After work on Friday, I was supposed to go straight up to my Iya’s house. I was overnighting there because we had to go out to the forest today and do some work for Baba Ogun, the Clearer Of The Pathway, The Builder Of Civilisation, The Owner of The Sword.
Instead of going up on the Shrine on Friday, I went to hang out with the youngwings from work. It was cool, I’ve never gone to lime with friends after work; unless you count the limes with Keffi before she died. Of course, there was xamonka* shit talk, beers and herb. Fun all around.
When I got up onto the shrine, Iya was tired, so we only chatted for a few minutes before she crashed.
I went to sleep, and slept hard; sleep punctuated only by the doorbell ringing around 1am. I slept and dreamt. This is what I dreamt:
Some friends and I went to a beach we loved. We walked through a row of houses that led down to the sand. At the corner of the row, there was a house I knew, that I had been to before; someone living there I knew. As we walked past, I could see someone looking out of one of the windows.
When we got down to the beach, we were talking and laughing, and we discovered that there were these huge worms in the sand. They weren’t man-eating worms, but they were enormous.
We left the beach, but I vowed to myself I would return, as much to see the worms up close as to go visit the person living in the house.
I’ve come to the beach again.
I have caught and tamed one of the worms, like in Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and I ride him, sitting astride.
I get off the worm, and leave him to wait for me.
I go to house, and without remembering how, I am inside the house. The woman that lives there is my Iya, yet not my Iya. She has a shrunken, deformed hand and she prepares something for me to eat.
We talk in a mystic language, and what was said I don’t remember now.
I leave with her blessings and go back outside, mount my worm and ride across the island to the other side.
I don’t know what time Iya woke me in the morning. I sat up, and she was there. She patted my shoulder and left me to get ready.
Somnolent, and thick with sleep I dressed and packed my backpack and went outside to wait until it was time to leave. Iya was moving around like small hurricane, while I watched, the thick veil of sleep reluctant to lift. Baba Erin arrived, a goat tied to the hanger in the backseat and with a son of Ochoosi in the backseat. This was our work that morning, to offer the goat to Baba Ogun, so he could help clear away the ibi (bad vibes) that came with our odu (divine message) for the year (Ogunda Meji).
By the time we were ready to leave, I was better, but not chipper.
We drove deep into the heart of the mountains surrounding Petit Valley, to land belonging to Baba Erin’s cousin. This was land he came to when he was much younger and land on which they did Orisa work years before. We drove to a plateau level, and began to hike up a wide path. Iya led the way, and we all commented on well she was walking. (She’s been having trouble with her knee for the last few months.)
There fast came the point, where we couldn’t hack it anymore… Nicholas, a young man from the ile, went right back down the hill and brought up Iya’s 4×4. Iya Kambiri and I were the only two who took the lift up to the top of the hill, but I admit it, I was out of shape and couldn’t handle it anymore. At least, Iya Kambiri made no apologies. Later she said, “This is why they say Osun must travel in style, sophistication and grace. I ain’t about hoofing it anywhere.”
When we finally arrived on the spot, one next to a choked, but still running riverbed, we were all a little winded–at least all the women (all of us Osun) were.
The men set about building a fire, and we began to make the prayers.
We propiated Esu, sang songs for him; made an offering to the ancestors and to Mama Osun, in a pool of water she had claimed years ago before we went about our purpose there that morning.
Although, I knew that animal sacrifice was a part of Ifa tradition, I haven’t really had a whole lot of experience with it. The chicken I sacrificed during my Hand of Ifa ceremony, was the first time I had ever offered an animal’s life to empower and strengthen my own.
So I guess I was a little surprised the amount of emotion that came out of me when they began to tie and prepare the animal. Before I knew it, tears were running down my face. Iya Kambiri looked at me, and in a stern voice said, “Come on ndelamiko, no don’t do that.”
But I couldn’t stop myself. I was born with an empathic nature, and I have an affinity with things; with trees, cats, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, cows and well this goat. So as much as Baba Erin had said earlier that the goat knew why he was there, as soon as they threw him down and started to bind his feet, I felt his confusion, and he may have known his time was at hand, and that he was there to empower us, but anything, anyone that faces that feels fear. So I guess I was empathising with his fear.
A slipped away from the group a little, stepped back and stayed at a short distance. Iya came to me and said, “If you are crying it’s because you don’t understand what we are doing. We can’t afford to have you crying.”
I don’t think I really understood what she meant. I know what was in my heart. I understood on all levels what was happening, I wasn’t ignorant of why we there, and why we were doing it. In fact, in retrospect now, I think for her to tell me that, I don’t think she really understood what she was doing.
This whole crying thing led to a boff from Baba Erin, who launched into a semi-dogmatic tirade about how when we go into the supermarket and bought meat off the shelves wrapped in cellophane, it’s animals killed without prayer or proper rites. I said nothing.
A few minutes later, he insisted I rejoin the circle with a comment, “Come closer, you’re a part of this. This is big people thing, not children thing.”
I said nothing. I was stung by their lack of sensitivity when confronted with my own sensitivity. I was struck by how little they know me, or understand me for that matter. So I said nothing. I wanted protest, to explain, to say something. However, I didn’t.
I couldn’t watch when they cut his throat, chopped off his head. I just started to pray, “Go with blessings. Go with blessings. Go with blessings. Go with blessings.” Over and over I said it, like a mantra. I stood behind the group, a part of it, but not where I could see. All I could see was Papa Goat struggling, and his bright blood flowing down to cover the stones that spelt out our odu, to seep finally into the rich brown earth. I prayed for him, over him.
Eventually, my tears dried, but I watched a little mournfully as they pulled out his entrails and put it on the fire to burn. I saw how his flesh continued to twitch, still full of life while his spine was intact. They they cut his body into four pieces and we all walked in the four directions, seventy paces and gave his body and testicles to the forest.
Afterwards I went exploring further down the river’s course. I stepped from stone to stone, falling on my ass once, and peering under overhanging rocks. I looked into the pools, at the skimmers and the little grey fish. Eventually I began to feel better.
Maybe they were right, maybe I didn’t understand, but afterwards, when we were all sitting or standing in the riverbed talking, Iya asked me, “So do you feel a little better now?”
“Yeah,” I replied, a little quietly. “It’s not that I don’t understand what was happening, but I just think someone needs to feel sad for the goat.”
“Really?” She said, her eyes wide. “I never hear that before.”
“You must understand,” I began to explain. “I’m coming from fifteen years as a vegetarian, and this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this before.”
“Well I guess Nicholas feels a little the way you do,” she said. Nicholas is/was a vegetarian himself and lives a very ‘clean’ lifestyle.
“Not really you know,” he replied from his squatting position just inside the river’s bed. We continued to talk, and the conversation shifted to all other manner of things. I didn’t dig anything too much, just enjoyed the river.
When the goat’s stomach had been reduced to a small lump of charred tissue, we doused the fire and gathered up all and began the trek out from the valley we were in and made our way back to the shrine. The goat’s head was in the back to be buried in the shrine. We were all a little quiet going home, and once were were back at the shrine.
Iya ordered a pizza and Nicholas went to get it. Once he had returned he asked me if I was ready. Earlier, when we were climbing up the mountain and talking, he had touched my aching, damaged right arm and I had felt a tingling heat. A few weeks ago, while were were at ijuba (service at the shrine), he had quietly sat next to me and touched the shoulder a little, with the same tingling heat resulting. He told me that the pain I was getting was mostly in the shoulder (it was) and was due to all the soft tissue around the shoulder, nerves and all being out of alignment.
He had offered then to realign them–he has ‘The Touch’–and I hadn’t seen him since. So yesterday when he asked me if I was ready, I told him “When you are!” I was eager for some relief, desperate for it in fact.
We went into one of Iya’s spare bedrooms and he began to work on the shoulder.
When ah tell ya, PAIN! Pain, pain, pain. But he had prepared me for it. He said the tissue and nerves had been misaligned so long, that it was going to hurt, but he told me it was better to do it now than to wait any longer.
As soon as he touched the shoulder though, he said “But ndelamiko you have something on you. Somebody is doing you wickedness.”
“You’re not the first person to tell me that.” I replied. Then I told him about my experience with the psychic three years ago, and what Mama Osun has said to me in a manifestation last year and Baba Sango’s words just two weeks ago.
It’s not like I didn’t know something was blocking me. I’ve known it for years. I’ve lived with it, and felt in on very real levels for years; that feeling of being pressed down, oppressed, suppressed, of a massive hand forcing me down into the ground. The depressions, the mysterious crying jags that had no cause and ostensibly seemed to be about my lack of progress.
“Yes boy. Somebody is working you.”
The psychic had told me that I had an enemy; someone desperately seeking my downfall. She described this enemy as a dark skinned woman with straightened hair in her late thirties; she is fashionable and deeply in debt and very envious of me. She said this woman was extremely dangerous. She also told me there was short, plump woman around the age of twenty-two, with braided hair and a nice shape, who wears a gold chain and a ring who was also my enemy.
She had told me then that I needed to take a goat-milk bath to calm the energies around me and to have three or four more bathes to complete the cycle, and cleanse myself. She told me I needed to protect myself from this attack.
I didn’t take it seriously, but now this is the third time in a year that this attack has been pointed out to me.
I guess, part of me is glad because now I know for sure, and no longer feel as though I’m going crazy feeling that everything, something was working against me.
What’ss more, I’d been telling my Iya that something was on me, that I was feeling it at a physical, emotional and spiritual level, and this is the second time she have been in her presence and the warning came.
Nicholas, while he was working on my shoulder, sussed all that the psychic had said about this attack. He repeated the warning about seeking protection and cleansing.
He also said that the pain in my shoulder, which was seriously aggravated by the fall and dislocation, had a lot of emotion and depression locked into it. As he was working, a lot of that locked in shit seeped out. The pain was great as he worked on my shoulder from all directions, dug deep to pull the pain out, and as he pulled, I cried in agony. I cried and cried and it wouldn’t stop. I just let it come out. He stopped for a moment and just help me when I cried. Then kept working.
He kept counselling me, telling me that the woman was someone I knew, someone who was pretending to be my friend. He also told me, that she had blocked my mind so I wouldn’t discover who she was. When we were analysing it all, and discussing solutions to the problem, he told me too that I kept passing over her name in my mind, but I just kept dismissing her as a real enemy.
I made an appointment with Iya for Tuesday so she could divine on this further.
When he was finally done, I was knackered beyond belief! I was so exhausted it took a Herculean effort not to just melt into a puddle or crawl into a corner and just sleep and sleep and sleep.
But, my arm felt better immediately. Right away, I had more mobility in the shoulder than I had had in years!
When we had all dispersed and gone our separate ways, and I finally made it home, I found myself feeling lighter and also, validated in a way.
I am still working through the numerous questions and concerns I have and will write on them more. Right now, I’ve said all I can.