Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Oshun (pronounced [ɔʃún]) is a spirit-goddess (Orisha) who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum.



Oshun is beneficient and generous, and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, though it is difficult to anger her. She is married to Chango, the god of thunder, and is his favorite wife because of her excellent cooking skills. One of his other wives, Oba, was her rival. They are the goddesses of the Ọṣun and Oba rivers, which meet in a turbulent place with difficult rapids.

In Santería, Oshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with the Catholic Saint: Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba’s patron saint.

She is associated with the color yellow, metals gold and copper, peacock feathers, mirrors, and anything of beauty, her favorable day of the week is Saturday and the number she is associated with is five. In one story, she had to become a prostitute to feed her children and the other Orishas removed her children from her home. Oshun went insane from grief and wore the same white dress every day; it eventually turned yellow.

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore she is omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba scripture which reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun , as well as her followers.

Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. Osun according to the ancients was the only female Irunmole amongst the 401 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “YeYe Cari yamori yeyeo” – the sweet mother of us all.

When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Oshun due to her femaleness she removed her divine energy, called ashe by the Yoruba, from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain.

It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging Oshun pardon under the advice of Olodumare that the world could continue to be created. But not until Oshun had given birth to a son. This son became Elegua, the great conduit of ashe in the Universe and also the eternal and trickster.

Oshun is known as Ya-lorde- the mother of things outside the home, due to her business acumen. She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers she dances, flirts and then weeps- because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.

Yoruba Fokelore

Tortoise and the Fly

Once Tortoise and his family fell on hard times and had nothing to eat, but they noticed that their neighbour, Mr. Fly, seemed to be very prosperous and feasted every night.

Tortoise was curious to know how he obtained so much money, and after watching him for some days he discovered that Mr. Fly flew away every morning early with a large empty sack on his back, and returned in the evening with the sack full, and after that his wife would prepare a feast.

One morning Tortoise hid in the sack and waited to see what would happen. Soon Mr. Fly came out of his house, lifted up the sack, and flew away.

He descended at last in the market-place of a large town, where drummers were beating the tones of the dance, and maidens were dancing before a crowd of people.

Mr. Fly laid his sack on the ground, and Tortoise saw him standing beside one of the drummers. When the people threw money, Mr. Fly picked the coins up and hid them in his sack, and by evening he had collected a great quantity. Then he took up the sack again and flew home. Tortoise quickly got out and took most of the money with him, so that poor Mr. Fly was surprised to find the sack almost empty.

This happened several times, until one day as he put money in the sack Mr. Fly caught sight of Tortoise hiding inside it. He was very angry at the trick, and going to the drummer asked him if he had missed any money.

said the drummer. For some days I have been losing coins.

Look inside this sack, replied Mr. Fly, and you will see the thief sitting among the money he has stolen.

The drummer peeped inside the sack and saw Tortoise.

How shall the thief be punished? he cried angrily.

Just tie up the sack, said Mr. Fly, and then beat upon it as if it were a drum.

So the drummer tied up the sack and beat upon it until Tortoise was black and blue, and this is why his back is covered with bruises.

Then Mr. Fly picked up the sack, and flew high up in the air and dropped it. By chance the sack fell down just outside Tortoises house, and neighbours came to tell Nyanribo, his wife, that someone had left a present outside the door. But when she opened the sack in the presence of a crowd of people, she found only Tortoise inside, more dead than alive. Then Mr. Fly made a song and narrated the whole story, and the drummers also played it, and Tortoise and Nyanribo were so ashamed that they left the place and went to live in another country.

Ogun meets Ochosi

It is said that Ogun isolated from the world spent his time
clubbing and hacking his way in the jungles searching for food, but
with his aggressive manner would only scare the prey away. So he
pined starving and frustrated in the forest with only his ability
of his forge with which he could make knives and tools. Oshosi on
the other hand with his mysterious efficacy to hypnotize his would
be victim, would prize numerous catches. But without the tools with
which he could butcher them he also remained alone and starving with
numerous unopened carcasses that were of no value to him rotting. One day
Eleggua came about, hungry and curious and having seen Ogun not far
off in a similar predicament he said;

“Why don’t you and Ogun live together? Certainly you would be
formidable room mates. For you can catch to your hearts desire and
Ogun can open the prey”.

Eleggua then went to Ogun and proposed; “Why don’t you and Oshossi
move together and work with each other instead of quarreling or
being so exacting in your differences? Certainly if you live with
each other while one can hunt the other can make use of that which
you’ve caught.”

Then Oshosi and Ogun said; “But we cannot guarantee that we will
always find what we are looking for. If we then both become hungry
then in our frustration of the best of friends we will become the
worst of enemies.”

To which Eleggua answered; “Not so, for if you share with me your
catch, for I only need very little as you see, I will show you
where to make the paths, where to find the grounds where at, you
will be successful in getting good catch and that way we three can
not only be friends but an indefatigable threesome that none can
surpass!.”

And it is said that from that day forward Ogun and Oshossi share
the same cauldron and Eleggua…well, he comes and goes as he
pleases, so long as he is taken care for he will always at least
let the hunters know where to go for their success.”

“Osanyin,
Agogo ishere agbara
Elese kan sare ju ese meji lo”

`God of herbs
Dance bell of power
One-legged man running faster than men on two legs.’

The Ant and the Treasure

There once was a poor man who was very kind to animals and birds. However little he had, he always spared a few grains of corn, or a few beans, for his parrot, and he was in the habit of spreading on the ground every morning some titbits for the industrious ants, hoping that they would be satisfied with the corn and leave his few possessions untouched.

And for this the ants were grateful.

In the same village there lived a miser who had by crafty and dishonest means collected a large store of gold, which he kept securely tied up in the corner of a small hut. He sat outside this hut all day and all night, so that nobody could steal his treasure.

When he saw any bird, he threw a stone at it, and he crushed any ant which he found walking on the ground, for he detested every living creature and loved nothing but his gold.

As might be expected, the ants had no love for this miser, and when he had killed a great many of their number, they began to think how they might punish him for his cruelty.

What a pity it is, said the King of the ants, that our friend is a poor man, while our enemy is so rich!

This gave the ants an idea. They decided to transfer the misers treasure to the poor manâs house. To do this they dug a great tunnel under the ground. One end of the tunnel was in the poor manâs house, and the other end was in the hut of the miser.

On the night that the tunnel was completed, a great swarm of ants began carrying the misers treasure into the poor mans house, and when morning came and the poor man saw the gold lying in heaps on the floor, he was overjoyed, thinking that the gods had sent him a reward for his years of humble toil.

He put all the gold in a corner of his hut and covered it up with native cloths.

Meanwhile the miser had discovered that his treasure was greatly decreased. He was alarmed and could not think how the gold could have disappeared, for he had kept watch all the time outside the hut.

The next night the ants again carried a great portion of the misers gold down the tunnel, and again the poor man rejoiced and the miser was furious to discover his loss.

On the third night the ants laboured long and succeeded in removing all the rest of the treasure.

The gods have indeed sent me much gold! cried the poor man, as he put away his treasure.

But the miser called together his neighbours and related that in three consecutive nights his hard-won treasure had vanished away. He declared that nobody had entered the hut but himself, and therefore the gold must have been removed by witchcraft.

However, when the hut was searched, a hole was found in the ground, and they saw that this hole was the opening of a tunnel. It seemed clear that the treasure had been carried down the tunnel, and everyone began hunting for the other end of the tunnel. At last it was discovered in the poor manâs hut! Under the native cloths in the corner they found the missing treasure.

The poor man protested in vain that he could not possibly have crept down such a small tunnel, and he declared that he had no notion how the gold had got into his but. But the rest said that be must have some charm by which he made himself very small and crept down the tunnel at night into the misers hut.

For this offence they shut him up in a hut and tightly closed the entrance. On the next day he was to be burnt alive.

When the ants saw what had come of their plan to help him, they were sorely perplexed and wondered how they could save their poor friend from such a painful death

There seemed nothing for them to do but to eat up the whole of the hut where the prisoner was confined. This they accomplished after some hours, and the poor man was astonished to find himself standing in an open space. He ran away into the forest and never came back.

In the morning the people saw that the ants had been at work, for a few stumps of the hut remained. They said: The gods have taken the punishment out of our hands! The ants have devoured both the hut and the prisoner!

And only the ants knew that this was not true.

Ifa Related

El Primer Babalawo en Cuba

El primer babalawo que hubo en Cuba fue Addeshina (Obbara Meyi), este nació en
Africa Occidental a principios de los 1800, otros Yorubas compraron su libertad ya que reconocieron su rango de rey, Addeshina significa "Corona abre-camino". Se dice que Addeshina logró tragarselos ikines antes que lo capturaran y los defecó en el barco.Unos años despues de el llego otro babalawo conocido como Ño Carlos Addebí (Ojuani Bocá) que logró su libertad en camaguey gracias a que la apostó a su amo a que le adivinaba a los amigos de su amo y estos quedaron sorprendidos. Lo hizo con el primero okpele que existió en Cuba hecho con una soga de majagua y con cascaras de naranja secas.Addeshina y Addebi se encontraron luego en la Habana, en Guanabacoa. Addeshina le hizo ifá a solo dos personas, una se fue para estados unidos y no se conoce su nombre y el otro fue Bernardo Rojas (Irete Tendi). Bernardo cuidó a Addeshina hasta su muerte, y junto a el aprendio todo lo de ifá.De Bernardo Rojas surge la rama mas grande de babalawos de Cuba. Bernardo fue el que mas ahijados consagró. El otro gran pilar fue la rama de Taita Gaitán (Oggunda fun), nacido en matanzas, su padrino fue otro babalawo traido como esclavo llamado Lugery (Oyekun Meyi) que regresó a Nigeria y allá murió, pero antes de irse mandó a Taita Gaitán con su hermano de consagracion que estaba en Matanzas, llamado Ño Cárdenas, que nunca consagró a nadie pero leenseñó todo a Taita Gaitán. Y otra rama famosa fue la de Asunción Villalonga.El primero criollo que se hizo Ifá en Cuba se llamó Cornelio Vidal y de el surge otra rama.Todas estas ramas al final se cruzaron una con otras. Nuestros mayores en ifa en Cuba son Addeshina (Obbara meyi), Addebí (Ojuani Bocá), Bernabé Menocal, Babel Babá Ejiogbe (Ifá Lolá), Taita Gaitán (Oggunda fun), Bernardo Rojas (Irete Tendi), Cornelio Vidal, Asuncion Villalonga, Guillermo Castro, Alfredo Rivero, Joaquin Salazar (Osá Forbeyo), Ramon Febles (Ogbe tua), Panchito Febles (Otura Niko), Miguel Febles ( Odi Ka ), Sevilla Baró (Oshe Yekun), el Chino Poey (Oshe Paure), Felix el Negro (Osa Rete) y Andres Bombalier (Oggunda Biode) .

adechina remigio herrera

Opinions to Our Asociated Practitioners

Directive issued by Cuban Ifa/Ocha Cuncil's

Opinions to our associated practitioners of the rule of Ocha and the Cuban IFA cult.
1. Do not allow anyone to change what was achieved with so much sacrifice in any ceremony performed, Whether in Cuba or our brothers anywhere in the world.
2. Make sure the people who you share knowledge of the secrets of Ifa have actually been initiated under the Cuban religions traditions which are of African origin, or if they have been initiated in some other method which is not what was bequeathed to us by our ancestors.

3. Do not perform or participate in initiations whether IFA or Ocha that are less than 7 days of rituals.

4 When Oba (Oriate) says during an Ocha ita, acting as the intermediary of the odu, "acquitted for lack of evidence" you have to immediately dismantle the throne and the person who is being initiated should stay all 7 days normally required for ceremony.
5 Please do not enter into discussions or raise questions that will cause disagreement with people who wish to follow other methods of initiation.
6. Do not allow in our homes in the days of rituals, opinions or people who do not agree with our faith inherited from our ancestors.
7. Respect all the ceremonial which we have been doing for our higher education.
8 Only be guided by your elders and in the lack of them by those people you designate for this purpose.
9. this section and those following pertained to Cuba and are not worth translating, if you wish to read it. It appears fully in the Spainsh Version.

Signed:

(a) Council of priests of IFA of the Republic of Cuba.
(b) Council of priests Obateros (Oriate) of the Republic of Cuba.
(c) Council of priestesses Iyalochas elders of the Republic of Cuba.
(d) Council of priests Babalochas elders of the Republic of Cuba.
(e) Council of priests heads of Councils of the Republic of Cuba
(f) Council of Arara older priests of the Republic of Cuba.
 
This article is reprinted with the permission of the Cuban Yoruba Cultura Association. I invite you to visit their website directly at CubaYoruba

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.