Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Judith Gleason--Oyá Lola Has Joined the Ancestors

A couple weeks back I had to go to New York City for work, and I called Judith Gleason to see if she wanted to have dinner. No answer, so I left a message. The next day, her son left me a message explaining that she had joined the ancestors on August 5th after having a stroke.

I have "known" Judith since 1987, though I doubt anyone really knew her. In all honesty it is terribly difficult for me to separate her from Oyá, the oricha of her devotion, the oricha of lightning and winds, whose unpredictable movements shake up the status quo and reveal new opportunities. So here I am cleaning up after this storm.

When I was twenty-one, I found Judith´s book, Oyá: In Praise of the Goddess. I read it again and again, as I tried to follow the shifting currents of its prose and as I worked to digest the world it depicted. I still have the original copy whose binding has been broken by wear and double taped for reinforcement. The book is a masterpiece of original, synthetic scholarship that breaks between lived experience, anthropology, depth psychology, textual analysis, and diasporic description. These shifting perspectives imitate the motile quality of Oyá's subjectivity and reveal Judith’s unwillingness to privilege any one perspective. Such was her deep commitment to her vision of wholeness.

Having been pulled (or blown?) into the world of oricha, I needed to find a way to connect to the community, so I sought Judith out. I found her name and address in Contemporary Authors and wrote her a short letter explaining my situation. A week later I received a short letter in her own hand, explaining that she only knew two diviners but recommending one--Santiago Pedroso. A month later I visited Santiago for my first cowry shell reading, and five years later Santiago's sister Norma initiated me to the orichas.

As the years went by, Judith and I would talk from time to time, always circling our common interests--oricha, the feminine, depth psychology, writing, family, and finding a path through the world. Over the years, I heard about "the children" at Stanford, in Mexico, dealing with mental illness. There were conversations where I called with a specific question, and Judith and I would talk till we wandered through to some kind of answer. But there were other "conversations" where Judith would launch into whatever she was working on or thinking about, propelled by the inner force that defined her in some way. In either case, I usually would get a letter a week or two later with more thoughts, hints, intuitions, and images.

In one such conversation, we discussed Nana Burukú and Nanú, dark goddesses associated with the powerful mysteries of the Earth. I had told Judith that my guiding ancestor spirit had served Nana Burukú as a priestess in life. A week later, a letter arrived addressed in her distinctive handwriting, and it contained a small necklace for Nana Burukú that Judith had gotten in Dassa, Benin, where the goddess has her principal temple. That necklace still sits on my ancestor shrine, gracing the neck of the doll that represents my guide spirit.

At some point, Judith wanted to go to Cuba to meet a senior Oyá priestess I had mentioned to her several times. I set her up with a driver, a place to stay, and more contacts than she could possibly meet in a week. To my delight, she fell in love with Cuba. The simplicity and directness of most people delighted her, and she appreciated the priestess Ester de Oyá, who in her late seventies was still dancing for the orichas at drumming ceremonies. Judith also took a shining to my friend Paco, with whom she stayed. I think she ended up going twice, but the years make it hard to remember. What I do remember is the lilt in her voice when she spoke of Cuba. I was thrilled to be able to return the favor of opening the roads for her to find some new vitality.

The last time we spoke was in April. She called because a mutual friend had reached out to ask her about her involvement in the oricha community in New York in the late 1960s, and Judith somehow decided she wanted to cover some of this territory this with me. I had spoken to her relatively recently, and so I had some sense of her struggles to survive on a fixed income and the devastating loss she had suffered from the death of daughter. She told me of her efforts to find some footing in this new place. She recounted how a friend had insisted that she needed help and had directed her to a psychologist--her "shrink" as she kept saying. The talk-therapy helped, she said, but she confessed that she never told her shrink about her involvement with the orichas. "I am not sure what he would make of it, but I have never said anything about it." We talked too about the power of the psyche to defend itself from terrible trauma and loss. She mentioned a poem by Wallace Stevens that had helped her a bit as she struggled to make sense of the trajectory of her own life.

My wife tells me that when I got off the phone, I said I thought Judith was dying.

A week later the last handwritten letter arrived, continuing the conversation with more bits of detail about her family and her Yoruba experiences," this time telling how she had just recounted her first meeting with Pierre Verger to her eldest daughter. "So shreds of my Yoruba experience fly by. The years collapse and sometimes I cannot imagine how it all happened." Taped into the middle of the letter was the Stevens poem.

The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pine,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among the clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.

--Wallace Stevens

It seems the blustering energy of a stormy intellect finally came home, directed to the specific, solitary solidity of the mountain. The opposites touched for a moment or a month, and now Judith Gleason--Oyá Lola is gone.

Ibaye, ibaye tonu.
Homage of the world, homage of the world to the one in heaven.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pilgrimage: The Soul in Search of Itself

Just this week I got a flyer in the mail from the New York Center for Jungian Studies, advertising their 2013 Jung in Ireland program. One program was titled "Pilgrimage: The Soul in Search of Itself," and the copy gets to the heart of much of what I have tried to evoke in my writings on Babalú-Ayé and pilgrimage.

"Pilgrimage, an archetype representing the search for spiritual centeredness and wholeness, compels us to separate ourselves from ordinary life and place, and to embark on a meaningful encounter with what C.G. Jung calls the “Self.” Throughout the ages, people from all walks of life and every religious tradition have embarked on pilgrimages, explorations that mirror a spiritual journey inward to reflect on our life’s meaning and purpose.

Just as no two people are the same, no two pilgrimages are the same. Some necessitate a concrete and literal destination, while others consist of an inner, self-directed goal. But all pilgrimages have in common a restless human longing for depth, transcendence, and, ultimately, an authentic sense of being at home with ourselves in an ever-changing world. These are found in the soul’s search for itself. And, as such, we are all pilgrims.

"...We...come to understand how the often perilous journey and difficult inner work of the pilgrim is not so much of discovery but of rediscovery, not attainment but a reinstatement of the original human condition and even, as some would have it, a way back to a world of meaning and spirit."

(The image is a pilgrim on the way to Rincón, Cuba, as part of the annual festival of San Lázaro.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Images from the Feast of San Lázaro

This video provides a touching rendition of the pilgrimage through black-and-white photography.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Imitation of Babalú-Ayé: The Sacred Stranger


For whatever reason, I find myself intrigued today by a certain set of parallels in the material I have been laying out here: there are many aspects of Babalú-Ayé that live outside the house and cannot be brought in.  The Zulueta house in Perico has the secret that lives in an outbuilding in the patio, planted mysteriously by their founding ancestress, Octavia—Jundesi. Irete-Oyekún calls for the consecration of Ajuangan, a powerful and destructive force who also lives in the patio. Oyekún-Ojuani describes the kiti, the secret place for Asojano to eat and call his disruptive children.
Each of these seems to move against the major ritual pattern in Lucumí initiations for warrior deities, where the oricha is first fed in the forest and then, once placated, brought into the house.  These powers seem to point to aspects of divinity that cannot be civilized enough to bring into everyday life. These powers are always external and remind us of the power of the bush or the forest--el monte in Cuban Spanish. In fact, there is a story from Dahomey that identifies an earth mound as the source of the gods, so we know that these powers are prodigious and procreative.

If we take the image of something that always stands outside into society as somehow essential to both Babalú-Ayé and those who follow him, we come to something deeply untamable and alien within ourselves. In some cases, we fear to face the these things within ourselves, and in others we cannot bear the idea of showing these parts of ourselves to anyone else. As human beings that recognize the unintegrated within ourselves, we become less predictable - even to ourselves. Who really knows how she will react when the doctor announces cancer? Who can predict with total certainty how he will react to the slow decline of age or the loss of something precious like a parent, or a child, or a hand? Sometimes we shield ourselves from the world, taking refuge in the caves of isolation. Sometimes we rise to the throne of our own authority. Like Babalú, we touch our own hidden nature, and like Babalú, we become irascible and unique.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saint Roque as Babalú-Ayé

All along the Way to Campostela there are allusions to San Lazaro. In many towns, including Cacabelos where we are right now, there was a special hostel dedicated to San Lazaro located at the edge of town so pilgrims with the plague or leprosy would not have to mix with others. Imagined as a lame man on crutches with two dogs traveling with him, San Lazaro is a classic icon of suffering, isolation, devotion, and dynamism.

Another similar figure is San Roque. Son of French nobles, Roque became a mendicant. On pilgrimage to Rome, he came down with the plague. With open wounds he walked to Campostela, attended by a faithful dog that licked his sores clean and brought him food to eat. He is always represented as a pilgrim with sores on his legs and a dog at his side. He caught people's imagination in the Middle Ages, and there are churches for him all along the Way.

Yesterday I was already thinking a post about San Roque, who in Cuba is often linked to Babalú-Ayé, the deity of infectious disease and healing. Today we walked into Cacabelos, passed the Plaza de San Lazaro, and visited the little chapel where this image of San Roque sits on the main altar.

When we went to the Plaza of San Lazaro for dinner, we saw an elderly homeless man picking through the dumpsters. As we left after dinner, he was still at it, so I offered him our leftovers--dinner for him and a small offering for us to show our gratitude for our well-being.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Work of Pilgrimage IV

I woke up this morning with my thoughts squarely on the pilgrim’s road. I love the image of moving out from a town and into the largely asocial and empty space. This middle place is outside of usual relationships. This middle place is neither here nor there. It is the betwixt-and-between space that many associate with rites of passage.  You know another town is over the horizon or over the next hill, but you spend most of your time between specific places.
Similarly, the image of walking between more fixed social worlds intrigues me deeply. The pilgrim’s body literally moves out of one space and into the middle ground. It is the work of the body that propels the pilgrim forward, and it is the body that is marked by pilgrimage. The pilgrim sweats and drenches his clothes. With time, the sweat mixes with clothes worn day after day, and the pilgrim begins to reek. The pilgrim’s feet strike the Earth again and again. Her legs again, and her feet begin to swell.  Most pilgrims end up with blisters, making each step excruciating. When stopping, pilgrims peel off their shoes and socks to doctor the angry, red sores.
These ulcers are the price for movement, that most valuable of psychic gifts. Pilgrimage teaches the value of moving forward, of attending to the people and places you encounter, of respecting your limits even as you try to reach your goals.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tending Babalú-Ayé in the Sabalú Style

In the religion, there is a long tradition of honoring the spirits once a week with simple offerings. The most famous of these offerings is tending the Warriors on Mondays. Pedro Abreu—Asonyanye taught me to tend Asojano and his family every Thursday.  Since Asojano only eats eat at night, so it has to be in the evening after dark.

After placing a mat before Afrá, Nanú, and Asojano, you kneel and press your forehead to the floor. Then you do the Arará version of the invocation of God, the fodunces (orichas), the ancestors, and the living.   Unlike the Lucumí version that relies on the repeated use of the phrase “mo juba,” the Arará invocation revolves around the phrases “sofalú” and “emí chelé.” You can light incense if you want to.

Next you make the simple offerings.  You spray Afrá with white wine or aguardiente (cane liquor, like rum). He also takes cigar smoke. Nanú and Asojano take white wine, rum, and gin. When you blow the alcohol from your mouth onto Nanú and Asojano, you blow it across your hand and then you squeeze out what remains on your hand and let it drip into the opening at the top of their vessels.   Nanú and Asojano also love cigar smoke.

Still with your forehead on the floor, you speak to the fodunces, using your name and identifying yourself with your Orula sign if you have one. A man would say, “I, so-and-so, awofaka ni Orunmila omolodu such-and-such, come before you tonight to ask for…” A woman would say, ““I, so-and-so, ikofá fun ni Orunmila omolodu such-and-such, come before you tonight to ask for…”

You should speak out loud, as your voice and breath have aché. In the many years I have been in the religion, I have seen that people who speak from the heart have the strongest impact on the fodunces. It is good to pray for your elders in the religion and your family.  Another thing I have learned:  always pray for health. ALWAYS. Ernesto Pichardo—Obá Irawó says that the three blessings we seek are health, wealth, and tranquility.

After your prayers, you clean yourself with the já and then cast the cocos to make certain that Afrá, Nanú, and Asojano all accept the offering. The Sabalú have special songs before and after casting the cocos.

You can also offer a gourd filled with black beans and crowned with a red onion. When you offer it, you take two fistfuls of beans out and clean yourself with them, then place them in a second gourd. You do this each day for seven days.  Carry the beans and the onion to the woods and are leave them for Asojano. This is a very powerful cleaning.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Antolín Plá, the first Babalú-Aye Made in the US

When Antolín Plá needed to make Babalú-Ayé in Miami in 1976, the community leaders turned to Josefina Beltrán and Romelio Pérez—Talabí. Beltrán had received Babalú-Ayé Arará and was one of the elders on the scene at the time. Pérez grew up across the street from the house of Armando Zulueta—Omí Toqué, and he had worked Babalú with Zulueta for many years. Beltrán maintained that there was no way to make Babalú-Ayé direct in the US at that point.
Direct meant Arará, and it was simply impossible from her point of view. First, there were not enough Arará people to make it direct. Arará tradition said there had to be at least seven people with Babalú direct who were also possessed by the Old Man. There was also concern around the language of the invocation and the songs. Again, Arará tradition dictated that from the first prayer to the last song, the whole ceremony had to be in Arará language. To make matters worse, there were no obaces in Miami who had officiated in a direct Babalú Arará. The Arará ceremony also required a visit to a cemetery, and Beltrán was also concerned about how to do that in Miami. Finally, she knew that the Arará Babalú spoke through Ifá, rather than the shells.
Beltrán and Pérez agreed that they could not make Plá in the Arara style, so they agreed that the only alternative was for him to make Obatalá with oro for Babalú. Plá received Babalú-Ayé a week before his ocha, and so he entered the room with Babalú. In the santo, he was crowned with Obatalá, who owns all heads.
Once made, Plá was a generous if idiosyncratic priest. His grandson, Ernesto Pichardo-Plá--Obá Irawó, tells stories about his grandfather sitting on the floor in front of his Babalú and having long conversations with him. Plá would craft spiritual works with seeds and other simple things, and although no one had ever heard of them, these works were always effective.
(Thanks to Ernesto Pichardo-Plá for the image.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

María Isabel Reyes—Asonsimeneco

Late last week as I sat with the ancestors, I had a very clear image of María Isabel Reyes—Asonsimeneco.  When I met her in 2004 with David Brown, she was all heart. Never a star, María Isabel was content to live in her small house and offer coffee to those who visited. Just as in life, she appeared warm, grounded, unambitious and just grateful for the attention.
Until her passing a couple years back, she was the senior Asojano priestess at the Cabildo Arará Sabalú Nonjó in Matanzas.  Born on April 16, 1944, she was initiated on July 6, 1954 at age ten.  Amelia Mora—Chiarré was her oyugbona, and Dolores  “Lola” Vinajera—Juniko had Asojano made and served as her godmother. Lola had been made by Flora Heredia, who had made Towosi (the Arará Yewá). María Isabel waited 36 years to initiate her first priest, and that was Pedro Abreu—Asonyanye on February 20, 1992.  In time she gave other Asojanos and even made a young man from Miami.
 While a legitimate defender of the Sabalú idea that only those who have made Asojano can give or make the fodun, María Isabel said she respected Babalú-Ayé  Lucumí.
(Thanks to David H. Brown for the photo.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Baró Family of Jovellanos, Land of the Lost Majino

In my quest to get to know the Arará world, last week I travelled three hours from Havana to the little town of Jovellanos, Matanzas Province. There, I spent the afternoon in conversation with Patricio Baró and his son Manuel. Patricio is the last surviving son of the famous Esteban Baró; his older and widely respected sister, Miguelina, died recently. Esteban’s parents were from Savalu and Atakpame, and he spoke both Yoruba and Fon-gbe, which he called Nago and Fono.  Devoted to Dan Aïda Güeró, Esteban presided over the Sociedad San Manuel in Jovellanos, and his Güeró was impressive when it came down. He was also infamous for being irascible, refusing to share information outside of his family or the tiny Majino community.
Apparently these traits have been passed on. While Patricio at 81 years old was both coherent and cordial, neither he nor his 47-year-old son Manuel would share anything of substance.  There were a few snippets of songs, including one for Oshumaré in Nago and one for Ajañajaña (Elegba) in Arará. They described their old annual tradition of playing for the fodunces from the night of December 31st through January 6th, a practice now lost because of lack of funds. Similarly, they still play on the 16th of August to commemorate Esteban Baró’s birthday. They also mentioned the set of four drums they maintain, including one with a serpent carved into to represent Dan Aïda Güeró.
Even when my godfather, Pedro Abreu—Asonyanye asked a few simple questions, the Barós held back. After they mentioned the need to start ceremonies with Arará-language prayers, Pedro suggested finding some kind of unity between the different Arará groups and recited an Arará prayer he uses to open his ceremonies. But the Barós were having none of it. “You would not understand,” explained Manuel, “Neither your parents nor your grandparents were Majino. You would not understand.” This claim to familial relationship with the tradition is not one frequently heard in Havana or beyond, but it has been paramount in Jovellanos for more than 60 years. Even Manuel said his father had never found the time to teach him the family's lore, and he was resigned to the fact that it was going to die with the old man.
In Matanzas City, we visited with Pedro’s godfather in Knife, Barbarito—Jevioso, who is active in the Cabildo Sabalú there. He was unsure if anyone in the Baró family had actually made oricha, explaining that until very recently most people in the countryside simply washed their heads and received a washed fundamento of the their head-oricha.
On the way back to Havana, Pedro reminded me of something Victor Quemafo had said to him as he prepared to be initiated. “Los arará somos muy pocos y muy mal llevados.” We Arará are very few and very badly behaved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where Lázaro de la Caridad Zulueta Soa Got Irete Meyi

I  I
I  I


t happened that Lázaro was having a hard time. Storms had cost him a great deal of money. He was unemployed like so many other people, and he was witnessing the slow degradation of all that he loved.  So Lázaro saved his pennies and brought down Orula. The three diviners pulled the odu Irete Meyi. The sign came in osobo ikú otonowá, the difficulty of natural death. Here is what the diviners said:
This is the sign of the Earth and it controls all that is implied by Death. The Earth’s greatest aché is endurance through difficulty, upheaval, and change. It is Asojano in person, and his spirituality is born here.  This sign takes on everything that is cast out in life.
Orula says you will die when Olofi ordains it. You will die at the right time, but the sign comes with negativity, so you have to be careful to avoid its pitfalls. This sign is the birthplace of many illnesses. With negativity, you are moving toward death, and if you get sick, it will be hard to save you. Sickness is the entryway to Death. The main illnesses that are likely to manifest fall into several main categories:
1.       Communicable diseases:  For example, smallpox, leprosy, pleurisy, pestilent fevers, epidemics, infections that do not respond to antibiotics. Epidemics start with one but endanger us all.
2.       Skin diseases:  For example, Abscesses, boil, pimples, sores on the arms and legs, scabies, eczema and other skin eruptions.
3.       Breakdown of bodily systems:  For example, infertility, impotence, digestive disorders. It can be very difficult to have children in this sign. Children do not develop normally in the womb, and birth defects and miscarriages are common here.
4.       Paralysis:  You may have herniated discs that it hard to move. You must be extremely careful not to fall, as you can injury yourself severely. Be extra careful when climbing or getting on or off a bus or bicycle.
5.       Blood diseases: For example, leukemia. Where illness is is born, the blood is sick. The parasite is in the blood.
You may have terrible ringing in your ears, and you may feel a great weakness in your hands and legs.
The elders in your family are likely to pass away soon.
The sign also says the one who drains the river destroys the home of the fish. This reminds you of the need to maintain a healthy environment for yourself, your family, and your community. It speaks of environmental contamination that can harm you and yours.
This sign resuscitates the dead, as it went to the land of the dead but returned to walk with the living. Here you see why we say that Irete Meyi is Asojano in person.
Although you are not likely to listen, the odu says go to the doctor and get a check-up.
You suffer because of your character. You tend to be proud, hardheaded, vain, willful, and capricious. You think yourself superior to everyone, and you think that you do not need to follow the same rules that everyone else does.  This leads to swearing, law-breaking, and even perversion. You may even delight in breaking taboos.
You like to praise yourself and enumerate your accomplishments, but you do not like to work hard. It is difficult for you to sacrifice for anyone else. Rather, you are inclined to sacrifice in order to get what you alone seek. You have difficulty admitting your mistakes. In fact, with osobo, you are capable of being extraordinarily cruel and cold. When angry, you are truly terrifying to everyone around you. The furious sledge hammer sinks the anvil into the Earth.
These characteristics do not endear you to the people around you. In fact, your disregard for other may lead to your infecting them with your illnesses.
This is a sign of judgment, and your attitude and behavior may also be judged very harshly by Olofi and the orichas.  In this sign illness is sometimes a punishment. There is a famous story about Babalú-Ayé in this sign that speaks to the ramifications of a difficult character. Where Babalú-Ayé cursed Coconut Tree.  Babalú was exhausted and hungry from his long walk, when he arrived to a place in the forest where a beautiful coconut tree grew. He drew near and asked Coconut Tree, “If you would be so kind as to give me one of your children to slake my thirst and calm my hunger…” Coconut Tree was very proud and answered that his children were not to be given away as gifts but rather were for sale, explaining that if Babalú had money, she would sell him one of her children. But he didn’t even have a place to fall down dead, and looking at Coconut Tree said, “Lorobí eminé ofún lorobí aquelle lorobí.” (I curse you, the parasite will enter your body and by the time you realize it, you will be yellow.) After he continued walking for a while, he returned to the same place and saw that Coconut Tree was completely yellow and her children were spread across the ground.
Temporary insanity with its associated outbursts and acting out can destroy a person’s reputation in this sign. Similarly, a crazy person here can ask for death, and Heaven will respond because the person has been disobedient and pigheaded.
The remedy for these character issues is simple: The wise man practices humility and respect in all things. He who comes from above will eventually lay his head on the Earth.
This is a sign of war and confrontation, so your strong character can engender hostility in others. The resulting conflicts are hard to manage. There are traps and plans made to thwart you on your road.
Simple problems turn out to be quite difficult here and tranquil situations turn violent with little notice. Well-kept secrets are revealed and things you thought were forgotten come out. The oil’s surface is clear and still, but at the bottom it is dark and dirty.
In fact, the intense and charged atmosphere of this sign can lead to curses being placed on children in the womb (usually by another woman who is jealous); a curse like this can cause all sorts of problems for both mother and child. Issues of paternity can tear families apart here, with doubts, accusations, insulations, and tragedies. Seduction of minors, incest, and rape are all too common here as are other forms of abuse (breaking taboos). In this sign, Ochún had a difficult child who abused her, and children sometime mistreat their parents in this sign, and it is important to maintain order and respect in the home.
Here you may learn that you have a child you did not know about.
Strange blood pacts and racial tensions also present themselves here. Secrets come out.
With blessings, this sign brings prosperity, so much prosperity that it creates envy in the people around you. But with osobo, it makes clear that you will continue to have hard times. Scarcity and difficulty will define your path for some time to come. You should prepare for losses.
If you are well-off now, you must work to avoid a reversal of fortune, as masters become servants in this sign.
The odu says you must be careful not to fall into the hole of prosperity. There is a story here where Olofi tied up all the money in the world and hung it in a tree. Through ebó, Orunmila was able to get to it and share it with his children.
Specifically, Orula says you have to give coconuts, candles, and cool water to Orula. You have to be cleaned with a hen that is fed to Oyá. And you have to give your children spiritual baths regularly to protect them. (This sign includes a story where a woman loses three of her six children.)
In addition, you need to do an ebó on the tablero of Ifá with a hen, white cloth, red cloth, black cloth, a bow, a mouse trap, an egg, a bone with meat on it, a small fish and the other ingredients.
Make ebó to Asojano on a regular basis. Pay any debt that you have to him. This sign has everything to do with Babalú-Ayé, as a model for redemption and as a spiritual actor. Humility, obedience, and respect are essential for success here.
More generally, the sign suggests a cleaning with two guinea hens if you become seriously ill.
This sign is nicknamed Eyi Elemere, because it is strongly associated with the emere, the forest spirits who teach medicine to those who meet them.  These spirits can bring great blessings to those who get to know them, but they can be unpredictable and therefore dangerous. Here again you see the link to the powers of the Earth.
If you have been told that you will need to make ocha, you should do it within the year.
This is the birth of astral body so you may experience some kind of astral travel.
You cannot open or cross holes in the ground.
You should not eat many grains.
You should not eat animals that live underground.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lázaro de la Caridad Zulueta Soa heard the babalawos and made the ebó. Only time would tell how much negativity he would avoid.