I found this excellent article posted on the Santeria Meetup Group’s Message Board, but it comes to use by way of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye.
It offers excellent advice for the process of choosing God Parents, one of the most important steps towards life in devotion of the Orisas.
(Copyright and link is at the bottom of the post.)
– Get the names of those who trained the priest or priestess in question.
– Formulate questions related to qualifications.
– Determine how and why they selected his or her senior priests’ over other choices.
– Inquire about the specific religious lineage, contributions to the faith, and community.
– Ask about resources. Does the priest or priestess make use of referrals? If not, ask why?
– In the area of experience, ask what common types of cases are handled.
– Ask and observe the diversity of students and devotees seeking guidance.
– Determine what professional qualities other than priesthood they may have.
– Beware of those who want to make you dependent. Guidance and free will is the way.
– Evaluate attitudes. Is he or she humble? Egocentric? Grandiose?
Years of Priesthood Can Be Misleading!
Name-dropping may be used to impress you falsely. This could
affect your decision. Determine how substantial was his or her contact with those mentioned. Be a good listener. Draw the line between gossip and third party information.
Your Decision-Making Requires Time!
Beware of “quick-fix” spirituality. Problems and remedies are typically of a long-term nature and are rarely quick or simple in solution. Those who want to receive it can achieve spiritual enlightenment, but it requires time and a willingness to sacrifice for it. The journey begins with a realistic assessment of yourself and your spiritual goals.
Quick fix may provide a temporary relief, but there is a good chance that stability will not hold for very long. What is really needed is an alternative process that evaluates the condition and aims to remove its cause. This would require a long-term effort in your part and specialized assistance from a well-qualified priest or priestess. In the long run, it is less costly than quick-fix methods and prevention becomes the ultimate goal.
Your decision-making process requires a good assessment of your needs. Make sure that your prospective priest or priestess can provide you with the quality intervention process that is required. Expectations should be clearly defined before treatment begins.
A true Olorisha priest or priestess is a professional spiritual person at the service of his or her religion and community. As in any profession, he or she possesses both a general and a specialized knowledge. Their attitudes and lifestyles should reflect their priesthood.
– Ask about his or her resources for acquiring religious knowledge.
– Inquire about how they were trained, how long in training, and who trained them.
– Try to speak with current devotees for references on teaching and service quality.
– Evaluate his or her willingness to pass on religious knowledge to devotees.
– The dedicated enjoy teaching. Inquire about the method used and how to begin your learning process.
– Is it a formal, well-structured method involving classes, or is it an informal learn as you go approach?
– Determine if he or she has a crisis intervention system with long-term objectives. If not, he or she may be restricted to quick-fix crisis intervention. If the answer is yes, inquire about this point and make sure that the long-term objectives are suitable.
Ceremonies Are Binding!
Formal ceremonies such as Elekes, the receiving of Orishas, and priesthood ordinations are binding. This bonding ofresponsibility means that you will become part of their religious group and will be expected to follow their norms.
Before you commit yourself make sure that you understand the norms and responsibilities. Make sure they tell you what their responsibilities will be. This is not a simple decision for you. Forming part of a group first requires an understanding of the godparent’s characters and how compatible they are with you. Then the question of compatibility needs to be answered in the group setting. The group is expected to function as an extended family with respect and tolerance. As extended family everyone is expected to help and support each other as the needs merit. The godparent has the difficult task of keeping the family together and prosperous. Remember you are the one choosing them, they do not choose you.
Copyright: Oba Ernesto Pichardo Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye