This morning I woke up thinking about the many times I have gone to the ocean to bring offerings to Yemayá. Be it an elaborate offering or a simple one, at one time or another, many of us, Lukumí, have poured our heart out by the ocean. However, in all of the offerings done through decades of worship to Orisha, there is one element never mentioned but vitally present in abundance: Respect.
Respect is not usually top of mind as one gets busy preparing, for example, an adimú. One is consumed by the process, the ingredients, and the flawless execution of what has been requested. However, respect and a good dosage of reverence should essentially permeate each of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
For example, when a person gets a reading with diloggún and is told to take a watermelon to the ocean and offer it to Yemayá along with some molasses and whatever else the diviner deems necessary, one dutifully does it. The act of choosing to comply with the odú may be motivated by a myriad factor; however, if we did not respect the odú and the need underscored by the odú, the adimú would not make it to the ocean.
Respect is the most valuable of offerings, not only to the Orisha but to one another. Respect is as fluid and bountiful as the waters that spring from Yemayá. Respect begets goodness; goodness fosters iré.
Find ways to express respect in your daily life. Sometimes it can come as grandiose gestures; sometimes, it can be as simple as a kind word to your spouse or partner. Respect can be a simple act of goodwill towards abures and elders. Respect is like a chameleon that can disguise itself in the harshest of environments and remind quiet and watchful, waiting to be acknowledged and appreciated.
We can all stand to learn from this elder, respect. Seek it, be it by the ocean, at the foot of a hill, by the river shore, in the forest, respect is always there.
Living and learning with Yemayá. Maferefún Iyá mí.
Oní Yemayá Ashabá