Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's
As man worships that from which he has most to fear, or from which he hopes to receive the greatest benefits, the inland tribes pay little or no attention to Olokun, who is, however, the chief god of fishermen and of all others whose avocations take them upon the sea. When Olokun is angry he causes the sea to be rough and stirs up a raging surf upon the shore; and it is he who drowns men, upsets boats or canoes, and causes shipwrecks.
Olokun is not the personally divine sea but an anthropomorphic conception. He is of human shape and black in colour, but with long flowing hair, and resides in a vast palace under the sea, where he is served by a number of sea-spirits, some of whom are human in shape, while others partake more or less of the nature of fish. On ordinary occasions animals are sacrificed to Olokun, but when the condition of the surf prevents canoes from putting to sea for many days at a time, In ancient times a human victim was offered to appease him. It is said that such sacrifices have been made in recent times, even at Lagos, by the people of the Isaleko quarter, who are chiefly worshippers of Olokun. The sacrifice was of course secret, and according to native report the canoemen used to watch by night till they caught some solitary wayfarer, whom they gagged and conveyed across the lagoon to the sea-shore, where they struck off his head and threw the body into the surf.
A myth says that Olokun, becoming enraged with mankind on account of their neglect of him, endeavoured to destroy them by overflowing the land; and had drowned large numbers when Obatala interfered to save the remainder, and forced Olokun back to his palace, where he bound him with seven iron chains till he promised to abandon his design. This, perhaps, has reference to some former encroachment of the sea upon the low-lying sandy shores, which are even now liable to be submerged at spring-tides.
Olokun has a wife named Olokun-su, or Elusu, who lives in the harbour bar at Lagos. She is white in colour and human in shape, but is covered with fish-scales from below the breasts to the hips. The fish in the waters of the bar are sacred to her, and should anyone catch them, she takes vengeance by upsetting canoes and drowning the occupants. A man who should be so ill-advised as to attempt to fish on the bar would run a great risk of being thrown overboard by the other canoemen. Olokunsu is an example of a local sea-goddess, originally, as on the Gold Coast at the present day, considered quite independent, being attached to the general god of the sea, and accounted for as belonging to him.
At that time it was the universal custom to destroy twins immediately at birth, and the mother with them. But the King had not the heart to put this cruel law into execution, and he secretly charged one of his nobles to conduct the royal mother and her babes to a remote place where they might live in safety.
Here the twin brothers grew to manhood, and loved one another greatly. They were inseparable, and neither of them had any pleasure except in the company of the other. When one brother began to speak, the other completed his phrase, so harmonious were their thoughts and inclinations.
Their mother, before she died, informed them of their royal birth, and from this moment they spent the time vainly regretting their exile, and wishing that the law of the country had made it possible for them to reign.
At last they received the news that the King their father was dead, leaving no heir, and it seemed to the brothers that one of them ought to go to the capital and claim the throne. But which?
To settle this point they decided to cast stones, and the one who made the longer throw should claim the throne, and afterwards send for his brother to share in his splendour.
The lot fell on the younger of the twins, and he set off to the capital, announced himself as the Olofins son, and soon became King with the consent of all the people. As soon as possible he sent for his brother, who henceforth lived with him in the palace and was treated with honour and distinction.
But alas! jealousy began to overcome his brotherly affection, and one day as he walked with the King by the side of the river, he pushed his brother suddenly into the water, where he was drowned.
He then gave out in the palace that his brother was weary of kingship, and had left the country, desiring him to reign in his stead.
The King had certainly disappeared, and as no suspicion fell on the twin brother, he was made King and so realized his secret ambition.
Some time later, happening to pass by the very spot where his brother had been drowned, he saw a fish rise to the surface of the water and begin to sing:
Your brother lies here,
Your brother lies here.
The King was very much afraid. He took up a sharp stone and killed the fish.
But another day when he passed the spot, attended by his nobles and shielded by the royal umbrella made of the skins of rare animals, the river itself rose into waves and sang:
Your brother lies here,
Your brother lies here.
In astonishment the courtiers stopped to listen. Their suspicions were aroused, and when they looked into the water they found the body of the King.
Thus the secret of his disappearance was disclosed, and the wicked brother was rejected in horror by his people. At this disgrace he took poison and so died.
Adechina Remigio Herrera (Obara Meji)
Adechina (“Crown of Fire”) is credited as being one of the most important founding fathers of Ifa in Cuba. A Yoruba born in Africa and initiated as a babalawo there, he was enslaved and taken to Cuba as a young man in the late 1820s. Legend has it that he swallowed his sacred ikin ifa used in divination in order to take them with him across the ocean. An intelligent and gifted man, He worked at a sugar mill until his freedom was paid for in 1827. He later became a powerful property owner in the Havana suburb of Regla. In addition to his large African and Creole religious family he had many influential godchildren from Havana’s Spanish, white elite and had important high society connections. He set up a famous religious institution, the Cabildo of the Virgin of Regla (the Cabildo Yemaya) in around 1860, which became a powerful center of Ifa and Orisha worship. Along with his daughter, the famous Ocha priestess Echu Bi, he organized the annual street procession on the feast day of the Virgin of Regla, every September 7th. Each year seminal Afrocuban drummers like Pablo Roche Okilakpa would sound the mighty Ilú batá in honor of Yemaya as they processed around the town. Incredibly, Adechina is also reputed to have returned to Africa, the land of his birth, in order to acquire the sacred materials needed to initiate babalawos. He returned again to Cuba with these sacred items in order to build Ifa there.
All the mojubas (prayers and recitals of lineage to honor the ancestors) of babalawos in Cuba include Adechina.
A great man who helped carry African profound spiritual knowledge to the Americas.