People know that Jundesi planted the secret of San Lázaro at Armando Zulueta’s house, but no one really knows what the secret is or why Jundesi planted it there. Many new compendia of religious information are being published these days, and in one of them, I found the following mythic narrative in the divination sign or odu called Oyekun-Ojuani:
In this road of the odu, Shakuaná—another name for Babalú-Ayé—did not stay in any single house, but when he arrived at the house of a priest called Oyekún for divination, the sign Oyekún Ojuani came out. The priest marked the following sacrifice: two pigs, sixteen fish, two pots of palm oil, and a hat. Shakuaná made the sacrifice, and since he had no secret place to eat, the priest sent him to leave the offering exposed at the entrance to the town. When Shakuaná arrived to leave the sacrifice on the Earth, he heard the voice of Elegba, the messenger of the orichas, from behind him: “The sacrifice that you placed on the Earth will be separated from you if you do find it here. You, seated in this place, will leave all your evil children here and you will call them each time you need them. You will do the following: open a hole, sacrifice a pig and a rooster, which you throw in there. You put earth from the ocean, the river, the lagoon, the forest, the plaza, the street, the house, the foot of a ceiba tree, and Asojano. You add herbs from all the orichas and divination powder marked with the sixteen major odus, making a little hill at a crossroads. On top, you plant a cactus and you place a pocked stone on top. Then you consecrate the stone by feeding it with a speckled rooster. You hang red, black, and white cloth around it. Cook the rooster and eat it. This was the birth of the first kiti of Asojano, destined to guard the evil children of Shakuaná.
Could this be the origin of the secret of San Lázaro that Jundesi planted? Did she want to give Armando access to the evil children of Shakuaná? Did she know this story and understand her actions as an extension of the godly precedent?
Or is this an invention by priests who gather information indiscriminately and package it for sale?
A very similar description for the kiti appears in Bernard Maupoil’s book La geomancie a la Côte des Esclaves on pages 357 to 360. This book was originally published in 1936, and it seems pretty clear that the description for how to make the kiti comes from here. If the “recipe” for the kiti story comes from this ethnography, how did the priest decide to place it in Oyekun-Ojuani and not one of the other 256 divination signs? Did he divine to find out where it went?
To my eye, this looks like a story about Shakuaná making sacrifice with a separate recipe tacked on the end. Why else would there be two similar but different sacrifices described? And who knit them together? When and why?
So the secret—its meaning, its internal form, its function—remains a secret.