I have written before about the road of Babalú-Ayé called Soyaya, who is strongly associated with Olocun, the oricha of the bottom of the sea. While these two share deep mysteries and untold wealth, I have wondered about their connection, and this week I think I understand it a bit better.
Being in San Francisco for the Earth Medicine Alliance Conference, I decided to spend some time at UC Berkeley exploring the papers of the anthropologist William Bascom, who spent the summer of 1948 researching Africanisms in Jovellanos, Matanzas Province. He spent days discussing Lucumí and Arará traditions with the famous Esteban Baró, an African-born child of Ochumaré, the oricha of the rainbow, who is also known as Dan or Güeró. At some point, their conversation turned to Olocun, and Baró explained laconically, "Olocun is the Earth of the sea, oldest of all the orichas."