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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.