A Yoruba Recipe for Banishing Anxiety

A Yoruba Recipe for Banishing Anxiety

 

Components:

Ham Bone

Valerian Root

Tea Ball

 

Instructions:

Load the tea ball with valerian root (you may also need a nose plug) and boil with the hambone until the water becomes a tea. Allow it to cool and then bathe in it, or pour it over yourself in the bath tub. Do not wash it off. Take the hambone and tie it to the back of your car so that it hangs above the road, but not drag, and drive to a place of high elevation. If you don’t live near any high elevation, any kind of hill will do. As you drive, visualize the anxiety leaving you in the form of thick, sooty smoke and being soaked up by the hambone.

When you arrive at the hill or mountain, take the hambone from the back of your car by the string or rope. DO NOT TOUCH THE HAMBONE ITSELF. Throw it from you as far as you can and then compose yourself to meditation. Still the mind, relax, and if you wish, mentally ask Yemaya (the Yoruba Orisha of the Sea and Tranquility), or any other deity/spirit you wish to be with you and bless your intentions.

After 10 to 20 minutes of meditation, leave full in the knowledge that you have banished anxiety and restlessness. As with any other form of magick,, banish with laughter or ground with a good meal and forget about the exercise.

 

By Fra Khoronzon

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The Morality of Sacrifice

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the Santería religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú, which can include candles, fruits, candy or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times, they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person’s aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth, there is blood.

In our modern society, we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear, it is preprocessed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal’s death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animal’s life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse, there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever-growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than Santería has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!

On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect: respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well-cared-for, because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well-cared-for and pampered as theirs.

At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgment that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animal’s. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.

Afterwards, if the animal wasn’t used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten, as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.

Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.

The Orishas

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

The orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity. They recognize themselves and are recognized through the different numbers and colors that are their marks, and each has their own favorite foods and other things that they like to receive as offerings and gifts. In this way, we make our offerings in the manner they are accustomed to, in the way they have always received them, so that they will recognize our offerings and come to our aid.

The orishas are often best understood by observing the forces of nature they rule over. For instance, you can learn much about Oshún and her children by watching the rivers and streams she rules over and observing that though she always heads toward her sister Yemayá (the Sea) she does so on her own circuitous route. Also observe how the babbling brook and the flash flood reflect her changeable moods. As you observe the orishas at work in the world and in your own lives, you will gain a better understanding of them and their ways. Yes, they are complex, but no more so than any other living being such as you or I. We are also blessed from time to time in the religion with the opportunity to meet the orishas face to face during a bembé where one or more of their priests will be mounted.

Elegba

Elegba (also referred to as Eleggua or Elegguá) is the owner of the roads and doors in this world. He is the repository of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe. The colors red and black or white and black are his and codify his contradictory nature. In particular, Elegba stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is the childlike messenger between the two worlds. In this role, it is not surprising that he has a very close relationship with the orisha of divination, Orunmila. Nothing can be done in either world without his permission. Elegba is always propitiated and always called first before any other orisha as he opens the door between the worlds and opens our roads in life. He recognizes himself and is recognized by the numbers 3 and 21.

Ogún

Ogún is the god of iron, war and labor. He is the owner of all technology, and because this technology shares in his nature, it is almost always used first for war. As Elegba opens the roads, it is Ogún that clears the roads with his machete. He is recognized in the numbers 7 and the colors green and black.

Oshosi

Oshosi is the third member of the group known as the Guerreros or Warriors and is received along with Elegba, Ogún and Osun in order to protect Guerreros initiates and to open and clear their roads. Oshosi is the hunter and the scout of the orishas and assumes the role of translator for Obatalá, with whom he has a very close relationship. His colors are blue and yellow.

Obatalá

Obatalá is the kindly father of all the orishas and all humanity. He is also the owner of all heads and the mind. Though it was Olorun who created the universe, it is Obatalá who is the creator of the world and humanity. Obatalá is the source of all that is pure, wise, peaceful and compassionate. He has a warrior side, though, through which he enforces justice in the world. His color is white, which is often accented with red, purple and other colors to represent different possible paths. White is most appropriate for Obatalá as it contains all the colors of the rainbow yet is above them. Obatalá is also the only orisha that has both male and female paths.

Oyá

Oyá is the ruler of the winds, the whirlwind and the gates of the cemetery. Her number is nine, which recalls her title of Yansa, or “Mother of Nine,” in which she rules over the egun or dead. She is also known for the colors of maroon, flowery patterns and nine different colors. She is a fierce warrior who rides to war with Shangó (sharing lightning and fire with him) and was once the wife of Ogún.

Oshún

Oshún rules over the sweet waters of the world, the brooks, streams and rivers, embodying love, fertility. She also is the one we most often approach to aid us in money matters. She is the youngest of the female orishas but retains the title of Iyalode or great queen. She heals with her sweet waters and with honey, which she also owns. She is the femme fatale of the orishas and once saved the world by luring Ogún out of the forests using her feminine wiles. And, in her path or manifestation of Ibú Ikolé, she saved the world from drought by flying up to heaven (turning into a vulture in the process). Ikolé means Messenger of the House (of Olodumare). For this reason, all who are to be initiated as priests, no matter what orisha rules their head, must go to the river and give account of what they are about to do. She recognizes herself in the colors yellow and gold, and her number is five. Peacocks and vultures are hers, and we use them often to represent her.

Yemayá

Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. Her name, a shortened version of Yeyé Omo Eja, means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” to reflect the fact that her children are uncountable. All life started in the sea; the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. In this way, Yemayá displays herself as truly the mother of all. She, the root of all the paths or manifestations, Olokun is the source of all riches, which she freely gives to her little sister Oshún. She dresses herself in seven skirts of blue and white, and like the seas and profound lakes she is deep and unknowable. In her path of Okutti, she is the queen of witches, carrying within her deep and dark secrets. Her number is seven for the seven seas; her colors are blue and white; and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children.

Shangó

Perhaps the most “popular” of the orishas, Shangó rules over lightning, thunder, fire, the drums and dance. He is a warrior orisha with quick wits and quick temper and is the epitome of virility. Shangó took the form of the fourth Alafin (supreme king) of Oyó on Earth for a time. He is married to Obba but has relations with Oyá and Oshún. He is an extremely hot-blooded and strong-willed orisha who loves all the pleasures of the world: dance, drumming, women, song and eating. He is “ocanani” with Elegba, meaning they are of one heart. When one sees the quickness with which lightning makes short work of a tree or sees a fire rage through an area, one has witnessed the temper of Shangó in action. Though he traded the Table of Ifá to Orunmila in exchange for the gift of dance, his children have an innate ability for divination. To acknowledge the greatness of this king, all in the religion raise up on the toes of our feet (or rise out our chairs if we are sitting) at the mention of his name. His colors are red and white, and he recognizes himself in the numbers four and six. He is most often represented by a double-headed ax.

Orunmila

Orunmila is the orisha of wisdom and divination. He was the only orisha allowed to witness the creation of the universe by Olorun and bears witness to our destinies in the making as well. This is the source of his title of Eleri Ipin or “Witness to Destiny in its Creation.” His priests, the babalawos or “Fathers of the Secrets,” must devote themselves entirely to the practice of divination and the accompanying arts. Through the Table of Ifá, his priests unfold the secrets of the universe and the secrets of the unfolding of our lives. His colors are green and yellow, which reflect Orunmila’s relationship with Osayín (the secrets of the plant world) and with Oshún, who is his apeteví, with whom he has an extremely close relationship. Orunmila is wisdom and Oshún is knowledge, for wisdom without knowledge is useless, and one who has knowledge without wisdom is merely a danger to themselves and others.

Water Magick

Water Magick

The properties of water are both constant and variable at the same time. Water exists on the Earth in three forms: solid (ice), liquid, and gas (evaporated). Water magick is very versatile; it incorporates techniques that bring about changes both within and without. For water magick to occur within, one must consume the water or call upon that aspect of the self. For it to occur without, one must bathe in it, swim in it, cleanse with it, etc.

Not all liquid magick belongs in the realm of water. For instance, brews that incorporate vinegar or alcohol as the primary ingredient fall in the domain of fire.

The magickal properties of particular types of water can be used for the following purposes:

Creeks and streams:  Purification, harmony, cleansing

Dew:  General health, eyesight, beauty. Dew is said to be especially powerful if gathered at dawn on Beltane.

Fog and mists:  Creativity, balance, partnerships

Ice:  Transformations, balance, creativity

Pond or lake water:  Peace, contentment, relaxation, self-reflection.

Rain water:  Energy, protection, cleansing. The first rain that falls in the month of May is considered sacred to the Water Witch

River water:  Cleansing, moving forward, protection

Seawater:  Health, magickal power, manifestation of goals. An old Welsh belief states that a spoonful of sea-water a day will ensure a long and healthy life.

Snow:  Transformations, balance

Spring water:  Growth, holy water, cleansing, protection, prosperity

Swamp and  waste water:  Banishing, binding

Waterfalls:  Power, energy, success

Well water:  Healing, wishes, intuition

The Water Witch also has an attachment to the ares surrounding the water, which can be used for the following magickal purposes:

Beaches:  Rituals, spells, fascinations, meditations

Harbors:  To promote abundance and prosperity; to serve as an aid in banishing things

Riverbanks:  To increase personal power

In Santeria practices, water from particular environments is offered as food to specific Orishas, as follows:

Ogun and Babalu-Aye:  Pond water

Oya:  Rain water

Oshun:  River water

Yemaya:  Seawater

In addition, Santeria incorporates the use of a special cleansing water called omiero. Omiero is comprised of sacred herbs, belonging to the Orisha being petitioned, and water. It is steeped upon coals to bring out the magickal properties. The making of omiero is complicated and has a full ceremony attached to it. The resulting product is used for initiation purposes.

The Orishas

The Orishas

by Efun Moyiwa

 

The orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity. They recognize themselves and are recognized through the different numbers and colors that are their marks, and each has their own favorite foods and other things that they like to receive as offerings and gifts. In this way, we make our offerings in the manner they are accustomed to, in the way they have always received them, so that they will recognize our offerings and come to our aid.

The orishas are often best understood by observing the forces of nature they rule over. For instance, you can learn much about Oshún and her children by watching the rivers and streams she rules over and observing that though she always heads toward her sister Yemayá (the Sea) she does so on her own circuitous route. Also observehow the babbling brook and the flash flood reflect her changeable moods. As you observe the orishas at work in the world and in your own lives, you will gain a better understanding of them and their ways. Yes, they are complex, but no more so than any other living being such as you or I. We are also blessed from time to time in the religion with the opportunity to meet the orishas face to face during a bembé where one or more of their priests will be mounted.

Elegba

Elegba (also referred to as Eleggua or Elegguá) is the owner of the roads and doors in this world. He is the repository of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe. The colors red and black or white and black are his and codify his contradictory nature. In particular, Elegba stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is the childlike messenger between the two worlds. In this role, it is not surprising that he has a very close relationship with the orisha of divination, Orunmila. Nothing can be done in either world without his permission. Elegba is always propitiated and always called first before any other orisha as he opens the door between the worlds and opens our roads in life. He recognizes himself and is recognized by the numbers 3 and 21.

Ogún

Ogún is the god of iron, war and labor. He is the owner of all technology, and because this technology shares in his nature, it is almost always used first for war. As Elegba opens the roads, it is Ogún that clears the roads with his machete. He is recognized in the numbers 7 and the colors green and black.

Oshosi

Oshosi is the third member of the group known as the Guerreros or Warriors and is received along with Elegba, Ogún and Osun in order to protect Guerreros initiates and to open and clear their roads. Oshosi is the hunter and the scout of the orishas and assumes the role of translator for Obatalá, with whom he has a very close relationship. His colors are blue and yellow.

Obatalá

Obatalá is the kindly father of all the orishas and all humanity. He is also the owner of all heads and the mind. Though it was Olorun who created the universe, it is Obatalá who is the creator of the world and humanity. Obatalá is the source of all that is pure, wise, peaceful and compassionate. He has a warrior side, though, through which he enforces justice in the world. His color is white, which is often accented with red, purple and other colors to represent different possible paths. White is most appropriate for Obatalá as it contains all the colors of the rainbow yet is above them. Obatalá is also the only orisha that has both male and female paths.

Oyá

Oyá is the ruler of the winds, the whirlwind and the gates of the cemetery. Her number is nine, which recalls her title of Yansa, or “Mother of Nine,” in which she rules over the egun or dead. She is also known for the colors of maroon, flowery patterns and nine different colors. She is a fierce warrior who rides to war with Shangó (sharing lightning and fire with him) and was once the wife of Ogún.

Oshún

Oshún rules over the sweet waters of the world, the brooks, streams and rivers, embodying love, fertility. She also is the one we most often approach to aid us in money matters. She is the youngest of the female orishas but retains the title of Iyalode or great queen. She heals with her sweet waters and with honey, which she also owns. She is the femme fatale of the orishas and once saved the world by luring Ogún out of the forests using her feminine wiles. And, in her path or manifestation of Ibú Ikolé, she saved the world from drought by flying up to heaven (turning into a vulture in the process). Ikolé means Messenger of the House (of Olodumare). For this reason, all who are to be initiated as priests, no matter what orisha rules their head, must go to the river and give account of what they are about to do. She recognizes herself in the colors yellow and gold, and her number is five. Peacocks and vultures are hers, and we use them often to represent her.

Yemayá

Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. Her name, a shortened version of Yeyé Omo Eja, means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” to reflect the fact that her children are uncountable. All life started in the sea; the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. In this way, Yemayá displays herself as truly the mother of all. She, the root of all the paths or manifestations, Olokun is the source of all riches, which she freely gives to her little sister Oshún. She dresses herself in seven skirts of blue and white, and like the seas and profound lakes she is deep and unknowable. In her path of Okutti, she is the queen of witches, carrying within her deep and dark secrets. Her number is seven for the seven seas; her colors are blue and white; and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children.

Shangó

Perhaps the most “popular” of the orishas, Shangó rules over lightning, thunder, fire, the drums and dance. He is a warrior orisha with quick wits and quick temper and is the epitome of virility. Shangó took the form of the fourth Alafin (supreme king) of Oyó on Earth for a time. He is married to Obba but has relations with Oyá and Oshún. He is an extremely hot-blooded and strong-willed orisha who loves all the pleasures of the world: dance, drumming, women, song and eating. He is “ocanani” with Elegba, meaning they are of one heart. When one sees the quickness with which lightning makes short work of a tree or sees a fire rage through an area, one has witnessed the temper of Shangó in action. Though he traded the Table of Ifá to Orunmila in exchange for the gift of dance, his children have an innate ability for divination. To acknowledge the greatness of this king, all in the religion raise up on the toes of our feet (or rise out our chairs if we are sitting) at the mention of his name. His colors are red and white, and he recognizes himself in the numbers four and six. He is most often represented by a double-headed ax.

Orunmila

Orunmila is the orisha of wisdom and divination. He was the only orisha allowed to witness the creation of the universe by Olorun and bears witness to our destinies in the making as well. This is the source of his title of Eleri Ipin or “Witness to Destiny in its Creation.” His priests, the babalawos or “Fathers of the Secrets,” must devote themselves entirely to the practice of divination and the accompanying arts. Through the Table of Ifá, his priests unfold the secrets of the universe and the secrets of the unfolding of our lives. His colors are green and yellow, which reflect Orunmila’s relationship with Osayín (the secrets of the plant world) and with Oshún, who is his apeteví, with whom he has an extremely close relationship. Orunmila is wisdom and Oshún is knowledge, for wisdom without knowledge is useless, and one who has knowledge without wisdom is merely a danger to themselves and others.

What is Santeria?

What is Santeria?

by Efun Moyiwa

Santería, or La Regla Lucumí, originates in West Africa in what is now Nigeria and Benin. It is the traditional religion of the Yoruba peoples there. The slave trade brought many of these people to the shores of Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, among other places. But along with the bodies being brought over for sale into a life of misery, something else was being brought along. Their souls. And their religion.

First of all, Santería is not a “primitive” religion. On the contrary, the Yorubas were and are a very civilized people with a rich culture and deep sense of ethics. We believe in one god known as Olorun or Olodumare. Olorun is the source of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe, all life and all things material.

Olorun interacts with the world and humankind through emissaries. These emissaries are called orishas. The orishas rule over every force of nature and every aspect of human life. They are approachable and can be counted on to come to the aid of their followers, guiding us to a better life materially as well as spiritually.

Communicationbetween orishas and humankind is accomplished through ritual, prayer, divination and ebó or offerings (which includes sacrifice). Song, rhythms and trance possession are also means with which we interact with the orishas and with which we are able to affect our day-to-day lives so that we may lead deeper and fuller lives during our stay in this world.

In the New World, the orishas and much of the religion was hidden behind a facade of Catholicism, with the orishas themselves represented by various saints. The slave owners would then say, “Look at how pious this slave is. She spends all of her time worshipping Saint Barbara.” Unbeknownst to them, she would actually be praying to Shangó, the lord of lightning, fire and the dance, perhaps even praying for deliverance from that very slave owner. This is how the religion came to be known as Santería. The memory of this period of our history is also why many in our religion regard the term Santería as a derogatory.

The traditions of Santería are fiercely preserved, and full knowledge of the rites, songs and language is prerequisites to any deep involvement in the religion. Initiates must follow a strict regimen and are answerable to Olorun and the orishas for their actions. As a person passes through each initiation in the tradition, this knowledge deepens and their abilities and responsibilities grow accordingly. In fact, during the entire first year of their initiation into the priesthood, the initiate or iyawó or “bride” of the orisha must dress in white. The iyawo must not look into a mirror, touch anyone or allow themselves to be touched, and they may not wear makeup or go out at night for this year.

La Santería is famous for its “magic.” This magic is based on a knowledge of the mysteries or orishas and how to interact with them to better our lives and the lives of those who come to us for the aid of the orishas. We live under the premise that this world is a magical one. This knowledge seems “supernatural” only to those who don’t understand it, but it really is quite natural.

Although the people were yanked away from their homes in Africa and enslaved in the New World, the orishas, the religion and its power could never be chained down, and the religion survives now – not as an anachronism, but ever-growing, even now in such places as France and the Netherlands.

Maferefún gbogbo orisha!