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Orisha Oko Orisha Of Fertility Progres And Evolution

Descrição: orisha oko tutelar de el proceso evolutivo




Orisha Oko – Orisha of Fertility, Progress and Evolution A Guide to Accessing the Divinity’s Blessings By Awo Olumide Achaba Orisha Oko – Orisha of Fertility, Progress and Evolution - An Initiates A Guide to Accessing the Divinity’s Blessings Copyright: Awo Olumide Achaba Published: 24th, July 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9906399-0-9 Publisher: Awo Olumide Achaba All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this book in any format. Dedication and Acknowledgements This book is dedicated to the elders of the Yoruba peoples; teachers throughout the diaspora; and devotees around the world; who, through good character, continue share the teachings of Olodumare, Irunmole, and Orisha. I also acknowledge and thank my wife for her continued support and blessings of all my works. In addition, I am thankful to Oldumare, our Ori, our daughter, our parents, family and ancestors, all the Irunmole, Orisha, specifically Yemaya, Esu Elegua and Orisha Oko, our Baba Ifa and all our teachers. May Olodumare and the Irunmole and Orishas bless us with an abundance of Ire! Ase! Preface This book was written as a practical guide for the initiates and devotees of Orisha Oko. In particular, it is intended for initiates who have received Orisha-Oko from their elders (i.e. Baba Ifa, Santero, etc.). Often times a devotee will receive this initiation or ceremony and not be thoroughly instructed or trained on how to continue to communicate or properly propitiate the divinity. Thus, the Irunmole or Orisha received will sit in its container unattended for years at a time, limiting its Ashe and blessing for its devotee. However, each initiation received is the beginning of a journey to obtain higher spiritual growth through the Irunmole and Orisha’s guidance and blessings. And like all relationships (in this case that of the devotee and the divinity) it requires attention, devotion, and sacrifice. The information in this book can help the initiate access the continued blessings that Orisha-Oko can and does offer its devotees through rituals, prayers, and sacrifice. The ceremony to receive Orisha-Oko is practiced traditionally by the Yoruba nation and throughout its diaspora. As much as possible, we will emphasize traditional customs and point out those that are commonly practiced in the diaspora. By no means is this guide meant to be a complete and final authority for the practices surrounding Orisha-Oko; there are too many variants to be included in any book. Local customs may be exceptionally different from those initially practiced in the beginning of time. It is therefore recommended that one learn from those priest and priestesses who are highly trained and of good character. Then this guide can be a supplement to their teachings. However, consider this is a good resource if you don’t have access to a competent teacher. May Olodumare and Orisha-Oko bless you and your destined path with much love, growth, peace, prosperity, and all the Ires you deserve. May your character and actions be fruitful for you, your family, community, ancestors, and the universe. Aboru, Aboye, Awo Olumide Achaba Table of Contents Dedication and Acknowledgements Preface Chapter 1 – Introduction Chapter 2 – Proverbs and Patakis The Spirit of Ese Ifa Chapter 3 - Orikis, Prayers, and Songs Chapter 4 - Shrines & Offerings Glossary Bibliography About the Author Chapter 1 - Introduction Orisha Oko is a very important and powerful Irunmole within the pantheon of the 201 Irunmole who helped Olodumare during the creation of the Universe. Legend teaches that Olodumare made him the owner of the four seasons and gave him the secrets of the harvest. He was also sent to bring balance and order to the disorder caused through witchcraft; as well as to settle disputes between the Orishas in Aiye “the Earth”. Orisha Oko’s name is spelled and pronounced differently in Nigeria and throughout the diaspora. Traditionally his name is spelled Òrìşaoko, or Òrìşa-Oko. Many in the diaspora spell it as Orichaoco, Osaóko, Orisha Oko. Among his many descriptive names are, “God of the Fields”, “Agba Irawo – Elder in Irawo Town”, “Spirit of the Farm”, “Orisha of Agriculture and the Fertile Earth”, “Ruler of Earth’s Fertility, Procreation, and Life Giving Properties”, “Orisha of the Harvest of Crops”, “The Restorer of Fertility”, “The Celestial Judge”. The word Oko in Yoruba either means farm or penis furthering his connection to fertility of all living things. Orisha Oko is commonly depicted as a hard working farmer, with a straw hat who plows the earth with his two oxen. He plants his seed deep within Earth yielding the crops to feed mankind. He is closely associated and a great friend to Ogun, Obatala, Orunmila, Koricoto, and Sango. It is said that Sango gave him the color red (the essence of blood), Obatala the color white (the essence of semen) and Ogun made him the iron oxen-drawn plow (penis) that helps him plant (penetrate) the fields with his fertile seeds (the essence of conception). He is also associated with the colors light blue and pink (as noted in his elekes or beaded necklaces), cowry shells, swords, osun (camwood), efun (white native chalk), iron staff ornamented with cowrie shells, and bees who are said to be his servants. Unlike many of the other popular Orishas, there are no known numbers attributed to him. Orisha Oko was known to be a great hunter and fisherman, as well as a prodigious swimmer. He is considered a father to farmers and is said to be very affectionate and supporter of them. He is an ewe (sacred plants) expert and has a thorough command of important medicinal herbs that he learned in order to cure himself of yaws. He became prominent for his success in appeasing the witches and punishing those who practiced their magic. In his older years, Orisha Oko was also revered for his consultations and divination abilities. Legends speak of him being swallowed alive at the time of his death leaving only his staff. Among the many blessings that Orisha Oko offers to the world includes promoting the fertility of humans and crops. He can help the initiate grow, expand, and self-realize so that they can recognize, connect, and achieve their destined paths. He is often received so that the initiate can access abundance, stability, contentment, financial success and all-around progress. Orisha Oko can also provide his followers with better health, productivity and work, vitality, and fertility. He helps us not only become aware of our full potential but to manifest our potential during our lifetime. Orisha Oko often helps those being pursued by Iku, death. A popular ebo performed to appease Iku consists of feeding the earth with foods and sacrificed animals. In this way the person on the grip of death is spared. His devotees have grown world wide far beyond Nigeria bringing his blessing throughout the diaspora in the Americas. In the diaspora, it is very rare to be initiated into the Orisha Oko priesthood; rather most people receive it through a separate supporting initiation. In some ilés, or Orisha houses throughout the diaspora, Orisha Oko is crowned or seated through a ceremony called “Yemaya oro Orisha Oko”. In Ìlẹ-Yorùbá or Yorubaland there are initiations into Orisha Oko’s priesthood. Both men and women are initiated. The Chief of Irawo, the “Ajoriwin of Irawo” has traditionally served as the chief priest of Orisha Oko and would give his ultimate approval after obtaining Ifa’s blessings first. His palace represented the principal shrine and abode for Orisha Oko. Priest and Priestesses in Yorubaland commonly paint their foreheads with a red (camwood) and white (efun) vertical line. Followers and devotees wear white garbs during formal ceremonies and rituals in his honor. Reportedly, the only ones possessed by Orisha Oko are his female priestesses. The Yoruba peoples were said to present all their harvested crops to him before taking them to the market. The Yoruba express their gratitude and prayers at the beginning of the planting season, and celebrate and make offerings to Olodumare through Orisha Oko with each harvest. Like all indigenous peoples, the Yoruba were closely connected to nature’s bounties and scarcities and the cycles that she experiences; and thus, they paid respect with their ritual of devotion and thanksgiving. The Yoruba peoples hold a yearly festival throughout Nigeria in honor of Orisha Oko and the new year’s harvest, particularly of yams. The Iwa Ji "new-yam eating” festival symbolize the conclusion of a harvest and the beginning of the next planting cycle. It is normally celebrated in June or July and is administered by the high priest of that region. A bounty of new yams are offered to Orisha Oko as a thanksgiving sacrifice. In the diaspora, especially among the Lukumi or Santeria faithful, Orisha Oko is associated with Saint Isidore, “The Farmer” whose attributed miracles included bountiful harvests (thanks to the angels that helped him plow the fields) and the manifestation of food for poor people and animals. At such, many celebrate Orisha Oko’s feast days on either March 22 (the day of Saint Isidore’s canonization in 1622) or May 15 (the day of Saint Isidore’s death). Chapter 2 – Proverbs and Patakis The Spirit of Ese Ifa All our current knowledge of Olodumare and the Irunmole / Orishas has been passed down to us through Ifa’s oral tradition. That is, from generation to generation, from elder to child, from teacher to student. These teachings come from the 256 sacred Ifa Odus and the “Ese Ifa”, or story/legends, within those Odus. Each of the 256 Odus contains hundreds of such Ese Ifa which retell the history, beliefs, morals, medicine, solutions, benefits, and consequences of any particular circumstance expressed in the Ese Ifa. It is these Ese Ifa that holds the key to a Babalawo’s knowledge on how to help any person seeking divination. The Pataki is the lesson within that story. Following are five such proverbs and patakis that teach us the morals and blessings surrounding Orisha Oko. 1 In this parable Orisha Oko exhibits his hard work ethic, willingness to help others, demonstrates love and fidelity, the consequences of betrayal, and the power of sacrifice, devotion, and forgiveness. Orisha Oko was an exemplary worker and farmer – very responsible and committed to his daily duties. He toiled to ensure that his crops were properly cared for. His day would start at dawn and end at sunset. Orisha Oko was well known in many surrounding towns as a great farmer due to his successful harvests year after year. One day, Orisha Oko went to a nearby town as requested by the farmers there to help them plant their own crops. Orisha Oko toiled and taught throughout the day, ensuring that the locals understood the secrets to a good harvest. At some point, he noticed a beautiful woman in the waters of the beach and her beauty instantly mesmerized him. He went to her and asked for her name for which she replied it was Ibu Agana Eni. They instantly felt a love connection, that force which attracts us to our soul’s mate. As they conversed at the beach she revealed to him that her body had a physical deformation and was too ashamed to allow any person to see her. She thus stayed in the water. Orisha Oko felt a divine love for her and told her that he did not care whether or not her body was deformed, that his love was true and unconditional. She understood and felt the same love and affection for him. However, she asked him to promise her that he’d never reveal her deformation to others and to never mock or tease her about it; that if he did, she would not forgive him and would never talk or see him again. By the time Agana came out of the water it was night. However, by the light of the moon Orisha Oko was able to see that her deformed body consisted of one of her legs being bigger than the other, scars and blisters on her torso, and she only had one breast. However, Orisha Oko was not concerned about it. He was the happiest man with her at his side. Olofi descended to witness this union and to counsel Orisha Oko never to disrespect Agana, that he had built her abode deep in the ocean so that people would not bother her due to her deformities. That he was entrusting him to protect and cherish her at all times. Orisha Oko agreed and Olofi blessed their marriage. The marriage was a happy one, full of love, affection, and respect towards each other. In addition, they worked together to ensure prosperity reigned in their household for many years. Orisha Oko would tend to the farm and she would sell the harvested crops at her market by the beach. She always dressed adequately so that her deformities did not show. Many years happily passed until one day their marriage suffered a serious crisis. She noticed some of the villagers particularly staring at her and whispering among each other. She inquired if something was the matter and one person related that a farmer plowing the land had told them that her body was seriously deformed. Agana was immediately hurt at the thought that her faithful husband would break their pact. She not only felt betrayed but embarrassed. She immediately went to Orisha Oko and expressed her anger and hurt at his betrayal. She was so hurt that she told him that she could not love him any longer and would immediately leave him and go back to the ocean. She cursed him and promised that his fields would be spoiled and flooded at her will; and that she would hold her waters back and cause drought. Upon hearing of this ordeal, Olofi descended and confronted Orisha Oko. He too warned him about the misfortune coming to him and his farm. That he would no longer have successful harvests and that his Oxen would also die. Orisha Oko felt ashamed and full of regret. He felt devastated and did not know what to do. The only thing that occurred to him was to make sacrifice and have faith that the situation would be improved. So he proceeded to first make an offering to Agana. He went to where his boat was docked and took to the sea. He carried with him some of the harvested crops and a pig. But his voyage proved turbulent as the ocean was very tumultuous because of Agana’s rage. Despites these obstacles, however, Orisha Oko pressed on. When he finally stopped at a break in the waters, he made the offering along with prayers and pleas for forgiveness. He asked Esu to deliver the offerings to her and promised him offerings as well. Upon his return Orisha Oko set out to complete his promise to Esu, which consisted of 2 roosters. He then proceeded to make an offering to Olofi as well. For Olofi, Orisha Oko offered one ox. The offerings were all accepted and the ensuing damage was diminished. Eventually Olofi spoke with Orisha Oko and related his appreciation with the sacrifices and told him he would continue to have abundant harvests, but that his farm would have to be far from the sea. 2 This parable demonstrates the reverence that Orisha Oko earned as the Chief of Irawo Ile, how he cured himself from ogodo and how he learned and taught the secrets of farming. Orisha Oko was once the Chief of Irawo Ile. The village thrived and he was known as a great and fair patriarch. However, Orisha Oko contracted ogodo (yaws), which resembles leprosy. Back in those days people with this disease were required to live apart from other people, as this illness was highly infectious. So Orisha Oko withdrew from the village and settled into nearby land in the outskirts of the town. In order to survive Orisha Oko began to hunt the wild game surrounding his home. He and his wife also lived off the crops which they manage to find. Among these were yams, fruits, and other vegetables, as wells as herbs and plants with curative properties. It is at this time that Orisha Oko was given the knowledge of farming, because as you see, these were the times prior to people knowing how to cultivate the land and grow crops. He thus became a skilled farmer and his crops abounded with hearty harvests. He also began tasting and trying many of the herbs and plants that he found around his land. He discovered that some of these had the power to ameliorate many ailments and eventually found a cure to the ogodo that so plagued his skin. Once cured, he and his wife returned to Irawo Ile where they were welcomed back by the villagers. They were also astonished at the surplus of crops he had for them to eat. Orisha Oko generously shared with them all he had learned about farming and the curative plants that he had discovered. The people were so grateful that he was revered well beyond his death. After his passing, the people continued to revere him and continuously spoke about him and his contributions. They showered his spirit with praise and thankfulness. To this day, Orisha Oko is known as the patron of farmers. 3 Here the law of sacrifice and exchange is demonstrated as Orisha Oko agrees to provide Yemaya with the knowledge of fertility in exchange for water for his plants. As an Irunmole, Orisha Oko was one of the first divinities sent by Olodumare to help create Aiye, “the Earth”. One of the gifts he received for his task was the knowledge of fertility – that force which allows all living plants and creatures to procreate and grow. Yemaya (from Yeye–Omo-Eja or Mother of the Fish) was the Orisha whose domain was an important river in Yorubaland. She was known throughout many villages for her motherly nature which took in, sheltered, and fed many in need. She became known as a great mother and with her waters Yemaya was able to cure many who were sick and wash away the sorrows of her children. A lot of the women that came to Yemaya for help were in want of child, but for one reason or another hadn’t been blessed with motherhood. This caused their self-worth to diminish and feel ashamed. This also was a source of quarrels in their marriages. However, Yemaya did not posses the secret of fertility, so was not able to help them. Yemaya understood that fertility was that force which allowed the living to reproduce and thrive. She was determined to help the many women who came to her and thus set out to seek this knowledge. She had heard that Orisha Oko possessed it and so she set-off to visit him in Irawo Ile. Orisha Oko met with Yemaya and listened to her request. He understood and sympathized the plight she bore, for he, too, was a compassionate healer. He had heard of Yemaya’s character and knew that this knowledge would help her many children populate the lands. So they arranged a trade, for cosmic law dictates that sacrifice is always offered. Thus, the agreement made was for Yemaya ensure that fresh water is available for Orisha Oko's crops in exchange for the knowledge of fertility. 4 In this Ese Ifa we learn of Orisha Oko working with Ogun to change the destiny of a soul before its birth: from one of thievery and delinquency to one that is productive and fruitful. We learn the importance of Ifa consultation and adherence to its advice. A young women named Yewande sought out the Babalawo of her village after she suspected she may be pregnant. She had missed her period now for some time and wanted to confirm the eventual birth. She also wanted to learn about her child’s destiny once born and whether it would be a prosperous one. The Babalawo casted Ifa and recited the messages to her. Ifa ensured her that the baby would be born without any complications and would be healthy. However, she needed to offer Ebo (sacrifice or offerings) to Ogun and Orisha Oko because her child was destined to become a criminal. Ifa’s message was: Ogun Rushed Into The City Like A Hurricane, And Orisha Oko Walked Into The Market Place Naked, These Were Ifa’s Declarations To Yewande, Whose Pregnancy Consists Of A Child Who Will Be A Thief, She Was Advised To Offer Ebo. Yewande however did not heed the advise and did not perform the Ebo. Soon the baby was born healthy; however, Ifa’s warnings did come to pass. By the time the boy was 20 years old he was infamous in his village due to his crimes including thievery and extortion. The villagers blamed the mother for not properly raising the boy. Eventually she remembered Ifa’s advise and recommendation; however, it was already too late. When she died it was in shame and in regret. 5 In this Parable Orisha Oko demonstrates friendship, resourcefulness, and practicality to a given problem. Orisha Oko and Obatala had been friends for many years. They always helped each other and in this way they carried on Olodumare’s instructions for them in Aiye. One day, Obatala sought out his friend for some advise and help. He asked Orisha Oko if he would help him take care of his farm where he grew sacred yams. These yams were no ordinary ones, they were magical and would speak at night. The yams also knew all of Obatala’s secrets and knowledge of how he helped create Aiye. And they could often be heard discussing this among themselves at night. Because of these conversations, Obatala would stay up at night and tend to the yams in order to avoid them talking to anyone that may be passing by. However, this left Obatala rather tired during the day and unable to attend his other sacred duties. Obatala explained to Orisha Oko that he could not trust anyone else to help him in this task. So, Orisha Oko agreed to help his friend and accompanied Obatala back to his land. In the evening Orisha Oko settled where these talkative yams grew. Sure enough, when it was all dark, the yams began talking among each other. When Orisha Oko heard them he asked them to stop; however they refused to obey his command. So they continued to talk away and ignore Orisha Oko’s command. Eventually Orisha Oko wore weary and decided to bury them underground. The next morning he declared that from now on all yams would grow underground and cease to talk. Chapter 3 - Orikis, Prayers, and Songs Orisha Oko not only helped Olodumare during creation but continues to do so even to this day. He, like all of the Irunmole and Orishas, continues to do the work Olodumare has set for him according to his responsibilities. Orisha Oko helps all peoples, animals, and crops. He particularly helps his followers, devotees, and priests and priestesses. This is accomplished through direct or indirect, personal or impersonal exchanges, primarily via sacrifice. Orisha Oko provides us blessing whether or not we have personally received him through an initiation or ritual. Initiations include the ones into the priesthood or those received as an adjunct Orisha. The Irunmole and Orishas are living energies; spirits of the highest order. And life requires life – in order to receive we must give; hence, the basic exchange available to us known as sacrifice. Sacrifice is the elemental exchange of energies that fuel other and reciprocate blessings. Of the most basic offerings or sacrifices available to us are those of the word, sound, and chant. Indigenous cultures around the world have expressed their devotion and obtained enlightenment through such sacred sounds. Through sound they’ve received connection and healing, guidance and protection from the divine. These sounds include those derived from sacred words such as "Aum", "Om", "Amen", "Ashe". As children of Olodumare, we can pay tribute by chanting the Orisha’s Oriki or praise names. These names are usually descriptive in nature, noting the Orishas attributes, characteristics, and or history. We have already listed a few (“God of the Fields”, “Agba Irawo – Elder in Irawo Town”, “Spirit of the Farm”, “Orisha of Agriculture and the Fertile Earth”, “Ruler of Earth’s Fertility, Procreation, and Life Giving Properties”, “Orisha of the Harvest of Crops”, “The Restorer of Fertility”, “The Celestial Judge”). These names have been collected throughout time, starting when the Orisha first roamed in Aiye. The Orikis allow us to remember or learn about the Orisha and their blessings. Prayers and songs are also powerful ways to pay homage, celebrate, and teach about the Orishas. Songs and music breakdown to fundamental sounds and are carried through the sound current in waves. Sound is a primordial element of energy. Songs and music have the ability to stir our souls, touch our hearts, and move our bodies. Following are some orikis, prayers, and songs you can use to propitiate and connect to Orisha Oko. 1 Orisha Oko, Elder In Irawo Husband Of The Owner Of Efun If You Support Me I Will Go With You To Irawo Agba Orisha Oko, Elder In Irawo Hunter Who Kills Child Of Isapa Stew On Iyan Ogiyan Devotee Must Not Eat It May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 2 Orisha Oko - Bless Us, Guide Us, Enlighten Us. Bless us with productive and meaningful work. Guide our steps so that they lead to our blessed destiny. Enlighten our minds with Olodumare’s purpose for us. Orisha Oko – Give us courage, creativity, and resourcefulness. Give us the courage to live in truth and exemplify good character. Give us the creativity to manifest healing deeds in the world. Give us the resourcefulness needed to bring our ideas to fruition. Orisha Oko – Help us serve, learn and earn. Help us serve Olodumare and mankind with our labor. Help us learn the knowledge needed to evolve and progress. Help us earn prosperity with the fruits of our nourishing efforts. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 3 Orisha Oko you are the one who cultivates the land so it yields hearty harvests. Cultivate within us a desire to live our purpose and achieve our destinies. Orisha Oko you are the one that brings fertility to Earth so that it may give sustenance to all the living. Allow our spirits, minds, and bodies to become fertile with the creativity needed to manifest our hearts desires. Orisha Oko you are the one that heals the ailments that plague so many with misery and dis-ease. Allow us to become healers of our families, our communities, and ourselves and help spread light and love throughout the world. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 4 Orisha Of Farms I Pay Homage Let Me Survive. Father Of Yaws That Causes Death Expel Dis-Ease From Me Ameliorate My Shame/Disgrace; Heal The Wounds Of My Being. You Are The Orisha Of Planted Seeds. Father Bless Me and Remove All Dis-Ease. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 5 Orisha Of Farms Whose Breath Can Blow Away Witches, Yes You Sing A Song That Can Remove The Wounds From Me, Pay Homage To He Who Cares For All, Embrace The Orisha Of The Farms, You Are The Owner Of Protection, Who Protects The Land, The Winds Guide Us To Where We Can Find More Ire, Embrace The Father Of The Farms Who Helps Us Reach Summits And Peaks, Who Allows Us To Inherit Ire And Immediately Benefit From It, To Possess The Strength And A Happy State Of Mind, Turn To The Father Of The Farms Who Will Accept And Greet You. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 6 Orisha Oko, He Who Contains a Tranquil Spirit, Father Of Yaws, That Causes Death, Who Spreads Hurriedly About, It Can Infect You, And Cause Eruptions in Your Skin, You Are The Orisha Of Planted Seeds, Father Who Eradicates The Spirit of Yaws. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 7 Orisha Of Farms Who Blows Breath, Calmly Elevates Those Requests We Salute You, You Are The Burier Of The World. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 8 Orisha of Farm, Owner of Honey, Owner of Honey Orisha of the Farm, Owner of Honey, Who is Wealthy May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 9 Children of Orisha Oko, Long Life To You. Come see the blessed ones, Come and see what Orisha Oko does for one. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 10 Rejoice On Meeting The Spirit Of The Earth, Who Makes Goodness Goodness, Rejoice On Meeting The Spirit Of The Earth, Who Makes Goodness Goodness, The Orisha Of The Farm, Rejoice On Meeting The Spirit Of The Earth, Who Makes Goodness, The Blemishes Have Fallen Off, We Are Supported. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 11 Teats That Nourish, We Come to Be Fed, He Delivers Cures, We Recover, He Delivers Cures, We Come to Be Fed, He Delivers Cures, We Recover, Olodumare, We Come to Be Fed By Orisha Oko. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! 12 Orisha Oko, Orisha Of The Farm, Owner Of Medicine For Recovery, The One Saved With Survival Is Who I Speak To, Who I Incite, I Will See The One Enshrouded In Mystery, Orisha Oko, Orisha Of The Farm, Wind Who Bursts In, Spirit For Who I Speak, Who I Incite, I Will See The One Enshrouded In Mystery. May It Be So, And So It Will Be. Ashe! 13 Mojuba Orisha Oko, Breath of Nature, Breath of the Earth, The Life Giver of All Who Gives Breathe for Life. May it be so, and so it will be. Ashe! Chapter 4 - Shrines & Offerings Offerings to Orisha Oko include those as dictated by the Odu’s Ese Ifa and those requested through personal inquiry. The ones from an Odu will be contained in its Ese Ifa and will be specific. However, it is appropriate and recommended to establish a direct relationship with the Orishas, besides the messages revealed during consultation. As already mentioned prayer and chanting provide a powerful means for expressing ones devotion. When communicating with the Orisha directly you may want to establish a cycled schedule such as every 5th day, or every Sunday for example. However, you can approach your Orishas as needed. If you’re a beginner, you can ask the Orisha directly using basic divination with Obi or consecrated cowrie shells, which can provide you with the following answers: Yes – Alafia No – Oyeku Yes, But … Etawa (Cast Again to Confirm) No, But … Okanran Yes – Ejife … Perfect Harmony If you proceed in this manner, you must keep your questions simple and they need to be answered as yes or no. Be forewarned that negative questions or those with evil intent are to be avoided at all costs. Serious inquires require more advanced consultation with a competent priest or priestess. The Shrine Traditionally, the shrine of Orisha Oko has been maintained outside in a grove or at the initiate’s back yard. The ground is often used to take the offerings, usually in a hole dug next or around the shrine. Offerings to Orisha Oko should be made while kneeling or sitting. In the diaspora, most people who receive Orisha Oko receive the following: A Clay Dish (often with a bed of dirt from fertile plowed farm land), Two Coconuts Painted Red And White, A Curved Red And White Painted Tile, Implements Such Iron Statues Of A Farmer, An Umbrella, A Plow, And Ox Made Of Iron, A Small Container With The Sacred Stone, Cowrie Shells, Orisha Oko's Elekes (Necklaces). For those who haven’t’ received this initiation the ground can be used to place its offering. In addition, if you’ve received Ifa initiation, your Ifa container may be used, if accepted by Ifa. The shrine should include the following items. 1. Pot Of Fresh Cool Water 2. Sword 3. Palm Fronds 4. Silver Staff or Decorated With White Beads Traditionally, the iron human image is repainted with efun every 5 days. Offerings Generally, offerings should first consist of non-blood sacrifices unless divination reveals otherwise. When one is asking directly to the Orisha, start by asking the following items first: Omi Otun (Fresh Water) – for clarity and cleansing. Obi Abata (Kola Nut – 4 Lobes) or Coconut if Obi Abata is Not Available – This represents the highest offering available to humans. It brings goodness, prosperity, victory, and ire. It placates all evil and helps against all adversities. Orogbo (Bitter Kola) - Offered for long life, to overcome all obstacles, to find a spouse, and have children. It placates all adversities. Epo Pupa (Red Palm Oil) - Offered for peacefulness, calms conflicts. Efun (White Native Chalk) - Offered for peacefulness, calming of the mind, coolness, morality, prosperity and to overcome hot headedness and chaos. Corn Wine (Oti Sekete) – Offered to help bring joy and communion among people. Osun (Camwood) - Camwood’s red color (dye) signifies heat, raw power. It is offered to have children and a bountiful harvest. Ohun Ogbin (All Edibles Except Those That Are Taboo) Then proceed to the following: Pounded Yam Cassava Flour Meal Egusi (Melon) Soup Lastly, the following: Igbin (Snail) - Offered for the attainment of money, peacefulness, calming of the mind, calms all conflicts. Eyele (Pigeon) - Offered for contentment of life, attainment of money, to bring forth ire (prosperity), overcomes dissatisfaction, to ward off poverty and avoid failure. Eja Aro (Live Catfish) – Offered for fertility and prosperity. Eye Etu (Guinea Hen With Dark Feathers) - Offered to bring prosperity, victory over obstacles. Akuko (Rooster) to Its Esu - Offered to bring prosperity, isegun (victory over obstacles), and long life. Eja Abori (Dried Catfish) – Offered for fertility and prosperity. Abo Adiye (Hen) Obuko (He-Goat) - Offered to have children and to have supporters / followers. Taboos All living things are affected by taboos - those things or activities that are harmful in life and are thus prohibited. Many taboos are in the form of foods or colors to avoid. In addition, taboos include activities to abstain from. Following are Orisha Oko's major taboos and these should be adhered to: Palm Kernel Oil Masquerades Should Not Enter His Shrine Glossary Abo Adiye (Hen): Offered to have children and to have supporters / followers. Adimu (Offerings): Generally refers to offerings with blood / animals. Akuko (Rooster): Offered to bring prosperity, isegun (victory over obstacles), and long life. Efun (White Native Chalk): Offered for peacefulness, calming of the mind, coolness, morality, prosperity and to overcome hot headedness and chaos. Epo Pupa (Red Palm Oil): Offered for peacefulness, calms conflicts. Eye Etu (Guinea Fowl): Offered to bring prosperity, victory over obstacles. Eyele (Pigeon): Offered for contentment of life, attainment of money, to bring forth ire (prosperity), overcomes dissatisfaction, to ward off poverty and avoid failure. Igbin (Snail): Offered for the attainment of money, peacefulness, calming of the mind, calms all conflicts. Irawo Ile or Irawo Owode or Igbo Irawo (Irawo Town): A town located in the province Ifedapo, Saki/Ekokan district, in Oyo State, Nigeria. It is approximately 290 miles (or 462 km) West of the Capital Abuja. Irunmole (Pure, Primary Spirit/Energy): The first beings sent by Olodumare to accomplish specific tasks during the initial creation. Isapa Stew: Isapa (pronounced Ishapa) is the roselle (Hibiscus Sabdariffa). It is a species of Hibiscus native to West Africa. It is a tangy white herb used to make egusi soup often served with pounded yam. The flower of the red variant of the roselle is commonly used to make hibiscus tea (agua de Jamaica) popular in Latin America. Koricoto (Orisha Oko’s Brother): The Orisha that is said to look after the crops when the sun is down. The scarecrow, ever vigilant against birds taking the growing crops, is often attributed to him. This Orisha is often received with Orisha Oko. His colors are green and red. Obi Abata (Kola Nut - Four Lobes): This represents the highest offering available to humans. It brings goodness, prosperity, victory, and ire. It placates all evil and helps against all adversities. Obuko (He-Goat): Brings prosperity, victory over obstacles, and long life Ogodo (Yaws): A long-term (chronic) infection that mainly affects the skin, bones, and joints. Ojubo (Shrine or Place to Make Offerings): Traditionally the sacred shrine or place of the Orisha / Irunmole. The word is derived from: oju (seeing / facing) ebo (offering / sacrifice). Orikis (Praise Names, Attribute Names): Chanting orikis helps the devotee to awaken and stimulate the Deity’s energy. Orikis contain the attributes for that Deity, their personalities, history, and lessons learned during their existence on Earth. Orogbo (Bitter Kola Nut): Offered for long life, to overcome all obstacles, to find a spouse, and have children. It placates all adversities. Osun (Camwood): Camwood’s red color (dye) signifies heat, raw power. It is offered to have children and a bountiful harvest. Patakis (Story or Proverb): The sacred stories of the Orishas. Traditionally, these were derived from specific Odu’s ese Ifa. Bibliography Ajisafe, A. K. Laws and Customs of the Yoruba People. London, 1924. Awolalu, J. 0. Yoruba Beliefs and Sacrificial Rites. London, 1979. Bascom, W. R. Ifa Divination. Indiana, 1969. . Cabrera, L. El Monte. Miami, 1971. . Chief FAMA. Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion (Orisa Worship). United States, 1993. Chief FAMA. Practitioners' Handbook for the Ifa Professional. United States, 2004. Chief Popoola, S. S. Ifa Dida Volume One (EjiOgbe - Orangun Meji). 2008 Chief Popoola, S. S. Ifa: The Key to Its Understanding. Los Angeles. 2002 Courlander, H. Tales of Yoruba Gods and Heroes. New York, 1973. Epega, D. O. The Mystery of the Yoruba Gods. Sagos, 1931. Gleason, J. The Gods of Yorubaland. New York, 1971. Gonzalez-Wippler, M. Santeria: the Religion: Faith, Rites, Magic. New York, 2003. Mason, J. Adura Orisa – Prayers for Selected Heads. New York, 2002. Mason, J. Orin Orisa – Songs for Selected Heads. New York. 1992. Mckenzie, P.R. Hail Orisha!: A Phenomenology of a West African Religion in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Leiden. 1997. Murphy, J. Santeria: African Spirits in America; Boston. 1993 Osamaro, C. Ifism the Complete Works of Orunmila Vol. 1. New York, 1989 Quinones, A.W. I Hear Olofi's Song: A Collection of Yoruba Spiritual Prayers for Egun and Orisa. Philadelphia. 2010. Wyndham, G. Myths of Ife. London, 1921. About the Author Awo Olumide Achaba was initiated in both Orisha and Ifa. His Orisha initiation was in 2002 and of the diaspora tradition of Cuban lineage. Yemaya is his crowned Orisha. His Ifa initiation was in 2007 and under the traditional African lineage. As an Ifa Awo, he is a student and apprentice, researcher, and author of the Orisha and Ifa practices.