I was asked last week what sort of prayers or routines a beginner can follow in keeping his or her orishas. I am not much for steady routines, they bore me. However, in keeping to the rules of our religious practices there are some routines that are rather healthy and that I support.
Routines must have a purpose; in this case the set of routines I adhere to have a singular goal: To seek iré, which is nothing other than good fortune. There are many different kinds of iré, but the secret to iré is that it is like a loadstone, it must be fed and it will always attract more iré.
Inviting good fortune into your life is simple, it only takes one word: Cleanliness.
Cleanliness applies to more than our bodies and our physical surroundings. Cleanliness is a state of being and it is reflected on everything we do, but sometimes a simple truth is not readily apparent.
Years ago, while sharing with an esoteric group of friends we did a workshop and part of it involved facing our deficiencies. I was stumped by a simple question at the workshop which was based on the Tree of Life. This person asked me, “Is your house in order?” I was taken aback because my house was perfectly clean and I felt shocked to have someone ask me if my house was, as I understood, clean. How dare him! That was my knee jerk reaction. Then it hit me like a ton of brick. My house was a dirty mess, my inner house. I was going through a divorce, I felt lonely living away from any family and friends and I was not happy with the way my life was going, but alas my apartment was really clean.
That day, I took the very first steps towards organizing my house, from the inside. I took a long hard look at what made me unhappy and then created two lists one of things to discard and one of things I wanted to attract. I wanted a life partner who shared my spiritual goals and I wanted to return to my Afro Caribbean religious roots. After I made that list and started to clean house from the inside I noticed a series of synchronicities that furthered my goals.
Interior cleanliness involves a routine of self control. One must start by cleaning out thought forms that are detrimental, negative upbringing inherited from toxic parents and role models. You would be surprised how much negative programming we hold on to from religious leaders and even from the very own prayers that we so much use in Spiritism.
It is not enough to organize our thought processes and actions, it is also necessary to reflect our progress in the way we conduct ourselves. There are many of us who may have a tendency to use colorful expressions when overheated. Thus, it is an important part of a daily routine to control verbal outbursts. Count to 100 before you open your mouth and say something you may regret or type it for that matter and hit send or post button. Positive words are a reflection of our state of mind and spirit and they call forth good energies which manifest in iré.
Keeping the body clean involves more than soap and water, it also requires a routine of at least one ebbó misí per week (cleansing spiritual bath). This is crucial for those of us who do a lot of spiritual work so we can keep our spiritual body clean and charged. I suggest keeping a notebook to track what ingredients go into the spiritual bath and your logic in picking them, what was the phase of the moon as you prepared the bath any other detail that you see as pertinent in your record keeping.
Your home requires spiritual cleanliness. Homes have a life of their own, thus, spiritually cleanse your place at least twice per month and keep notes on ingredients, circumstances around the creation of your floor wash, the herbal broom or incense mix you use similar to the notes you would keep about your ebbó misí. I am partial to using plants and a homemade floor washes, then again, I have a lot of plants in my garden/jungle.
Cleanliness is a way of life; beyond the body and your home it extends to the company you keep, to the way in which you relate to others, conduct business and how you carry on in the religion. If you work diligently on staying clean, iré will manifest. It is difficult to say which iré will manifest without a proper dilogún reading and specific cleaning rituals, but it is very likely that you find yourself blessed with iré lowó (evolution through work, meaning your own hands bring to fruition good luck) once you start doing a routine of physical cleansings on yourself and your surroundings, or with iré elese eledá (blessings from your orí or guardian angel), particularly if you have started seriously working on arranging your inner house.
Once you start these routines, beware not to become complacent. Keep them up because cleanliness invariably will attract its opposite. Order tends to degenerate toward chaos. When someone is clean and lives in iré, other people are attracted to them as moths to a light. Therefore, it is important to be selective in the company we keep and to foment an environment suitable for further manifestation of iré.
Remember that it is natural to want to be near a person of good tidy appearance, someone who can express themselves with ease and whose words are gentle, even when conveying difficult matters. When cleanliness is apparent to others your networks may expand with people of like mind and this should create new opportunities for growth and further attraction of iré.
I hope these ideas get you thinking on simple ways in which you can create your own good fortune and a healthy routine of actions that are suitable for developing iwá pelé or good character.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá