One would wonder why there is a need to determine an Oddú of the year in each country where Santeria and Ifá are practiced, and sometimes, there is more than one oddú determined per country. Such is the case of the United States where the oddú of the year or ‘la letra de año’ is determined in California and in Miami. The other case is Cuba where two different groups of Babalawos also perform this yearly ritual.
There could be a simple explanation, or a few complicated ones. The simple route dictates that each country has particular regional challenges that need to be address as a community; this could also apply to vast countries like the U.S. A second point of view could lean towards which group is sanctioned by the political party in control versus the group which has been determining the oddú for five decades and has grandfather status, mass approval and the clout of respect and credibility that follows.
Be that as it may, the oddú of the year for Puerto Rico and Cuba made me think today of the most famous poem by Lola Rodríguez de Tió titled “Cuba y Puerto Rico son”. This poem compares Puerto Rico and Cuba with the wings of a bird, a bird that is wounded or that receives accolades over a shared heart. What would it be, accolades or wounds? That is still to be seen, but it all depends on the attitude and behavioral changes that the inhabitants of these countries apply over the next twelve months.
However, if matters continue to develop in Puerto Rico like they have, with an upsurge in the crime rate, increased abuse against children, promiscuity galore and the tarnishing of our religious beliefs, the course is set from the start for a disastrous year.
Cubans have their own set of challenges to face as a people and nation, and, I will not list them as I have not spent time there to speak from direct experience. I can speak about what Puerto Ricans face because I am a Puerto Rican who got tired of the day-to-day situation in the Island and the lack of resolve and direction to correct it.
That said, 2012 seems to be shaping as a year or trials and tribulations for both countries based on the Oddús determined today by the Council of Babalawos from the Yoruba Temple in Puerto Rico and the Lázaro Cuesta Organizing Commission of the Oddú of the Year in Cuban. However, I will let you draw your own conclusions based on this summary I am about to present.
Here is a summary of readings, more details such as the flags and ebbós are forthcoming:
In the days to follow I will post other oddús for other countries as they become available. In the meantime, I do welcome the interpretation from awós regarding their perspectives on the social, political and religious points of view associated with these two oddús from Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá