Saturday, December 26, 2009

Work to Obtain Favors from Obalú-Ayé

In his book, Ewe, the French photographer, ethnographer, and babalawo Pierre Fatumbi Verger describes a work to obtain favors from Obalú-Ayé from the odu Ogbe-Ogunda (p. 314-315). In Lucumí, whether in Cuba or its Diasporas, Ogbe-Ogunda is usually called Ogbe-Yono, and it contains the most famous story about Obalú-Ayé, in which he is exiled from the land of the Lucumí, spends years as a homeless wanderer, and then finally becomes king of the Arará.

Verger gives the following description:

Open a hole in the floor of the house. Inside the hole, place the unidentified herb called ewe ajade and ewe popo (Adenia lobata) along with seven hard stones. Kill a rooster and pour its blood into the hole. Also place its body in the hole. Draw the odu Ogbe-Ogunda in iyerosun powder and place that in the hole as well. Cover the preparation.

This work sounds a lot like like another variation on the secret of San Lázaro that Ña Octavia Zulueta--Jundesi planted in the house of Armando Zulueta--Omí Toké. Did she want to give Armando access to the favors of Obalú-Ayé? Had Ogbe-Yono come out for her or for Armando but no one knew about it? Or was it just an inspiration that she had? A message from her head?

Historians say the past is another country, and Cubans are fond of saying everyone is a world unto himself.

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