Thursday, March 25, 2010

Working with Atenas: Ogbe-Tuanilara

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Pedro Abreu—Asonyanye also writes the sign Ogbe-Otura under the awán basket. Nicknamed Ogbe-Tuanilara, this sign is often referred to as the place where Asojano’s secrets were born and where illness was spread across the world. These may or may not have anything to do with each other, but it is interesting to notice these things share the same source.

Which of Asojano’s many secrets are born here? The secret of what goes into the já to make it powerful? The secret that goes into the beaded and be-shelled bracelet called the cachá? The secret that Pedro places inside the covered vessel where Asojano eats? The secret place where he eats? The secret that Jundesi planted behind the house of Armando Zulueta?

The sign does include a long story about why oricha priests and priestesses perform their cleansing offerings—why they make ebó—with Eleguá. Eleguá wants to know the secrets of Osain, the oricha of the secrets of the forest. In the process, his mother transforms him into a hunchback, so he will resemble Osain. Osain is in trouble and is told to make an offering to Babalú-Ayé, but he turns to his father instead. Eleguá calls down the rains, and the trees become twisted and people become ill. In the end, Eleguá makes ebó with trash from the Earth and speckled rooster and everything goes back to normal. The summary of the story says the client must have an awán with a speckled rooster.

Perhaps it should not be surprising that when I recently asked Pedro about this sign and its role in the awán, he changed the subject to the sign Oché-Osá, where the Arará Eleguás are born.

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