I was lucky enough to have José Bravo, Jr and José Bravo, Sr. (Igbaé Bayen Ntonu) be my godfather and Oyugbona respectively, however our life and spiritual paths led us in different directions. My love and respect will always be with both as they are part of who I am and will always be in my heart and prayers.
However, I have been blessed to be raised under the watchful eye of two magnificent priests, Oluwo Jorge Puig Kaiser Iwori Chigdí and José Merced, Yegedé who is a Baloyá. Yes, typically people have a godmother and a godfather, but I do not.
From my babá Jorge I have learn that we all have potential of change, it is all on how we take advantage of that potential that we grow or not. Godfather Jorge is a man of logic and reason, he is passionate about the Orisha and Ifá, but tempers that passion with facts. I attempt to apply his teachings to every day circumstances. There is always a logic behind most of our initiations and acts, the grace of the orisha practitioner is in obtaining a balance between faith and reason. From him I have learned to question those who hide behind the famoust line: “In my house we do it this way.” It is easy to fall into the traps of desire and crapriciousness when all we need to do is use our intelligence to sort out matters.
Whereas babá Jorge was with me years before I did my kariosha, godfather José Merced came to my life years later. It is all too common nowadays to have young santeros separated from their initiatory households. Therefore, to find someone of good standing in the Orisha community who is willing to ‘raise’ someone else’s godchild and take onto themselves a world of responsibility for that upbringing is a blessing.
There is taboo for initiates of Oyá to become initiatory godparents of children of Yemayá. However, since my kariosha was made by a godfather who had Yemayá and an oyubona who had Obatalá, I had nothing to worry about. The role of godfather Yeguedé has been as couselor, elder, teacher and friend. I may be born from Yemayá, but I have been raised by Oyá. Maferefún Yansán de okokán (from the heart).
Godfather Yeguedé is a hard taskmaster, he likes his godchildren to be well studied, diligent, hard working, respectful and not to cut corners. He is precise, hard to read at times, but he is extremely easy to love because it seems as though his heart is made out of Yemayá’s molasses.
Because I am not born from his orisha, I have always felt somewhat of a guest in the house. Even when my husband and my elder son are indeed born from the Orishas of godfather Yeguedé, my place felt not as firm. This is the lot of us adopted godchildren. However, I was about to learn a lesson that would forever clear this silly notion out of my head.
For now, I am going to set aside my adventures with Yemayá and make way for another very special Orisha in my life: Oyá.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá
Next series: Oyá and the Voices in the Wind