Margot San Lázaro

My comadre Raquel Fernández (left) was made by her older sister, Magdalena (center), in 1964. Raquel's oyugbona was José María Hernández-Arioza--Omi Niqué, who had been made by Margot San Lázaro, the famous Havana priestess. Magdalena had been made the year before, and her oyugbona was another of Margot's godchildren, Irene Zúñiga--Ochún Bí.  Magdalena tells the story of how Margot became identified with Asojano:

Margot was being made to Yemayá in a Lucumí house, but as she sat in the initiation and the elders called down the orichas, it was not Yemayá who came down but Asojano. In those days, Pilar Fresneda--Asonsiperaco from the Sabalú cabildo was the undisputed expert in such things, and Margot's elders reached out to her. When she arrived at the house, she found Asojano speaking in his famously froggy and hard-to-understand voice. She sang to Asojano in Arará, and he responded just as he was supposed to. This was a beautiful Asojano, an unforgettable manifestation of the deity. Asonsiperaco was so impressed by Margot's Asojano that she decided to give her an Arará name. Asonsiperaco called her Anujamen, and the elders had to virar el oro--"turn around the order" of the ceremony and finish it in a way that was fitting for Asojano.

From then on Pilar took Margot under her wing and trained her in the religion; the two women worked together until Pilar joined the ancestors in the 1960s. So prevalent and powerful was Margot's Asojano that she became known as Margot San Lázaro.

All this happened a long time ago, and so the story has some loose ends.  Every time Magdalena tells the story, she insists that the elders changed the order of the ceremony, but she also reports that Margot had a Yemayá name as well--Tinomí. When asked about this, Magdalena is very frank about the fact that these things happened before she was made. In fact, Margot had died before she was made.

(Thanks to Willie Ramos for this photo of Margot.)


  1. Bendiciones pido a todos ustedes!
    In the same day I was being made, the ORIATÈ GERARDO NIMO -obbà lufan dei - told me whole story about my ancestros.He told me that one`s of our founders was Margot San Lazaro- Tinomì, and she was being made Shangò by Damiana Acosta OMÒ SHANGO ORO AGGAYÙ.
    And now....reading your comment...I`m not so sure about whole story.....


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