Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Obatala
Creator of Human Form, White purity, Cures illness and deformities.

Elegua
Messenger of the Orisha, Holder of Ashe (pover) among the Orisha, he is prime negotiator between negative and positive forces in body, enforces the “law of being”. Helps to enhance the power of herbs.

Ogun
Orisha of Iron, he expands, he is divinity of clearing paths, specifically in respect to blockages or interruption of the flow vital energy at various points in the body. he is the liberator.

Yemaya
Mother of Waters, Sexuality, Primal Waters, Nurturer. She is the amniotic fluid in the womb of the pregnant woman, as well as, the breasts which nurture. She is the protective energies of the feminine force.

Oshun
Sensuality, Beauty, Gracefulness, she symbolizes clarity and flowing motion, she has power to heal with cool water, she is also the divinity of fertility and feminine essence, Women appeal to her for child-bearing and for the alleviation of female disorders, she is fond of babies and is sought if a baby becomes ill, she is known for her love of honey.

Shango
Kingly, Virility, Masculinity, Fire, Lightning, Stones, Protector/ warrior, Magnetism, he possesses the ability to transform base substance into that which is pure and valuable.

Oya
Tempest, Guardian of the Cemetery, Winds of Change, Storms, Progression, she is usually in the company of her counterpart Shango, she is the deity of rebirth as things must die so that new beginnings arise.

Yoruba Fokelore

Razor Cuts

A CERTAIN King named Shango sent two slaves to a distant country on an important mission.

In due course they returned, and he found that one slave had achieved successfully what he had been sent to do, while the other had accomplished nothing. The King therefore rewarded the first with high honours, and commanded the second to receive a hundred and twenty-two razor cuts all over his body.

This was a severe punishment, but when the scars healed, they gave to the slave a very remarkable appearance, which greatly took the fancy of the Kings wives.

Shango therefore decided that cuts should in future be given, not as punishment, but as a sign of royalty, and he placed himself at once in the hands of the markers. However, he could only bear two cuts, and so from that day two cuts on the arm have been the sign of royalty, and various other cuts came to be the marks of different tribes.

Ten Goldsmiths

A Goldsmith in a small village had ten sons, to all of whom he taught his trade. In time they became skilful craftsmen, and when the old man was dying he called the ten around him and addressed them thus:

My sons, in this small village there is certainly not enough work for ten goldsmiths. I have therefore decided that the most skilful of you shall remain here in my place, while the rest must go out into the world and seek their fortunes elsewhere.

At this all the sons exclaimed that the plan was good, but who was to say which of them was the most skilful? The old man smiled and answered:

I have thought of this also. I shall allow you all a month in which to make some article of gold, and at the end of that time I will judge which has been most skilfully executed.

The ten sons immediately set to work to fashion some article, and all displayed great industry during the allotted space of time. At the end of the month they came to their father, as he lay dying on the ground, and placed before him the articles they had made.

One had made a chain of fine gold, every link of which was the perfect shape of an elephant; another had made a knife, beautifully ornamented; another a little casket; another a ring representing serpents twisted together, with shining scales; another a water-pot of pleasing shape; and so on.

The old man smiled with pleasure to see what the industry of his sons had accomplished, but when he counted the articles before him, he found there were only nine. When he found that one of his sons had produced nothing, he was angered, especially when this proved to be the eldest son, whom he had secretly thought to be more skilful than his brothers. After bitterly reproaching this son, whose name was Ayo, for his laziness, the father prepared to give his decision on the work of the other brothers; but Ayo suddenly stepped forward and begged him to wait for another hour before making his choice.

Meanwhile, Father, said he, let us sit round the fire all together for the last time, parching corn and telling stories.

This was how the family spent their time in the rainy season, and all gladly consented.

As they seated themselves upon the ground, the father took up a full ripe ear of corn which lay near him. What was his astonishment when he tried to pick the grains to discover that it was made of gold!

For this was what Ayo had made, and he had prepared a little trick to test the perfection of his work. So skilfully was it executed that all had been deceived, thinking it a real ear of corn, and on this account the father and nine brothers all agreed that Ayos work was certainly the best.

Thus Ayo took his fathers place, and the rest set out in different directions to seek their fortune.

More Yoruba Concepts

Five ancient concepts are essential to an understanding of Yoruba aesthetics.

(1) Ase means “power” or “authority”. However, the meaning of Ase is extraordinarily complex. Ase is used in a variety of contexts. One of the most important meanings is the “vital power, the energy, the great strength of all things.” Ase also refers to a divine energy manifest in the process of creation and procreation. Ase invests all things, exists everywhere, and is a source for all creative activity. Again, Ase often refers to the inner power or “life force.” Ase also refers to the “authority” by which one speaks or acts.

(2) Ori is the “inner spiritual head” in humans or “personal destiny,” not mind or soul as these terms are used in the West. But Ori can mean the enabling power that represents the potential that life contains.

(3) Iwa can mean “character” or “essential nature.” Two classifications of usage of Iwa are generally recognized: the ontological-descriptive and the ethical evaluative. The ontological-descriptive meaning enables one to identify the quantitative existence of a person as revealed by their behaviour, the “lifestyle” or manner in which they exist in the world. The ethical-evaluative meaning represents a qualitative judgment of how good or bad is their iwa.

(4) Ewa is an aesthetic term as well as an expression of iwa, a person’s essential nature. Ewa means “beauty”, referring in some contexts to physical beauty of a person or object, but mostly to the qualities of beauty of a person or object. The term can be used to describe how a work of art captures the essential quality of the subject.

(5) Ona means “art” or it can refer to an artist’s ability to create or design. In Yoruba “art” cannot be defined outside of the context of the processes of creation, the purpose of creation, and the skill of the artist in capturing the first two contextualities in order to produce a physical object that embodies meaning.

Ifa Related

Dictamentos Para Los Siguentes de Ifa/Ocha

Dictámenes para nuestros asociados practicantes de la Regla de Ocha y el Culto a IFA cubano.

1- No permitir que nadie les cambie lo que con tanto sacrifico en ceremoniales se les realizan en Cuba o por sus descendientes en cualquier latitud del mundo.

2- Comprobar si las personas que comparten con Uds. en realidad están iniciada bajo esta línea de religión cubana de origen africano, o si están iniciadas de alguna otra forma que no sea la que nos fuera legada por nuestros ancestros.


3- No hacer iniciaciones ya sean de IFA o de Ocha en menos de 7 días rituales, ni compartir con personas que se les inicie de esa forma.

4- Cuando el Oba (Oriate) diga en ita de Ocha, por mediación del odu que lo expresa, Absuelto por falta de pruebas, hay que desmontar el trono, y la persona que se está iniciando deberá permanecer en la casa los 7 días reglamentarios que exigen este tipo de ceremonia.

5- Se ruega no entrar en contradicciones ni estimular los cuestionamientos ni las inconformidades con personas que deseen seguir otras líneas de ceremoniales.

6- No permitir en nuestras casas en los días de rituales, opiniones ni personas que no comulguen con nuestra fe heredada de nuestros antepasados.

7- Respetar todos los ceremoniales que hemos venido realizando por enseñanza de nuestros mayores.

8- Deberán guiarse única y exclusivamente por sus mayores y a la falta de ellos por aquellas personas que uds. designen a tal fin.

9- Es importante que todos nuestros asociados tanto nacionales como extranjeros conozcan que ninguna de las gestiones, como son recibir información, cartas para transportación de animales, cartas para solicitar cambio de visa en inmigración, constancia de asociado para distintos trámites que se soliciten ante los representantes de la institución en cualquiera de los Ilé ocha de las distintas provincias incluida Ciudad de La Habana (sede nacional), no tienen que ser remuneradas, se insiste en que ningún miembro, ni ejecutivo de la asociación está autorizado para pedir dinero a ningún asociado para estos fines y los asociados nacionales deben estar actualizados en su pago como miembros y al igual que los residentes en el exterior, los que deben ser inscritos y actualizados en la sede nacional única entidad autorizada para llevar a cabo estas funciones.

10- Cualquier duda pueden escribir o acudir a nuestro centro para consultar a cualquiera de los 7 Consejos de Sacerdotes Mayores de la República de Cuba con los que cuenta nuestra institución.

11- Aconsejamos a todos los queridos hermanos, que los ceremoniales y consultas que les vayan a realizar deberán ser directamente con las personas que uds hayan escogido y que sea de frente, personalmente, es decir se deben evitar la intervención de computadoras con adivinaciones falsas y analizar bien a quien escogemos como futuros padrinos, porque de eso depende en gran medida el buen desenvolvimiento de nuestras vidas, ya que la adquisición de estos padrinos debe ser para toda la vida, una mala elección traería consigo la decepción y la confusión, por lo que no nos apresuremos al hacer esta elección de la que podamos lamentarnos el día de mañana.

12- No pretendemos hacer cambios, sino usar lo legítimo del legado dejado en nuestras conciencias, y no aceptemos que nadie pueda inmiscuirse en nuestras decisiones que son una realidad.

13- Sólo roguemos porque se nos permita llevar este legado sin que pretendan hacernos el más mínimo reclamo de algo que por derecho propio pertenece a los cubanos y a sus descendientes religiosos.

14-No queremos que nadie en particular se sienta en la obligación de estar con nuestra
institución, y nuestros consejos de mayores, lo que pedimos que cada persona se sienta segura de donde quiere estar, que analice y que piense, pues para estar con nuestros mayores lo único que ellos exigen es el respeto a los lineamientos emitidos por ellos, que no son otros que los de humildad, amor y lealtad a nuestra fe legada por nuestros antepasados.


15-Es bueno aclarar que el Presidente de la Institución y su Junta Directiva, solo son un órgano
Ejecutivo el cual deberá hacer valer y ejecutar las decisiones de los distintos consejos de mayores con que cuenta la institución, sin que está junta pueda revocar ninguna sanción o decisión, que fuese emitida por los distintos consejos de Mayores con que cuenta la asociación. . .

Rogamos a Olodumare y sus panteón de Orichas, que les proporcionen, salud, tranquilidad, desenvolvimiento y una larga y feliz vida en compañía de sus seres queridos.


Firmado.
a) Consejo de Sacerdotes Mayores de IFA de la República de Cuba.
b) Consejo de Sacerdotes Obateros (Oriaté) Mayores de la República de Cuba.
c) Consejo de Sacerdotisas Iyalochas Mayores de la República de Cuba.
d) Consejo de Sacerdotes Babalochas Mayores de la República de Cuba.
e) Consejo de Sacerdotes Jefes de Cabildos de la República de Cuba
f) Consejo de Sacerdotes Mayores Arará de la República de Cuba.
g) Consejo de Sacerdotes Presidente de los Ile Ochas (casa de santo) de cada Provincia.

Los Guerreros

The Warriors / Los Guerreros

The Guerreros (warriors) are a set of orishas that an initiate receives usually after having received their Elekes and it is usually an indication that the person is on their way to Kariocha. The warriors consist of Elegba, Ogún, Ochosi and Osun. The warriors are received in a person’s life in order to protect them, strengthen their spiritual framework, teach them the importance of hard work and to open their spiritual road.

This is strictly a Lukumí initiation in that it evolved out of the environment that the Lukumí people were subjected to when they were brought to the new world as slaves. Originally, in the motherland, these orishas were worshipped and propitiated in communal outdoor shrines that belonged to the entire village or tribe. The exception would have been Elegba, which was received as an Eshu (a stone) by individuals when they were crowned, along with their crowning orisha. Elegba’s shrine was a large stone or collection of stones, Ogún’s shrine contained his iron implements, Ochosi’s included animal horns and the like, and Osun was a special staff that was much taller than today’s version and it was kept outside the home, staked into the ground – yet its function is still preserved in the modern version. All of the modern warriors are usually kept behind the front door, near the front door or facing the front door – indicating their importance in opening a person’s spiritual path, protecting the home from negativity and intruders, and still hinting at their closeness to the outdoors.

The modern Lukumí version evolved because the tribes of Lukumí people were split up and intermixed with other tribes and there was no possible was of having an outdoor public shrine at which offerings could be given without making it known to the slave masters. Thus each individual was to receive their own Elegba – which consisted of an otán (stone) and usually a cement head packed with magically charged substances that is essentially used like Elegba’s tools with which he can affect the physical and spiritual worlds. Here is a typical depiction of an Elegba to the right. But Elegbas vary from road to road, and each is unique and personal to the initiate in its own way. Usually Elegba that is received with the warriors is not a complete Elegba in that he does not have diloggún shells – usually these are added and empowered at the Kariocha. (But I have heard of ilés where they give diloggún with the warriors version of Elegba, but the diloggún are not yet fully empowered to speak.)

Ogún that is received in the warriors set is actually a smaller, less complete version of Ogún. This does not mean that Ogún is less effective, merely that he still has room to grow. He is received in an iron cauldron, with his otán, his tools that quite literally look like the tools that a blacksmith or a warrior would use and other iron implements. He does not usually come with diloggún either – these are usually received either in a separate ceremony, or at the time of Cuchillo. Inside of Ogún’s cauldron living with him, is Ochosi (his best friend or brother depending on which version of the legend you have heard.) Ochosi is also received in a very scaled down form, with the warriors. He is merely a metal crossbow that is empowered and lives within Ogún’s pot. Ochosi is received in complete form, in a separate ceremony. Often when Ogún is made full – by giving him diloggún and feeding him four legs, Ochosi is given full at the same time. Often this occurs at Cuchillo if it has not yet been done for an individual to that point.

Osun is a small staff that is packed with magical substances that acts as a person’s personal guard or watchdog. Many people say that he is your spiritual head, or the foundation for your higher self or Orí. He is lidded and sealed metal cup with a stem and is about 9 inches tall. on top of the lid is a metal rooster – the symbol for Osun. Hanging from the lip of the cup’s lid, are four jingle bells hanging from little chains. Osun is supposed to be placed in a high place in the house – preferably above the initiate’s head with the rooster facing the front door, so that he can watch for danger. He is supposed to remain upright at all times, and if he ever falls over, it is an indication that something very bad has either been thrown at the initiate or is on it’s way to harm the initiate. Osun should be immediately turned upright and the primary godparent should be notified of what happened. This is the scaled down modern version of the original that was found in Africa. There are human-sized Osuns but they are received for different purposes and in a separate initiation.

The warriors, when received into a home for the first time, or when the initiate moves into a new home, have to go through a special ebbó called the ebbó de entrada (the offering of entry.) This involves eyebale to Elegba, Ogún, Ochosi and Osun at the door to the house (Shilelekun.) This not only empowers and strengthens the door to the house for protection, but it also strengthens the presence of the warriors in that home and in effect lets them know that it is their new home and they are bound to protect it from any enemies or negativity. The initiate is then to tend to his new orishas in his home by cleaning them from time to time, coating them lightly with epó (palm oil), and a bit of honey, offering them rum, and occasionally cigar or a candle. Some ilés offer candies to Elegba, or fruits and toys. In my ilé we do not give candy to Elegba until he has completed something for us, as a reward.

Now that the initiate has received Elegba, the orisha can guide them spiritually, open their psychic senses and their doors to evolution and in general assist them through life. Many ilés call the initiate an Aborisha (follower of the Orishas) after having received the warriors.

Counsel of Cuban Elder Ifa Priests

The Counsel of Elder Priests of Ifa of the Republic of Cuba, has expressed,
determined and required:

1- That we do not accept nor will we ever accept the Initiation of women inside
the worship of Ifa, that not be the ceremony of the Ikofa of Orunmila.

2- That we will not accept in any of our houses and calling extensively to all
in the worship of the Rule Of Ocha/Ifa, the presence of these women that say to
be Iyanifa or Oluwos and even less those Babalawos that have lent themselves for
this farce.

3- That consequently we will publish in our media the names of the people that
have
participated in this fault.

This document was prepared and carried out in the City of Havana, on the 11 day
of the month of September of 2004 and show faith the signatories.

1- Tomas Rodri guez Contreras ( Ocheleso )
2- Ruben Pineda Mariategui ( Babaegiobe)
3- Jose Manuel Pulido (Ireteunfa )
4- Angel C. Padron Cardenas (Babaegiobe)
5- Jose Cruz Diaz (Osa meji )
6- Norberto Diaz Ugarte ( Babaegiobe )
7- Julian Diaz Ugarte ( Okanarete )
8- Rogelio Diaz Ugarte ( Ojuanishobe )
9- Sergio Clerigo Mederos Soto ( Oturabara )
10-Antonio Sevilla ( Ofun meji )
11-Lucas L. Aberasturir Cabrera ( Obeyono )
12-Ignacio Gabriel Tartabur ( Obetua )
13-Mario Marino Angarica Diaz ( Ochelobe )
14-Lazaro Aldama Alfonso ( Ofunsa )
15-Francisco Escorcia Bringas ( Ogunda Bede )
16- Guido Felipe Cortés Tondique ( Obeidi )

PRIESTS ADVISORS OF THE GREATER COUNCIL

1- Adriano Omar Quevedo Zambrana ( Osaloforbeyo )
2- Carlos M. Gómez Argudà n ( Ocheleso)
3- José Fernando Campos Fernández ( Osaloforbeyo )
4- Luis Céspedes Madrazo ( Okanasa )
5- Nicolás Sánchez Cartaza ( Osaloforbeyo )
6- Aurelio Pablo Chacón ( Ikarete )
7- Raúl Miguel Boffill Quintero (Iretejuany)
8- José Angel Villalonga Vianez ( Osaguory )
9- José Antonio Leal Bernal ( Ofungando)
10- Ricardo Betancourt Ponce ( Iguoryobara)
11- Enrique Malpica Torriente ( Ogbetua)
12- Frank Cabrera ( Obeche )