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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.

Vodun F.A.Q. – How can a person who is not a priest make workings more effective?

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Eshu on the balcony As I’ve said in previous articles, some things are best put in the hands of a priest/ess or someone of that level.  However, I understand that not everyone is going to take that advice.  Also many people in the diaspora live in areas with no priests, or they’ve encountered one too many charlatans.  Whatever reason you want to take things into your own hands, there are some things you should know before you do that.

First of all, the Orishas are not Santa Claus.  You need them every day to survive.  They are in you, in your blood, in the air all around you, in the earth, and everywhere.  If you think you might ever want to make a specific request from them, you should be doing daily observances.

Also, if you know who your head is, you should be walking your natural path, and living a life that glorifies them and glorifies God/Olodumare/Mawu-Lisa.  You can’t be living counter to Nature and expect to get good things from her.  It just doesn’t work that way.

For example, if your head is Oshun, you should be living beautifully.  Even if you are dirt poor, the dirt should be elegant, organized, and the softest, nicest dirt anyone was ever poor in.  Clean your house.  Repair your clothes.  Make what little you may have sparkle, and take care of yourself and the people around you.

If your head is Eshu, you might be able to get away with some trickiness and hustling, but you’d better treat the children and the elderly well.

If your head is Shango and you don’t stand up for yourself, you’re doing it wrong.

If your head is Ogun and you are lazy, you are messing up.  Get where I’m going with this?

Live Vodun.

Next, there is community.  If there is something specific you need from the Orishas, it helps to get the word out to trusted people.  Don’t try to go it alone.  Get others directing energy and offerings towards the same goal.  If you are sure that you are not the priestly type, then forming a community may encourage someone to step up and put some time and energy into study.

Ebo or community feasts are very important.  If there are no priests, you and other Vodun observant or friendly friends should still be having them.  Don’t worry too much about formality so much as respecting the Orishas.

While you’re respecting the Orishas, don’t forget that the Egungun is important as well.  You should keep photos or other tokens of your departed relatives and loved ones in a special place in your house or room.  Visit their graves, bringing them flowers and some of their favorite foods from time to time.

If you do all this then your DIY workings will have a greater chance of success because you are at least being observant and living in line with Nature.

Helping Your Root Worker to Help You

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Ceremonies and talismans work best when you respect the Spirits behind them.  Here is a guide for helping things along.

Offerings

Generally, you want your priest/ess to handle the more complicated things, but there is plenty you can do day to day to stay in reasonable awareness.  As a believer in the Vodun, you will find things in your life or at least your emotional state will improve with offerings of dressed candles and incense.  Some people do this as a daily observance, while others don’t have the time or energy to do it more than once a week.

I recommend that if you’re new at this and don’t have a specific cultural tradition around it, that you at least start to do something for Eshu on Mondays.  If you need to do more than this, he will actually show you through dreams and signs.

Opportunities

The Orishas may open a door for you, but you must walk through it.  Many of the complaints about a ceremony or spell not working are due to a person having their desires delivered to them but not taking the steps to receive the blessing.

I have seen many works for love go to waste because when the person they wanted comes to them, they chicken out.  Works for money go to waste when people get an opportunity, or are given a generous gift, they turn it down.

In general, you shouldn’t run from a blessing, but if you run from blessings you’ve specifically requested and paid to have work done about, this is a catastrophe.

One big problem is that many of us are westerners who are re-embracing a west African belief system or at least encorporating it into our lives.  Most of us are Christian, but were raised with a Eurocentric rather than African or Middle Eastern flavor.  So we have guilt about money because we don’t want to be greedy.  We hear words like “slippery slope” ring in our ears whenever we’re close to something that, in the eurocentric flavor of Christianity, might be a sin.

It is great if, due to your principles, you want to wait for marriage to have sex.  However, there is no sin in speaking up and holding hands.  If you slide down the slope, it’s not as if God doesn’t know that you are human and that we all have weaknesses.  So long as you are responsible about it, then according to the way Christianity is practice in the very home of Christianity, you’re in the clear.  It is God who joins people together, not man and his papers.

If there is a worry, it is in displeasing the force of Nature named Orunmila, also known as Natural Law and Rules of Honor.  So have no worries so long as you conduct yourself with honor.

The same goes for money and business blessings.  Not everybody has the luxury of operating  100% above board at all times, but you should honor your agreements and never forget those who helped you gain your wealth or get through a hard time.  So when the money comes to you, take it.

Timing

Vodun is about working with Nature, not against it.  So some things can move quickly while others more slowly.  Most works have been done so many times that it is well know how quickly or slowly things will move if there are no serious obstructions.  The initial readings also tell whether or not a work is allowed, or what may be in the way of its being successful.

When things take longer than expected, there could be many reasons aside of the work being ineffective.  A good priest/ess will do followup if something appears to be going wrong.  So don’t just give up and go to another without checking first.

Also, many if not most of us are active in communities of mystics.  If we don’t understand what went wrong, we will ask others who are either more experienced than us or who have a different expertise.  As an example, if the one doing the work for you is a child of  Eshu, they will have a different approach than say, a child of Oshun.  Different perspectives are helpful in getting the most consistent results because every case is different.

I hope that this helps you to get the most out of work that has been done for you.  If you have talismans or charms that you’ve put aside because you think they didn’t work, take them out and give them another look.