Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The Orishas Speak: The 2019 Letter of the Yoruba Association of Cuba (Letra del Año para el 2019 de la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba) (Refran: "Las raíces de IFA son amargas y el fruto es dulce")

(Pix CiberCuba Jan 1, 2019)

Every religion connects the structures of divinity to the human communities around which their worship is structured and social, political, economic, and cultural communities are organized. To that end, the priestly caste platys a very specific role as mediator, interpreter, and as the incarnation of a social order grounded in divine principles and rules.
In most states, the priestly role has been transformed.  But it is useful, as one examines the priestly role in modern western states, to consider a more traditional relationship between the priest and the state.  One of the more interesting manifestations of the role of religion within political life is that of the priests of the practitioners of the old religions of Africa as re-established in the Western Hemisphere, particularly in Marxist-Leninist Cuba.  (here)
That priestly role is exercised in very specific ways among the great traditions of Western Religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  It shows a more variegated vigor among Non-Western religious traditions.  These are well known.  Yet most of these have sought to marginalize the great traditions of African religions as a barbaric variant of primitive idol worship that had been suppressed elsewhere.  And yet those religious traditions remain as vibrant, their theologies as complex, and their practices as rich as those other religious traditions that have sought over many centuries to supplant them.  And so it was in the early hours of the 1st of January that leaders of the various branches of the Afro Cuban religious communities met. 
Babalawos de diferentes ramas religiosas de Cuba han vuelto a reunirse liderados por la Sociedad Cultural Yoruba y el Consejo de Sacerdotes Mayores de Ifá, para dar a conocer sus predicciones para el año que empieza este martes 1 de enero: la Letra del año 2019. La ceremonia comenzó este 31 de diciembre y se ha extendido hasta este 1 de enero. Del Oráculo de Ifá salen las siguientes recomendaciones y advertencias que deberían seguirse a lo largo de este año para conseguir salvar todos los obstáculos. [Babalawos of different religious branches of Cuba have returned to meet led by the Yoruba Cultural Society and the Council of Major Priests of Ifá, to present their predictions for the year that begins this Tuesday, January 1: the Letter of the year 2019. ceremony began on December 31 and has been extended until January 1. From the Ifa Oracle, the following recommendations and warnings are issued that should be followed throughout this year in order to overcome all obstacles.] (CiberCuba,  Adelanto: Letra del Año 2019 para Cuba)
And so the great priestly caste of the Cuban branch of the great West African Religions have once again come together to seek divine guidance for the nation, and its religious communities, for the year to come.  To that end, at the start of every year the leaders of the great indigenous religion of Cuba conduct, through a series of ceremonies, a general divination for the country.  The results of that divination, and its advice, is organized into a "Letter of the Year" (Letra del Año) (on the history of the Letras del año see HERE (Historia de la Ceremonia de la Letra del Año )).
La Letra del Año comenzó a emitirse en Cuba a finales del siglo XIX, sin poder precisar la fecha exacta. Por datos y documentos se revela que babalawos procedentes de las diferentes ramas religiosas existentes en el país comenzaron a reunirse para efectuar con todo rigor las ceremonias establecidas, que concluían el primero de enero con la apertura de la Letra del Año. (EcuRed, Letra del Año) (The Annual Letter was first produced sometime near the end of the 19th century.  Existing evidence suggests that the Babalawos of the different branches of the faith in the nation started to gather together  to invoke with all rigor the appropriate ceremonies that concluded on the 1st of January) with the opening of the Letter of the Year).

The object of the annual letter is to provide guidance for the nation and its people.  More specifically it is meant to provide guidance for faith practitioners otherwise unable to receive more specific guidance within their own branch. For the last seven years I have written of the annual letter of the Cuban Council of the High Priests of Ifá (Consejo Cubano De Sacerdotes Mayores De Ifá), the practitioners of traditional religion brought over from West Africa with the slave trade and now naturalized as a powerful indigenous religion throughout the Caribbean and now growing in the United States. (e.g., 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015; 2014; 2013; 2012). The 2018 Letter was particularly relevant--it stressed that 2018 was to be the year of great revelaitons that would begin to have transformative effects (more here 2018)

2019 marks the fourth year of an important change, in which many of the most important branches of the faith came together to produce a unified letter. ("El documento, que copiamos íntegramente a continuación, incluye el signo y el orisha regentes, además de la oración profética. El documento se ha elaborado conjuntamente entre la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba y la Comisión Organizadora para la letra del Año Miguel Febles Padrón." (here); more in English HERE).

This year was  different in another way.  For a few hours early on January 1st, there appeared to be two distinct letters distributed on the Internet.  The first appeared to be the full Letra del Año and was posted to two web sites, one from Miami and the other from Madrid, but both with deep connections to the religious community in Cuba.  At the same time the official sites in Cuba posted the more traditional Adelanto de la Letra del Año, de la Sociedad Cultural Yoruba de Cuba (Preliminary Letter).  This one included a quite different set of divination. This one was thereafter reported in the official press in Cuba and the U.S. (e.g., here, here, and here). One of the two websites that had posted the original full letter then switched to the Adelanto version; the other had not as of the afternoon of 1 January (here) along with one other (here), though curiously the later one posted on 31 December 2018. By the end of the day, however, the websites had all eliminated the alternative version and posted the now official version (in full HERE).

I post both versions below. Both are worth considering A copy of the Full version appeared on the Internet towards evening 1 January and also follows below along with the Adelanto.  I follow each with my own brief reflections on the very different key oddus which form the basis of the divination in both official and the "other" version.


The divination for 2018 pointed to fairly significant ruptures and also to fairly significant disclosures in the sense that what was hidden will be revealed. The emphasis was on the crossroads--communication, movement, luck, and starts, true or false--and on symbols that has traditionally been gendered female--the sea, the moon, intuition, fecundity, and protectiveness of  family. As it turned out, 2018 was indeed a year of revelations with significant ruptures; it was a year for revelations of spying, of corruption, and of sexual impropriety.  It was a year in which careers and states were upended by reason of revelation and communication. 

The almost simultaneous distribution of two quite different Letters of the year is quite curious.  More curious still, the timing. And most curious, the contents of both.  The official Letter of the Year  looks to the seduction of industry and war.  The unofficial and likely superseded full version looked to blind justice enraged and intensified; it contained within within it as well the drive toward accumulation. Both Letters are worth considering for their perspectives, and as well for the critical role of divination in influencing the way that communities see the world and choose to operate within it.  They are, in many ways, intertwined--and it is likely that in the borderlands between them that the Orishas speak with the greatest intensity this year. This is a year of rage, of justice that sweeps away old structures--not in the manner of Oya (through which all is cleansed--but in the manner of Ochossí, in which the intense tragedies and pain of justice is fully revealed. But it is also a year of projectiles.  Beware of metals, beware of arrows appearing to fall from the sky--those are the arrows of Ochossí made in the forges of Oggun, and driven by the rage of Oshún. 

A. The Official Version

Adelanto de la Letra del Año, de la Sociedad Cultural Yoruba de Cuba

Signo Regente: Oshe Ogunda
1er. Testigo: Ika Ogunda
2do Testigo: Osa Kuleya

Oración Profética: Osorbo Iku Intori Ogu.

Orula Onire: Adimu (Un ñame, un coco partido en 2 mitades, todo se embarra con manteca de corojo, su coco y sus velas.

Otan Onishe Ara: Sarayeye con un pollo y se le da a Oggun, con los demás ingredientes y darse un baño con hierbas de Paraldo.

Otan Deidad que Gobierna: Oshún
Deidad Acompañante: Oggun Otan
Bandera: Amarilla con Ribetes verdes

Ebbo: 1 chivo (para Elegba) 5 güiritos, a los cuales se les echan añil, miel, manteca de corojo, palo rompe hueso y sangre el chivo y se cuelgan en la puerta, y los demás ingredientes.


(Pix credit here)

The now official divination for 2019 takes a different turn.  It is founded on two very specific manifestations of the divine--Oshun and Oggun Otan. The first manifests love and accumulation, wealth and the world of the senses.  The second represents industry and weaponry. The patakis for Oshun and Ogun are particularly interesting. And they point to the way that the ruling manifestations of the divine in this reading will strongly affect the approach to the oddus that make up the core of the reading.
When Ogun, the fierce and hard-working blacksmith, withdrew from the creation of the world and retreated into the forest, Oshun brought him out. With the departure of Ogun's force and labor, creation stopped. No new fields were cleared for planting and no new inventions appeared to help the Orishas and human beings. Ogun took to the bush, and the process of creation came grinding to a halt. Several orishas tried to draw him out of the forest but failed. Finally Oshun went into the woods with her five scarves and her gourd of honey. She did not call to Ogun. Instead she found a clearing and began to dance. Her beauty and her sensual movements caught Ogun's attention. As he watched her dance, he was drawn to her. Slowly he approached her, and when he drew close, Oshun smeared his lips with her honey. As she danced, Ogun followed her back to civilization and resumed his work. (Depths of Oshun)
This combination of creation, exile and seduction suggests the context in which the relevant oddus ought to be approached. Ogun is creation, the driving force of accumulation, of the development of productive forces, but also of the development of destructive forces as well.  He is at once connected to the world but also quick to be distressed by the failings of humans, and willing to retreat.  Oshún is the amplification of the seduction of plenty, of love and of connection, in the face of a powerful orisha's intent to withdraw form the world and his communities. She is the manifestation of life forces, of passion. As such, she manifests the amplified irrationality of both the decision to withdraw and the decision to allow oneself to be led back. That s the structure within which it is possible to read the oddus--of the pulsing relations between the development of productive and destructive forces, and of the seduction of passion for its object.  That arc of interaction describes the animating pattern of events in 2019.

While the full letter will likely include the usually amplification in the context of Cuba and Cuban affairs, I will leave that for later--and others. In any case, those will be based on the way that the driving oddus are encountered by the religious community.  I provide here my own brief observation of the directions to which those point within the ordering context of the Oshun-Ogun connection.

The oddus (reflections based on the translations and oddus in The Sacred Ifá Oracle (Afolabi A. Epega and Philip Neimark, Brooklyn NY: Athelia Henrietta Press, 1995)

1. Signo Regente: (Oshe Ogunda (The Sacred Ifá Oracle no. 2)Ogunda speaks generally of fighting, of conflicts and disputes.  It speaks to the need for sacrifice--that is for action directed to the right place.  It is the essence of Oggun--the tool maker, builder, warrior. One speaks here of industry, of production, and of conflict intimately tied to that production. In contrast Ose speaks to the need for action to ensure long life and health. But it also infers that sacrifice is needed to extend life in the face of enemies that might otherwise shorten it. Ose is sometimes tied to Shango and Orunmila. It is about identifying and overcoming enemies. Taken together Ose Ogunda is a double warning about conflict that can affect not just production but life. These are amplified by the two supporting oddu.But it is not just conflict among strangers; it is a conflict between parents and children, what is coming and what is going.It is also underscored by the ruling divine manifestations, Oshun and Oggun.  This is a year of passions, not a year for rationality.  It is a year in which passion is directed toward conflict.  And thus the oddus point to disputes, to tensions, and to the tensions and irrationalities that will augment their effects.  Expect to see this everywhere.  And as an antidote--there is very little--watching one's words and calculating their effects to be misheard or to inflame passions, watching one's actions for the same effect.  But everywhere, it seems, there will be a hair-trigger disposition toward the inflammation of passion. 

2. 1er. Testigo: Ika Ogunda (The Sacred Ifá Oracle no. 204). Speaks to the courage to face conflict.  If  Oshe Ogunda portends conflict in the midst of good fortune, then Ika Ogunda speaks to the lack of will to protect oneself.  It signals that the yar will see the mighty fall for failure of a will to fight.  They will flee but not sacrifice.  Expect to see strategic retreats among the mighty throughout the year.  And expect as well that this fearful retreat will be undertaken in the spirit of Ogun leaving the world of humans to live alone in the forest.  In the long term the results will not be propitious. Ika Ogunda speaks of the coward's son who was half dead from fright in the face of conflict. He was advised to sacrifice and did not (A daafún Adetutu, Omo-Ojokof'okan-balemi (eemi), Akúde' dajikijatoode. Won niki ó rú: Ajá kan, emu, esun-isu ati epo. O gbó ko rúbo). The problem did not disappear.  But it is Oshun who drives the oddus for this letter fo the year.  And this is the sort of Oddu that suggests that it will not be the Oshun who danced and enticed Ogun back from the forest that will be intermeshed with the coward's son.  It will likely be the Oshun enraged  by the negation of passion that the cowartd's son suggests.  And that will not bode well for those who seek to avoid conflict thrust upon them.

3. 2do Testigo: Osa Kuleya (or Osa Ogunda, OSA Guleya; The Sacred Ifá Oracle no. 202). Osa Ogunda speaks to the importance of sacrifice in human activity.  that can be understood literally or metaphorically in the sense that the sacrifice must be made by the person but its form and direction are not necessarily always bound by a specific set of ritual expectations. Sacrifice is the quid pro quo of interaction and of movement forward to or away from particular courses of events that otherwise would have followed a particular course.

Ossa Ogunda speaks to the need for action to assure good fortune, that is good fortune requires action and sacrifice. It is an oddu of the ability (and need) to fight (Osa Gubda le ja) and of the effect of sacrifice in that context. It tells of the divinaiton for Olibara.  He sacrified  for good fortune; he sacrifiec for fecundity.  And he was granted both. But when war was divined he refused to sacrifice. He made no effort to thwart or meet war.  War came and he fled, with no fortune or children. Aija-gogorogo awo ilké Olibara, o ni ogun li oun ri, O niki Olibara rúbo; Agbo, egbaa metalelogbon owó. O ni bu Olibara ka ba rúbo, O ni ogun yoo de ni ojo mòkànlá. Olobara ko rúbo. Ojo mókànlá pe, Ogun de. Olibara sa'gun kuro ni ilu.    The sacrifices of fortune and fecundity will bring war--those who chose to do nothing will find all that is theirs taken away.  But it also suggests the imminense of conflict, and the need to prepare.

Osa Ogunda  also speaks to the irony of desire.  It tells the stroy of the weed and the farmer who both sought to avoid death.  Both were told to sacrifice. The weed was told that it would not die but would be placed in a higher place.  The farner was told he would avoid death.  With that the farner finished howing the furrows of his field and gathered up the weed with his tools, which he then placed high on a stump.  The weed only saw that it had been made notable.   "Therefore the last words usually spoken by the weed are: 'May the farmer not die. May I too not die, so that we both remain forever'" (Emi joyè orí aga o, nitorinaa, oro ikehin ti Aikujegunre nso niipe: Ki Oloko ma kú o, ki emi ma kú, ki a njo fi aiko j'egbo s'ara).  Rioots do not die, and the farmner lives on what he harvests; a reating cycle of life.

In both aspects, it is action and inaction that produces good or ill fortune.  It is inaction that drives people from their community (Ogun in the forest withdrawn from society), and it is the desire for life, a relentless life force, that drives relationships of consumption--sacrifice. But in both cases the person must trust herself to act.  And here one sees the focus of the oddu in the context of the coming year--one in which good fortune, fecundity and conflict are tied together.; one in which cycles of cinsumption will require a sacrifice by those who are unable to see the extent of what they have given. This will be a year of action and inaction bringing bad fortune; its will be a year of consumption--the world in all aspects will be consuming itself in conflict and interaction that will shift fortune and fecundity. 

This oddu speaks to the nature of sacrifice.  It brings together the passion of Oshun with that of Oya. It tells the story of Oya who to save her children gave up her favorite food and gave herself to Shango. It speaks to the unpalatable. And this is the oddu that speaks to the burden of responsibility of the way that Oshun brought Ogun out of the forest and tied him (his sacrifice) to the maintenance of the world. That eternal burden suggests a fundamental sacrifice of self--of abstract and concrete, for a greater objective.  It ties together nicely the warnings of conflict from fecundity, and of the perils of shirking duty, or cowardice.  Yet at the same time it hints that htis is precisely what may come to pass for many (not all) with the resulting disaster for individuals, families, enterprises, entities, and states. This is not the year to avoid conflict; this is not the year to avoid sacrifice for a greater objective; but it is also not a year to go looking for a fight.

The Full Version of the Official Letter of the Year has its own interpretaiton of these oddus with specific reference to the condition of Cuba and Cuban society. They are very general in character.  But it is possible to come to a better understanding of specific application by a careful study of the Oddu in light of the driving divine manifestations: Oshun-Ogun. That follows here:

Enfermedades que aumentan su índice:

- Enfermedades del estómago y los intestinos.
- Incremento del índice de Enfermedades de trasmisión sexual.
- Impotencia a temprana edad, como consecuencia de problemas en la próstata en los hombres.
- Afecciones malignas en colon, y recto.

Acontecimientos de Interés Social

- Continuarán problemas en el sector agrícola fundamentalmente en la producción de viandas, hortalizas y vegetales como consecuencia de la poca fertilización de los suelos.
- Penetraciones del mar que pueden producir inundaciones y derrumbes.
- Incremento de conflictos migratorios.
-Continuará el peligro y las amenazas a catástrofes naturales de todo tipo.


- Signo que advierte sobre el peligro que puede generar el despilfarro.
- Se recomienda evitar la mala utilización de productos químicos en las producciones agrícolas.
- Cuidado con epidemias y enfermedades.
- Evitar enfrentamientos y reyertas.
- Se recomienda mantener una ética religiosa adecuada.
- Hay que buscar concurso y ayuda entre todos para lograr los objetivos trazados.
- Respetar a los mayores y buscar orientación religiosa.
- Evitar problemas con la justicia.
- Aumento de las enfermedades venéreas producto al desenfreno sexual.
- Dar mejor uso a los recursos agrícolas.
- Se recomienda un equilibrio en todos los órdenes.
- Se recomienda reforzar a oggun. (ver a los padrinos para esto).
- Hay que tener cuidado con el consentimiento excesivo de los padres para con los hijos.
- Los padres deben prestar esmerada atención al cuidado y la educación de los hijos.
- Se prohíbe auto medicamentarse.

and yet another version HERE


A. The "Other" Version

What follows is the other version of the Letter of the Year that appeared on line, plus my own reflections.  Both become more interesting when read in conjunction with the official version. 
Letra de Año para 2019

Signo regente: Ojuani Iwori
Primer testigo: Okana Ogunda
Segundo testigo: Ogunda Oddi

Sentencia profética: Ire san bodi elese Orisha intori ota ole Orunmila lorugbo.

Predice: El bien de mejoría viene a través del Orisha la divinidad de la tierra entre mas comida le de mas bienes obtendrá y recibirá el amparo ante las desgracias otorgado por la deidad, Orunmila todo lo resuelve y lo hace verdadero.

Divinidad regente: Oshosi
Divinidad Asistente: Oshun

Ebbo: Aunko, Akuko meyi, addie meyi dun dun, Eyele fun merin, gio gio, Eñi addie, ewe ikoko, epo pupua, asho ara, oka, ou, owo merin, opolopo owo, ewereniye merin, agwado merin, atare merin, eku, eya, oñi, oti, bobo omi, bogbo ere, oyouro oshu sere, ile atitan, ori, ofun, itana seun, bele awan, akofan, lowo re.

Onishe Ara: Ebbo misi flores frescas, miel, leche, oti, eku ella agwado, 3 hierbas de olor, perfume.

Onishe Ile: baldear entrada y salida. Ewe aberikunlo, zazafras, ewe ayo, ewe dun dun, escoba amarga, Ori, ofun, omi tutu.
Mantener la puerta de su casa o negocio libre de basura y obstáculos.

Bandera de la puerta: Azul y ribete amarillo

– Obori Eleri
– Darle de comer a la tierra
– Hacer Ebbo y obras a los Orisha especialmente a su Orisha regente
– Hacer las obras correspondientes a la atención firme y oportuna a sus guerreros de IFA y eggun’s así también a bogbo ara onu.
– Estudiar y aprender lo mas que pueda y ser eficiente cada dia mas.
– Colgar 1 saco con ministras detrás de la puerta de su casa o negocio.
– Botar comida a la puerta para mejorar la economía.

– Las raíces de IFA son amargas y el fruto es dulce.
– Oye a todos y de ninguno te fies, ten a todos como amigos y cuidate de todos como enemigos.
– Si no puedes cumplir no prometas.
– No es sabio seguir lo que no asegura triunfo.
– No cualquiera termina un año bien y espera otro mejor.
Predicciones de Interés Social:
– Situaciones de violencia extrema, por mala crianza y malas compañías
– Mejoras y cambios en el gobierno traerán nuevas inversiones y estabilidad económica.
– Fenómenos naturales de gran magnitud, sismos, maremotos y deslaves de tierra.
– Huracanes, ciclones y trombas asi como tornados devastadores es un IFA de llamado de la tierra a sus huéspedes.
– Cambios climáticos por crecimiento de la tierra a raíz de la sobre población y muerte de especies en el planeta.
– Uso indiscriminado de medicamentos recetados producirá enfermedades incurables y muerte inevitable por corrupción entre gobierno, médicos y laboratorios, saldrá a la luz pública aunque será demasiado tarde para algunos.
– Epidemias y virus que pondrán en riesgo la vida de muchos por negligencia y avaricia.
– Contaminación de alimentos por virus salmonella derivado del mal tratamiento de aguas y contaminación de manantiales con pesticidas y desechos químicos provocaran muerte innecesaria de flora y fauna todo un desperdicio de recursos por mal manejo.
– Disputas y confrontaciones por rivalidades intelectuales y por falta de organización

Exploración espacial tendrá resultados positivos.
Caída de dictador dará al pueblo un respiro y una preocupación a otros.
Seguirán las enfermedades cardiovasculares congénitas, enfermedades pulmonares, enfermedades circulatorias y estomacales producidas por alto consumo de grasas, sales, azucares artificiales, comida chatarra y mala calidad de agua.
Daño renal irreparable por el alto consumo de bebidas endulzadas con azúcar artificial de importación.
Funcionarios caerán presos por desfalcos en el gobierno.
Confrontación peligrosa entre naciones por caprichos de los gobernantes.
Calentamiento de los mares provoca la muerte de algunas especies marinas lo que puede generar un alza en los costos de esos productos.
Fraudes cibernéticos pondrán en jaque a las autoridades.

– Se recomienda a los gobiernos mejorar la legislación en materia de seguridad para dar castigo ejemplar a criminales.
– Fomentar el respeto y honradez entre las personas mantener el orden y la preservación de valores a los hijos tarea importe para sus tutores.
– Se recomienda a las mujeres cuidar de su dignidad y respeto, a las que son madres educar conscientemente a sus hijos para que asuman en el futuro una responsable paternidad basada en valores de honor y respeto.
– Se recomienda a los religiosos retomar su compromiso de humildad y respeto entre los mismos, recuerden que el más chico puede resolver al más grande que un Babalawo no tiene la cura para sí mismo y que somos la única religión y practica que los religiosos deben demostrar la humildad ante Orunmila visitándose entre sí para ayudarse y consultarse.
– Se recomienda a los padres que den mas tiempo de calidad a sus hijos conviviendo y conversando, el tiempo que malgastan en plataformas digitales cobrara caro la desatención a sus hijos.
– Se recomienda a los médicos trabajar mas por la salud de sus pacientes y dejar de hacer menos caso a las ganancias de los laboratorios medicinales y poner mas atención en sus pacientes y en vez de experimentar con medicamentos deben estudiar la medicina tradicional y herbolaria que es lo que ha hecho posible que la humanidad llegue hasta estos tiempos.
– Se recomienda al gobierno activar el campo, la agricultura y ganadería, asi como apoyo al campesino y sus familias.
– Se recomienda a los maestros en las escuelas apliquen mejor criterio en la enseñanza traten de organizar sus grupos como una familia donde se vea definido el papel cívico de respeto, disciplina y moral.
– Se recomienda a los representantes de los derechos humanos que vean mas por las personas que son víctimas y no por sus victimarios es tiempo que la sociedad se reacomode en la fomentación de mejores valores sociales y eviten su auto destrucción por excesos de libertinaje.
– Se recomienda al gobierno que detenga la producción de productos elaborados con azúcar sintética como sucraloza y demás productos que elevan los niveles de glucosa causando problemas físicos daños renales y otras enfermedades congénitas.
– Se recomienda la revisión y planificación de asentamientos humanos para evitar pérdidas y tragedias así como también revisar periódicamente edificios para evitar accidentes y derrumbes.
– Se recomienda a las personas en general no importa su religión ni estatus social, que deben conocer a los miembros de su comunidad y apoyarse en la tarea de vigilancia tanto de sus hijos como de sus bienes para mantener la seguridad y armonía entre vecinos de una comunidad o colonia.
– Se recomienda mantenerse lejos de los problemas ajenos y revueltas siempre protejan a sus hijos no exponiéndolos a la ira de otras personas al usarlos como escudos humanos.

Dice IFA:
– Dice IFA uno no es ninguno, hay que ayudarse y conocerse para poder vivir en armonía. Los religiosos se visitan para ser conocidos y para poder ayudarse entre si ya sea para actualizarse o para apoyarse.
– Dice IFA para crecer en la vida se tiene que superar muchas vivencias y adversidades la manera que se resuelvan esas etapas definirán la grandeza o la tristeza.
– Dice IFA solo aquellos que definidas sus prioridades y objetivos son los que actúan con prudencia no se dejan seducir por todo lo que les rodee y no les conviene. Es decir si una persona decide tomar el rumbo equivocado de la vida no puede culpar a nadie más que así mismo por su perdida o su error.
– Dice IFA resistirse al mal camino y educarse al buen sendero da la fuerza moral para realizar metas y cumplir compromisos de una buena vida.
– Dice IFA ningún camino es largo si se disfruta el paseo pues el trayecto o el proceso es lo que hace importante la vida, la meta es satisfacción para la muerte.
– Dice IFA quien abandona el calor pronto sentirá el frio, quien abandona lo bueno ya se abandono a si mismo.
– Dice IFA la muerte de otros siempre deja ejemplos de lo que no se debe de hacer.
– Dice IFA no hay satisfacción si el resultado no es el optimo.
– Dice IFA uno no es ninguno, la unión hace la fuerza, entre más unida una estructura es mas solida y menos impenetrable.
– Dice IFA la fortaleza se adquiere con el resultado satisfactoria después de varios intentos fallidos, no todos aciertan a la primera.


The divination for 2018 pointed to fairly significant ruptures and also to fairly significant disclosures in the sense that what was hidden will be revealed. The emphasis was on the crossroads--communication, movement, luck, and starts, true or false--and on symbols that has traditionally been gendered female--the sea, the moon, intuition, fecundity, and protectiveness of  family. As it turned out, 2018 was indeed a year of revelations with significant ruptures; it was a year for revelations of spying, of corruption, and of sexual impropriety.  It was a year in which careers and states were upended by reason of revelation and communication. 

The divination for 2019 takes a different turn.  It is founded on two very specific manifestations of the divine--Ochossí and Oshun.  The first manifests justice, the other love. The justice manifested in Ochossí is both relentless and strict.  The common pataki (sacred story) of the manifestation of Ochossí (there are variaitons):
Ochosi was an expert hunter and he found the bird without a problem. He took it home and put it in a cage, and then went to tell Orula that he had the bird.  While Olofi was out, his mother came home and found the bird in the cage. She thought it was meant for their dinner, so she killed and dressed the bird, and then she went to the market to buy some of the condiments she needed to cook it.  Ochosi came home and saw the bird was dead, and he was very upset. He didn't know who had killed it, but he decided that he needed to go get another bird right away, so Orula would be able to give it to Olofi.  Ochosi hunted and trapped a second bird and gave it to Orula and, together, they went to present the bird to Olofi.  Olofi was so happy with the gift that he wanted to reward Ochosi, so he gave him a crown and made him an Oricha on the spot.  He asked Ochosi if there was anything else he wanted, and the hunter replied, yes, he wanted to shoot an arrow into the air and have it pierce the heart of the person who killed the other bird.  Olofi, all knowing, understood what Ochosi's words meant, so he asked if Ochosi was sure that's what he wanted.  Yes, said Ochosi, I want justice, and Olofi granted his wish.  Ochosi released an arrow and almost at once he heard his own mother cry out. The arrow had pierced her heart and killed her.  Ochosi was terribly sad when he realized what he had done, but he also knew that justice had been done.
Oshun, on the other hand, is love and sensuality in all of its aspects, both physical and conceptual. She speaks to what is sweet, and beautiful, but also what is precious and valuable.  She is intimately connected to the female, but she does not limit her followers to women. She is beauty, love, prosperity, wealth, fecundity, but also vanity, whim, seduction, and a quick temper and inflexible when crossed.  She is life force in all its force, even as Ochossí is the force of justice without constraint. She amplifies both the positive and negative passion of love and accumulation, of attraction and wealth.  

This combination of blind justice and love suggests that context within which the oddus might be approaches.  That is, they might be read usefully as sitting within a complex web of blind justice that is relentless exposed, but tempered by love, or augmented by love's rejection.  Thus the context is not the usual one in the West--justice tempered by mercy, and its variation.  Instead, it appears to speak to justice whose "arrow" will not miss its mark but the intensity of feeling will augment or diminish the intensity of that arrow. Both point to inflexibility though of different kinds.  Both are bound by their character--justice (not truth) or love and accumulation (not lust or avarice)--and inflexible when challenged. Thus, the context is not the usual 0-1 binary but rather a sense of two aspects of intensification for 2019--one focused on justice and the other on material things and human relations.

I will not speak to the specific advice given in the letter of the year, nor to its suggestions for sacrifice.  I note though that the interpretation of the oddus in light of the guiding manifestations of the divine are interesting, and quite pointed for states. But all touch more specifically on the guiding principles that will shape the year and that are embedded in the oddus. These suggest quite specific recommendations for Cuba and the Cuban state (with respect to its governance, its economic policies and the like).   

My focus in the reflections that follow go to the general indications of the oddus themselves and their potential broader implications. The oddus (reflections based on the translations and oddus in The Sacred Ifá Oracle (Afolabi A. Epega and Philip Neimark, Brooklyn NY: Athelia Henrietta Press, 1995)

1. Owonrin 'Wori (The Sacred Ifá Oracleno. 80). Within the intensities of Ochossí and Oshun, the oddu Owonrin wori acquires a peculiar cast. It speaks generally to the need for great effort to alleviate the lack of material, and spiritual wealth, and likely, as well, a poverty of justice.  It suggests that 2019 will likely see either create laziness or great effort devoted to the attainment or avoidance of justice, of material or emotional wealth. One starts 20'19 in a world in which there is great fear of the loss of material wealth as love ebbs. Isu wón, epo wón, ohungbogbo ti enu nje li o wón (Yams were dear, palm oil was dear, corn and other foods were dear). A sacrifice was required  so that these items would become less expensive (Won ni ohungbogbo to wón fún wón l'ode Iwori yi, ki wón wa rubo ki opo le de fun wón).

That sacrifice was focused on the tools through which the expensive could be made inexpensive--tools, weapons, fish, animals and money.  These, of course, point to those tools necessary to overcome the problem--but not immediately nor through the work of others. Both justice and accumulation will require a substantial investment of effort by those seeking either.  Babalawo niki gbogbo okunrin ko okó ati adá kiwon maa re oko lo sise ki opo le de (The Babalwo said all the men should take up their hoes and cutlasses and go to work on the farm so that food would become less expensive).

Expect there to be substantial investment in investigations, in investment, in the accumulation of objects that point to justice, wealth and love.  But also do not expect a straight line between investment and a targeted outcome.  Ochossí shot his arrow into the air; it was guided by the intensity of spirit that had it find its mark; but that mark was both unexpected and quite dear to him (his mother).  There will be justice and accumulation for those working towards them, but the results will be both unexpected and will require a sacrifice.  Justice will see vindication but at great cost. That cost will substantially affect the fundamental organization of the community within which justice is sought.  And it will fall on those whose intentions were good, and indeed, essential to the well being of those seeking justice. The resulting satisfaction at rendering justice will have profound long term effects on the constitution of the community (the family, the society, the enterprise, the state). 

But where is Oshun's influence in this oddu? That comes next.  For the oddu also speaks to passion and madness.  In divining Ifá for Ojúogbebikan, he was advised to sacrifice to prevent his spouse from becoming mad, or if mad already, to regain her sanity (a niki ó wa rúbo ki aya re ma di wèrè, biobati do wèrè ki lo le sàn). The scaricie: snails, coweries and Ifá medicine.  This points again to the costs of justice, and its result.  That madness will also require sacrifice, in turn.  But will the sacrifice be justice?  Now one of the oracular sayings of the 2019 letter may be clearer: "Las raíces de IFA son amargas y el fruto es dulce" ("the roots of Ifá are bitter but its fruits sweet") The others are interesting in that light as well, though to a lesser degree (Oye a todos y de ninguno te fies, ten a todos como amigos y cuidate de todos como enemigos; Si no puedes cumplir no prometas; No es sabio seguir lo que no asegura triunfo; No cualquiera termina un año bien y espera otro mejor). All suggest caution (but then most oracles tend to do that) but also carry warnings about intimacy and relations among actors.  These suggest as well a caution against reliance in a context the primary focus of which is on self helñp, but in the pursuit of quite specifically underlined goals--justice and accumulation.

Ogunda Oddi (The Sacred Ifá Oracle no. 110). In contrast to Owonrin 'Wori, the oddu Ògunda 'di speaks to journeys.  And not just journeys or travel by anyone, but by Oggun--the personificaiton of industry, and perhaps economy.  This is the oddu for globalization, but also of investigations, of investments, and of processes that are meant to lead to some objective.  And it suggests disorders.  Ogun was intent on travel and packed his bags. Orunmila said the journey would be pleasant and he would return safely (Ogun nre ajo o di erù kale, Orunmila I'ònà ajo Ogun a dára. Ogun a bowa ba ilé ni ire). The sacrifice required--animals, oil, nuts, and coweries.

But on the journey there might be internal disorder. It speaks to diving leakages of newly prepared kalabash (a form of gourd). The leakage could be blocked but with an appropriate sacrifice of putty, thorns, coweries and the application of Ifá medicine (Wón ni: Ìdí akeregbe a maa jo. A niki o wa sebo ki edidi le di ibiti o njo fún un). This suggests both that the framework within which important materials will be kept and moved about is imperfect and will lose its contents.  It can be fixed, at soem cost, but also by ignoring its imperfection in the form, of the patch.  What emerghes is a gourd that is not perfect but patched, at some expense.  And yet the Ifá does not suggest a wholly happy solution: Àrun idí tabi Iyagbe yoo maa ba eniti a da Ifá yi fún je, bee ni Ifá wi (Ifá notes that if this oddu is divined then the object of divinaiton suffers from dysentery).  Now the dysentery image points back to the first part of the oddu--just as the gourd may leak, so may its bearer.  Both will require patching, and in the process will not be the same again.

It is interesting to note this supporting supporting oddu in the context of the principal focus on  the need for self help within the context of justice and passion of Owonrin 'Wori.  It emphasizes the warning of the principal oddu of the flaws even in the most well intentioned and well constructed journey or objective or investigation.  That which will produce intensity and justice will itself be flawed; it will leak, and it will be undertaken by  those (individuals, institutions, communities) that themselves are "leaking" in the sense of their own internal failings.  The result will intensify the consequences of even the most well intentioned (and flaws) undertaking.  We will likely see this in both large and small matters in 2019.  

3. Okana Ogunda (The Sacred Ifá Oracle no. ). It is interesting that both supporting oddu touch on Ogunda--that is the oddu that tends to speak to disputes, contestants, the bitterness that is generally referenced at the root of Ifá. Ogunda also is closely linked with Ogun--of industry and conflict. This tends to shift the emphasis  of the Letter of the Year oddus from justice and accumulation that is peaceful to that which is contested. Yet it might be remembered that some patakis (stories) note the close relations between Ochossí and Oggun (Ochossí could hunt but not get to prey in the dense forest; Ogun could make weapons to cut through the underbrush but could not hunt; together they made a stronger team). There will be little peace in the processes of justice whose arrows will likely cause more dispute).  This last supporting oddu speaks to self preservation.  It speaks to the avoidance of confrontation but also a warning that things are never as they seem.  From the outside one is seen to treat everyone well; from inside one divides friends from enemies. 

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