Teachings of the Santería Gods: the Spirit of the Odu is scheduled for release in 12 months [August 15, 2010]. To celebrate the countdown, each month I’m presenting one of the stories cut from the original manuscript from Ejila Shebora (12) to Okana (1). Please note that because the initial cuts were done in the second-draft of the manuscript, a few might be rough; however, they will give hints as to the polished gems the published book contains.
Ikú, and a Mother’s Child
“My son is dying,” wailed the sorrowful mother to the diviner, Mofá. “No doctor can help him. They have tried. Can you save him with your ashé?”
Mofá looked at the middle-aged woman, and saw her dark eyes crusted with tears. Her face was pained; it almost made him cry. Seated on the mat, Mofá offered prayers as he rubbed the cowries; the derecho was exchanged between client and diviner, and the diloggún rolled out onto the mat. Again and again, Mofá cast the shells, tapping one of the mother’s two hands each time, and when he was done, he told her, “Maferefún orisha! They say they will save your child.”
That night, in the mother’s house, they boiled pots of okra until the water was thick with slime. Everyone slept save the wise diviner; he sat behind the front door, beside two slime-filled pots. He waited, silently and in shadows.
Ikú came that night for the little boy. She entered the front door, where Mofá stood watch, and as she took her first few steps towards the child, Mofá cast the first pan of slime on the floor. In shock, Ikú took a step back; she slipped, fell down, and broke her leg.
“Wicked man!” she hissed, standing on her one good leg.
Mofá dashed the water from the second pan at Ikú’s feet; again, she slipped, and broke her other leg.
In pain, Ikú howled, “I have not the strength to take the little boy tonight, but death cannot be thwarted forever. One night, I will return.”
As powerful as Ikú was and still is, it was the humble okra that saved the little boy’s life that night. The mother rewarded Mofá greatly for his help.