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When you have an Oshun and/or Aje Shaluga working in progress…

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love workingOshun is the west African Orisha/Goddess of joy, prosperity, romantic love, and the sweetness of life.  Aje Shaluga is one of her husbands (or wives, depending on your tradition), and the owner of all material wealth and currency.  Many if not most workings or spells for love and prosperity call upon Oshun, and if material wealth is involved, Aje Shaluga as well.

When you go to a priest/ess or root worker for assistance in these matters, sometimes they will give you a nkisi that you are supposed to attend to or just keep safely, and sometimes they keep it with them.  Most of the time, these don’t require too much maintenance, but sometimes they do.  Sometimes this is unknown, and one has to wait and see whether or not Oshun will require more than the initial offerings.

With matters of the heart and with market forces, there are ups and downs though.  From time to time, there is a weird year or out of the ordinary weather or astronomical phenomena which mean that the relay between the root worker and the seeker will need to be strengthened.  More will need to be done by both in order for workings to be more effective and in a timely manner.

Generally, workings done with a female beneficiary or target take three lunar months to come to fruition.  Workings with a male beneficiary or target take a season (6 to 7 months).  What a season is depends on their local weather patterns.  Even though they take awhile to finish, something should move within a week or two of the offerings to Oshun and/or Aje Shaluga.  Various incidents should also indicate that the Spirits are on the move and have actively put their hands to the matter.

If things are exceptionally weird or there is stagnation for too long, this could be an indication of a blockage or too much chaos.  Although this has no effect on the final outcome, they can cause way too much anxiety that could lead to a blockage where there wasn’t one initially.  In order to smooth things out, the seeker should give small offerings to increase their own personal bond with the Spirits.

Because of privacy concerns, you may not be able to make an altar at home.  The good news is that most Vodun/Obeah/Santeria types are masters of stealth.  There were times in history when if we were caught, we’d be tortured and executed in horrible ways.  So we learned well how to give observances to our Orishas/Gods secretively.

In order to open the way to give offerings to other Orishas, you must give some to Eshu.  Fortunately, Eshu does not require more ceremony than directed thoughts and speaking one of his names or titles three times.  You can leave or bury offerings for Eshu at any crossroads/intersection, the inside corner of forked roads, or between two houses or buildings, in the doorway or entrance of a gateway, or believe it or not, your home trash can so long as it is to the left of a doorway or in a corner.  You can also give a small portion of your meals to Eshu first by tossing it to the left or out the front door or entrance to the left.

You will often see people from Brazil setting aside a portion of their food on a separate plate before they eat when they are having something that Eshu or another Orisha likes.  Quite often, when they have coffee, they will pour some in a corner if they are outside.  Eshu loves coffee.  Some will even blow some of the first puff of smoke from their cigarette or cigar to their left side for Eshu.  Here is a list of things Eshu likes:

  • chicken legs and thighs
  • caramel, toffee, cinnamon, and honey candy
  • coffee
  • tobacco
  • rum, or sweet “grog” (recipe later in this article)
  • coffee liquor or coffee vodka
  • spice cake
  • cinnamon and sugar toast
  • raisins and other dried fruits
  • peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter ice cream, Snickers bars, and other peanut candies
  • spice cake, especially heavy fruit cakes and honey cakes or black cake

He likes many other things, but these are the best known standards.  Offerings to him should be in multiples of threes.  Meaning 3 chicken leg and thigh quarters, three pieces of cake, 12 peanuts, etc.  The best days to give offerings to him are Mondays and Fridays.

Then on Saturdays, you should give offerings to Oshun and Aje Shaluga.  These can be given at a body of fresh water such as a fountain, lake, or river.  If you have nowhere else, they can be given at the ocean/sea (give a little to Yemaya too if you do this) or your bathtub or shower.

Things Oshun likes are:

  • sweets, especially golden, yellow, and green ones
  • honey, honey cake, and honey candy
  • pumpkins, yellow squash, butternut squash
  • wild lettuce, Roman lettuce
  • mustard greens, mustard flowers, mustard seeds, foods made with these
  • a handfull of sugar, five sugar cubes or rocks, sugar candy
  • stevia, stevia tea
  • honey grog
  • oubli berries
  • chamomile tea with honey
  • yellow roses or other pretty yellow flowers
  • gold leaf
  • pearls

Again, she likes many other things, but these are the standards.

Whenever you give offerings, tell your root worker.  It will make them feel better to know that you are taking an active role in your working.  They can also help you work through weird times with more patience.

Now here is the recipe for honey grog that both Eshu and Oshun like.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 liter of water
  • 1/2 liter of rum
  • 1 cup/glass of honey
  • 3-5 bags/6-10 grams of black tea
  • the juice of one lemon

Instructions:

Brew the tea in the water, and then add the honey while it is still hot.  When it is cool, add the rum and lemon juice.

Pour this into the ground at a crossroads or between two buildings for Eshu, or into a body of fresh water for Oshun.

Be the Hands

Not everyone can give offerings the same way, but you can raise energy by being the hands of the Orishas in humanity.  When you feed an Orisha’s children, you feed that Orisha.  When you do works that an Orisha would do on Earth, you praise that Orisha.

So, being kind and doing kind things for children and the elderly praises Eshu.  Giving gifts to a child of Eshu or to a child or old person feeds Eshu.  Joking, laughing, playing games, helping people get justice, and other positive Eshu-like activities all help to bring that energy to you in a positive way.

Making yourself and people and the world around you more beautiful glorifies Oshun.  Supporting local markets, business, fashion, artists, and others in the beauty industries…looking good and smelling good and cleaning your home…these all glorify Oshun.

So really, you don’t have time to ruminate.  You need to be busy.

Relating to Your Root Worker

Romantic and financial matters can be frustrating and very stressful, but please try not to project this stress and frustration onto your root worker.  In order to do their job properly, they have to remain optimistic and free of too much negative energy related to your case.  If it is still within the three lunar months for a female or full season for a male, then complaining to the root worker each and every time things don’t seem to be moving the way you want them to, will not help your case come to fruition sooner.  It causes blockages and delays that don’t need to be there because then you are applying negative energy to the work.

Some root workers are used to this and don’t mind it so much, but even the ones who don’t mind too many complaints and venting of frustrations will often ignore these messages or take their time answering because they want to sift through all the negativity to get to what might be some actual news.  So just know that if you have nothing to say but, “He hasn’t called me yet,” then save it.  This is not something your root worker needs to know unless or until at least a month has passed.  Even then, simply state it as a progress report, and do not gush about how sad and dejected you are, or threaten your root worker.

Threatening your root worker with destroying their work is very bad, to say the least.  You may have put money into it, but they have put time, energy, and their reputation into it.  Nobody wants to see something they worked hard on go to hell.  If you have not paid for it, or got it for a big discount because they were doing well and had extra time and supplies, and the work was done on good faith, then it is even more important that you not dump a lot of negativity on or threaten your root worker.  You and they have made a commitment, and they have spent their time and money and energy on you for free.  If it doesn’t work they know that they won’t get paid unless you are one of those super honorable and observant practitioners of Vodun who is thankful to the Orishas even when you don’t get what you want…and there are very few of those.

If you ask for a work, whether you paid for it or not, then you should follow through.  If you are a woman and asked for the Orishas to give you the love of a particular man, you should avoid having sex with someone else until the season has passed.  If you have asked for a reconciliation then whatever you do, do NOT allow yourself to get dragged into an argument with the person while the Orishas are working on rekindling their emotions.

Follow the instructions of your root worker.  I don’t care if it seems like it will break your ego to pieces to do so.

Helping the Orishas to Help You

When it comes to money, it is very important that when the Orishas bring you opportunities when the work is active, take them.  If you’re not sure about a particular one, get a reading to see if it’s okay.  Generally though, opportunities should be taken as they come.  Sometimes you may have to step a bit outside your comfort zone or do something you’re good at whether or not it’s what you want to do at the moment.

In love as well, it’s very hard for the Orishas to help you if you won’t help yourself.  If they bring someone you love to you or back to you and you mistreat them or settle for a less than positive situation, then it is your fault, not the root worker or the Orishas’ fault that the working goes south.

Don’t behave as if you’re okay in the friend zone when you’re not.  If you’re a man, be territorial and stake your claim.  “My way or the highway,” is the proper male attitude.  If you’re a woman, then your attitude should be submissive but in a hard core way.  Make it clear that you want a relationship in which you can trust a man enough to be a good girlfriend or wife, not a “friend with benefits”.  FWB, unless it happens naturally between people who are already long term friends with a history of “ride or die” trust, is not a natural situation so the Orishas aren’t going to help sustain that.

In summary, to help your love and/or money spell to work well, you should:

  1. give offerings
  2. stay positive
  3. don’t pester your root worker with your negative feelings, but DO give them actual news about the situation
  4. follow the root worker’s instructions for your conduct
  5. take opportunities the Orishas give you

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Eshu and Shango September 2011

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May Eshu Protect You!

May Eshu Protect You!

We are now in the preparation stages of the ebo for Eshu and Shango for September 2011.  This is your chance to send in your requests for protection for yourself or friends and family.  Use the contact form or write to me at sister@soulmindbody.net

The ebo will happen tonight from 8pm Jerusalem time and the doors will be open until whenever.

If you would like a talisman made with ashes from this ceremony, please order one at Sheloya Mystical.  Also, Anna has made a special series of Eshu dolls for this festival.  You can order them later at the store as well.  May Eshu protect you and guide you to good luck and happiness!

Eshu Summer Festival 2011

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Here at SoulMindBody.net, we’re celebrating the summer festival of Eshu.  We have some special package deals at Sheloya Mystical, but those are for people who can afford them.  Many in the world are having a tough time financially, some because of  evil politicians, and some because of evil bankers.  This time of year, our doors and our hearts open to all, regardless of income.

Making Eshu ElekesEshu will be at the forefront of our altar for the whole week through next Monday.  So please send us your requests and concerns that you would like us to bring to Eshu on your behalf.  For those who may not be too familiar with Eshu, he is the gatekeeper between the spiritual and physical realms.  He is a guide and protector, but also a trickster who sends obstacles to teach us important life lessons.

At this time of year, we give him special focus, and show him appreciation for both his blessings and the lessons we’ve learned.

The schedule for this week is fairly standard.  Yesterday evening was a private ceremony to ask Eshu to open the gates and bless the festival.  Afterwards, we began to make the special elekes and macutos for the festival week.

Monday evening, we are having a food offering and feast of chicken, black eyed peas, rice, and cornbread.  Tuesday through Thursday, we’ll be doing readings and specific ceremonies for those who have ordered them.  Friday night, we are having the Warriors’ ceremony for soldiers in combat and sensitive assignments, and war veterans.  If you or a relative fits the bill, please send us their first name or nickname.

On Saturday and Sunday, we will be working hard to finish the elekes and macutos, and on Monday we’ll be having the closing ceremony.

This week we ask that those of you who may not be able to afford a donation or specific ceremony, give respect to Eshu in your own way that is within your means.  Even if it is just to take some peanuts to a crossroads and meditate awhile, Eshu knows your situation, and will help you if you listen to him.

Feel free to comment and share your Eshu stories and words of gratitude in the comments.

Happy Eshu Holiday!

Vodun F.A.Q. Ridden By a Sexual Orisha

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Venus by Sis. Nicole T. Lasher An issue that comes up frequently is that a person is ridden or “possessed” by an Orisha who wants sex.  Because it is a benevolent possession, one has some control of their actions, and this may break the trance, causing the ceremony, dance, or the riding to end prematurely, which is no fun for the individual, and a bit of a killjoy for the other participants, if any.

Sometimes, it can be quite frightening for a person who is chaste in their normal life, to be overtaken by superhumanly intense feelings that they were not expecting.  Especially for those from Christian, Muslim, or Jewish backgrounds, a night of being Shango-ed can be difficult for a chaste person who is say, cisgender, female, and generally living by western societal expectations.  A night of being Oshun-ed can seem embarassing to a man who is cisgender and heterosexual, especially if he is usually very humble.

It’s not just about the sex.  It’s about the whole personality around the sexuality of Orishas or ancestors whose personalities or genetic line is still very strong and therefore still a prominent part of the Collective Consciousness of humanity.

So here’s my advice on the matter.

Be an Understanding Observer

Nobody should be made to feel embarrassed about the things they do when they are being ridden.  You should not gossip about ceremonies or really even discuss what happens during rituals with others unless it is to say something positive.

It is okay to discuss these things with other spiritual people who may learn something important or gain some understanding of Vodun from it.  It is not okay to joke or laugh about someone maliciously.  When you crack on people who are or have been ridden, you’re actually insulting the Orisha or ancestor possessing them.  So be respectful.

Have a “Trip Sitter” Attitude During Ceremonies

If you are one of the designated watchers during a ceremony, this is like being the designated driver for your friends at the bar, or the trip sitter for the otherwise intoxicated.  The Orishas don’t live by the normal rules of society, so there are things they may want to do while they have hold of a body that may not be exactly convenient for the person they’re riding.

If the Orisha is a deity of a force of nature who never had a human body, they are seldom actually sexual because their method of production or reproduction is not based on the physical body.  So if a person (or quite often group of people) is possessed with Yemaya, and they are making out with a person possessed with whoever, they’re just showing their affection, and it most likely won’t lead to anything.  They are just manifesting the water surrounding a person.

If, on the other hand, a person being ridden by Oshun is making out with someone being ridden by Shango, they were married when they were living on Earth, and will behave like a married couple if they make physical contact.  It is not a good idea to interrupt them, but in such a case, if the people have any issues with the results of the union once they are no longer being ridden, they should be made aware of what happened, and helped to cope.

One should also remember that some Orishas make very sexual gestures and are very playful, but this will not likely lead to anything irreversible happening.  Just let them do their thing.  If they tell dirty jokes or flash people, that’s just part of who they are.

Be Mindful of Age Appropriateness and Culture

Most kids in the west are not mentally prepared to see some of the things they might see in a Vodun ceremony.  For this reason, it’s probably a good idea to keep people under 16 away from ceremonies where something sexual might happen.  You might want to have special ceremonies separately, just for the kids that don’t involve being ridden.  With a few notable exceptions, most kids’ brains can’t handle it well anyway, so this is something they should be prepared for by the time they reach adulthood, but not pushed into.

Some people are never ridden, and for good reason.  So even adults should not be made to feel bad if it never happens for them.  They may have some psychological vulnerability that wouldn’t allow them to do it safely.  They may also just best serve the community as a watcher.  They could be a very nurturing person whose best role it is to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

Residual Effects

If the Orishas feel that a person needs to change their life, and would not do so under their own motivation, they may keep their hand on a person after they have been ridden.  If you feel pushed to do things you wouldn’t normally do, the solution is not to panic, but to pray.

For example, it sometimes happens that Shango may “invade” the life of a normally shy or overly humble man, and drive him to talk to more women, and be what he may think of as “rude”.  If he fights it, this may not work for him very well, but if he stays in touch with Shango, he will see the “method in his madness”.

Shango may be trying to tell him that he needs to be more manly, or that his shyness may cause him to miss the chance to meet his destined mate.  If the Orishas feel that someone is unduly miserable, especially those who started out as humans or lived through human avatars, they may act through a person to sort of “force” improvements.  The best thing to do is try to learn from it, and don’t fight Nature.

Orisha Babies

Children conceived as a result of the Orishas riding two people towards a union are special and should be considered children of those Orishas.  This does not mean that they should be spoiled or pushed into Vodun.  It should just be kept in mind so that if they show special abilities, this is normal for them.  One should take care that they are not recruited into religions that consider Vodun to be “witchcraft” in the negative way.

Regardless of how inconvenient they may seem at the time, they should not be aborted (unless medically necessary, and yes we do have grieving ceremony for this) or mistreated even before they are born.  The mother should avoid any of the taboos of the Orisha she was ridden by during the child’s conception.  For instance, if she was ridden by Oya at the time, she should not use any palm oil or smoke, or stand too close to people who are smoking or using incense.  She should also wear amulets or talismans in the Oya style, or wear or carry something purple, dark red, or the nine colors (rainbow + black and white or opalescent).

If she was being ridden by Oshun, she should wear yellow and avoid ever putting her head down in shame or embarassment.  She must behave proudly and try to get her way, and take special care of herself.  Others should assist her in this and try to keep her from getting dirty or being inconvenienced or uncomfortable.

It is even more auspicious for the father to live in awareness of the Orisha he was being ridden by at the time of conception.  Though it is good if the mother does, it is very important for the father to as well.  If the mother is slacking off or breaks a taboo because women who are pregnant sometimes get emotional or depressed, the father remaining steady will make things run smoothly despite her frazzledness.

When the child is born, he or she should be dressed in the colors of their parent Orishas for at least one year.  They should use natural cloth diapers or the parents should be excretion aware.  They should be breastfed if it is at all possible, for at least six months.  If the mother cannot, then someone who is a child of the mother Orisha should wet nurse if possible.

If the mother dies in childbirth or dies or leaves at any time during the child’s life, a child of the mother Orisha should step in as the godmother.  Same with the father.  If the father dies or leaves, a child of the father Orisha should step in.