelé is facing moral issues head on and being responsible for those actions by facing who we have hurt and even the law if necessary, not by buying spells.
To bring a lover back
Last time I check, love is about free will. You can bend and tie, but you will never own anyone’s heart when it is not freely given. If you know of anyone who is coming to the orisha with these grand notions of obtaining lovers and power over other people, send them my love and a short message: Wake up and grow up.
Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are. The truly powerful will show their skills only when absolutely needed and to do deeds that would make the orisha proud of having them as an omó (child).
There are people who have come to the orisha for the wrong reasons and found themselves changed and blessed. Those cases should be the exceptions and not the rule; since our religion is not evangelical or proselytizing but rather of personal choice, make yours count as a valuable thread in this great tapestry we call The Way of the Orishas.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá