(Pix ©Larry Catá Backer, La Habana Cuba 2017)
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.
La comunidad yoruba cubana espera ansiosa las revelaciones que transmite el grupo de Sacerdotes Mayores de Ifá que se reúne el 31 de diciembre para dar a conocer, cada 1 de enero, la Letra del Año. Esta es la ceremonia religiosa más importante de Osha Ifá. Comenzó a realizarse en el siglo XIX, desde entonces los babalawos de diferentes ramas religiosas se reúnen para entregar las predicciones y cuidados que se deben tener en cuenta durante el período que se inicia. Los refranes y recomendaciones que aparecen en la Letra del Año son esenciales para que los devotos sepan cómo conducirse en aras de vencer los obstáculos en el año que comienza. Además, es muy importante conocer los orishas que gobiernan, los signos y ritos asociados a estos.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 )).
[The Cuban Yoruba community anxiously awaits the revelations which will be transmitted by the Principal Sacerdotes of Ifa who met on 31 December to divine, every 1 January, the Letra del Año. Thsi is the most important religious ceremony of the Osha Ifa. The practice started in the 19th century, and from then on the babalowos of the different branches of the faith would come together to deliver their predictions and cautions that would to be taken into account during the year. The various parts of the Letra del Año are essential for those faithful as a aguide to their conduct in order to overcome the predicted obstacles and challenges which begin with the new year. At the same time it is important to recognize the orishas who will govern the temper of the year as well as their attributes. ] (CiberCuba, Letra del Año 2020 para Cuba)
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).
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., 2019; 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015; 2014; 2013; 2012). The 2018 Letter was particularly relevant--it stressed that 2018 was to be the year of great revelations that would begin to have transformative effects (more here 2018).
LETRA DEL AÑO 2020PREDICCIONES DE IFA PARA CUBA Y EL MUNDO
A los sacerdotes de Ifá, a los hermanos Orianté, Babaloshas, Iyaloshas e Iworos.
Pueblo religioso en general y a quien pueda interesar.
El día 1 de enero del 2020 se reúnen en la sede social de la "institución Religiosa" Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba (ACYC) los miembros de la Comisión de la Letra del Año, para realizar la Ceremonia de Apertura del año 2020. Presidida por el Sacerdote de Ifá Ángel Custodio Padrón "Awo Baba Eyiobbe" y el respaldo de los Sacerdotes de IFA de todas las familias de Cuba y sus descendientes en el mundo, sacó la Letra del Año el Sacerdote más pequeño.
Signo Regente: Ogunda Biode
1er. Testigo: Irete Ansa
2do Testigo: Baba Ejiogbe
Oración Profética: Osorbo Acoba Lowo Araye. Orunmila Orile.
Onishe: Adimu Obi Merin. (4 cocos)
Ebbo: Akuko, Acofa Meta, 3 bollos, tierra joro joro, Eku, Eya, Awado, 3 flechas en los bollos y demás ingredientes
Divinidad que gobierna: Oshún
Deidad acompañante: Obatala
Bandera del año: Amarilla con ribetes blanco.
Refranes del signo:
• La honestidad es la mejor política.
• Aquel que conoce a Olofin no será más pobre.
• Por culpa del tarro se abre la sepultura.
• Ojos de fuego, adulterio de corazón.
• Un solo hombre con la ayuda de Ifá puede retar a 30 hombres a luchar y vencerlos.
Enfermedades que han de aumentar su índice:
• Enfermedades graves, neurológicas y psíquicas.
• Enfermedades del hígado por el incremento de bebidas alcohólicas.
• Intoxicación por el consumo de alimentos en mal estado o mal elaborados.
• Aumento y trastorno de enfermedades del bajo vientre con peligro de intervenciones quirúrgicas.
Acontecimientos de interés social:
• Incremento de la delincuencia.
• Aumento de enfermedades infecto contagiosas por la promiscuidad.
• Alto índice de robos, incremento de la malversación y de la violencia.
• Destitución de un gobierno provocado por golpe de estado e intervención de un ejército.
• Cruces genéticos que llevarán al descubrimiento de nuevas especies.
• Malformaciones congénitas producidas por la unión de distintos grupos sanguíneos.
• Muerte de personas mayores y altas personalidades del mundo.
• Proliferación de epidemias debido a la mala higiene y la indisciplina social.
• Advierte el incremento de consumo de bebidas alcohólicas, drogas y estupefacientes.
• Quebrantamiento de la familia tradicional cubana por la promiscuidad, la falta de autoridad y la pérdida de valores.
• Ser tolerantes y pacientes en las relaciones interpersonales.
• Evitar la infedilidad y promiscuidad debido al riesgo de muerte.
• Prestar atención al tema comercial para evitar el fraude, la malversación, el engaño y el adulterio.
• Ruptura y violaciones de acuerdos comerciales.
• Evitar la participación de niños en asuntos de mayores.
• No se debe malversar debido a las consecuencias jurídicas.
• Evitar transitar por zonas propicias a asaltos y violaciones.
• Se recomiendan los sacrificios constantes a Eshu y Eleggua para evitar males mayores.
• Se recomienda cumplimentar con las deudas religiosas.
• Se mantendrán las irregularidades climatológicas sobretodo los fenómenos sorpresivos.
• Se recomienda la capacitación religiosa a todos los religiosos.
• Acudir a la casa de su padrino en busca de orientación religiosa, personal y detallada.
• Tener cuidado con la carne de cerdo, cerciorarse de su procedencia, evitando además su cría en lugares inadecuados.
• Cuidar el aspecto comercial debido al fraude, malversación, robos y actos de violencias.
• Tener cuidado con la carne de cerdo, cerciorarse de su procedencia, evitando además su cría en lugares inadecuados.
• Cuidar el aspecto comercial debido al fraude, malversación, robos, y actos de violencia.
• Violencia coyungal con peligrosa repercusión en la estabilidad de los hijos, en particular y la familia en general.
Agradecemos a los órganos masivos de comunicación que hacen posible que estas predicciones lleguen a todos los lugares.
Feliz y próspero año 2020
The divination for 2020 presents something of a composite picture that suggests fracture. These are fractures that offer choices, but the consequences of choosing are, on the whole, unpleasant if only because their consequences all suggest the need for repayment of a debt now long overdue. The reigning Orishas suggest this fracture--Oshun and Obtala. The reigning Orishas suggest the fundamental character of the year 2020, at leats with respect to the way that human activity will likely be framed--faith and reason; intuition and logic; rage and dispassion.
But these binaries do not suggest a specific outcome. Instead they suggest a fundamental fracture that will be repeated over and over. Faith and reason may sometimes meld to produce a superior force (Fides et Ratio); at other times they can work to destroy each other and everything they touch. Sometimes, they can produce both effects. When Oschun and Obtala come together there can be war or their can be a union of oppositional approaches to produce something better. When Oshun and Obatala come together there may be sublime comprehension; more likely there will be communication without understanding--this speaks to people, communities, states, institutions speaking past each other, sometimes deliberately and sometimes because of a fundamental incapacity to "climb over the wall" of self-reflection to find meaning in the word and actions of the other. Unity and conflict, fracture and alliance, comprehension and ignorance--these are the gifts of the reigning Orishas for 2020.
Consider Obatala, the elder Orisha, the embodiment of deliberation and reason. This is the church Elder; this is the Daoist monk, this is the Hierophant in a tarot deck. This is Oba Moro, the old man who requires quiet and does not like being disturbed, or Oshanlá, the old woman who prefers to sit all day on her porch knitting in the way of the Norse Norns the fates of everyone. But this is also Ayaguna, and Obanlá, fiery tempered warriors. This is the Obatala who created the Earth for Olodumaré, but also the drunken Obatala who in his inebriation created a malformed humanity which he was thereafter obligated to protect. This will be the year of the rational Obatala seeking creative perfeciton from reason, but also the drunken Obatalá creating obligations through imperfection. Rationality will itself serve as its own challenge.
Oshun--Oshun is the youngest of the Orishas, the embodiment of intuition, of emotion, of empathy. This is the High Priestess in a tarot deck, but also the cult priestess of a time before the current religions; she is the abbess. This is Ibú Ikolé – the mother of witches; but also Ibú Añá, so poor that she could only forget her troubles by losing herself in dance to the beat of the sacred Añá drums. Oschun is also Ibú Ololodí, the master of the 16 major odus of diloggún; but also Ibú Asedán, the ownewr of pointed things who enjoys the hunt and the infliction of pain. The point, beyond metaphor, is the opposite--the oppositional nature--of this reigning Orisha, to her partner. Thsiis passion enough to build and to tyear down. This is the flame of energy that constructs and the fires that extinguish all around them. Both will be very much in evidence in 2020. And so 2020 will be marked by simultaneous and chaotic combinations of Oshun-Obtatala in all of their aspects. Preparation is impossible, but fair warning provides some protection--perhaps.
This fundamental tendencies that will markl all events in 2020 are nicely expanded in the principal oddus for 2020. 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). Let us consider each in turn briefly:
Ogunda Biode (or Ogunda-bede (No. 32)) speaks to integrity and the fiery consequences of failures of integrity (e.g., China's Social Credit System). The oddu could not be clearer:
Eke re'bi ogun pdun ko de Eke re ajo osu mefa ko bo Otito inu ni ajeku ju iro lo. A difa fun Baba Imale ab'ewu-gereje. A ni: biwon d'aye tan iro ni won mi maa pa. A niki won rubo, won ko won ko rubo. [The dishonest traveled for twenty years and failed to return. The dishionest traveled for six months more and failed to return. Honesty is the best policy divined Ifa for Baba Imale, who was clothed in flowing robes. He was told he would be a liar all his life. He was asked to sacrifice but he refused to do so.]Dishonesty is a long road, especially for those who profit from it. They have no intention of changing their character, but still, theirs is the road that never ends but appears to be rewarded. But this is not a reference to personal dishonesty (banal enough in any era); rather it is a reference to communal dishonesty and to the institutions created around dishonesty to reinforce its effects. It is about the dishonesty in the forms of communal life and its its internal and external relations. It is not just the person but the ritual, the premise, the practice that itself is both dishonest and that reinforces or provides the space within which dishonesty (the absence of integrity) can flourish. "Iro naa ni awon Imale npatiti di oniloni. Won a mawipe awon ngbaawe Olorun ni odoodun." [Up until today, the Imale are still lying. They are always saying that they are fasting annually for God."]
But these are also bound up in contradiction--the dishonesty produces wealth but it also exposes that wealth to its own contradiction (and wealth is not necessarily measure din things). 2020 is the year of the dishonest. Beware the leaders in flowing robes who are both dishonest--and dishonest about their dishonesty.But it is also the year of exposure--a continuation of the arc of events from the 2019 Divination. But here there is an exposure of a different kind--it speaks to exposure and dispersion by a superior force--here one sees the combination of the incisive rationality of Obatala with the fierce passion of Oschun.
One day Esu asked them why they had been saying that they were fasting for God annually. Are you saying God is dead? Or is God sad? Do you not realize that is the innate truth? Esu says: Hen! You fast for God; God never dies: Edumare is never sick. Olodumare is never sad. Esu was forced to disperse of of them. The song that Esu sang that day was; We have never heard of Olodumare's death, but that of the dishonest.Rationality is matched to passion. This is not the year for tolerance but for some, the passion of Oshun applied to the rationality of Obatala. The result--communities everywhere will be put to their proof and there will be turmoil. This turmoil will exist both within and between organized communities, between and within individuals. This is the year of accounting--accounting for oneself and to others. This is the year where soem will be called to account.
But this is also the year for transition: "Ki owo titun o wa mi wa; Ki aya titun o wa ni wa; Ki omo titun o wa ni wa ati beebee" [Let new money seek for me; Let new wives seek for me; Let ne children seek for me.]" But for this there is a need for sacrifice. But recall sacrifice in the old religion is not necessarily of living things--self sacrifice, the sacrifice of things, the sacrifice of the mind, of the will, of passion. Sacrifice is the giving of a thing, a rite of purification int he sens eof letting go of that which oppresses (abstract or material) for something else. It is Ifa medicine (Ewe Ifa naa). The fecundity of Oshun appear to suggest the coming and going of things this year.
The two augmenting oddus conform the direction of Ogunda-bede. The first is Irete Ansa (or Irete-Sa, No. 222)), speaks to the complex of prevention-mitigation-remedy at the heart of the merging governance systems. It points to the value of prevention over either mitigation or remedy in the coming year. Prevention of dishonesty, of course! Avoidance of what? of the consequences that produce the turmoil leading to dispersion. It is a caution rather than a direction for the year. But it is a caution that is unlikely to to be effective.
But this is not just a caution without a foundation, but instead a caution against the war between rationality and passion, betyween heaven and earth; it warns of the difficulties of a war between Oshun and Obtala in the face of the disruptions of dishonesty in the construction of the human condition (macro- and micro-).
Ar'otesakos'ojo. Oyin-sitan-f'afade'le, Eerun si tan f'agan de'le- A dife fun Araye a bu fun ara orun nigba won ngbogun si ara won. A niki kaluku won ru: Akoto-oyin kookan younti akoto eko-fifo kookan. Ara orun nikan li o rubo, Ara-aye gbo won ko ru. . ["One who guards against mutiny is not a coward. The bees went away but left their honeycomb; the soldier ants went away and left their remains. Thsi was divined for the people on earth and in heaven when war had set one against the other. The two were asked to sacrifice a jar of honey [Ed. a favorite of Oshun] and a calabash of mixed cornstarch gruel. Only the people from heaven sacrificed; the people on earth did not."]Aaaaahhh, here one again is made to understand the nature of sacrifice--as prevention, as self-reflection, as connection with context. Heaven's sacrifice the jar of honey and eko was also filled with poison. As the forces of earth attacked heaven they stopped, consumed the jar of honey and died. Some of the dead were animated and tasked with carrying away the rest of the dead.
And what is this honey? The complex meaning is made clear in the song of heaven song to mock the dead: "Oyin l'amu komaleb'ara-orun ja o, Oyin l'amu. O gb'ogbo ole b'ole ja o." ["We drink honey and cannot fight the people of heaven; we drink honey. All the lazy folk are fighting themselves."]. And what is left to the people of earth--death and the task of carrying away the dead. "Until today, have you not seen the people on earth carrying their dead here and there.The dead are carrying the dead--Oku li o nru oku.
That is the connective tissue between Ogunda-bede and Irete-sa--Oku li o nru oku.The dishonest travel and never return. They are the dead. They are carried about by other dead. They do not sacrifice. They drink the poisoned honey because they are so embedded in their dishonesty that they neither sacrifice nor see the value of that of others. All is metaphor, of course, but ones pointing to self delusion, to indulgence, to battles among communities in which what appears sweet and is available without cost exacts a terrible price. A Latin American interpretation:
En este odun fue donde Olofin tuvo que besarle los pies a Shangó y dejar que Shangó le hiciera ebbó para salvar al mundo. En este odun Olofin le quitó el tablero a Shangó por estar sólo en fiestas. En este odun se habla del falso Shangó. En este odun es donde se determinó por Olodumare que todas las cosas en la tierra existirían hasta que les llegue su momento. En este odun nació el ponerle a Shangó una mano de Ifá. En este odun nace el por qué Shangó llevas seis piedras. En este odun nació moyugba.But at its fundamental level it suggests the emptiness--the large space of silence, of nothing, around which the living dead are animated. Communities of the dead will carry themselves about while others gloat. This is the age in which the life of communities, groups, people, will be tested. We expect to see much evidence of the dead carrying the dead--the deluded carrying each other, and int he process will come dispersion or destruction. Stock taking is in order.
And that brings us to the last of the oracular oddus for 2020: Baba Ejiogbe (No. 1) corresponding to the IChing's male power hexogram (Qian-Force) and the tarot Strength. This is the father of oddus (Obatala this year), one in which both sides are identical; its converse is Oyekumeji, the mother of oddus (Oshun this year). One cannot receive Ejiogbe without thinking of the shadow of Oyeku. On the surface Ejiogbe speaks to wish fuylfillment and the positive. But force without context is uncontrolled--the passion of the positive which can destroy everything in its wake; which can drown the rest of th world in its self-reflexive drive toward the fulfillment of the self; it speaks to the power of the positive and to its distortion. Egigbe is about fecundity--the power of generaiton and the proteciton of progeny. That protection is spoken of in the language of sacrifice.
But Egiogbe also speaks warning--to those who sacrifice for the vanguard, for the leader, for the organizer, and is invariably repaid with nothing but exploitaiton and death. It speaks warning, effectively, to those who would put their trust in the dishonest (Ogunda-bede) and to those who will not heed the warning to protect themselves (Irete-sa), and promises themn that they will be soncumed--like the bana--by those who cultuvate them. This is the year in which those who cultuivate the great fields of humanity will consume them. It is the warning of exploitaiton by those who can by those who produce. For those who are farmed in this way--most of us, the warning could not be more precise.
Okunkun-birimubirimu li o difa f'Eniunkokunju; Won ni kosi eniti o maaq fi oore se ti ko; maa fi ibi suu; A niki o ru; Ada ati akaso; O ko ko ru; Eniunkokunju--oruko ti a npe Agbe; Gbogbo oore ti Ogede se f'Agbe; Ko kun loju; Bibe ni Agbe be Ogede lori nikehin.The dishonest farmer; the jar of poisoned honey; the act of obeisance to a false leader in order to save the world. These are the tajectories that will acquire greater relevance in 2020. Together they suggest a coming together and a falling apart--peace and war. They suggest as well the atmosphere in which these events will emerge, one that will be torn apart by windshear that is produced in the interactions of raitonality and passion. For 2020 one must prepare for conflict, for the exploitaiton of the raitonal and the intuitive--for the ingratidudfe of those who burden life's producers. And in the end there will be only Oku li o nru oku.
[Okunkun-birimubirimu divined Ifa for Eniunkokunju. They said nobody had ever done hin a kindness that he did not repay with evil. We asked him to sacrifice a cutlass and a ladder. He refused to sacrifice, Eniunkokunju--the name we call the farmer. All the good things Ogede (the banana) provided for thre farmer were not appreciated. The farmer beheaded Ogede in the end.]
And this from the Cofradía Òlófín on Ogunda Bede:
The sign refers to trends and processes in global governance, so is not directly relevant to individual choices and actions. The sign speaks of the nature of global processes, and how they may indirectly affect individual persons.
Ogunda Ogbe is known as Ogunda-Bede, the Head of Crooks, the Master of Liars, and the Chief of Con Artists. Much of the meaning of this sign is in its name and in its main symbols. These are the tortoise – a trickster and a manipulator, and preachers wearing flowing white garbs – a symbol of hypocrisy, lack of integrity and coherence. On the right side (male, action, forward movement, expansion) there is Ogunda. On the left side (female, obstacles, challenges, contraction) there is Ogbe, a male sign. The sign is imbalanced, it contains an excess of expansive, active energy. If brought to their extremes, wisdom can become stubbornness, authoritativeness turns into authoritarianism, planning, creativity and progress give life to systems and processes that are intrusive, burdensome, unreliable, unstable, and prone to systemic failure.
The sign fell in the negative (osogbo), with an indication of gossip, setbacks, and mishaps. In Ogunda the first position is in a contractive mode, therefore all these may occur unexpectedly, as a result of failure to maintain coherence between words and deeds or be generated from external sources. In the negative, Ogunda sows the seeds of deceit, betrayal, and lack of trust, that come to their full flowering in Osa, and in the supporting oddu Irete Osa, provoking a reaction of flight and running away. With Irete Osa as supporting oddu, Ogunda Ogbe contains indications about various types of installations, buildings, government facilities, or government facilities run by private contractors. These are all types of backbone infrastructures, included but not limited to those for biomedical and genomic research.
When Oshun and Obatala come together in any of their aspects and qualities there may be war or there may be a union of oppositional approaches to produce something better. But Oshun and Obatala possess aspects that may amplify, rather than balance, the negative trend of Ogunda-Ogbe.
The dishonest traveled for twenty years and failed to return.The dishonest traveled for six months more and failed to return.Honesty is the best policy divined Ifa for Baba Imale, who was clothed in flowing robes.He was told he would be a liar all his life.He was asked to sacrifice but he refused to do so.
Baba Imale is a historical figure. It is referenced in Ogunda-Ogbe because the first position in Ogunda, in a contractive mode, and it stands for all that which comes from outside, often unannounced and unforeseen. Baba Imale is clothed in flowing robes, which in Ifa can also be a symbol of hypocrisy or underscore a call for a strict and superficial conformity. Baba Imale refuses to sacrifice because even in its best condition this sign displays an excess of activity, self-confidence, strength. Honesty may be the best policy to balance the excesses of this sign. At the same time, honesty would go against the general trend and the demands to produce, build, and create more. The result is rigidity and intransigence.
Karangbada-Agara-ngbadaYo estoy en casa de OwaDeja que el dinero fresco me busqueDeja que nueva esposas me busquenDeja que nuovos niños me busquen.Si un niño ve a Alakara, él le tirará su pedazo de ñameOgundasoriiref’Ogbe, dame buena fortunaMedicina de Ifá …………..Para aplicar este Ifá necesitas estar bien vestido y sentado sobre una buena esteraOther versions of this stanza talk about wearing white, the color of honesty and sincerity, and sitting on the mat of honesty. But moderation may be a very difficult sacrifice to make, when the rule of the game is an unheeded competition, and when the game is a zero-sum one:Agongo sígo sígoAgòngò sígò sígòHizo adivinación para Ògúndá que viene desde atrásÉl venía desde atrás para eclipsar a OgbèLe aconsejaron que realizara sacrificioÒgúndá realizo el sacrificioÉl empezó a bailar y regocijarse entoncesÉl estaba alabando a su BabaláwoSu Babaláwo estaba alabando a IfáÉl dijo que fue exactamente como su Babaláwo había dichoAgongo sígo sígoAgòngò sígò sígòHizo adivinación para Ògúndá que viene desde atrásÉl venía desde atrás para eclipsar a OgbèLe aconsejaron que realizara sacrificioÒgúndá oyó hablar del sacrificioÉl lo realizóÒgúndá viene desde atrásÉl sobrepasó a OgbèOrí rere n tìrèèreIrete, also known as the Crusher, is a sign that calls for humility. Among the negative symbols of this sign, we find Ajogún, a metaphor for poverty, death and misery. We find slavery and human sacrifice. We find the “City of Vice”. In this sign the second position is contractive. This position corresponds to the stomach, the ovaries, and stands for feelings, moods, and emotions. With Oshun and Obatala as ruling Orishas of the year, and the main oddu in the negative, the likelihood is for moods and emotions to be intensified, swung out of control, manipulated and used for the less noble purposes of this oddu.
These symbols and dynamics will be present in any composite of Irete. With Osa on the left side, the scenario is made more complex by a general atmosphere of mistrust, lies, and deceit. But also disorganization, plans, projects and initiatives that are put into place absent a careful design or conceptualization. Or that can be put to a dual use. A response to this trend can be mutiny:
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE STUDENT OF THIS LETRA:One who guards against mutiny is not a cowardThe bees went away but left their honeycombthe soldier ants went away and left their remainsMutiny is expressed by Osa, the sign of the “run-away”. Irete the Crusher is symbolized by the wealthy man who owns and sacrifices slaves only to find that the sacrifice is, in reality, a child born out of wedlock, from a casual encounter with one of his clients. From the perspective of Irete, the running away of the bees and the ants is a mutiny, and the slave master who guards against mutiny acts in his best interest. Bees may be of a different opinion, given how they are farmed to produce honey:This was divined for the people on earth and in heaven when war had set one against the otherThe two were asked to sacrifice a jar of honey and a calabash of mixed cornstarch gruel. Only the people from heaven sacrificed; the people on earth did notReferences to being “on earth” and “in heaven” are often references to the best possible state that can be achieved in the scenario symbolized by an oddu (heaven), and to the actual conditions (earth). Here, we have the request to give what the bees have produced. But even in the best possible state, the jar of honey that is sacrificed to avoid war is filled with poison. This trend confirmed by Eji-ogbe, the oddu that calls for truthfulness and patience:Òtóótotó [That which is true is true]Òróóroró [That which is not true is not true]Bit by bit we eat the head of the fishOne by one we eat peanuts [symbols of patience and restraint]But, in the negative, this can also be the oddu of the deadfall trap, yeye-ale-ti-ale (the night has not yet fallen on my success) who consulted the diviners out of curiosity, and Eniunkokunju the person who is indifferent to good intentions.
The Letra del Año is not a prediction in the sense of TV movies, or of fairy tales. It is more a gateway for thought in theway of the Dao or the IChing. It provides a starting point for contemnplation that ought to lead the student toward greater insight within the context of that very contemplation. To read the Letra del Año the way that one reads fortune from a Carnaval machine is to mock both onseself and the notion of Fortuna, inherent in the process of arriving at the relevant Ifa. The IFA is no grimoire; nor is its use, at least according to its commuinity of believers, a book of magick that somehows predicts, and by predicting controls, the lives of those who invoke it. Its cyclicity recalls that of the cycles of Bible readings in Judaism and Christianty; it is the manifestaiton of one's position on the Ouroboros of the belief systems within which we each find ourselves embedded. And yet, it is as likely to lend its form--its significs--to the symbols and objects that are the lives of those who chose to use this, rather than one of its other manifestaiotns (within the materialist, scientist, or religious communities), for framing the way in which they approach the world to be in the coming year.