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ochanilele
02 June 2012 @ 12:20 am

I get inundated with emails on a regular basis. Sometimes, they break my heart. Truly; they make me cry.

It seems that even among our own, we are a lost people. Life is hard; and people are, basically, selfish creatures. Just today I got another impassioned email from an aborisha who has been with her godfather for 10 years. She went to his house today with candles to present to his orisha. She’s going through a hard time, and just wanted to give a blue plate, two blue seven-day candles, and two coconuts to Yemayá to ask for her blessings – no more, no less – to just ask for blessings to help her through a difficult financial period. Her godfather, who I’m sure had his reasons, would not let her present the prayer without a derecho of $77.00. After buying the plate, coconuts, and candles, she had $3.00 left to her name. Her godfather turned her away. His rationale: his ashé was worth something; and to him that something was $77.00.

It has always been my belief that religion and spirituality are free.  It has always been my belief that prayer is free; and if a godchild accentuates that prayer with something simple like candles and coconuts, it is still part of the prayer and should be free. Only ceremonies cost money. At least that’s my belief; and I couldn’t care less about those who feel otherwise. I can’t count the number of times my own godchildren have come to me with issues, and my home is their home; my home is my temple, and it is their temple as well. I’ve never turned anyone away from making simple ebós and prayers to my orishas because they didn’t have money, and I’m often surprised, and thankful, when my godchildren offer both me and my orishas small gifts “just because” their fortunes have suddenly turned.

So, after much thought and prayer (and divination on the subject), I’ve decided to open my home as a temple and place of prayer to anyone who needs it.

No, that doesn’t mean that anyone off the street can just come to my house any hour of any day or night and start throwing themselves to my orishas, but prayer is such a simple thing, and a powerful thing. Sometimes all it takes is a candle and a heartfelt prayer made by an olorisha to make the biggest changes in our lives. The Lucumí faith is about more than chickens and goats; it’s about good behavior, good character, and, yes, prayer. With a plate, two lit candles, two coconuts, and heart-felt prayer entire empires can be built. Lives can be changed. The sick can be healed. And we can all find peace.

If anyone finds themselves in need of prayer, please, contact me and we’ll make arrangements for your petition to find its way to my orishas. You can send your plate, two candles, two coconuts, and a written prayer to my orishas and I will put it in front of them on your behalf. Of course, nothing in life is totally free – work does demand payment – and for those of you who want novenas lit to my orishas, all I ask is that you send two seven day candles in addition to your own as payment so that I, too, can give light to my own orishas when they need it.

If you’re in need of a healing, spiritual support, prayer, or any other blessing in your life, don’t hesitate to contact me and we’ll make arrangements for you to send what the orishas need to my home. And each day when I approach my orishas for my own daily worship, I’ll make sure that your petition goes to the appropriate orisha and, maybe, they’ll work a miracle in your life.

This religion is about more than money. It is about supporting each other in our times of need. I consider it a part of my ministry to pray for my abures – and prayer is a powerful thing. Feel free to reach out to me here on facebook or at the following email address: bstuartmyers@gmail.com. We’ll work out the details when you write.

After  months of people writing to me about the problems they face and how their own godparents won’t so much as let them offer a plate, candle, and coconuts without spending ridiculous amounts of money, I’m just over it. And as an olorisha who loves not only the orishas but also those who worship them, I’m ready to do my own small part to help people find the hope and happiness they need.  

Ócháni Lele.

 
 
ochanilele
This course begins Saturday, June 9th, and meets from noon through 1:30 pm EST each Saturday. Class size is limited to 8 students. Please email me at bstuartmyers AT gmail DOT com to register, or with any questions you may have.


Instructor: Ócháni Lele (B. Stuart Myers); bstuartmyers@gmail.com.

Textbook: The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination (Destiny Books, 2000)

Recommended texts: Teachings of the Santería Gods (Destiny Books, 2010) and Diloggún Tales of the Natural World (Destiny Books, 2011).

Length of course: 38 weeks

Cost: $400.00

Please note that under each class you will find three sections. Those sections are labeled lecture, read, and reaction. The lecture tells you what I will be teaching in that day’s class. The read tells you what you will have to read after class for homework. The reaction topic will be assigned to each student in class. Be well-read when coming to class and take good notes from my lectures!

Reaction papers are simple. After the lecture, I want you to think about my lecture and the topic assigned. Write about what the topic means to you. There is no right or wrong reaction to these assignments. I want 125 to 250 words (no more, no less) written. This is an exercise in critical thinking, which is a diviner’s best tool.

Section One: Casting the Diloggún

Class One:
Lecture: this is course orientation. Since we will be together for a few months, students will introduce themselves to each other, and I will introduce myself and my lifelong passion: diloggún, odu, and divination. I will answer several questions key to this course: what is the diloggún? What is divination? What are odu? And what is the point of all this, really? Come prepared to take notes.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. Also, read The Blood that Runs through the Veins, a paper written by Michael Atwood Mason that I will email to you at the end of this class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction (you can write more if you wish) to the Michael Atwood Mason paper. Compare it to your own experiences as a client of the diviners (diloggún or Ifá). Write about the expectations you had that were not fulfilled as a diviner’s client. Write about what you think the role of divination is in this religion. Try to email your papers to me the day before the next class. All reaction papers throughout this course are due the day before the next class, so please keep that in mind!

Class Two:
Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. Discussion of the opening prayer (a simplified format will be presented). A description of all ibó from textbook with a focus on the odu from which they come. Also, we will weed out the Arara ibó and use only the Lucumí-Oyó ibó for the remainder of this course.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. La Division de la Habana by Miguel W. Ramos, a document that I will email to you at the end of this class. Try to memorize the format for the opening prayer that I give you in class. Prayer is essential to opening the diloggún.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the power that women held early in Lucumí history. Compare this to the power that women hold today. Consider the role women should have in the religion today. Try to have this paper in to me Friday morning before the next class.

Class Three:
Lecture: Discussion of the Ramos paper and student reaction papers. Using ibó and picking hands. We will have in-class drills on this material. This is the point where most novice diviners make the most mistakes, and the picking of the proper hand is essential to divination.

Read: “When the reading opens in iré.” Pages 29-33. Read From Hierography to Ethnography and Back: Lydia Cabrera's Texts and the Written Tradition in Afro-Cuban Religions. This is a paper that I will email to everyone at the end of class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the paper From Hierography. Consider the role of written resources in the religion, including your own personal training up to this point. Try to have these papers in to me by next Friday morning before class.

Class Four:
Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. We will discuss two patakís, one from the corpus of the olodu Ejioko and one from the corpus of the odu Osá Irosun, both speaking on the importance of writing and folkloric libraries. The first question asked; and, what to do when the reading opens in iré. We will discuss the patakí from Ofún that explains why this is the first question asked. Also, we will discuss what to do if the answer to the first question is “no.” It is at this point that students will also learn to be accurate transcribers of itá should they ever have to fulfill that function.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: There is no reaction paper due; however, memorize and learn the lists given in the textbook for iré. Diviners must have this material committed to memory before working the diloggún.

Class Five:
Lecture: Again, we will consider the first essential question of divination after casting the entoyale. Also, I will give an introduction to osogbo. We will discuss the osogbos presented in the textbook and how they are actual spiritual entities, not abstract concepts. This is another mistake novice diviners make in their early work – osogbo is a living, spiritual creature. We will examine the odu and the olodu in which they were born and the implications they bring to those olodu and odu. Also, we will get to know the osogbos intimately by their patakís, and in doing so, learn their weaknesses. Also, we will cover the proper ibó to use for each osogbo.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, continue memorizing the list of iré and memorize the list of osogbo plus the ibó used for marking them. When divining, a diviner must have all this information safely stored in his or her head.

Class Six:
Lecture: Marking osogbo. Step-by-step we will cover the process of marking osogbo and extracting its point of origin.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Class Seven:
Lecture: Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu. A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Reaction: Each student will be given one type of adimú and asked to research traditional Cuban recipes for that adimú. As a homework assignment, each student will then cook that adimú for his or her orisha and offer it “just because,” or, out of love for the orisha. Make sure to take a digital photograph of your culinary creation to share with everyone!

Class Eight:
Lecture: The art of giving a reading. There are many layers of interpretation for odu. In this class, we will examine the process by which an odu is unraveled. There is more to the art that speaking about the composite. Each part of the entoyale has meaning, and those meanings are dependent upon the elder/minor status of the two odu that have come together. The parts of the intori plus its witnesses have meaning, and we will examine how to unravel that. There are clues that give us time placement for our divination, and we will examine that as well. Also, we will cover the various points in a reading at which a diviner should stop and ask “eboda?”

Read: All previous textbook assignments and notes.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, students should review all lecture notes and assignments, preparing for the exam which will come in three weeks.


Class Nine: EXAM! It will be given during class time and by email. All students must be present on Skype to take this exam.

Read: Chapter two, “Opening Okana – One Mouth on the Mat.” Pages 55-72.

Reaction: Write your reaction to the class so far. Critique your instructor – were all of your needs met with this section of the course? How could the course have been better?

Section Two: Interpreting the Olodu, Basic Considerations

Class Ten and Eleven:

Lecture: Okana (1), one mouth on the mat.

Read: Chapter three, “Opening Eji Oko – Two Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 73-90.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twelve and Thirteen:

Lecture: Eji Oko (2), two mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Four, “Opening Ogundá – Three Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 91-114.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Fourteen and Fifteen:

Lecture: Ogundá (3), three mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Five, “Opening Irosun – Four Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 115-136.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Sixteen and Seventeen:

Lecture: Irosun (4), four mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Six, “Opening Oché – Five Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 137-160.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assignment: Ogundá Okana (3-1), iré (2) elese eledá (3), yale (2) timbelaye Olódumare (4). As an additional challenge, identify which had was picked for each orientation.

Class Eighteen and Nineteen:

Lecture: Oché (5), five mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Seven, “Opening Obara – Six Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 161-184.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class. Odu Notebook exercises begin!

Class Twenty and Twenty-one:

Lecture: Obara (6), six mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eight, “Opening Odí – Seven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 185-204.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Oché Ejioko (5-2), osogbo (3), ano (5-2), elese otonowá (4), larishe si (5-4), adimú (4), elese Oshún (5-5), obi y omi tutu (2), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify which hand was picked for each orientation.

Class Twenty-two and twenty-three:

Lecture: Odí (7), seven mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Nine, “Opening Elleunle/Eji Ogbe – Eight Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 205-230.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class twenty-four and twenty-five:

Lecture: Eji Ogbe/Unle (8), eight mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Ten, “Opening Osá – Nine Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 231-256.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class twenty-six and twenty-seven:

Lecture: Osá (9), nine mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eleven, “Opening Ofún – Ten Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 257-288.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Osá Ogundá (9-3), iré (5-5), elese eledá (3), kotoyale (2), ocha onire (4), elese Oyá (9-9), adimú (9-2), obi y omi tutu (3), eboda (9-9). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked for each orientation.

Class twenty-eight and twenty-nine:

Lecture: Ofún (10), ten mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Twelve, “Opening Owani – Eleven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 289-312.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty and thirty-one:

Lecture: Owani (11), eleven mouths on mat.

Read: Chapter Thirteen, “Opening Ejila Shebora – Twelve Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 313-342.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Ogundá Owani (3-11), osogbo (11-5), arayé (3), elese obini (4), egun onire (11-11), ebo misi (9-9), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked.

Class thirty-two and thirty-three:

Lecture: Ejila Shebora (12), twelve mouths on the mat.

Read: there are no further reading assignments. All material will be given in lecture.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty-four:
Please note – there is no well-written material anywhere about these signs: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunlá, or Merindilogún. Knowledge will come exclusively from lectures. Also, these classes are presented mostly for the sake of knowledge. There are lineages of ocha who do read beyond Ejila Shebora; however, those lines are few and far between. Still, they present metaphysical concepts that most will find interesting.

Lecture: Metanlá (13), thirteen mouths on the mat.
Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty-five:
Lecture: Merinlá (14), fourteen mouths on the mat.
Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty-six:
Lecture: Marunlá (15), fifteen mouths on the mat.
Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty-seven:
Lecture: Merindilogún (16), sixteen mouths on the mat.
Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class thirty-eight: In class final exam! Come prepared to interpret an odu (entoyale and intori), and come prepared to write a lot – from memory!
 
 
ochanilele

Instructor: Ócháni Lele (B. Stuart Myers)

Meeting Time: This class meets once every 4 weeks on Sundays from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST via Skype. It is a seven-session course, which means the class will run one Sunday a month for seven months. Exact dates are given in this syllabus. Mark the dates on your calendar! It is your responsibility to remember these dates and come to class on time.

Current students: you, too, will get the benefit of 7 days. Some of you in my first classes have found places where more instruction is needed, and Olófin bless you for that. Don’t worry – you will get all the material offered in this same course, and we will meet for a total of 7 sessions.

Textbook: Obí, Oracle of Cuban Santería (Destiny Books, 2001). The textbook is required. I am the author of that book.

Cost: $175.00 for the complete seven-session course (to offset the cost of the extra sessions). Current divination students (basic and advanced) may attend class for $75.00. Registration deadlines will be announced for each class, and full payment of tuition guarantees one’s seat. Tuition is not refundable.

Please remember that exact lessons are fluid and changeable; some topics, depending on student participation, might run longer than the allotted 2 hours. If this happens, in the next month’s class the lecture will pick up where it left off and continue.

Class One, Sunday May 6th

An introduction to obi divination:

Preparation: Come to class having read the following material from Obi, Oracle of Cuban Santería. You must come prepared.

  1. Introduction – Beyond the Middle Passage: pages 1 – 8;
  2. Chapter One – Understanding the Orisha Obí: pages 9 – 31;
  3. Chapter Two – The Principles of Casting Obí: pages 32 – 40.

Please note that these are not the only patakís that support the Lucumí system of obí divination. Throughout the diloggún are proverbs that speak about the system of obí divination. In addition to exploring the information published in the book Obi, Oracle of Cuban Santería we will discuss those odu, proverbs, and patakís supporting divination with obí.

Lecture: During class, we will begin with students introducing themselves to each other. For the remainder of the class we will study the concept of Olódumare (God) and who or what God is. The names Olódumare, Olorún, and Olófin will be pulled apart and examined in depth by both their etymology and metaphysical expressions. Likewise, we will examine, in depth, the Lucumí concept of orisha by pulling apart and examining in depth the word’s etymology and metaphysical expressions. The Lucumí word orisha, truly, has no equivalent in the English language, and through lecture students will come to understand this concept. One-by-one, we will pull apart and examine the etymology and metaphysical implications of the faith’s pillar orishas: Elegguá, Ogún, Ochosi, Obatalá, Oyá, Oshún, Yemayá, and Shangó.

Homework assignment: Read the following: 1. pages 40 – 54 (regarding opening the oracle and casting obí); 2. Chapter Three, Interpreting the oracle – pages 55—79. Begin memorization of Lucumí prayers. Everyone should begin memorization of the Lucumí prayer to open the oracle; aborishas should begin memorization of Lucumí prayers to Elegguá, Ogún, and Ochosi; priests and priestess should begin memorization of all the above mentioned prayers plus Lucumí prayers for their crowning orishas. Please come to the next class prepared; you have a month between classes to master the homework material before we meet again.

Class Two: June 3, 2012

Initial Assessment and Interpreting the Oracle

Lecture: The concept of context. The oracle obí is one that depends on context. This class will be a discussion on appropriate questions that obí can address; likewise, we will speak about context and appropriate layers of interpretation with the oracle of obí. Specifically, we will discuss how to handle obí before offering an ebó, adimú (for aborishas and olorishas) or animal offerings (for olorishas). We will discuss how to handle obí when divining with the orishas about a major life decision (and what types of decisions are appropriate for obí and which should be handled by other forms of divination). We will discuss how to handle obi for weekly petitions with Elegguá, and monthly petitions with one’s crown. Also, study with the myriad patterns falling during a session with obí will begin. Basic patterns of aláfia, etawa and composites, ejife, okana, and oyekun will be studied. This will be the simple introduction to the patterns needed for simple interpretations.

Homework Assignment: Continue memorization of the prayer used for casting obí (memorization should have begun when preparing for class two). Aborishas should continue memorization of appropriate Lucumí prayers for Elegguá, Ogún, and Ochosi (and, please note, aborishas need verifiable godparent permission before taking this class. I WILL need to speak with your godparents to verify this). Priests and priestesses should continue memorization of all the above plus appropriate prayers for their crowning orisha (first) and other pillar orishas (second). Read and study chapter three again, pages 55-79. Memorize prayers for various castings of obi (aláfia, etawa, and okana).

Class Three, July 1, 2012

Advanced Divination Techniques

Lecture: Again, obi is an oracle whose interpretation depends on context. Here we will cover how to approach obi as an oracle when asking about major life decisions: should I let someone new live with me; should I accept a new job; is this move I want to make propitious with me; should I let this new aleyo/aborisha be a part of my ilé; etc. The reasoning for asking, “Obi iré, obi?” will be given. Also, we will study the advanced concept of composites and their meaning in this class: the composites of aláfia (when such are called for), the composites of etawa, and the composites of okana. We will re-examine the concepts of oyekun and okana.

Class Four: July 29, 2012

Interpretation by Apere, the symbols of Obí

Lecture: For more advanced work with obí divination, use of symbols (apere) is a lost art. Today, most santeros and santeras who use obí to give greater insight during divination fall back on the symbols of Ifá when interpreting the oracle. This is incorrect, and in my opinion, is a violation of the initiatory boundaries between babalawos and orisha priests. Only babalawos have the right and the initiatory status to use obí, in an emergency, as an òpèlè to mark legs of Ifá. Orisha priests, however, when divining with Elegguá and when used in context do have the right to interpret a cast of obí according to the apere, the symbols, that have fallen on the floor in front of Elegguá. Not every type of question, however, is appropriate for this style of interpretation. It is all about context. Please note that for aborishas, it is never appropriate to use obí in this manner – it is a tool of the priesthood only; however, aborishas with godparent permission to attend the class will be exposed to this material for the personal illumination.

For this class, we will study the following aperes in depth (beyond the material presented in the textbook): Elegguá, Ogún, Ochosi, Babaluaiye, and Aganyú.

Homework assignment: Continue memorization of Lucumí prayers; and, continue study of chapter four, “Interpreting the Oracle: Apere Ti Obi.” Please come to the next class prepared; you have a month between classes to master the homework material before we meet again.

Class Five:  August 26, 2012

Interpretation by Apere, the Symbols of Obí

Lecture: This is a continuation of the study of apere. We will focus on the aperes for Shangó, Obatalá, Oyá, Oshún, Yemayá, and the Ibeyi (not covered in the textbook at all).

Homework assignment: Continue memorization of Lucumí prayers; read chapter five, “Closing the Session with Obí.” There are many special ebós and considerations used to clear negative patterns from one’s house. These are not covered in the textbook, and we will study these in class. Please come to the next class prepared; you have a month between classes to master the homework material before we meet again.

Class Six:  September 23, 2012

Closing the Reading

Lecture: Obi is an oracle whose ashé it to help us evolve and avoid danger; and to facilitate this, the oracle is designed to always close on a positive note. A session cannot, must not, end on a negative letter. Through lecture we will examine how to work with Obí to not only remove negativity from our homes, but also how to close on a positive session so that each divination facilitates harmony, balance, and evolution. Also, with this final class on obí divination we will close up any loose ends and unanswered questions students might have.

Class Seven: October 21, 2011

Optional catch-up class plus question/answer session.

 
 
ochanilele
09 February 2012 @ 08:44 pm

Tonight I was going through my volumes and volumes of diloggún notes looking for patakís appropriate for my new manuscript: Osogbo, the Spirit of Misfortune in Lucumí Belief. I found a patakí in the odu Unle Ogundá that I long ago forgot about. It seems I’m always forgetting, and always remembering. I’m so glad I’ve kept notebooks and journals my entire life.

I’m not sure where I got it from, and while some of this reads like my writing some of it does not. I think this is a story I was given back in the early 90s that I kept and worked on for quite some time before I put it away.

But it’s called “Blood, Weeping, Laughter, and Patience.” We often speak of menstruation as a curse; men, sadly, are afraid of vaginas and the power they hold. This story takes us well beyond the superstitious nonsense we hear about the reason for menstruation and what it means; and as you will see from the story, it is a series of blessings that were bestowed on the world by Olódumare.

Enjoy it. It is from the odu Unle Ogundá, 8-3, the odu in which Ayala learned to carve heads (and Ayala plays a huge role in this story as well). If anyone knows of any other versions of this patakí, I’d love to hear them.

Ócháni Lele

While the first humans were molded of clay from the earth, given life by Olódumare’s sweet breath, once creation unfolded it was decreed that the race of mortals should recreate themselves, male and female, to populate the earth.  Spirits waited in heaven for the gates of life after life to be opened; none knew, however, what this gate was to be.  Olódumare unfolds all mysteries in his own time.  When the time was ripe for the first soul to incarnate, there was both fear and excitement until one brave soul went to God’s palace to be sent down.  All heaven was quiet in anticipation.  The first life sent down thus was of utmost importance, and Olódumare and all the bright Spirits in heaven counseled her on what she must do.  “Choose, choose your destiny wisely” they cautioned.  Before God, this gentle soul pondered the fate awaiting her, and asked only that she be accompanied by four principles into the world: Blood, Weeping, Laughter, and Patience.  All waited as Olódumare considered this; he gave consent.  The sound was sent to earth.

All the spirits of heaven marveled as the mystery of conception and pregnancy was revealed.  They watched the soul descend into the womb, sleeping; they felt her memories of life in heaven melt away, making her mortal mind a blank slate for new experiences.  Heaven was filled with souls waiting to incarnate, and each went to Olódumare’s palace to beg their chance.  The four principles chosen, Blood, Weeping, Laughter, and Patience marveled at these mysteries as well, but could not fathom why they were chosen as companions.  They each went to the diviners to have their future on earth divined.  “New mysteries unfold,” they said, “and each of you will play a role in their creation.  Your purposes will only unfold as you make ebó, and ire will come when the child matures and you make ebó once more.”  Odu was closed, and with its closure came the cries of the Mother.  So great were her pains that all in heaven heard the screaming.  Blood quickly made his sacrifice while others were stunned by this sound; immediately, he found himself beside the Mother.  It was then that his mystery unfolded.

The Mother bled from her womb as it contracted, blood heralding the emergence of new life.  Some women who watched bled as well, but their wombs were dry, lifeless, for there was nothing therein.  Others held their blood; their wombs were full with the newly born mysteries of conception and pregnancy.  They knew that soon, they would issue new life.  All watched in awe as the first girl-child was born with the mystery of Blood.  Olódumare saw these things and knew that they were good.  She decreed that without blood, no mother would give birth.  There was the blood of the menses telling a woman her womb was barren, but would soon be ready again for new life.  There was the blood withheld to nourish the conceived infant.  There was the blood that came with the pain before new life could come into the world.  These blood mysteries were born with the first sacrifice in Obeyono, and this blood is always watched for, always caught, and always measured.  It is feared by men and prayed for by women.  It is life, the giver of life, and the cleanser of life.  Weeping watched all these things unfolding on earth from heaven in awe; once the girl-child began to emerge from the womb, she quickly made her sacrifice.

It was then that she joined both Mother and child on earth.  The Mother no longer screamed dryly, she cried tears of pain as Weeping came to her side, helping the infant with her birth.  Women began to cry in fear, for they knew not how to help with the mystery.  Some cried because they knew that they, too, would suffer the travails of labor, while others who bled cried that their own wombs were barren.  The baby was born, and she, too, cried in pain and fear while the Mother wept in joy.  Tears flowed freely that day.  Olódumare saw these things, and knew that they were good.  She decreed from that day forth without tears, mortal offspring could not live.  With the second sacrifice in Obeyono was born the honor of weeping.  Having arrived in the flow of blood, the child cries, starts to wail, and those in attendance hear the cries ascending to heaven.  They, too, begin to weep in joy.  The Mother cries tears of joy and pain with the arrival of her offspring.  Devoid of tears, the infant is spanked to make it weep; if it does not, all there cry tears of sadness for there is no life.  Thus were the predictions of odu fulfilled: Blood and Weeping followed the birth of children everywhere.

With the arrival of humanity’s first child came a flood of new births as women everywhere had begun to conceive and ripen.  Laughter and Patience watched in awe as each new child came with Blood and Weeping.  So powerful was the mystery unfolded that they could not bear to look away; it overwhelmed them.  Wanting the same blessings as they, once the first girl-child reached her fortieth day of life, Laughter realized he had not yet made ebó.  Quickly, he went to the diviner’s to make his offering, but was told that because he took so long to come back, his ebó was doubled.  Laughter did not care; he made ebó and immediately found himself on earth.  Before him was the girl-child, the one who requested that the principle be her companion.  When she saw him, a faint memory flickered in her mind, but was gone; still, she smiled.  The smile grew into a short giggle.  The sound was pleasing, and she laughed.  Her parents were the first to hear this, and the sound was contagious.  Soon, the entire household was caught up in laughter.  Olódumare saw that this was good, and gave her blessings to Laughter.  As each child on earth came to the fortieth day, each was accompanied by laughter.  The spirits of heaven looked down at this new mystery, and saw that it was good: they gave their own ache to the blessing.  Soon, the entire world was caught within Laughter’s grasp.

For nine months, Patience watched these blessings unfold throughout the earth, and saw the goodness created by Blood, Weeping, and Laugher, for each had ache and purpose in life.  She wanted to be a part of these mysteries as well.  Having been overwhelmed by what she saw, and having been the most patient of the four, she was slow in offering ebó.  The diviners told her, “Patience, you waited far too long.  Your ebó must be offered five times over.”  Wanting to go to earth, she made the sacrifices.  It was then that she saw the girl-child face to face for the first time.  When Patience arrived, the toddler looked at her and smiled.  She then stood, reaching out for the principle.  She fell.  She tried again, and fell again.  Wanting to reach her new companion, she stood again; for a moment she had balance, and then tried to take her first step.  She fell.  The child’s Mother saw these things, and sensing Patience in the room, she said, “Have patience, my child.”  With that principle as her guide, she learned to walk; to talk; to run; to skip; to jump.  Laughter came with each new sill mastered while Patience helped her learn slowly.  Children everywhere learned new skills and grew into maturity with Laughter and Patience as their guides.  Olódumare saw that these things were good, and all the denizens of heaven increased his blessings.

Because the sacrifices of Laughter and Patience were larger, their blessings were greater; and when earth’s first child matured into an adult, they made the final ebós prescribed by Obeyono.  Blood and Weeping became bitter over the years, for while they were the first mysteries to unfold they were always less desired.  Bitterness led to anger, and they refused to make ebó.  The odu was sealed.  Humans over the earth knew that they came to this world amidst blood and weeping, but they prayed for laughter and patience, looking for goodness and joy among the finer things in life.  Their prayers were sincere, from the heart, “let us not leave this world as we came to this world, through blood and weeping.  Let us leave this world through laughter, and with patience.”  Olódumare saw that this was good, and gave her consent.  So has it been since then.

 
 
ochanilele

Instructor: Ócháni Lele (B. Stuart Myers)

Meeting Time: This class meets once a month on Sundays for 2 hours each session. It is a five-session course, which means the class will run one Sunday a month for five months. Exact dates and times will be given before each class begins.

Textbook: Obí, Oracle of Cuban Santería (Destiny Books, 2001). The textbook is required.

Cost: $150.00 for the complete five-session course. Current divination students (basic and advanced) may attend class for ½ the tuition cost -- $75.00. Registration deadlines will be announced for each class, and full payment of tuition guarantees one’s seat. Tuition is not refundable.

Please remember that exact lessons are fluid and changeable; some topics, depending on student participation, might run longer than the allotted 2 hours. If this happens, in the next month’s class the lecture will pick up where it left off and continue.

Class One, An introduction to obi divination:

Preparation: Come to class having read the following material from Obi, Oracle of Cuban Santería:

  1. Introduction – Beyond the Middle Passage: pages 1 – 8;
  2. Chapter One – Understanding the Orisha Obí: pages 9 – 31;
  3. Chapter Two – The Principles of Casting Obí: pages 32 – 40.

Please note that these are not the only patakís that support the Lucumí system of obí divination. Throughout the diloggún are proverbs that speak about the system of obí divination. In addition to exploring the information published in the book Obi, Oracle of Cuban Santería we will discuss those odu, proverbs, and patakís supporting divination with obí.

Lecture: During class, we will begin with students introducing themselves to each other. For the remainder of the class we will study the concept of God and who or what God is. The names Olódumare, Olorún, and Olófin will be pulled apart and examined in depth by both their etymology and metaphysical expressions. Likewise, we will examine, in depth, the Lucumí concept of orisha by pulling apart and examining in depth the word’s etymology and metaphysical expressions. The Lucumí word orisha, truly, has no equivalent in the English language, and through lecture students will come to understand this concept. One-by-one, we will pull apart and examine the etymology and metaphysical implications of the faith’s pillar orishas: Elegguá, Ogún, Ochosi, Obatalá, Oyá, Oshún, Yemayá, and Shangó.

Homework assignment: Read the following: 1. pages 40 – 54 (regarding opening the oracle and casting obí); 2. Chapter Three, Interpreting the oracle – pages 55—79. Begin memorization of Lucumí prayers. Everyone should begin memorization of the Lucumí prayer to open the oracle; aborishas should begin memorization of Lucumí prayers to Elegguá, Ogún, and Ochosi; priests and priestess should begin memorization of all the above mentioned prayers plus Lucumí prayers for their crowning orishas.

Class Two: Initial Assessment and Interpreting the Oracle

Lecture: The concept of context. The oracle obí is one that depends on context. This class will be a discussion on appropriate questions that obí can address; likewise, we will speak about context and appropriate layers of interpretation with the oracle of obí. Specifically, we will discuss how to handle obí before offering an ebó, adimú or animal offering. We will discuss how to handle obí when divining with the orishas about a major life decision (and what types of decisions are appropriate for obí and which should be handled by other forms of divination). We will discuss how to handle obi for weekly petitions with Elegguá, and monthly petitions with one’s crown. Also, study with the myriad patterns falling during a session with obí will begin.

Homework Assignment: Continue memorization of the prayer used for casting obí (memorization should have begun when preparing for class two). Aborishas should continue memorization of appropriate Lucumí prayers for Elegguá, Ogún, and Ochosi (and, please note, aborishas need verifiable godparent permission before taking this class. I WILL need to speak with your godparents to verify this). Priests and priestesses should continue memorization of all the above plus appropriate prayers for their crowning orisha (first) and other pillar orishas (second). Read and study chapter three again, pages 55-79. Read chapter four, “Interpreting the Oracle: Apere ti, Obí” (pages 80-120).

Class Three: Interpretation by Apere, the symbols of Obí

Lecture: For more advanced work with obí divination, use of symbols (apere) is a lost art. Today, most santeros and santeras who use obí to give greater insight during divination fall back on the symbols of Ifá when interpreting the oracle. This is incorrect, and in my opinion, is a violation of the initiatory boundaries between babalawos and orisha priests. Only babalawos have the right and the initiatory status to use obí, in an emergency, as an òpèlè to mark legs of Ifá. Orisha priests, however, when divining with Elegguá and when used in context do have the right to interpret a cast of obí according to the apere, the symbols, that have fallen on the floor in front of Elegguá. Not every type of question, however, is appropriate for this style of interpretation. It is all about context. Please note that for aborishas, it is never appropriate to use obí in this manner – it is a tool of the priesthood only; however, aborishas with godparent permission to attend the class will be exposed to this material for the personal illumination.

For this class, we will study the following aperes in depth (beyond the material presented in the textbook): Elegguá, Ogún, Ochosi, Babaluaiye, and Aganyú.

Homework assignment: Continue memorization of Lucumí prayers; and, continue study of chapter four, “Interpreting the Oracle: Apere Ti Obi.”

Class Four: Interpretation by Apere, the Symbols of Obí

Lecture: This is a continuation of the study of apere. We will focus on the aperes for Shangó, Obatalá, Oyá, Oshún, Yemayá, and the Ibeyi (not covered in the textbook at all).

Homework assignment: Continue memorization of Lucumí prayers; read chapter five, “Closing the Session with Obí.” There are many special ebós and considerations used to clear negative patterns from one’s house. These are not covered in the textbook, and we will study these in class.

Class Five: Closing the Reading

Lecture: Obi is an oracle whose ashé is to help us evolve and avoid danger; and to facilitate this, the oracle is designed to always close on a positive note. A session cannot, must not, end on a negative letter. Through lecture we will examine how to work with Obí to not only remove negativity from our homes, but also how to close on a positive session so that each divination facilitates harmony, balance, and evolution. Also, with this final class on obí divination we will close up any loose ends and unanswered questions students might have.

 
 
ochanilele
11 November 2011 @ 09:16 am

gypsy

On Sunday, November 13th I will be at Michelle “Ogun” Ithier’s Gypsy Festival selling and signing copies of my new book, Diloggun Tales of the Natural World and Teachings of the Santeria Gods. The event is being held at:

 

Teresa’s Bar and Grill

219 Broadway

Kissimmee, Florida 34741.

 

Doors open at 12:00 noon. The gypsy market is from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The gypsy show is from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM (call 407/846-0082 for tickets to the show), and the gypsy fiesta is from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

 

I hope to see you all there!

 
 
ochanilele

This is a revised, expanded syllabus. Please note that because the new, expanded basic divination course has been lengthened by 8 weeks, tuition cost is slightly higher than the previous offering. If this is a burden, payment arrangements can be made with me on an individual basis. Please email for more information about that or anything in this syllabus: bstuartmyers@gmail.com

Instructor: Ócháni Lele (B. Stuart Myers)

Textbook: The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination (Destiny Books, 2000)

Recommended texts: Teachings of the Santería Gods (Destiny Books, 2010) and Diloggún Tales of the Natural World (Destiny Books, 2011).

Length of course: 24 weeks

Cost: $400.00

Please note that under each class you will find three sections. Those sections are labeled lecture, read, and reaction. The lecture tells you what I will be teaching in that day’s class. The read tells you what you will have to read after class for homework. The reaction topic will be assigned to each student in class. Be well-read when coming to class and take good notes from my lectures!

Reaction papers are simple. After the lecture, I want you to think about my lecture and the topic assigned. Write about what the topic means to you. There is no right or wrong reaction to these assignments. I want 125 to 250 words (no more, no less) written. This is an exercise in critical thinking, which is a diviner’s best tool.

Section One: Casting the Diloggún

Class One:

Lecture: this is course orientation. Since we will be together for a few months, students will introduce themselves to each other, and I will introduce myself and my lifelong passion: diloggún, odu, and divination. I will answer several questions key to this course: what is the diloggún? What is divination? What are odu? And what is the point of all this, really? Come prepared to take notes.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. Also, read The Blood that Runs through the Veins, a paper written by Michael Atwood Mason that I will email to you at the end of this class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction (you can write more if you wish) to the Michael Atwood Mason paper. Compare it to your own experiences as a client of the diviners (diloggún or Ifá). Write about the expectations you had that were not fulfilled as a diviner’s client. Write about what you think the role of divination is in this religion. Try to email your papers to me the day before the next class. All reaction papers throughout this course are due the day before the next class, so please keep that in mind!

Class Two:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. Discussion of the opening prayer (a simplified format will be presented). A description of all ibó from textbook with a focus on the odu from which they come. Also, we will weed out the Arara ibó and use only the Lucumí-Oyó ibó for the remainder of this course.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. La Division de la Habana by Miguel W. Ramos, a document that I will email to you at the end of this class. Try to memorize the format for the opening prayer that I give you in class. Prayer is essential to opening the diloggún.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the power that women held early in Lucumí history. Compare this to the power that women hold today. Consider the role women should have in the religion today. Try to have this paper in to me Friday morning before the next class.

Class Three:

Lecture: Discussion of the Ramos paper and student reaction papers. Using ibó and picking hands. We will have in-class drills on this material. This is the point where most novice diviners make the most mistakes, and the picking of the proper hand is essential to divination.

Read: “When the reading opens in iré.” Pages 29-33. Read From Hierography to Ethnography and Back: Lydia Cabrera's Texts and the Written Tradition in Afro-Cuban Religions. This is a paper that I will email to everyone at the end of class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the paper From Hierography. Consider the role of written resources in the religion, including your own personal training up to this point. Try to have these papers in to me by next Friday morning before class.

Class Four:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. We will discuss two patakís, one from the corpus of the olodu Ejioko and one from the corpus of the odu Osá Irosun, both speaking on the importance of writing and folkloric libraries. The first question asked; and, what to do when the reading opens in iré. We will discuss the patakí from Ofún that explains why this is the first question asked. Also, we will discuss what to do if the answer to the first question is “no.” It is at this point that students will also learn to be accurate transcribers of itá should they ever have to fulfill that function.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: There is no reaction paper due; however, memorize and learn the lists given in the textbook for iré. Diviners must have this material committed to memory before working the diloggún.

Class Five:

Lecture: Again, we will consider the first essential question of divination after casting the entoyale. Also, I will give an introduction to osogbo. We will discuss the osogbos presented in the textbook and how they are actual spiritual entities, not abstract concepts. This is another mistake novice diviners make in their early work – osogbo is a living, spiritual creature. We will examine the odu and the olodu in which they were born and the implications they bring to those olodu and odu. Also, we will get to know the osogbos intimately by their patakís, and in doing so, learn their weaknesses. Also, we will cover the proper ibó to use for each osogbo.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, continue memorizing the list of iré and memorize the list of osogbo plus the ibó used for marking them. When divining, a diviner must have all this information safely stored in his or her head.

Class Six:

Lecture: Marking osogbo. Step-by-step we will cover the process of marking osogbo and extracting its point of origin.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Class Seven:

Lecture: Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu. A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Reaction: Each student will be given one type of adimú and asked to research traditional Cuban recipes for that adimú. As a homework assignment, each student will then cook that adimú for his or her orisha and offer it “just because,” or, out of love for the orisha. Make sure to take a digital photograph of your culinary creation to share with everyone!

Class Seven:

Lecture: The art of giving a reading. There are many layers of interpretation for odu. In this class, we will examine the process by which an odu is unraveled. There is more to the art that speaking about the composite. Each part of the entoyale has meaning, and those meanings are dependent upon the elder/minor status of the two odu that have come together. The parts of the intori plus its witnesses have meaning, and we will examine how to unravel that. There are clues that give us time placement for our divination, and we will examine that as well. Also, we will cover the various points in a reading at which a diviner should stop and ask “eboda?”

Read: All previous textbook assignments and notes.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, students should review all lecture notes and assignments, preparing for the exam which will come in three weeks.

Class Eight: EXAM! It will be given during class time and by email. All students must be present on Skype to take this exam.

Read: Chapter two, “Opening Okana – One Mouth on the Mat.” Pages 55-72.

Reaction: Write your reaction to the class so far. Critique your instructor – were all of your needs met with this section of the course? How could the course have been better?

Section Two: Interpreting the Olodu, Basic Considerations

Class Nine:

Lecture: Okana (1), one mouth on the mat.

Read: Chapter three, “Opening Eji Oko – Two Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 73-90.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Ten:

Lecture: Eji Oko (2), two mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Four, “Opening Ogundá – Three Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 91-114.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Eleven:

Lecture: Ogundá (3), three mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Five, “Opening Irosun – Four Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 115-136.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assignment: Ogundá Okana (3-1), iré (2) elese eledá (3), yale (2) timbelaye Olódumare (4). As an additional challenge, identify which had was picked for each orientation.

Class Twelve:

Lecture: Irosun (4), four mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Six, “Opening Oché – Five Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 137-160.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Thirteen:

Lecture: Oché (5), five mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Seven, “Opening Obara – Six Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 161-184.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class. Odu Notebook exercises begin!

Class Fourteen:

Lecture: Obara (6), six mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eight, “Opening Odí – Seven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 185-204.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Oché Ejioko (5-2), osogbo (3), ano (5-2), elese otonowá (4), larishe si (5-4), adimú (4), elese Oshún (5-5), obi y omi tutu (2), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify which hand was picked for each orientation.

Class Fifteen:

Lecture: Odí (7), seven mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Nine, “Opening Elleunle/Eji Ogbe – Eight Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 205-230.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Sixteen:

Lecture: Eji Ogbe/Unle (8), eight mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Ten, “Opening Osá – Nine Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 231-256.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Seventeen:

Lecture: Osá (9), nine mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eleven, “Opening Ofún – Ten Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 257-288.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Osá Ogundá (9-3), iré (5-5), elese eledá (3), kotoyale (2), ocha onire (4), elese Oyá (9-9), adimú (9-2), obi y omi tutu (3), eboda (9-9). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked for each orientation.

Class Eighteen:

Lecture: Ofún (10), ten mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Twelve, “Opening Owani – Eleven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 289-312.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Nineteen:

Lecture: Owani (11), eleven mouths on mat.

Read: Chapter Thirteen, “Opening Ejila Shebora – Twelve Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 313-342.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Ogundá Owani (3-11), osogbo (11-5), arayé (3), elese obini (4), egun onire (11-11), ebo misi (9-9), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked.

Class Twenty:

Lecture: Ejila Shebora (12), twelve mouths on the mat.

Read: there are no further reading assignments. All material will be given in lecture.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-One:

Please note – there is no well-written material anywhere about these signs: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunlá, or Merindilogún. Knowledge will come exclusively from lectures. Also, these classes are presented mostly for the sake of knowledge. There are lineages of ocha who do read beyond Ejila Shebora; however, those lines are few and far between. Still, they present metaphysical concepts that most will find interesting.

Lecture: Metanlá (13), thirteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-Two:

Lecture: Merinlá (14), fourteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-Three:

Lecture: Marunlá (15), fifteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-Four:

Lecture: Merindilogún (16), sixteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-Five: In class final exam! Come prepared to interpret an odu (entoyale and intori), and come prepared to write a lot – from memory!


 
 
ochanilele
24 September 2011 @ 03:32 am

I’ve spent a few weeks studying the philosophy of causality in relation to the odu of Okana. In facebook and elsewhere I’ve made notes about some of the things I’ve studied and pondered. So, I thought I’d post up some rough material of my work. Here are some random writings:

 

I’m still stuck on Okana and the following “flash” patakí: There was a time when the cause said to the effect, “You cannot exist without me.” And to this the effect replied, “And you, you would not be useful to humanity if I did not exist.”

Keep in mind that it’s almost 4:00 A.M., so my logic in all this might not be very clear. My divination students, however, will understand exactly where I’m coming from with this.

The relationship between events (the cause) and their second events (the effect) is known as the study of causality, where we understand that the second event is a direct consequence of the first. I’m convinced that causality is a huge part of Okana’s ashé, and its study can help us as diviners when navigating the family of Okana, or any composite that includes Okana (such as 7-1, 8-1, etc.).

Okana as an olodu has other proverbs in addition to the brief patakí already mentioned that hint at causality:

· From a good thing was born a bad thing, and from a bad thing was born a good thing.

· The world was created by one.

· Because of one the world began.

· If there is nothing bad, there is nothing good.

I’ve been reading about the metaphysics of causality. No, not the metaphysics of the New Age mentality; I’ve been studying metaphysics as a branch of philosophy. And with it I’ve been studying Aristotle’s 4 types of causes:

1) Material Cause: the raw material from which an object is made. This speaks of an object’s physical matter. The material of which an object is made causes its functions, basically. I’m not convinced that this form of causality has any bearing on Okana.

2) Formal Cause: such as the form of a statue. What a thing was meant to be or do; what it was planned to be, or be used for. The form an object takes causes its functions, basically. I’m not convinced that this form of causality has any bearing on Okana.

3) Efficient Cause (also known as mechanical cause): a present event causes a future event. Note that efficient causality is the only form of causation considered by modern science, and we have the work of Newton and Newtonian physics to thank for that. This is the connection between events, such as the cue ball hitting the 8 ball, making the 8 ball fall in the corner pocket. From the patakí already mentioned, it’s easy to see that this form of causality is vital to Okana’s ashé. For reasons my basic divination students will understand, I think the concept of efficient cause might be exceedingly helpful when discussing the implications of the following composites of Okana: Okana Meji (1-1) in iré, Okana Oché (1-5) in osogbo, Okana Obara (1-6) in osogbo, Okana Odí (1-7) in osogbo, Okana Osá (1-9) in osogbo, and Okana Owani (1-11) in osogbo. Working to identify the present causes of future events foretold in those odu will help clients avoid misfortune.

4) Final Cause (also known as a goal or purpose): a future event (possible or actual) causes a present event. It is our human mind and our intelligence that makes this a viable form of causation. Modern philosophers also know this as the intentional stance, and while final cause is rejected by scientific thinking, it is impossible to understand human motivation without it. From the patakí already mentioned, it’s easy to see that this form of causality is vital to Okana’s ashé. Also, for reasons my basic divination students will understand, I think final cause would be a concept especially helpful to use when clients come to the mat with the following entoyale in Okana: Okana Meji (1-1) in osogbo, Okana Oché (1-5) in iré, Okana Obara (1-6) in iré, Okana Odí in iré, Okana Osá in iré, and Okana Owani (1-11) in iré. By helping the client envision a better, safer future, and establishing a path to that while odu is still in effect on the mat, one can change the future of the client.

Of these 4 types of causes, I believe that 3 and 4 are appropriate to the ashé of Okana. They are also appropriate to consider in our role as diviners. Efficient cause and final cause and wonderful ways to help a client unravel the often meaningless and random events in his life; and final cause is an excellent tool for helping clients create new realities. It can lead to the often overlooked behavior modification; something more diviners should counsel their clients about.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

There is something called "The General Formula of Causality" and it is used by scientists; it also expresses very well the philosophical concept of cause and effect. In my opinion, this formula also expresses the truth of the olodu Okana:

(A) (B) [h (A) ----------► h (B)]

For every (A) and (B) [the happening of (A) causes the happening of (B).

For every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B. "h" stands for happening. The arrow stands for "causes". This is the general scientific formula, in which the logical symbols can stand for different variables. Let us understand A as temperature and B as pressure of a gas. Thus, if you increase the temperature, then you will cause the pressure to be increased too. This is called Boyle’s law; it was discovered by the theory of causality in scientific terms. This formula is also a wonderful expression of "Efficient Cause."

If we understand Okana as the law of cause and effect, Okana equals cause and effect. They are both wrapped up as dual poles of Okana. Therefore, to express this equation as a spiritual emanation of Okana, we could write the formula thus:

Okana = (A) (B) [h (A) ----------► h (B)]

Okana equals that for every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B.

Let’s take a look at what Iyanla wrote and apply it to the formula: “As mind is Cause, it has a vibration. Nothing in the universe is stagnant or still. All things are energy in motion at all times. As mind vibrates there is an effect, equaling in meaning that the energy emitted from mind (cause) will produce in kind (effect.) The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every movement of energy such as in a natural occurrence, or a human thought that takes the form of an image, feeling, desire, belief, expectation or action there is a corresponding effect. For this reason the Law of Cause and Effect influences every aspect of your living experience. This is where I believe Okana comes into play. She continued with, “From a good thing (mind) was born a bad thing (undisciplined thought) , and from a bad thing (undisciplined thought) was born a good thing (the need for correction/awareness/conscious connection to thoughts, words and actions. This need is probably what brought the client to the mat.”

Let’s see if we can find a way to fit that into the formula we just worked out based on the philosophical concept and the scientific formula of causation:

Okana = (A) (B) [h (A) ----------► h (B)]

Okana equals/says that for every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B.

We define (A) as a good thing and (B) as a bad thing.

Okana says that for every (good thing) and (bad thing), the happening of a (good thing) causes the happening of a (bad thing). The proverb on which this is based is “From a good thing was born a bad thing.” We find that the proverb Iyanla mentioned fits in with the formula perfectly; it is almost as if that proverb was written with this formula in mind.

Now, let’s redefine our terms: Let’s say that Okana, in this instance, is mind. A mind is one thing; and I, like Iyanla, believe that Okana references the mind as a primal cause. Of course in macrocosmic terms we’re talking the mind of Olódumare, and on mundane terms, we’re talking about the minds of humans. Let’s define (A) as Iyanla did in one of her examples, an undisciplined thought. Let’s define (B) as the need for correction. We have this:

Olódumare’s mind = (A) (B) [h (A) ----------► h (B)]

Olódumare’s mind says that (A being an undisciplined thought) (B being the need for correction) [the happening of an undisciplined thought creates the need for correction].

And again, with a formula we have demonstrated a spiritual truth.

Pretty awesome stuff, no? THESE are the types of issues that keep me awake at night!

 
 
ochanilele

Basic Course in Divination: Diloggún [Expanded]

Please note that this is a revised, expanded syllabus. I am extending the class by a few weeks. These extra lectures are presented at no extra cost, and previous basic divination students will receive recordings of the extra classes. Also, please note that the syllabus is divided into two sections to show current students how this course will be divided into two separate classes for future students.

Please note that under each class you will find three sections. Those sections are labeled lecture, read, and reaction. The lecture tells you what I will be teaching in that day’s class. The read tells you what you will have to read after class for homework. The reaction topic will be assigned to each student in class. Also, starting with the lecture on Oché, notebook exercises will be assigned. You will learn about these when the time comes for them. Until then, be well-read and take good notes from my lectures!

Reaction papers are simple. After the lecture, I want you to think about my lecture and the topic assigned. Write about what the topic means to you. There is no right or wrong reaction to these assignments. I want 125 to 250 words (no more, no less) written. This is an exercise in critical thinking, which is a diviner’s best tool.

In addition, every few classes starting with section two you will see an odu assigned to the class. This is an exercise in critical thinking, and based on the material in the textbook plus my lectures, and whatever knowledge you already have about the odu, you will interpret that as if you were divining for a client.

Section One:

This is an expanded syllabus from previous Basic Divination classes. We will spend more time on the process of divination, casting diloggún. Eventually this will be a class to itself. Current students get the benefit of the expanded course. Previous students will receive recordings of the lectures to complete their studies on their own.

Class One:

Lecture: this is course orientation. Since we will be together for a few months, students will introduce themselves to each other, and I will introduce myself and my lifelong passion: diloggún, odu, and divination. I will answer several questions key to this course: what is the diloggún? What is divination? What are odu? And what is the point of all this, really? Come prepared to take notes.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. Also, read The Blood that Runs through the Veins, a paper written by Michael Atwood Mason that I will email to you at the end of this class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction (you can write more if you wish) to the Michael Atwood Mason paper. Compare it to your own experiences as a client of the diviners (diloggún or Ifá). Write about the expectations you had that were not fulfilled as a diviner’s client. Write about what you think the role of divination is in this religion. Try to email your papers to me by Friday morning, before the next class. All reaction papers throughout this course are due the Friday morning before the next class, so please keep that in mind!

Class Two:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. Discussion of the opening prayer (a simplified format will be presented). A description of all ibó from textbook with a focus on the odu from which they come. Also, we will weed out the Arara ibó and use only the Lucumí-Oyó ibó for the remainder of this course.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. La Division de la Habana by Miguel W. Ramos, a document that I will email to you at the end of this class. Try to memorize the format for the opening prayer that I give you in class. Prayer is essential to opening the diloggún.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the power that women held early in Lucumí history. Compare this to the power that women hold today. Consider the role women should have in the religion today. Try to have this paper in to me Friday morning before the next class.

Class Three:

Lecture: Discussion of the Ramos paper and student reaction papers. Using ibó and picking hands. We will have in-class drills on this material. This is the point where most novice diviners make the most mistakes, and the picking of the proper hand is essential to divination.

Read: “When the reading opens in iré.” Pages 29-33. Read From Hierography to Ethnography and Back: Lydia Cabrera's Texts and the Written Tradition in Afro-Cuban Religions. This is a paper that I will email to everyone at the end of class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the paper From Hierography. Consider the role of written resources in the religion, including your own personal training up to this point. Try to have these papers in to me by next Friday morning before class.

Class Four:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. We will discuss two patakís, one from the corpus of the olodu Ejioko and one from the corpus of the odu Osá Irosun, both speaking on the importance of writing and folkloric libraries. The first question asked; and, what to do when the reading opens in iré. We will discuss the patakí from Ofún that explains why this is the first question asked. Also, we will discuss what to do if the answer to the first question is “no.” It is at this point that students will also learn to be accurate transcribers of itá should they ever have to fulfill that function.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: There is no reaction paper due; however, memorize and learn the lists given in the textbook for iré. Diviners must have this material committed to memory before working the diloggún.

Class Five:

Lecture: Again, we will consider the first essential question of divination after casting the entoyale. Also, I will give an introduction to osogbo. We will discuss the osogbos presented in the textbook and how they are actual spiritual entities, not abstract concepts. This is another mistake novice diviners make in their early work – osogbo is a living, spiritual creature. We will examine the odu and the olodu in which they were born and the implications they bring to those olodu and odu. Also, we will get to know the osogbos intimately by their patakís, and in doing so, learn their weaknesses. Also, we will cover the proper ibó to use for each osogbo.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, continue memorizing the list of iré and memorize the list of osogbo plus the ibó used for marking them. When divining, a diviner must have all this information safely stored in his or her head.

Class Six:

Lecture: Marking osogbo. Step-by-step we will cover the process of marking osogbo and extracting its point of origin.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Class Seven:

Lecture: Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu. A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Reaction: Each student will be given one type of adimú and asked to research traditional Cuban recipes for that adimú. As a homework assignment, each student will then cook that adimú for his or her orisha and offer it “just because,” or, out of love for the orisha. Make sure to take a digital photograph of your culinary creation to share with everyone!

Class Seven:

Lecture: The art of giving a reading. There are many layers of interpretation for odu. In this class, we will examine the process by which an odu is unraveled. There is more to the art that speaking about the composite. Each part of the entoyale has meaning, and those meanings are dependent upon the elder/minor status of the two odu that have come together. The parts of the intori plus its witnesses have meaning, and we will examine how to unravel that. There are clues that give us time placement for our divination, and we will examine that as well. Also, we will cover the various points in a reading at which a diviner should stop and ask “eboda?”

Read: All previous textbook assignments and notes.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, students should review all lecture notes and assignments, preparing for the exam which will come in three weeks. Students must pass the exam to continue with this course.

Class Eight:

Lecture: did you know that almost every odu that opens on the mat has special precautions for the diviner? All of them have ritual gestures, and some have special ebós that must be done either during or immediately after a session. Also, did you know that not only is divination for the client, but also for the diviner? Most of the olodu have special messages for the diviner only that teach him how to deal with the client or godchild he has sitting at the mat. If we know these messages, and pay attention to them, most of the problems arising from the client/diviner or godparent/godchild relationship can be avoided. This lecture will cover the odu Okana through Unle.

Reaction: Write a 250 page reaction to today’s lecture. If you have godchildren, think about them in relation to this material. What had you wished you known about your godchildren when these letters fell on the mat?

Class Nine:

Lecture: did you know that almost every odu that opens on the mat has special precautions for the diviner? All of them have ritual gestures, and some have special ebós that must be done either during or immediately after a session. Also, did you know that not only is divination for the client, but also for the diviner? Most of the olodu have special messages for the diviner only that teach him how to deal with the client or godchild he has sitting at the mat. If we know these messages, and pay attention to them, most of the problems arising from the client/diviner or godparent/godchild relationship can be avoided. This lecture will cover the odu Osá through Merindilogun. Also, we will review why the oriaté, during itá, does not need to follow these special ebós and rituals during itá.

Reaction: Write a 250 page reaction to today’s lecture. If you have godchildren, think about them in relation to this material. What had you wished you known about your godchildren when these letters fell on the mat?

 

Class Ten: EXAM! It will be given during class time and by email. All students must be present on Skype to take this exam.

Read: Chapter two, “Opening Okana – One Mouth on the Mat.” Pages 55-72.

Reaction: Write your reaction to the class so far. Critique your instructor – were all of your needs met with this section of the course? How could the course have been better?

Section Two:

This is an expanded syllabus from previous Basic Divination classes. We will spend more time studying the final four olodu: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunla, and Merindilogun. Eventually this will be a class to itself. Current students get the benefit of the expanded course. Previous students will receive recordings of the lectures to complete their studies on their own.

Class Eleven

Lecture: Okana (1), one mouth on the mat.

Read: Chapter three, “Opening Eji Oko – Two Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 73-90.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class Twelve

Lecture: Eji Oko (2), two mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Four, “Opening Ogundá – Three Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 91-114.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Thirteen

Lecture: Ogundá (3), three mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Five, “Opening Irosun – Four Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 115-136.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assignment: Ogundá Okana (3-1), iré (2) elese eledá (3), yale (2) timbelaye Olódumare (4). As an additional challenge, identify which had was picked for each orientation.

Class Fourteen

Lecture: Irosun (4), four mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Six, “Opening Oché – Five Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 137-160.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Fifteen

Lecture: Oché (5), five mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Seven, “Opening Obara – Six Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 161-184.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class. Odu Notebook exercises begin!

Class Sixteen

Lecture: Obara (6), six mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eight, “Opening Odí – Seven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 185-204.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Oché Ejioko (5-2), osogbo (3), ano (5-2), elese otonowá (4), larishe si (5-4), adimú (4), elese Oshún (5-5), obi y omi tutu (2), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify which hand was picked for each orientation.

Class Seventeen

Lecture: Odí (7), seven mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Nine, “Opening Elleunle/Eji Ogbe – Eight Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 205-230.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Eighteen

Lecture: Eji Ogbe/Unle (8), eight mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Ten, “Opening Osá – Nine Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 231-256.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Nineteen

Lecture: Osá (9), nine mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eleven, “Opening Ofún – Ten Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 257-288.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Osá Ogundá (9-3), iré (5-5), elese eledá (3), kotoyale (2), ocha onire (4), elese Oyá (9-9), adimú (9-2), obi y omi tutu (3), eboda (9-9). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked for each orientation.

Class Twenty

Lecture: Ofún (10), ten mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Twelve, “Opening Owani – Eleven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 289-312.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-one

Lecture: Owani (11), eleven mouths on mat.

Read: Chapter Thirteen, “Opening Ejila Shebora – Twelve Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 313-342.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Ogundá Owani (3-11), osogbo (11-5), arayé (3), elese obini (4), egun onire (11-11), ebo misi (9-9), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked.

Class twenty-two:

Lecture: Ejila Shebora (12), twelve mouths on the mat.

Read: there are no further reading assignments. All material will be given in lecture.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-three

Please note – there is no well-written material anywhere about these signs: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunlá, or Merindilogún. Knowledge will come exclusively from lectures.

Lecture: Metanlá (13), thirteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class Twenty-four:

Lecture: Merinlá (14), fourteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-five:

Lecture: Marunlá (15), fifteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-six:

Lecture: Merindilogún (16), sixteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-seven: In class final exam! Come prepared to interpret an odu (entoyale and intori), and come prepared to write a lot – from memory!

 
 
ochanilele
02 September 2011 @ 08:42 pm

I’ve not blogged much lately, but there are many things happening right now.

I have two basic diloggún classes in session and one advanced diviner’s class in session. All are up and running and all of them are full; however, I do have a new section of the basic divination class opening up on October 1, 2011. You can find the basic syllabus and all the necessary information at this link:

http://ochanilele.livejournal.com/232623.html

Payment of class fees in full guarantees your seat; but, if you do have special financial needs, email me at bstuartmyers AT gmail DOT com. If you want the class but need to make financial arrangements, I will work with you on an individual basis.

My new book, Diloggún Tales, is coming out two months early. We not only stayed on schedule, but also we moved ahead of schedule. Everyone knows my print-runs sell out fast, so you can preorder your copy now through any online bookseller. Amazon seems to have the best deals, but my publisher gets stock first (of course) and sends out copies first (of course). The link to Inner Traditions’ sale site is here:

http://store.innertraditions.com/isbn/978-1-59477-419-5

Make sure to check out the fantastic authors who have read advance copies and endorsed my work!

I have a virtual blog tour planned, a series of radio shows being planned, and a brick-and-mortar book tour in the works, so stay close to my Facebook page, twitter page, or this blog for full details!

As always, I’m always up to something. Thankfully, it’s not ALWAYS scandalous!

Ócháni Lele