More Reflections of Echú Afrá
As I said before, most houses give Afrá as a simple coral stone. Some add a mixture of “medicines” to empower and direct him, and some even do a separate ceremony at the crab’s cave. However, the coral stone is interesting in its own right. These “stones” are actually the skeletons of dead corals. Like the bones of a human skeleton, they last and last even after death, apparently indestructible. Their small, round openings resemble the sores created by smallpox, and so they evoke one of the original aspects of Babalú-Ayé. Once fed, Afrá becomes like an open wound that neither disappears nor heals.
Afrá reminds us of the insurmountable rawness that we all carry within us. It is painful, sore, secret, and unprocessed. That unfinished quality may be result of forward movement or intractable incompleteness. If we live with it and interact with it long enough, Afrá will provide us with valuable and hard-won wisdom. And if we listen carefully and push on, step by step, he will lead us to a new place where we may find healing and new sense of plenitude.
Still, the open sore may never go away completely.