Project 256, Day Two: A few random thoughts

While reviewing my own notes on the odu Okana Ejioko, I had a few random thoughts regarding the study of divination that might help diviners become a bit more organized. Remember in an earlier blog I spoke about how odu is often as much for the diviner as it is the client, and when these letters open on the mat, if the olorisha is well studied he gets direction as to how to deal with the clients and godchildren who come to him for spiritual guidance. In your private notes on odu it is wise to keep a section labeled: “The Special Precautions of [odu’s name].” It is something I do for every pattern of the diloggún, and it is something that I teach to all of my students in each class. These special precautions, these warnings, should be kept to the front of your notes for quick access and reference. Truly, they can be a life-saver when it comes to not only helping your clients but keeping yourself safe during the process of divination.

While I can’t teach you all the in’s and out’s of all 256 odu during the course of Project 256, let me give you an example of how I organize this for the odu Okana Ejioko. Of course you may save these for your own notes; and, as you find olorishas willing to teach you the odu more intimately, you should identify key points such as these and write about them under the label of “Special Precautions.” This is a direct extract from my private notes; please feel free to save them in your own.

Special Precautions of Okana Ejioko: The first thing to realize about this odu is that it gives birth to the “pederasta,” and there are many ways this can apply to the client. First, if this is a woman who has children, there could be a pederasta at work in her life regarding her male children. Second, if this is a male client he could be a pederasta, but there is no tactful, or even safe, way to relay this information to the client sitting at the mat. In the old usage this word referred to men who were quite often heterosexual, but they abused, sexually, teenagers or young boys. This is a power thing. This odu also carries hints that the client is sexually aroused by younger men, and the age of the client will determine the age of the men by whom they are sexually aroused. The younger the client, the younger the men they find attractive; and, of course, this can be a problem. This can be a problem for both men and women.

Also, often the clients who come in this odu have come from “broken religious institutions.” These could be small congregations or even large churches that were abusive of their congregants; they had a cult mentality (or maybe they were involved in a cult), and now that the client is freeing himself from this he still carries the baggage with him. This baggage will carry over into this ilé ocha and will make things difficult for the godparent and everyone involved in this person’s life. If the former congregation spoken of here was another ilé ocha, then things will be even more difficult because the client’s former experience in the religion was a poor one. Obviously this is one of those odu in which the diviner must outsource his client for professional help. There are deeply rooted issues that need to be worked through in a professional setting. As diviners our only job here is to point out the issues and let the client know that we, and the orishas, feel their pain. We can be supportive of the healing process. But for the most part few of us are trained counsellors and even fewer of us psychologists. All we can do is council from a religious or a spiritual aspect and prescribe ebó once the problems have been identified. We are to be supportive of the healing process and offer spiritual assistance; however, we are not qualified to do more than that. The true wisdom is to know one’s limitations in this setting.

This is very important when it comes to the odu Okana Ejioko (1-2) in the diloggún: in the old days, because of the severity of this odu, it was once said that an olorisha had to have both pinaldo and the orisha Odua, not to mention more than 10 years of ocha, for him to do ebó in this odu for his client and have that ebó be successful. And in this odu, absolutely no one must do ebó for an olorisha who is older in years unless he wants to “switch heads” with this person; the danger in this sign is that all the bad that comes with it will jump from the elder head to the younger head once ebó is made. Unless this diviner is an elder, definitely older in consecration years than the client sitting at the mat, and unless the diviner has both pinaldo and Odua, once the consultation is over it would be wise to find another olorisha who meets these qualifications to care for this client spiritually. If this is the first reading the diviner has given this person and the odu Okana Ejioko has fallen on the mat, unless the diviner meets all these qualifications he must NOT take this client on as a godchild.

Finally, keep in mind the concept of Okana, the rope, and the noose made with it. If this sign comes in osogbo, Elegguá is telling you that as you get to know this person, he is giving him/her the rope to make his own noose, and hang himself in front of you. Be very cautious with this client when Okana comes in either position with an osogbo. If it comes in iré still be very cautious, but realize that you should keep the client on a tight rope – i.e. not give him or her too much wiggle room in your life. Even in iré, it is often wise to treat this odu as if it had come in an osogbo.

Of course there are warnings and considerations for all 256 odu of the diloggún; not all of them are this severe, but all should be taken seriously. And there are some odu which say, simply, that helping this client or godchild grow will be an act of pure joy and fulfillment. It is up to every olorisha who wants to be a diviner to seek out and learn this information. Simply, it will keep you safe, focused, and fulfilled as you weed out those whose lives will tear you down as a priest and those whose lives will build you up. Remember: not all heads can live under one roof.

Later today, there will be one more blog about the odu Okana Ejioko. I have a short patakí that I want to share with everyone. That, however, will go up later tonight.

Ócháni Lele


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