First of all, just because bad things are happening doesn’t mean that it is because you have angered a Spirit. Most of the time, suffering is a normal part of life and happens due to very normal causes. However, it is also normal for many people to do things unthinkingly that bring them suffering because Nature and the Spirits of Nature do not reward stupidity with blessings.
Before you panic, there are very few people on the planet who are totally square with all Spirits at once. Because we are human and mortal with many natural failings, there are many tradeoffs that we have to accept. For example, wearing fine clothing and being pretty and well care for pleases Oshun very much, but in the course of making that finery, one could break Ogun’s heart by not treading gently on the Earth. It is best to at least try to balance. Don’t rely exclusively on your looks or fashion to please Oshun. Understand that she is about inner beauty and the joy of life as well. Wear ethically produced clothing and jewelry, and focus more on bringing joy to people’s lives. This way, Oshun and Ogun are both happy.
If in the past you didn’t care about where your stuff came from and relied too much on your looks though, you may have angered them both. Sometimes making a sincere change is enough to get you on good terms with them, but sometimes it is not. If after you make the change, you see that you still can’t grow a dandelion on purpose, or your appliances are malfunctioning for unknown reasons, or your efforts to bring joy are bombing and backfiring, you may have to go further into making amends and giving offerings.
Again, the ethical ornaments thing is just an example. This can apply to other situations as well. For instance, if you are managing or working in a casino and the house cheats, you could have a problem with Eshu and Orunmila that simply stopping won’t fix. You’ve got years of unfairly losing customers to make up for, and will never be able to give some of them a chance to get a fair game at your establishment. The time will come for you to pay the price, so if you want any control over how severe that is going to be, you will have to invest in bringing balance to your business.
Basically, if you have angered a Spirit, you have to figure out what you did and how to make up for it, then do what it takes. You might not be able to avoid the negative consequences completely because of Nature, but you can certainly avoid heaping additional negativity on yourself and those around you.
Another thing to note is that there is a difference in the approach to these things between priestly level people and laypersons. Between priests, we can counsel one another freely and point out possible problems and discrepancies. However, if you are a layperson, most priests are not going to tell you that you’ve angered the Spirits because they fear you may panic or think them a fraud trying to suck money from you.
So there is a simple divination that you can do yourself, so long as you are familiar with Eshu, which most normal practitioners are. You will need three coins. Clear a space in the left corner of your residence or business nearest the doorway. Light a red candle or some spicy incense there, and quiet your mind. Out loud, ask Eshu to communicate with you by saying, “Eshu Elegbara who keeps the gate between the physical and spiritual realms, please open the gate and communicate with me,” three times.
When you have done this, pass the coins through the heat of the flame or smoke of the incense. Then ask, “Eshu Elegbara master of communication between the Spirits and humans, are you or any of the other Spirits angry with me?” three times. Then flip the three coins one by one. Then thank Eshu for delivering the message.
If all are tails, you’re in the clear and haven’t particularly offended any of the Spirits. If one is heads and two are tails, it just means that you can do better, but you’re generally okay. If one is tails and two are heads then you are probably cutting it close and need to find out what you are doing that could be offending an Spirit. If all are heads then you are in the danger zone and some bad things are coming your way very soon if you do not change your ways.
In the case of two or three heads, you should go to a priest/ess and get it seen to. Do not ask them if you have done something wrong to anger an Orisha or other Spirit because for legal or ethical reasons, they will probably not tell you this. Just tell them that you’ve done a basic divination and out of the ordinary bad things are happening, so you know what’s going on, and just want to know what you can do to resolve it.
Be aware that you will not be able to just pay your way out of this sort of thing. In fact, the priest/ess may refuse to take your money unless it is just to cover the costs of whatever supplies and offerings may be needed. Even in the case that supplies and offerings may cost money, just to make sure you understand they’re not in it for the money, they may make you go out and buy what is needed. Don’t do this with a begrudging attitude. You did the actions that brought the wrath of the Spirits on yourself, and so you will have to do the work to get right with them.
Once you are in the clear, you can give whatever donations to the priest/ess you like, but until then, they may look on it as blood money. So there is no escape from the legitimate and sincere effort.
Things That Can Anger Spirits
Not putting Eshu first.
Unless you are offering blood, Eshu should always be first. He is the gatekeeper, and if you don’t put him first, all spiritual efforts you do thereafter may cause confusion or simply be ineffective. Blood offerings are an exception in that Ogun should be fed first and then Eshu.
In the worst cases, the Spirit you are calling upon may harm you because you did not approach them properly, or something you didn’t intend to call may be let out, and it would be your fault if you or others get hurt.
Take their gifts for granted or misuse them.
These can be natural gifts that you were born with or blessings they gave you from root work or prayers. Example: Oshun blesses you with good health and beauty, but you constantly talk yourself down and say that you’re ugly just because you don’t look like a model. This is why many women age before their time. They take the gifts of Oshun for granted and deny them, so she takes them away.
Invade or disturb a sacred area.
Walk carefully in graveyards, in forests, and other areas the Spirits of Nature and alterdimensional beings dwell heavily. Hunters, miners, loggers, those who handle the dead, and others should ask the blessings of the Spirits. Try to leave a place better than you found it, or at least make sure nothing you do is unrecoverable.
Being cheap, impatient, or unmindful.
If you are making sacred items, tools, talismans, mojo bags, or whatever for the Spirits, make them with care and don’t be cheap. Sometimes small things can be very powerful, but there are limits. Some recipes require small amounts of ingredients, even to the point of mere traces, but generally you should measure in spoons and handfulls, not pinches unless it is necessary that the item be tiny.
There is a saying that if you are cheap with the Spirits then the Spirits will be cheap with you.
Also, take enough time to give proper offerings and be mindful when you do them. If you don’t have the time, make the time and schedule better.
Reneging on offerings.
If you promised Olodumare/God or an Orisha or Ancestors, or even the Mama or Papa Spirit of an animal species something, you must keep it. If you had someone give offerings on your behalf, and then fail to compensate them for it, or ask for the price of them back because you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it, this is also very bad. When you renege on an offering, it means that you don’t really respect the Spirits, and you lose the blessings until you balance with them.
In the case of asking for your money back from a priest/ess who has already given offerings for you, this can be a very grave situation. This is why many have a no refunds policy. It is not just to protect them from flakey people, but to protect those flakey people from the wrath of the Spirits. Some go as far as to allow partial refunds in that they will keep the amount spent specifically for offerings, but refund for the amount of transportation and perhaps supplies, just to keep misfortune from befalling people for being merely unmindful. Some however, allow for full refunds because in their opinion, if someone is dumb enough to renege on an offering, they deserve whatever they get.
If you have reneged on an offering that was already given on your behalf, and are suffering misfortunes because of it, you must donate twice the amount of the original offering to fix the situation. If you have convinced the priest/ess that you are so negative that they don’t want your money, then ask them if there is a charity or cause they would like to see the money go to. If they won’t talk to you at all, then you should pick a charity and then send proof that you made the payment to the priest/ess. It will be nice for them to know at least that you have learned from the experience.
Unjustifiably harming people.
If a person has earned the special care of a Spirit, then that Spirit may come after you with a vengeance. This Spirit does not need to be on the level of a Deity or Orisha to do some real damage. Remember that the Spirits see things that humans don’t, so if you think you got away with something, you may soon find out that you’re not as free as you thought you were.
Doing wrong to others opens a vulnerability in your soul partly due to spiritual and psychological consequences, and partly because this shames your own Guardians. They will allow harm to come to you if you convince them that you don’t deserve their protection.