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Bone Reading of the Day for March 25, 2011

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Bones of the day March 25, 2022Today’s reading is fairly straightforward.  Oya’s mirror is up, so we’re talking about the future.  Eshu’s protection face is up and he is touching the Sankofa symbol, and Death is facing both, which means that someone will be protected from death because of something they learned in their past.

The sun is at the center, and note that Oba, Oshun, and Oya are triangulated with Oya in the water level of the water quadrant.  This represents a balanced individual who is in tune with the Orishas or at least Nature.

The war horn and Osu are in the fire area, which means this person will have to fight their hormonal whims in order to get the good thing they’re going to get from Eshu.  It is a very hopeful reading though.  Whoever this is out there reading this, if it’s you, then you’re on the right track.

African wisdom: Regardless of what rich or greedy men may claim, the perfect number of women in a house is ONE.

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.

Shango, Chango

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Shango

Shango, Chango

Hot blooded heat incarnate
He is fire and lightning.
If you’re good he is a light
But if you’re bad he’s frightning.

Shango (also spelled Chango or Xango)is the Orisha of fire, lightning, dance, and martial arts.

He had three wives: Oya, the Orisha of home, hearth, and marriage; Oshun, the Orisha of beauty, prosperity, and dance; and Oya, the Orisha of wind, storms, thunder, and change.

There are many apatakis about his firey temper.  During his mortal life, he was said to have been a powerful mage who could call lightning from the sky.  Some say that the prophet Elijah was given similar powers because, unlike the distracted idol worshipping Jezebel or his equally distracted fellow Hebrews, he brought himself above politics and nitpicking about interpretations of laws, and was given the powers of Shango (to call down fire and lightning) and of Oya (to raise the dead) by the Supreme God.  As a result, he did not die, and was carried personally to heaven by Shango and Oya in the form of a chariot made of fire, carried on a whirlwind.

This is why the prophet Elijah has been raised to the status of an Orisha in his own right, by some who combine Christian beliefs with Vodun.

Offerings to Shango

Shango likes hot peppers and spicy foods.  Just about anything with some heat, he enjoys.  He also likes red apples, bananas, pumpkins, pomegranates, kola, and okra.  One of his favorite foods is cornmeal grits (also called mamaliga or polenta).

He would be very pleased if you take the time to make him some tamales or stuffed corn dumplings pan fried a little in palm oil.  He really likes palm oil (which may be why he chose to love but not reside with Oya, who hates palm oil very much).

Immolations

I have always gotten the best results from Shango by burning Opium resin oil.  He likes spicy scents very much, and every time I have both burned Opium oil or incense, and worn some on my body, I have attracted a man who changed my life for the better.  Every.  Time.

To be specific, the scents that brought in the Shango energy were pepper and cinnamon.

The Louisiana recipe of Isis oil or powder is also extremely Shango friendly for women.  Men should use the traditional Shango recipe.

Things Shango Does Not Like

Shango does not like women fighting each other.  If you are a female child of Shango or in Shango awareness because you want something from him or need to raise your fire element, you should make peace with the women around you.  This does not mean that you have to give in to their whims.  It just means you should avoid petty conflicts.

Shango also does not like women who don’t respect men or men who don’t respect women.  Respect isn’t the same thing as deference.  If you are a man, you should be behaving like a man, and lead the women in your life who 99% need to be lead.  Few women don’t need this, and if yours does, you need to do that and stop drinking the feminist koolade.

Shango does not like weakness in men.  You may not be a superathlete, but you should be taking care of yourself.  Your biology is connected to your psychology, so taking the time to work out makes you healthier mentally as well as physically.  If you’re disabled, you should be working on your emotional and intellectual dominance.

The Shango Altar

If you have a home altar for all Orishas, you should have at least one natural fire and/or lightning oriented item to be or contain your part of Shango.  It is difficult to explain in English.  One cannot actually contain an Orisha, but the idea is that the object will embody the Orisha in a way.

If you have boxes, bottles, containers, or soperas for all of the Orishas or all of the ones who are ascended ancestors, then you should have one for Shango as well.  If you do not usually use containers, then don’t start doing that with Shango, or for that matter any of the masculine or warrior type Orishas.

Your Shango items should be nearest to your Eshu items, and yet as far as is possible from the Ogun items.  If you’re limited in space, put the Shango things on the opposite side of Eshu to the Ogun things.  They are both part of the nature of balanced men, but they are also part of the conflict that men have between their brutal selves and their social selves.  So if your Eshu things are in the corner, your Shango things should be on the opposite wall or edge from your Ogun things.

If you have any Shango necklaces or jewelry, they should be stored in a red or red and white bowl or cloth in the Shango section whenever you are not wearing them.

Shango’s symbols are the double bladed axe, lightning bolts, fire balls, and related things.  There are figurines and somewhat officially designated Shango items, but one of the good things about Vodun is that we make use of what we have.

If you have the space and opportunity to make a specific Shango altar, he likes the fireplace or really anyplace where you would make a fire that is not made of iron.  Make fires for Shango on stones, clay, or any kind of earth, even Pyrex or heat save glass, but not in a metal container.  His weapons should be metal, but his fire should be in earth.

In my opinion, weapons placed on the altar for Shango should be real and be sharpened.  Some find it acceptable to use wooden or clay replicas for him, but I do not.  Perhaps this is because they just feel better to me and make me feel more connected to Shango.  Follow your own way, but if the wooden version isn’t doing it for you, try getting at least a real quality knife.

Shango Devotional Incense

This incense should be used outdoors.  Put it on the fire, and step back from the smoke or you will feel like you’ve been teargassed.

  • a spoonful of black pepper or coffee grounds for Eshu
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of red pepper
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls cinnamon
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of sandalwood powder
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of oudh/aloeswood powder
  • a spoonful of millet, yam, corn, or amaranth flour
  • a small handful of dragon’s blood resin chunks, powdered in a mortar and pestle
  • a small handful of myrrh or copal resin, powdered

Burn on charcoal or in a roll of paper in a stone, ceramic, or pyrex type vessel, and MOVE!

Shango Devotional Oil

If it needs to be said, do not wear this on your skin as it is.  You will need just a drop or two in a recipe for male attraction oil, but this is devotional oil for burning in an oil burner or consecrating or anointing Shango items.

  • 6 coffee beans or a vanilla bean cut into 3 parts, or 3 peppercorns for Eshu
  • 1 liter almond oil, or olive oil for lamps (the pure kind, not mixed with other oils)
  • 12 dried red hot peppers
  • 12 dried hot light or green peppers
  • two fingers grab of tobacco
  • the skin of a yam, sweet potato, or the hairs of an ear of corn
  • (optional) half a gram to a gram of deer musk or the oil and dried sweat from someone who has just participated in an extreme sport or combat  (it’s okay if there’s a bit of skin, hair, or blood in it)

Put the ingredients in a jar, and let stand in a cool, dry place for six months.

Oya, Yansa

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Oya

Oya, Yansa

Wind in her hair
Lightning in her eyes
Storms in her voice
And thunder in her thighs!

Sacred number: 9
Sacred colors:  Brown, orange, purple, arterial blood red, deep red, burgundy, maroon, rainbow plus black, brown, and white
Symbols and Embodiments: Storms, wind, whirlwinds, hurricanes, storm and/or disease vector symbols, chaos symbol (cross of two or four arrows) with whirlwind (tapering zigzag), more symbols below…

Oya is the Orisha of wind, storms, thunder, and change.  In some ways, she is very similar to the Hindu deity Kali except that she isn’t considered *the* goddess of death.  That position belongs to Iku.  She can however, be the “wind” that brings death.

Because she works closely with the death aspect of Eshu/Elegua and the disease aspect of Babalu Aye, there are many apatakis that relate them.

Oya is the third wife or second concubine of Shango, the Orisha of fire, lightning, dance, and martial arts.  It is said that after the big rivalry between Oba (Shango’s first wife) and Oshun (Shango’s second wife) blew up into an all out war, Shango banished them both, determined that his next companion, if at all, would be a balanced and supportive woman.

It is interesting to note that in most apatakis about Oya and Shango, they never actually lived together.  Oya liked her peace in the forest, and Shango was a busy man, and already traumatized by rivalry between women.  So for whatever reason, both liked their space, but loved each other.  Despite their not living together, they stayed connected to each other and visited often until both of them died and ascended to the ancestors.

There are many lessons in this.  One may well be that when people are young, there are two main things that are most important in their romantic lives: familial duty and sexual attraction.  So Shango married a dutiful wife first, and a visually stunning wife second.

When we get older though, our priorities change.  Once we’ve raised our kids and  gotten ourselves established, we look to the next horizon, which is pleasure.  Then once we’ve experienced that and realized that not all that glitters is gold, and settled that conflict in ourselves, what we need most is companionship and comradeship in a partner.

So a woman who wants to be her husband’s all should figure out how to balance the Oba, Oshun, and Oya in herself.  Very few of us can, so we may want to learn to be okay, if we marry or are dating a very powerful and intense man with a high Shango energy (or fire element) with “outsourcing” some aspect of these roles.  We need to, like Oya, trust our man’s tastes, and let him have his space.

Back to aspects of Oya though, she is the epitome of female strength.  Contrary to what many may say, she does not represent feminism, but feminine power.  She is an extremely powerful entity, but this is partly because she has had the support, love, and companionship of extremely powerful men or masculine energies.

She guards the graveyard with Eshu, ensuring that graverobbers and disrespecters of the ancestors are punished.  She hunts them down mercilessly.

When humans get too arrogant and settled into their lives, she gets the nod from Eshu and/or Babalu Aye to sweep through with storms, earthquakes, and plagues.  If you can imagine Babalu Aye surfing across the skies on the flowing, violet veil of Oya…scary, but essential so that we don’t become overpopulated or overly stupid.

There are seemingly conflicting views on the appearance of Oya.  Some say she is incredibly beautiful, and wears a veil or mask so that men aren’t distracted by it.  Some say she is so horribly scary and hideous that she wears a veil or mask because otherwise, people would die from seeing her.  I personally think it may be a bit of both.  Perhaps she wears a veil or mask because how she looks depends on who is looking, and she would rather be in control of what reaction she gets from whom.

Oya’s Sisters

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around the sisters of Oya called Afefe and Ayayo.  Afefe is the wind and also unconsciously projected will or magic, and Ayayo is direction or consciously directed sorcery.

In Santeria, and this may be something new by the way, some people are popping up with Ayayo elekes and other items specific to her.  At best, this is ineffective, but at worst, this separation or distinction could lead to a lot of tragedy and hardship for those who take her out of context.  Remember that sometimes Eshu will allow bad things to happen…allow us to undo ourselves to cull the stupid or teach us valuable lessons.

Oya’s sisters are barely mentioned by Africans and those in other groups in the diaspora because even though we are taught they exist, we are also taught that they are inhumane and not to be approached directly.  They are only approached through Oya.

Initiates to most cults of Oya, as well as those children of Oya under secretive, directly passed down knowledge are instructed to keep the sisters out of the eyes of others.  It will bring them grave misfortune.  If you were entrusted with any of their items or led to construct any, they are for your eyes or the eyes of the person you made them for only.  They are not to be displayed to the world.

So hopefully any items you see representing or supposedly embodying the two sisters are just hype to look scary and Gothic…but if Eshu has allowed one to actually activate then there is “hell” around it.

If something has changed, and we are now allowed to separate the inhumane sisters from the humane sister, and move them to the front, I haven’t gotten the memo.  So please be careful out there, and don’t get caught in a “white people trap“.

Oya’s Symbols

Oya has a few symbols associated with her.  Among them are the lightning bolt with crossed arrows, the vector or hurricane symbol, nine violet feathers carried by a spiraling wind, nine veils each of a different color, a necklace or skirt with nine colors, and a spiral wind chime made of nine ornamental spearheads.

Oya’s Colors

Oya’s colors vary from place to place, but the main one is purple or dark burghundy or maroon.  She is also symbolized by the nine colors, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, black, white, and brown.  Depending on her function at a given time, she may wear purple and orange to work a storm, dark red to motivate a group of warriors or sportsmen to work as a team, all colors to make a tornado, etc.

Offerings to Oya

Traditions vary, but for our ile Baalat Teva in Israel, Oya loves eggplants, beets, red wines, and purple grapes.  She also enjoys popcorn and sesame seeds, especially caramel corn or sesame candy.  She likes black beans, rice, and chickpeas too.  She loves chocolate.

She does not eat any four legged animals, but enjoys chicken, especially black feathered or black skinned silkies.  She also doesn’t like palm kernel oil, so be careful with any ingredients you’re cooking with.  Most margerine has it, so just use butter, pure cocoa butter, or chicken fat, but not beef, lard, or lamb fat.  Check the ingredients of any chocolate you offer her as well.  To be safe, I just use cocoa powder to make any chocolate candies I wish to offer her from scratch, or do divination to see which specific chocolates she will accept.

Immolations

Oya’s “incense” offerings shouldn’t actually be burnt but steamed like potpourri, or sprayed, splashed, or fed to a plant with large leaves.  She doesn’t much like smoke.  She likes grass clippings, green herbs, red and white flowers, and other nice smelling things.  Pine needles are good for her too.

Make sure that any oils you’re using for her don’t contain any palm oil whatsoever.  Also, don’t burn them straight.  Use water, and if it runs low, add a little more water until the candle underneath burns out.  If using essential oils, she likes scents that smell like rain, storms, or their aftermath.  China Rain essential oil blend is a good choice, as is sweetgrass and cyprus.

Libations

Zubrowka, which is a special sort of vodka infused with a special kind of grass in the Ukraine.  If you can’t find any, steep some sweet grass or green beans in some vodka for nine days in a dark place.

Click here for inspiring links, photos, and more related to Oya on Facebook!

Oya Oil

Smoke is taboo for some traditions of Oya, so for observances, her devotional oil should be diffused on water, not straight on the burner.

You will need:

  • a stick of cinnamon for Eshu
  • 1/2 liter of olive oil (for a war Goddess type energy) or sunflower oil if you want it with a gentler energy
  • 9 raw chocolate beans, cracked or crushed, or 9 spoons cocoa powder or nibs
  • 9 spoons sesame seeds
  • a handful of dry corn for popcorn
  • 9 blades of sweetgrass, bison grass or hay, or a heaping tablespoon of a couple of different “grassy” herbs such as lawn grass clippings, parsley
  • a handful of litchen
  • a handful of dried cyclamen flowers and leaves, whatever you can get hold of
  • a handful of dried blue lotus flowers or stamens

Instructions:

Put the cinnamon stick, and then the other dry ingredients into a jar or bottle.  Pour the oil over all.  Take the open jar or bottle outside and let it get some wind.  Then close it and put it in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months.  Take it out and shake it every week on whichever day is sacred to Oya in your tradition (usually Friday in the diaspora), or every 9 days from the time you make it.  Once a month or so, it should also get some air.

Bear in mind that Oya items tend to fly, so for the sake of your floors and other areas of your room that you may want to keep clean, store them above the ground, but in a low place because they can jump off of shelves.

Oya Potpourri

You will need:

  • a broken up stick of cinnamon or a vanilla bean cut into a multiple of 3 pieces for Eshu
  • a handful of cut up sweetgrass, grass clippings, or bison grass
  • a handful of dried cyclamen flowers and cut up leaves
  • a good tablespoon dried blue lotus
  • 9 cucaracha or purple heart plant flowers and/or leaves
  • a handful of bits of litchen

You can go by the seasons, or add other seasonal grasses that smell nice and fresh.  Just put these with some water in the pot of a potpourri burner or cauldron over a flame.

China Rain

In the diaspora, Oya is said to adore China Rain.  This fresh, rain-like scent just happened to express her energy well, and became a part of many observances and magickal fomulas.  You can buy the original from Terranova, pick one of the many versions made by African scentologists in shops and stands in major cities, or make your own.

Eggplant Schnitzel

One of the food offerings we like to give Oya around here is eggplant shnitzel.  You slice some eggplant, and leach the bitterness out of it by sprinkling some salt on it and leaving it to “bleed” for about half an hour.  Then rinse it off, and pat it dry, and cook as you would any other type of schnitzel.  Coat it in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, matzah meal, or cornmeal, and fry it in oil.  Just make sure it’s not palm oil.

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