Tag Archives: offerings

What is an Ebbo?

We're moving!

Orisha Online Altar is moving to a new domain, Orisha.me

Please update your bookmarks and links. This site will be up until April or May of 2023 to give everyone who is linking to us time.

Oshun Ebbo

Oshun Ebbo

 An ebbo is basically an offering to the Orishas.  There are many kinds of ebbo that practitioners of Vodun and west African diaspora practitioners do.

In some groups in the diaspora, some make a distinction between adimmu and ebbo, and base this on the outcome of divination.  Others say that adimmu is specifically a food offering, and ebbo involves animal sacrifice.  In still others, an adimmu is a small offering, where an ebbo is a gathering with larger offerings.  However, in some others, any offering is called an ebbo.

Various Kinds of Ebbo.

Ebbo Idupe/Ope/Lope – an offering of gratitude to the Orishas in general, or a specific Orisha who blessed or helped you.  You would give these to show awareness and thanks for your blessings, or to fulfill a promise you made to give offerings to the Orishas if they gave you a specific blessings.

Ebbo Isun/Sisun – an offering given by immolation, or burnt offering.  These are usually given to Shango, Aganju, Jakuta, and other fire oriented Orishas.  Meat, special woods, and other aromatic material can be used.  Also poems and praises and notes of thanks can be given.  Fireworks are also an option for ebbo isun.

Ebbo Iyeyun/Idanewan – an offering given by an act of kindness or donation to charity.  This is when the purpose of an ebbo is to feed or do some other kindness to their community, or to a person representative or under the guardianship of a particular Orisha.  Watering plants or feeding animals sacred to particular Orishas also counts.  It is said that when you feed an Orisha’s children, you feed that Orisha.  In places where it is still illegal to practice African belief systems, this is a common way that people manage to give offerings regardless of their situation.

Ebbo Misi – an offering given by preparing liquids sacred to certain Orishas a person needs direct bodily contact with, dedicating those liquids, and then applying  them.  Some are healing or cleansing, while others are simply applied and spilled to glorify the Orisha.

Ebbo Ti Abo – an offering given specifically to elicit protection or guardianship of an Orisha.  These are typically done for people in dangerous professions, or who are in need of some sort of psychic, spiritual, or physical shielding.

Ebbo Tito – an offering given to the Orishas one has offended, or to right a wrong.  This is done in conjunction with ebbo iyeyun to actually compensate for the damages.

There are more, depending on where one is and how things are done.  These are just some examples.  An ebbo can be a private or public event.  Usually on holidays, events are fairly public or at least Vodun friendly community wide, because the idea is to get that good energy to spread.

Do I need to be initiated to perform ebbo?

For some ebbo, you need to either be initiated or the first generation of a diaspora group, or supervised by a priest or initiate.  Some Orishas or other deities adopted by an African or diaspora community are more or less humane than others.   Some of the more humane Orishas can still be difficult to deal with energetically, or become angered if disrespected.

So formal offerings should be avoided or done under supervision.  However, both the initiated and the independent and laypersons can do most Ebbo Iyeyun at will.  Again, when you feed an Orisha’s children, you feed the Orisha.

So if you can’t go to the crossroads for Eshu, feed or give gifts to a child, an old person, or someone you recognize as a child of Eshu.  If you can’t go to the river for Oshun, do some kindness or give some money or fine perfume, jewelry, sweets, or other nice things for a beautician, fashion designer, seamstress, etc.

Helping children and the elderly glorifies Eshu.  Taking good care of yourself and making yourself and your world prettier glorifies Oshun.  Working hard and getting your hands dirty for a good cause glorifies Ogun.  Cleaning up the beach glorifies Olokun, Yemaya, Erinle, and Oshun.  Basically, there is no monopoly on doing good deeds to praise, thank, and be the hands of the Orishas in humanity.

You can also do ebbo misi or other preparations made by a serious adherent or initiate.  You are not completely unable to do anything just because you haven’t been initiated. If you are not very consistently spiritually active though, you should donate to a practitioner who is, to have offerings done on your behalf. Ile Baalat Teva does this, and most of our members are daily observant. So we can serve you, but we encourage you to find someone local to you if possible.

Some choose us because it is difficult to find someone who can serve from the area of Kemet that is known now as Egypt, so for now Israel/Palestine will do since it was a part of the kingdom at some point. We can also mummify if needed, and have Hathor and other deities’ temple sand we can deposit with the offering without violating any laws. I say this as an example of why you may want to seek out particular practitioners or houses to do your offerings. Different temples or houses or people have different specialties and features. If you’re outsourcing, you want your offerings done by the people most aligned with you and your goals.

Fasting: Do ATR Practitioners Also Fast?

Yes, practitioners of Vodun and many other African and diaspora belief systems fast.  Some are total fasts without food or water, as is done in some initiations wherein the person dies and is reborn.  Some are fasts for a specific purpose.  Some are partial fasts wherein someone will avoid food or certain types of foods for a time.  Some are long term or permanent taboos.  Some give up a certain activity for awhile as an offering.

For instance, if someone has been having financial troubles, they may limit their use of water for Oshun.  It may sound easy, but one must also stay clean and smelling and looking nice during that time.  So during their water fast, they may limit themselves to say, five liters of water per day for five days because five is sacred to Oshun, and so that they do not take a drop for granted.

One may also choose to keep the ways of a certain story or path of an Orisha for a time, or perform an activity in a way that specifically pleases an Orisha.  Taking the financial example again, one may dye some cloth yellow, green, or blue to please Oshun and Aje Shaluga, and make ritual items or something else beautiful from it.  One may do various activities or even science experiments as acts of devotion.

Save

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

We're moving!

Orisha Online Altar is moving to a new domain, Orisha.me

Please update your bookmarks and links. This site will be up until April or May of 2023 to give everyone who is linking to us time.

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.

Vodun Holidays and Orisha Birthdays

We're moving!

Orisha Online Altar is moving to a new domain, Orisha.me

Please update your bookmarks and links. This site will be up until April or May of 2023 to give everyone who is linking to us time.

This is a list of Vodun holidays.  It is by no means complete.  These are just the ones I know of and have gathered from a variety of people and sources.  Different cultures have different days.  Some synchronize them with Wiccan or Catholic holidays.  Follow your own soul on this.

January 10: “Voodoo Day”, or Traditions Day, which is celebrated in Benin and by some in the diaspora to give thanks for and remember our African heritage and spirituality.

January 17: Yoruba Feast of Ogun

February 2: Feast of Oya
Video

Sometime in February or March: The Festival of Obatala and Oshun

March 19: Feast of Osayin

March 25: Feast of Oshun

April 23: Santeria feast of Ogun

May 25: Feast of Ochossi (If hosting an event, you must have a dance on this day.)

June 16: Anniversary of the death of Marie Laveau, the most famous New Orleans Voudou priestess in U.S. history

June 21: Feast of Babalu Aye

June 29: Feast of Eleggua (This is an excellent day to do readings, so if you’re hosting, have an area just for this where people can have some privacy.)

Friday closest to August 15: Festa de Boa Morte (Festival of the Good Death) in Bahia Brazil.

Last Friday of August: Feast of Oshun in Oshogbo, the town in Nigeria whose official Orisha is Oshun.  Yes, you can get tickets.  Call your travel agent. Videos of the Festival of Oshun.

September 8: Feast of Oshun

September 10: Birthday of Marie Laveau

September 24: Feast of Obatala

September 29: Feast of Eleggua, also Initiation Day

September 30: Feast of Shango (Must serve some spicy foods on this day, and if you can drink but don’t get too drunk.  It’s also a good day for sparring, demos, and/or wrestling matches.)

October 4: Feast of Orunmila

October 24: Feast of Erinle

November 1-2: Day of the Dead – Synchronized with the Catholic All Saints’ Day, it’s a day when the ancestors are honored.  Different cultures have different ways of doing it, but generally, food offerings are given to the dead. 
Day of the Dead in Haiti

November 25: Feast of Oya

December 4: Feast of Shango

December 17: Feast of Babalu Aye

December 31: Feast of Yemaya

Esu, Exu, Elegua, Legba

We're moving!

Orisha Online Altar is moving to a new domain, Orisha.me

Please update your bookmarks and links. This site will be up until April or May of 2023 to give everyone who is linking to us time.

Elegua

Oh Great Exu, Keeper of the Gate!
Between life and death,
The physical and spiritual realm,
The seen and the unseen,
The known and the unknown,
Please accept our humble invitation,
To join in this feast.
We ask your permission,
To commune with our Ancestors,
And with the Lwa who came before.
Oh Great Exu, Keeper of the Gate!
Please open the gate for us.

Disclaimer: Different sects, families, and groups have different beliefs. This article is not a full picture of how Eshu or similar forces are perceived by all practitioners of Vodun or other ATRs. Please consult an initiate or long term practitioner before adopting any of the rituals or even wearing any related paraphenalia. This article and all on this site are just for general information and introduction.

About Elegua.

Sacred numbers: 3 and 4.

Colors: black and red, black and white.

Necklace (Ileke) patterns:

  • 3 black, 3 red (or white)
  • 3 black, 3 red (or white)
  • 3x alternating.
  • some also do alternating black and red or black and white in a multiple of 3.

Day of the week: Monday for normal purposes, Friday for battle.

Eshu Elegbara, also known as Eshu, Exu, Elegua, or Legba, is one of the most popular and yet most misunderstood of the Orishas.  He is well known for being extremely powerful and working very fast.  Some view him as an evil trickster, and equate him with the Christian or Muslim concept of Satan, or the Jewish Samael, who is both good and evil.

What many don’t know is that as powerful as he is, and as wild as he may seem, he is very honorable and extremely just.  He is the embodiment of divine or “karmic” justice or universal balance. The only reason some view him as evil is because of their own guilt.  Of course he will seem bad to bad people and hypocrites. He assures that all actions will have consequences.

Elegua as the gatekeeper is important for a few reasons.  One of the most important in metaphysics is that one must approach spirituality in the right mind.  It is crucial to respect nature and the spirits of nature, and not treat them like our servants.  They are not obligated to us.  We are obligated to them.  In the case of key ancestors whose fame led them to be honored as Orishas because they exemplified a particular energy, they did not come from us.  We came from them.  It is their genes, inventions, or cultural legacy that enhances our lives.

So before one asks anything of another Orisha or attempts to communicate with them, one asks permission from Elegua, which is symbolic of getting into the proper Elegua mindset.  This allows us to understand what we are being told.

Think about it: whenever a person in authority spreads a harmful idea, it is usually because they have forgotten that they are subject to nature, and this blinds them to any true messages from it or from God who created all nature.  They come to believe that they are not subject to natural law, and then that they can hide from God.  It is more than a slippery slope.  It’s a cliff.

Elegua is there to represent right thinking.  He is on the one hand pure logic, and on the other, pure wisdom.  So in every Vodun ritual or ceremony, approach Elegua (or whatever gatekeeping entity serves this function) first.  When you get the message that you’re allowed entry, then you may pass. In some cultures, the Ancestors, be it a particular group of them or a collective of them serve the gatekeeping purpose in ceremony, but there is usually someone managing the border between at least the living and the dead or physical and spiritual realms or particle and extradimensional reality.

Baron Samedi.

In the new world, for a variety of reasons, the Esu of the Yoruba was divided in Haiti into Papa Legba and Baron Samedi.  The gatekeeper and dispenser of divine justice seemed contrasted to the embodiment of death.  However, the energy is what it is, and Baron Samedi is a face of Esu. He is also however, an ancestor specific to the Haitian/Ayitian people. Remember that Vodun is a living belief system and evolves according to the history and ecology of the area in which it is practiced. Just because a spirit is a face of another does not mean that they are all interchangeable. The reason the differences are recognized is to keep awareness of the historical and cultural roots of it, not just because of incidental shifts. Though he does allow some exchange and adoration from people of other cultures in practice, be aware that there are lines that if you cross, you invite Death.

The force of Death itself however, is called Iku in Africa. It doesn’t have a persona as much as a presence, though she is recognized as a being.  So Death is related to by humans through Esu as the gatekeeper of Death.

The Many Eshus.

A big deal was made by some Santeros about the fact that there are many Eshus, and that Eshu in Yorubaland is different from Exu in Umbanda or other Eleguas, Eshus, Exus, Legbas, Edjus etc.

In Quimbanda, an Afro Brazilian belief system, the Exu are said to not be the same as Eshu/Exu in other west African diaspora systems, though the original Vodun systems can contain what he/they are said to be because Eshu multiplies himself.  Since many insist that they are not the same though, I concede to their insistence.  I was not born into Quimbanda, so I can’t be the one to say.

I’d like to remind people though, of the story of Eshu with the multicolored hat.

When those of you who have been engaging in the useless debates are done being sick of yourselves for arguing over a deity well known for this exact sort of trick, let me know.  Or better, don’t let me know anything, and just determine in the future not to be so worried about the angles and details that you forget the basics.

Just because we say that a type of spirits are related or cascade or grow from one another does not mean that we’re saying it’s okay to just make stuff up or mix things up the wrong way. I do however, understand because of recent events involving people being unmindful and unwise, the fact that it’s not okay needs to be said a little louder and more frequently, especially with regards to gatekeeper deities.

Click here to continue reading.