Diloggún Readings and Spiritual Counseling

As a Lucumí priest (olobatalá) specializing in divination, often I am asked about doing readings and consultations. I do offer these online, using gotomeeting.com as my platform. For a very limited, locally established clientele, I do offer sessions from my home; however, I am not taking new home-based clients at this time. 

If you would like an online consultation with me, please email me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com. The derecho is $50.00, and while you should plan on spending an hour with me I do book appointments two hours apart just in case more time is needed. While I encourage note-taking during our session, I do record the private consultation so you have a permanent record of our conversation. 

Appointment times vary based on my teaching schedule, work schedule, and tutoring sessions. I take only two consultations per day. Please note that if you pay to book an appointment with me and then miss your appointment without prior 24 hour notice, a reschedule is at my discretion. No refund is offered.

Thank you for your interest!

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An update on classes offered

Lately my email box is crammed with requests for class schedules. Here is an update of what I’m teaching, and which classes have openings for new students. For any questions, a syllabus, or other information please email me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com.

Monday Evenings: 

1. Advanced odu lectures, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

2. Advanced odu lectures, 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM 

Every week these two classes focus on one odu of the diloggún. It is an open-door, revolving class. This means new students can join at any time. The prerequisites for this class include: have ocha made (must be verifiable) and Basic Diloggún Divination. There is no substitute for having your asiento done; however, if you are already a student of odu and have a basic proficiency in casting diloggún, you may challenge this class. You may join at any time: currently we are working through the composites of Ogundá and when those are completed, we move into the composites of Ofún. For more information, please write to me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com 

Tuesday Evenings: 

1. Basic Diloggún Divination, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM [closed to new registrants]

2. Basic Diloggún Divination, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM [beings June 30th, open to new registrants] 

This is a six month course teaching the skill of casting diloggún, and the art of interpretation using what many refer to as the “tonti” system of interpretation. The 12 basic olodu are taught in this class, along with appropriate modes of interpretation. In chronological order, we cover Okana (1) through Ejila Shebora (12). Two textbooks are required: “The Diloggún” and “Osogbo, Speaking to the Spirits of Misfortune”. Please email me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com for a syllabus and more information.  

Wednesday Evenings: 

1. An Introduction to the Lucumí Faith, 9:00 to 10:30 PM [closed to new registrants] 

This course is designed for aleyos and aborishas. It is an introduction to the Lucumí faith. Think “catechism” for new orisha worshippers. It explores the history, lore, orishas, and responsibilities of the laity in this faith. This class will be repeated in the future; please email me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com to be put on a waiting list.  

Thursday Evenings 

1. Ebós for Working the Orishas [open to new registrants] Please email for information.

1. Basic Diloggún Divination, 7:00 to 8:30 PM [closed to new registrants]

2. Advanced Odu Lectures, 9:00 to 10:30 PM [forthcoming] Please see Monday’s offerings. This is a sister class to Monday night classes. Registration will begin soon; please email me at bstuartmyers@gmail.com. 

Costs: 

The derecho for Basic Diloggún Divination is $400.00.

The derecho for Advanced Odu Lectures is $300.00 for 16 weeks.

The derecho for An Introduction to the Lucumí Faith is $100.00

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The four types of priests in our religion

An oriaté trained by Tomas Romero, Nicolas Valentin Angarica, once wrote that there are four types of olorishas in our faith, and he advised us how to deal with each. The four types of olorishas we have in our communities are: 

1. The olorisha who does not know and does not know that he does not know: he is an imbecile. Run away from him.

2. The olorisha who does not know and knows that he does not know: he is ignorant. Instruct him.

3. The olorisha who knows and does not know that he knows: he is sleeping. Wake him up.

4. The olorisha who knows and knows that he knows, but does not boast that he knows: this is the true sage. Follow him.

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Auditing my classes

Even though I’ve tried to keep an open, liberal schedule with my classes, there are many who cannot participate on the days and times that I offer lectures. Many olorishas work evenings and nights, while others do revolving shift-work. Some are in college and their class schedules change every semester. Some have young children, and that makes settling in for an hour and a half class impossible. Well, I think I have these issues solved. In conjunction with patreon.com and YouTube, I have a solution for those who cannot maintain a normal, monthly class schedule.

If you go to patreon.com/ochanilele, you will see that you can be a patron of my work with varying levels of monthly support. There are options for $1.00 a month, $5.00 a month, $25.00 a month, and $50.00 a month. If you want to study divination and odu with me but can’t maintain a regular weekly class schedule, you can become a $50.00 a month patron and you will have private, by invitation-only access to one odu lecture per week. This is for the advanced odu lecture series. Right now we are studying the composites of Ogundá (3), and after the live class finishes all 16 composites of Ogundá, we move into an odu-by-odu study of Ofún (10). Just sign up to be a supporter and you will have a lecture available to you by Tuesday of each week! This option is limited; because it involves a bit of work on my part to get the lectures converted and uploaded, plus set up to be private and by invitation only, this is limited to twenty (20) audit students. Once twenty individuals sign up, that’s it.

Also, at the $50.00 level of support you have access to all my patron-only blogs. Those are wonderful educational opportunities in themselves, so if you’re not interested in my classes you can sign up at the lower levels of support so you can learn from my blogs.

Soon I’ll offer audit-only access to the basic diloggún course; however, they won’t be available until July. When it becomes an option, an appropriate level of support for that six month class will go up on patreon.com/ochanilele.

Thank you so much for being a reader; and if you do choose to become my patron through patreon.com, you’ll have my undying gratitude. Over the years I’ve learned that my readers are a special group, and I thank Olófin for each of you. You are all wonderful!

This is the link: patreon.com/ochanilele. If you click that hyperlink it will open in a new tab, and then you can scroll down to read about the different levels of patronage. And remember: once you sign up, your support is monthly. You can cancel at any time (but I hope you never do)!

Thank you so much!

Ócháni Lele

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Maintaining a blogging schedule is not easy!

It’s been a rough week, and maintaining a blogging schedule is hard work.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a patron supported site here: patreon.com/ochanilele. Three times a week I’m blogging there to benefit those who act as patrons to my work. Monday blogs are simple and open to $1.00 supporters. Wednesday blogs are a bit more thoughtful and are open to $5.00 supporters (they get access to Monday’s blog as well). The best blogs, those that have to do with my specialty, divination, are open to $25.00 supporters (they get access to all my blogs). Your patronage is on a monthly basis. As soon as I get a handle on my three weekly blogs, I’ll be adding other levels of support with some serious perks, so please keep up with my work there.

Besides blogging, what have I been doing?

 

I’m working on two books now. One book is about ashé and its cycle in nature. Last month I began an experimental class with some of my more advanced students. In thought, it was a masters’ class dealing with ebó, its disposal, and the cycle of ashé in nature. But as I began teaching the class I realized that I had more than one class embedded in my idea, and because there is almost nothing written about ashé I had very few options for reading material, and forget about having a textbook. So as this class now studies the actions of the odu Okana through Ejila Shebora in nature, I am outlining and writing a book about ashé itself and how it flows in the natural world. The basis for my work is in two things: the nature of the odu and the nature of the orishas. I’m looking at six months before a proposal is ready, and maybe another two years before the manuscript is complete. As I make significant progress on that work, I’ll post about it here.

The other book I’ve begun is another collection of patakís. Next to divination, storytelling is my strong point, and that’s probably because when divining I’m telling a huge story — the story of the client’s life. I’ve worked with a small collection of patakís from Okana, Ogundá, Obara, and Unle; and by the end of next week I should know, for sure, which family of odu I’m publishing. Once I decide, I’m about two months away from a book proposal and one year away from a complete manuscript.

The rest of my time is devoted to teaching and nursing. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I teach a number of classes at different levels of mastery. An experimental class for aleyos and aborishas starts soon (June 24th), and if that goes well I’ll be working on a more expansive curriculum appropriate for them. And on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday I work part-time in a nursing home to maintain benefits (for me, it’s much cheaper than the affordable care act). 

What are you up to? Let me know! And if you have any greater interest in the projects I’m working on, ask. I’ll be more than happy to keep everyone update.

Ócháni Lele

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The Birth of the Ibeyi: the Pact of Oshún and Yemayá

My note: I wrote this story when my writing skills were still weak, back in the mid 90s. It appeared in a small booklet that I published with Original Publications titled “The Ibeyi, the Children of Miraculous Birth.” That booklet is long out of print and the rights are mine again; but I want to make sure this material is still available to those who need it. So I’m posting another patakí from that booklet.

Lately I’m very focused on the Ibeyi. I’ve worked with them a lot the past few weeks. In my ita (back in the dark ages!) Yemayá told me that twins were coming to my family. She said that when twins came to the family, everyone related to them by blood would enjoy their blessings, and a new current of life, love, and prosperity would come to a family that had all but fallen apart. It sounded nice, and I smiled. Even though I know ita always unfolds, I wasn’t sold. Obviously I wasn’t having any children; and both of my sisters were done having children. They were raising their families. Well, in March my youngest sister (whose only daughter just turned 18 and started college) gave birth to twins.

Ita never lies. Yemayá’s words never fall on the floor. Maferefun Yemayá! Maferefun Ibeyi.

Celebrate with me the next couple of weeks as I explore the spirituality behind these wonderful orishas.

____________________

Shangó was married, having taken Oba for his wife; she was a proper spouse, attentive to her husband’s needs and always predictable. Yet he was a man of war, virile in nature; soon he grew bored. Oshún soon caught his eye. Each wanted the other desperately, and each thought to seduce the other secretly. It came to pass that the two orishas were lovers, and spent many passionate nights in each other’s arms. Yet not only did Shangó have a wife at home, he also had a kingdom to defend, and in time his duties called him away from both women and into far away lands. Alone, Oshún pined for her lover. Days turned to weeks, and weeks became months – the orisha noticed changes within herself while her lover was away. Her lithe figure grew slowly at first, and then enormously; there was no denying to herself that she was pregnant with Shangó’s child. Not wanting the other orishas to know of their affair, she hid herself away for nine months to bear her child alone. Yet when the pains began and the child was born (a son) she reeled in disbelief as it was quickly followed by a second, a beautiful girl. The joy of birth became dulled by fear and doubt, “I am so young and unwise, too irresponsible to raise a single child. Whatever am I to do with two?” Frightened at the thought of rearing two children, Oshún took her twins secretly, at night, to the house of her friend, Yemayá.

Yemayá was worried when Oshún showed up at her home; the two orishas were close, and not even she had heard from the Oshún during her months of hiding. At first she went to embrace her sister, and then drew back as she saw the two bundles that she was holding. “Oshún,” whispered Yemayá, noticing that the bundles were moving, “what have you there?” The young orisha stepped closer, into the house and the light. Yemayá saw that she held two young infants, recently born. “Children!” she exclaimed. “They’re not human – they’re one of us! Sister, are they yours?” A single tear fell down Oshún’s cheek, and a strange, frightened smile crept over her face. Without a word, the little one’s eyes gave Yemayá the answer she sought.

Oshún sat down with Yemayá and told her about the birth – how she had an affair with an unnamed man, and then in shame and secrecy hid herself away to have the baby alone. Her intentions had been noble: to give birth to the child and raise it, without a father. Yet the birth of twins frightened her. “What will the other orishas think?” asked Oshún. “I am too young for one child; I have no husband, and the father belongs to another woman in marriage. Already I am a bad mother, more concerned with myself than their welfare; how can I raise them alone? I cannot even take care of myself!”

While Oshún had been telling her sister her troubles, Yemayá had held each child in turn; now she sat there with one embraced in each arm, holding them tightly against her breasts. She felt part of her coursing in each of them. She looked in Kaindé’s eyes and saw her sisters eyes, which were the same as her own; yet when she looked in Taewó’s eyes, the resemblance was unmistakable. “My son, Shangó, is the father – is he not?” No word fell from Oshún’s lips; she just stared at her sister and nodded her head.

“Then there is nothing more that needs to be said. We are sisters, you and I, and I will help you raise your children. I will be as a Mother to Taewó and Kaindé, not just their aunt and grandmother as is our true relation; and you, Oshún, will be as their aunt since you are my sister. Yet together we will always know who the true mother is, and as they grow the Ibeyi will know that they have two women who love them dearly, both as a mother loves her children. They will be blessed, for they will have the two of us to guide them and care for them throughout their lives.”

Oshún looked at her sister in thanks; unable to find the words, she began to stammer, “But . . . Shangó . . . the other orishas . . .”

Yemayá, being wise and knowing that her sister came her out of guilt and shame, continued, “My sister, no one but you or I ever needs to know that you are their true Mother. Your relationship with them will be because of me, because you are my sister, and none need ever question why or how you become so close to them. Just as one of my mortal children on earth is often a child of yours and vice versa, so will it be with these children. Claim to be their mother: claim to be their aunt. It matters not. And your secret is always safe with me. Shangó will know that he is their father, as will the entire world, when they see the boy Taewó. Yet none will ever know, especially not Shangó, that you are their biological mother until you are ready to divulge that secret yourself. Thus is our pact made and sealed!”

Oshún kissed her two beautiful children goodbye and goodnight; her tears fell freely over them both. Embracing her sister tightly, she then left the house without a word. Knowing that she had made the right decision did little to soothe her heart – a piece of it went out to each, a part of her own immortal spirit that she would never reclaim. For days, she kept to herself in darkness and secret, filled with sorrow until she heard that her lover, Shangó, had returned from his wars.

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The Ibeji — the Children of Miraculous Birth

Ibeji re, omo edun ibeji re, omo edun kere-kere-yan.  (Behold twins, children of the monkey. They do not die.) — from an ancient Yoruba chant to the Ibeyi.

Imagine a world without doctors, without medicine, an era in which life and death walk hand in hand closely, taking the lives of the young mercilessly and without care. Disease and famine sweep clear whole villages of the weak, the infirm, the young, and the elderly. Imagine a time when to give birth was to risk one’s own life for the sake of that newly emerging; and this risk was always a gamble, for even if the mother survived there was no guarantee that the infant would. Such was the world of the ancient Yoruba. Infant mortality was a given: infant survival was rare and risky. Lacking medicine, elaborate rituals and systems of propitiation were designed to bring down the watchful eyes of the orishas on both mother and newborn. Oracles were consulted, priests and priestesses employed in their attempt to not only survive and build an empire, but also to preserve their own blood, their own lineage through that of their offspring. Wealth was not counted in one’s material possessions or economic status. Good fortune meant being fertile, having a strong wife that could bear many children, and eventually having many children that would grow up to bear more.   There was no greater poverty for a woman than that of barrenness, and a man without offspring was impoverished even if he could afford the finest goods. Life was harsh, and survival was the goal.

In spite of the Yoruba desire for large families, this group was wary of one phenomenon that happened to them repeatedly: that of multiple births. When two children were born together, they called them Ibeji (Yoruba spelling). The word itself was a contraction from two simpler words: ibi, birth, and eji, two. Among those descended from these people, twinning (and sometimes-greater numbers of children) occurs at a high rate – forty-five out of every one-thousand births results in at least twins. Compared to the rate of multiple births in the United States or Europe, twinning occurs at a rate four times greater among this ethnic group. In the days before old Oyó became the dominant Yoruba Empire, most giving birth to multiple children died, and their infants, being poorly developed, died as well. These deaths were seen as a blessing since twinning was common of animals, not humans. The Yoruba believed that the mother had done something sinister, making pacts or deals with the ayé (the witches) or evil spirits. In the rare instance that all three survived, townspeople put them to death to avoid ancestral wrath. At times the mother and only one child would survive the dangerous delivery of twins; and while the mother in these instances would sometimes be allowed her life, the child was exposed, his or her soul set free to rejoin its sibling in the other world. Surely, the Yoruba believed, to have one living twin would bring the wrath of the deceased upon their people.

Exposure and death were not consistent between the city-states. From the Northern regions of the ethnic group, a patakís spread regarding the origin of the Ibeji. Oral literature reminds us that in a small, now defunct village, an old Oba (king) had no male heirs to inherit his wealth. He had many wives and daughters from those wives, but male offspring eluded him. The senior wife was barren, as was the youngest wife. Both knew that conceiving a boy would guarantee their place in the household, so each consulted with diviners for advice on how to conceive a boy-infant. Through the art of ebó, the two wives became pregnant and produced male children at the same time. But the orishas were very sympathetic to the younger wife because she was abused by the older wife, and so they gave her twins, one male and one female. Even though the rest of the Yoruba regarded twin births as evil, the king thought this was a sign of heavenly favor for both he and his youngest wife. Her status in the house was enhanced; she was given dominance over the household. Unfortunately, this love of twin births did not flourish throughout the empires for quite some time; throughout the majority of the territories, the birth of twins remained an offense punishable by death.

Sweeping change came to the nation in the eleventh century, a change borne in the kingdom of ancient Oyó. It was about this time that Shangó lived among the Yoruba as a man; he was an accomplished king, the fourth of the city, and it was under his reign that peace and greatness were brought to the Yoruba nation. Shangó’s skills as an Oba (King) and warrior were great; blessed by the Yoruba gods with beauty, strength, and political genius; others regarded his words as the words of an orisha even before his legendary ascension. As a human, he had three wives; and it happened that his favorite wife, Oshún, gave birth to healthy twins. Shangó had been away at war fighting for his nation when they were born; and Oshún kept one of the two children hidden lest those in the compound accuse her of sorcery and put her to death. All three, the mother and two children (one male and one female) survived. Being the leader of a growing nation and father to many children by his other wives, Shangó consulted the oracles and declared that the birth of twins was a herald of prosperity and blessings – a testament to the virility of both parents. The ancient empire ceased the slaughter of innocent children and their mothers, paying homage to the virile nature of the family from which twins emerged.[1] Because the Oyó Empire spread, amassing land, wealth, and prosperity, the national thought regarding twin births changed.

While ended within the state of old Oyó, evidence remains that the practice continued for some time among the smaller, divided Yoruba villages. While those who were wealthy in both money and offspring were allowed to keep their children and their lives, those who were poor or had no other children were still put to death. Another legend born after Shangó’s ascension tells us that for many months, strange illnesses and diseases began to claim the lives of the wealthier families’ children, but not those of the poor. The legend states that the parents of these children tried in vain to save their youthful lives, yet it was all to no avail. Finally, the wealthy villagers went to the babalawo and consulted with Ifá; and there with Orúnmila it was decided that the barbaric practice of exposing twin infants after birth was angering Shangó who himself fathered twins as both human and orisha. Ebós were marked to placate him, yet before the reading could end the orisha demanded that twins be worshipped, not destroyed. It was also decreed that that the mother of twins would go into the streets once every five days, dancing to honor the Ibeyi – the divine spirit of twins fathered by the mighty Shangó. No one who saw the mothers dance would deny them alms and the Ibeyi would make the family prosperous beyond their wildest dreams. Thus was their cult born, and their power for redistributing wealth became well known.

To understand the full implications of twinning among the ancient Yoruba, or the significance of twins and the Ibeyi in this religion’s modern culture, one must study the metaphysics of this ethnic group. Old Oyó divided their world between two concepts: nature (also symbolic of the unseen world) and civilization (symbolic of all things visible). While civilization consisted only of the village and the cultivated land for farming around each village, the raw, natural world occupied a limitless, eternal realm. It was the home of wild animals and spirits (ancestral, natural, and malicious spirits were all said to reside in the forest). While wild animals (and spirits, so they believed) were able to emerge from the depths and into the village at will, people could not venture into the depths without risking loss of life. Yet twins were primeval, almost magical in nature. Like an animal mother, the human mother had given birth to more than one child – thus, the nature of their birth brought some of the otherworld’s power into their own lives. Twins are often self-absorbed in the early stages of life; they develop their own language and share a unique “wildness” between themselves. No matter the type of twin born, identical or fraternal, their aura was one of closeness and mystery.

Ejire, the sharers of one soul – this was the mystery of human twins.   The lore soon came to say that the spirit indwelling one child was so vast, so strong, that two minds and bodies had to be created so it could properly incarnate[2]. Although both grew up to develop separate personalities, tastes, and dislikes, this was not because they had parted spiritually as they had physically; it was because the one soul, being infinite, wanted to experience life on a finite level. Even identical twins, which were believed to have the strongest connections, grew up into two very different individuals. Yet they were expected to live and remain close throughout both life and death. When one twin died, the child’s mother would go to the oracles for consultation; usually, an ebó was marked – the creation of a shrine for the deceased sibling. Unless that one was honored and propitiated, experience taught them that the remaining twin would die; the deceased would pull its sibling close in death as it had been in life. So powerful, so charged was the remaining child with magic that even though one was gone, the remaining could still bring blessings and fertility to both family and community. As time passed and the lore of twins increased, the cult of the Ibeyi grew; and it was believed that the reception and propitiation of these powerful orishas would miraculously change the lives of those that honored them.

The mother who was blessed enough to have ibeji conceived in her womb received a special title: iyá ibeji. Literally, she was known as “the mother who gave birth to two.” Her womb was blessed, but spiritually hot; as soon as possible, iyá ibeji were expected to conceive at least once more, giving birth to a child known as Idowu. The third child born to iyá ibeji, while the youngest of the three, is said to be the eldest spiritually. Because not even two bodies can contain the vastness of the soul born with twins, Ideú comes to contain the non-corporeal portion of the twin’s soul, and cools the fire and volatile energy brought to the home when twins are born. Religious lore says that a mother who has twins and fails to have an Idowu may go mad. It is believed that the wild and stubborn Idowu (the non-manifest portion of the twin’s soul) will fly into her head, driving her insane. The child born after Idowu is named Idogbe if male and Alaba if female.[3]

With the historical shift on the perspective of twins and the birth of sacred lore surrounding the divine children of Shangó and Oshún, the cult of the Ibeyi was born. Even today, between the modern cities of Lagos and Badagry is an area known as Erupo; there, a special shrine was erected to the Ibeyi. Both parents (mother and father), and their twin offspring are expected to make a pilgrimage to that shrine at least once in their lifetime. In our religion, the twins have names: Taewó and Kaindé. Taewó is Oshún’s first-born, and his name means the “first to taste life”. The name of Oshún’s second twin, Kaindé, means “the final to be born”. Note that in some houses of ocha, there is a curious custom when it comes to dressing the dolls that are washed with the sacred implements of the Ibeyi. For a year after they are born, the two dolls are dressed in white completely; then, after the adherent’s Ibeyi are a year old, new clothes are made. Taewó, the male[4], is dressed in red and white gingham and put under the protection of Shangó, his father. Kaindé, the female[5], is dressed in blue and white gingham and put under the protection of Yemayá, the adopted mother of twins. While Taewó is born first to prepare the way for Kaindé’s arrival, spiritually, the first twin born is said to be the youngest of the two. Kaindé is physically younger, but spiritually will always be the eldest. Note that among human births, the first born twin is said to be specially protected by the orisha Shangó, and while it is not a blanket rule, often this twin, if he or she goes on to make ocha, is crowned Shangó. Likewise, the second child born of twins is protected by Yemayá; it is this awesome orisha, the great mother to all, that will protect and guide him or her throughout life. Oshún, the forlorn mother who gave them both up when she realized she was too wild, too frivolous herself to care for the children stands behind Yemayá and Shangó as their protector – she bestows her blessings upon these two children so that they might grown in power and stature. From these three orishas, the Ibeyi receive most of their power.

Yet there is a fourth orisha that bestows great wisdom and strength upon these two Spirits: Obatalá. In the body of sacred lore known as odu, it is said that these two innocents inadvertently saved his life, and in return for their actions Obatalá rewarded them with limitless power as long as the two orishas worked together in tandem. One male and one female, each represented the dualistic force of nature – the two opposites that had to work together as one to create; dual natures that come together for one goal. Their home in odu became that known as Eji Oko, and they came to rule all that was doubled or twinned. The eyes, the ears, the brain (with its right and left halves), the arms, the legs, the ovaries, the kidneys — all these are ruled by the two powerful spirits. Our physical senses, being dualistic (even the sense of touch requires a sensation and a response) are also under their ruler-ship. Together, the Ibeyi master perception. One can watch: one can listen. The two can sit back to back and see in all directions at once. Because of Obatalá’s decree, there is nothing that can get past them, and if properly propitiated, the one who adores and worships the Ibeyi can never come to harm which is outside their personal destiny. No evil magic, no malicious witchcraft, no traps or wicked machinations escape their ever-watchful eyes.

It is for these reasons that over the centuries, those who find peace and evolution among our rituals have come to love and honor the Ibeyi as the most powerful, most darling of all the orishas. Their talents are many, and it is by “playing” with these two supernatural forces that one can come to enjoy all the blessings that they have to give. Just as Oyá owns all the wealth produced in the marketplace and Yemayá hides the wealth of the ocean beneath her mantle, the Ibeyi have access to these; they are the harbingers/givers of wealth and economic evolution. By honoring them, one draws, slowly, the opulence and resources of the world. To watch as a Mother gestates, carries, and gives birth to two children from one womb is nothing short of a miracle, and it is this miraculous power that they bring to life with them: separate, they are as nothing, yet together, they can work miracles, yielding the fiery strength of their father Shangó and the limitless power and wisdom of their protector, Obatalá. Their spiritual teaching is harmony, and it is through their harmonious forces that one can take a single brick and build a city. This is the power of the Ibeyi, their spiritual strength; and it is for this reason that those involved in this faith should receive and propitiate these awesome deities. Maferefún los Ibeyi!

[1] Some say that the mother of twins is Oyá. Most lineages believe the mother of twins is Oshún, including mine; however, there are enough who believe Oyá to be the mother of twins that it is worth mentioning in this essay.

[3] Some confuse the Yoruba custom of naming the third child Idowu with the orisha Ideú. They should not be confused.

[4] The otanes of the male Ibeyi, Taewó, are black.

[5] The otanes of the female Ibeyi, Kaindé, are white.

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