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Yemayá and the Keepers of Her Mysteries: Part IV

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Artistic interpretation of Yemayá

The ways of the Orishas are mysterious indeed. It has been years since I saw my godfather for the last time, we saw each other last in Dallas, Texas shortly before my son was to be crowned Oggún. We, the children of Yemayá, need to learn to bend with the currents that sweep through our lives, to be flexible enough to understand that there is no need for breaking points, that all is as it should be…a continuous flow of energy.

I am blessed to have José Bravo, Jr, and José Bravo, Sr. (Igbaé Bayen Ntonu) be my godfather and Oyugbona respectively. My Obá Oriaté is Jorge Iturralde, Salakó (above from the left). My love and respect are always with them as they are part of who I am and will always be in my heart and prayers.

However, I have been blessed to be raised under the watchful eye of two magnificent priests, Oluwo Jorge Puig Kaiser Iwori Chigdí and José Merced, Yegedé who is a Baloyá. Yes, typically people have a godmother and a godfather, but I do not--and I am blessed to have only males looking after me. Interestingly enough, my orisha in my itá said it was fortunate that only males raised me.

From my babá Jorge I have learned that we all have the potential of change, it is all on how we take advantage of that potential that we grow or not. Godfather Jorge is a man of logic and reason, he is passionate about the Orisha and Ifá, but tempers that passion with facts. I attempt to apply his teachings to everyday circumstances. There is always a logic behind most of our initiations and acts, the grace of the orisha practitioner is in obtaining a balance between faith and reason. From him I have learned to question those who hide behind the famous line: “In my house, we do it this way.” It is easy to fall into the traps of desire and capriciousness when all we need to do is use our intelligence to sort out matters.

Babalawo Jorge Puig Kaiser
Godfather Jorge Puig Kaiser, Oluwo Iwori Oddí.

Whereas babá Jorge was with me years before I did my kariosha, godfather José Merced came to my life years later. It is all too common nowadays to have young santeros separated from their initiatory households. Therefore, to find someone of good standing in the Orisha community who is willing to ‘raise’ someone else’s godchild and take onto themselves a world of responsibility for that upbringing is a blessing.

There is taboo for initiates of Oyá to become initiatory godparents of children of Yemayá. However, since my kariosha was made by a godfather who had Yemayá and an oyubona who had Obatalá, I had nothing to worry about. The role of godfather Yeguedé has been a counselor, elder, teacher, and friend. I may be born from Yemayá, but I have been raised by Oyá. Maferefún Yansán de okokán (from the heart).

Baloyá Jose Merced
Godfather José Merced, Yeguedé. A strong role model.

Godfather Yeguedé is a hard taskmaster, he likes his godchildren to be well studied, diligent, hard-working, respectful and not to cut corners. He is precise, hard to read at times, but he is extremely easy to love because it seems as though his heart is made out of Yemayá’s molasses.

Because I am not born from his orisha, I have always felt somewhat of a guest in the house. Even when my husband and my elder son are indeed born from the Orishas of godfather Yeguedé, my place felt not as firm. There are a lot of us adopted godchildren. However, I was about to learn a lesson that would forever clear that silly notion of not quite belonging out of my head.

For now, I am going to set aside my adventures with Yemayá and make way for another very special Orisha in my life: Oyá.

Omimelli Oní Yemayá Achagbá

Responses to the original blog post published on blog.themysticcup

Responses to Yemayá and the Keepers of her Mysteries: Part IV

  1. 📷Noemi Oni Yemaya says:March 27, 2011 at 5:03 pmAlafia, my sis from the same mother, I totally understand and feel what you have written. I too was left orphaned (I went to Matanzas to be crowned) and my godfather died several months after I came back to the States. My aunt, who was my yubonna has passed too. They were both children of Ochun. I since have dealt with a priestess of Ochun but like you I still feel ‘different’ because i wasn’t born from her sopera. My younger children, Olo Obatalas, are her godchildren. It has been a tumultous ten years but I don’t regret it one bit. I LOVE Yemaya and the orishas and I know this is my path. Ashe, Omi YaleReply

    • 📷Omimelli says:March 27, 2011 at 8:53 pmAlafia ni abure Yemayá, It is sad that both your elders passed away and you were left alone. I am sure that in the process you have found good people to support you and it is a blessing to have a home where there are links such as the ones your omokékeres have with your new godparent. Yemayá is great indeed I feel lucky to have found this path. Many blessings to you and your family OmimelliReply

    • 📷corliss lowery says:February 21, 2016 at 2:14 pmThats when spirit truly wants us to rely in them give thxs, man can never give u what spirit has ordained u for remembering that is keyReply

  2. 📷William Oni Yemaya says:April 8, 2011 at 12:22 pmLast year I needed to have a major surgery, and it was Oya and Oggun who Yemaya let stand for me. Even though I too was born of two waters, it is frequently Oya who stands the closest to me for which I am grateful. I also come from a house where my godfather and I are not close. So far we haven’t broken, but neither are we close to each other. I am reminded that when Yemaya has had enough she will find a new home for me. Until that time comes I respect the house I was born in, and wait.Reply

    • 📷Omimelli says:April 9, 2011 at 1:50 amWilliam, Oyá is a great support for the children of Yemayá. But if we carefully study these two orishas, we can see that they are but two sides of a coin and that there are many complimentary energies to one another. Even though I am adopted in another house, my prayers are always with my mayor who did kariosha on me and I hope life treats him kindly. OmimelliReply

  3. 📷r. boone says:April 28, 2013 at 4:35 pmPlease, continue this story!.

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