For once hindsight is not tragic; and the more I think about a recent evening spent divining for clients (who just might become godchildren soon), the more I feel renewed as a diviner.
Let me explain.
There is a proverb in the diloggún that goes something like this: Those who do not make ebó or listen to advice turn the diviner into a soothsayer. Hundreds of people have come through my door over the years, and one-by-one they sat on my mat and listened as I bared their hearts, souls, and lives as easily as reading from a book. In truth it is easy: The diloggún is a book, oral and holy, and once the letters are on the mat a diviner simply reads from memory. There is neither magic nor mystery involved: There are only countless hours of study as the neophyte diviner memorizes passages, much as a literary student memorizes the works of Shakespeare. It is study and memorization, no more and no less.
I have studied for years. I study hours each week. I write, rewrite, analyze, and memorize. As much as I love to help people, the process almost bores me now – because I’ve read and discussed the material hundreds of times with hundreds of people. It is only fun when people listen, and I am able to watch them avoid osogbo and grow into something greater than they once were.
How often does that happen? Not often. What impresses people the most is that I seem a soothsayer. The things I say will happen come to pass, and things I say are out of their reach forever remain out of their reach. So few make ebó, a magical process in itself; so few do what they are asked to not only lock in the good but keep out the bad. That is when hindsight is a terrible thing.
Things were different this time with one client; and for the first time in a long time, I felt joy in the process of divination.
A few nights ago a goddaughter brought over some friends who wanted to be seen with Elegguá’s diloggún. One of the clients was a new age shop owner, a very sweet woman who was a pleasure to have in my home. She brought rum – and anyone who brings rum to this house is always welcome (yes, that’s a BIG HINT)! Her session, however, was a dark and frightful thing. The odu Osá Unle came for her on the mat; even worse, it came in iré. Those who have read my book The Diloggún: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santería might wonder what exactly is so dark about that. The material I wrote was not overly dark or dire. Well a book is a finite entity offering limited chances for discussion of any odu, and the odu are infinite entities with myriad proverbs, patakís, ebós, meanings, and themes. In the brief space I had for writing about the composite of Osá Unle, I focused only on the most essential material, the root of that pattern. In truth, Osá Unle is one of those letters that has no iré. It is good that it comes with iré, but even with blessings the inherent misfortune of the sign is hot.
The letter spoke of enemies from her past and someone powerful who wanted her dead. These are things that aren’t welcomed by anyone; and I can imagine that most people who sit on my mat become defensive when I give messages such as those. Thankfully, she did not become defensive; but, more importantly, when the ancestors (egun) stood up to save her life and with only a coconut (split in two) and a gourd of water, she grabbed my goddaughter and went running to the store. Her iré was incomplete, so I was able to mark egun onire to help clear her roads of danger. Before leaving for home, she made her ebó, and made it with faith. She also promised to be careful.
Fast forward to today: a home invasion attempt was made while she was away. Her dogs were in a frenzy when she got home, which meant the would-be invader was only moments away. The prophecy of that odu unfolded only 2 days after her reading. Unfortunately, that person is still out there – but there are other things she is doing to protect herself, and other things we will do (ebós found in the corpus of that sign).
Now let’s go back through the past two days of her life to see what happened, and how only a few minutes separated her from what might have been her untimely demise.
For days this woman has been looking for nine-inch nails. Those of you who are root workers know the kind of which I speak. They are used for making coffins, and are used for some rather dark things. But as hers is a store that caters to all magical walks of life, she wanted to have them in her inventory. Now that I think about her incessant search for these, I can’t help but wonder if some part of her knew something was going on – she just wasn’t able to put her finger on it herself. This quest for nine-inch nails began days before she came through my door.
Today, someone found a single nine-inch nail pounded into the dirt behind her store. There is a very old trick worked in this fashion – by pounding a nine-inch nail into someone’s footprint, you can freeze them, immobilize them, or even kill them. And, yes, Osá Unle speaks of an occult enemy working magic to kill the client – their sole goal is death. By the nature of that odu, we can assume the nature of the conjure work lain. It was death magic at its worst.
She spent the day cleansing that nail. She has no real grounding in rootwork or conjure, so she never thought, “Hey – someone is trying to hurt me.” But, cleansing is good . . . and the fact that she made her ebó just might be the reason that nail was unearthed.
When it was time for her to close shop and go home, she forgot that nail; and she turned around to go get it. Sometimes to avoid osogbo (or find osogbo), all it takes are just a few minutes of time to bring in on or lock it out. And because she turned around to go back to her shop, while the invader was trying to get in her house, she was a very safe distance away.
And let’s not forget to talk about dogs in relation with that odu. They are one’s salvation . . . if they are treated well. Obviously, she treats them well.
A reading and ebó unearthed a curse and a cursed object; and the same object that was meant to kill her (and probably incited this old enemy to try to hurt her) was that which kept her away for a few moments and probably saved her life. For once, with hindsight we can put all the pieces together . . . and for once, the picture that developed is not tragic. It is wonderfully miraculous.
So I feel renewed right now. For the first time in a long time, someone actually listened – someone actually made ebó – and thankfully Elegguá has let me glimpse how it all came together to change this person’s future and save her life. And suddenly I’m feeling inspired to do the work that has always been my ashé – divination.
Let’s hope this feeling lasts a long time, and let’s hope this is the start of a new trend. I know it shouldn’t, but it pains me when people don’t listen to the orishas . . . and I have to watch them suffer, and wither, and sometimes die.
That’s all I wanted to share.