Osogbo

Speaking to the Spirits of Misfortune
By (author) Ócha'ni Lele

Other books by this author

Osogbo
Speaking to the Spirits of Misfortune
By (author) Ócha'ni Lele

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Pages : 240

Book Size : 6 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9781620550984

Imprint : Destiny Books

On Sale Date : March 21, 2014

Format : Paperback Book

Osogbo are the spirits of misfortune in the Santería and Lucumí faith, spirits who seem to be trying to bring us down. But rightly understood, these spirits do not stand against what is good but confront us with conditions that can strengthen us, motivate us, and bring great evolution to the world. Without misfortune we would never know what it means to be blessed. If we follow the prescriptions of the orishas we can overcome misfortune and bring ourselves back to balance.
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About Osogbo

By understanding osogbo, the spirits of misfortune, we can better overcome them and return to health and balance in our lives

• Explains how misfortune works in this world as living spirits that plague humanity but are also a catalyst for self-development and conscious evolution

• Shows that we can overcome osogbo through ebó, sacrifice, and hard work as prescribed by consulting the orishas through the casting of the diloggún

• Shares more than 40 ancient African sacred stories about the spirits of osogbo

Beginning with the story of his goddaughter's battle with stage IV cancer, Lucumi priest Ócha'ni Lele explains the role of osogbo, or misfortune, in our lives. While everyone seeks blessings in life, undeserved blessings make us weak and lazy. It is tragedy that encourages us to grow and persevere. Exploring the Lucumí beliefs regarding osogbo, he shows that the Lucumí faith is neither fatalistic nor defeatist but healing and life affirming. He shares more than 40 patakís--stories stemming from the ancient Yoruba of West Africa--about the different spirits of osogbo, who like the orishas once walked the earth in human bodies. He explains the place of these spirits within the 256 odu of the diloggún, the divination system used in Santería to receive guidance from the orishas.

Lele shows that the spirits of osogbo are not only concepts but also real deities and that we can, if we understand their nature, fight them through ebó, sacrifice, and hard work. He reveals how the osogbos see themselves as entities of misfortune who stand against life and all that is good in the world, but in truth it is misfortune that strengthens us, misfortune that motivates us, and misfortune that brings great evolution to the world. As the author shows, “Without bitterness, one could not know sweetness.” Likewise, without misfortune in our lives, we would never know blessings or what it means to be blessed.
Excerpt

Book Excerpt

Chapter 4
Osogbo, Orí, and Elegguá


As noted earlier in this book, there was a time when life was simple: there was Iré, the spirit of blessings, and there was Osogbo, the spirit of misfortunes, and the two (who were twins) took turns ruling over the earth. Neither was satisfied with such a simple arrangement; and a war began between brother and sister. So heated was the war that Olófin became involved; and in the end, Osogbo was named the greater of the two. Osogbo made ebó (sacrifice); and she gave birth to sixteen spiritual principles known as the osogbos. Some of these wanted children themselves, and they made ebó. Soon creation was filled with multiple entities bringing various misfortunes to the world, and Iré, the spirit of blessings, became lazy. He preferred to rest and sleep, oblivious to his family’s workings. Know that a blessing is a simple creature, but misfortunes in the world are legion. Add to this the complication of humans. There are seven billion people on the earth, and each orí (head) has its own perception of the world in which it lives and moves. Each of these seven billion heads has its own orí-inu (inner head) in which every person’s individual destiny is found.

The concept of destiny seems almost fatalistic; and many believe that the concept of destiny denies free will and personal choice. This, however, is anathematic to Lucumí ontology and metaphysics. Dr. Oladele Abiodun Balogun, in a paper published by Nordic Journal of African Studies titled “The Concepts of Orí and Human Destiny in Traditional Yoruba Thought,” insists that while orí, specifically orí-inu, contains a destiny to which we agreed before becoming flesh, the road we take to that destiny or how we achieve that destiny is left up to free will and human choice. One way to illustrate the concept is this: choosing an oríinu is the cause, and incarnation in the flesh is the effect; and incarnation again becomes a cause for us to live and seek out our destiny. Often, osogbo stands in our way.

No orisha, not even Olódumare, can provide a blessing if one’s orí does not agree to that blessing. Likewise, no orisha, not even Olódumare, can cause misfortune to exist in one’s life if one’s orí does not agree with that misfortune. During the course of a human’s life he will encounter successive misfortunes, events that will either propel him closer to his destiny (because osogbo is a principle that can assist human evolution) or move him further away from his destiny (because osogbo’s goal is, ultimately to crush the human spirit). Orí is integral to whether various misfortunes come into our lives; without agreement from the head, osogbo cannot afflict us. In spite of this, how a human acts or reacts to osogbo is an issue of free will. If destiny was hardwired into the human experience, there would be no force under heaven that could move an individual away from his destiny.

Still, living in ayé (the material world) is enough to guarantee that at some point everyone interacts with osogbo. Our lives themselves are the causes of blessings and misfortunes. To live is to guarantee migration between the two extremes. . . . Being human is, in itself, enough to attract misfortune to one’s life. The manner in which humans live call these forces down from heaven into the earthly realm.

In the Lucumí faith, when life becomes harsh, intolerable, or when one seems to suffer one affliction after another, the adherent seeks out a diviner to determine what is happening in his life. He seeks out one of the many oracles we have at our disposal to learn what is going on spiritually, behind the scenes, making life too harsh or intolerable. With these oracles--Ifá (accessed by the babalawo), diloggún (accessed by the olorisha), and obi (accessed by the aborisha, olorisha, or babalawo)--we consult with egun, the orishas, and Olódumare for guidance. The use of divination also brings into play iporí (our true selves in heaven) and oríinu to determine if we are on the road to attaining our destiny in life or if we are far off course. We learn the will of heaven as the oracles are opened and accessed. Controlling these oracles; indeed, controlling even the interaction of iré and osogbo in this world, is the orisha Elegguá.

Osogbo destroys--this is a central truth of its action in nature; however, it only destroys that which is weak. Whether we call osogbo into our lives by our actions or Elegguá unleashes osogbo on us at his whim, it is both a test and a cleansing, and only that which is strong survives. Osogbo, then, becomes a cleansing force in nature. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. One of Osogbo’s functions is to improve and strengthen both the material world and the creatures living in it.

When studying iré, osogbo, and their interactions among humans and orishas, it is important to understand that the gate between heaven and earth is not simply a gate; the gate is Elegguá. He is the orisha who creates the divide between heaven and earth. Likewise, Elegguá is the gate that stands between orún burukú (the bad or depraved side of heaven) and orún (the good side of heaven); and he allows the passage of osogbo into all realms at will. This is a power he obtained in the odu Unle Meji (8-8) in the diloggún.
Table of Contents

Table of content


Acknowledgments

Lucumí Spelling and Lucumí Cosmology

Preface: Life Is Messy Like That

Introduction: Like Iré, I Was Sleeping



1    The Philosophy of Orisha Worship

2
    The Concept of Osogbo

3
    The Concept of Orí and Destiny

4
    Osogbo, Orí, and Elegguá

5
   Ikú, the Spirit of Death

6
    Arayé, the Spirit of Wickedness

7   
Other Stories about the Osogbos


Afterword

Notes

Glossary

Bibliography

Index 
Author Bio
Ócha’ni Lele has been immersed in the underground culture of orisha worship since 1989. He made Ocha in 2000 and was crowned a priest of Oya. His other books include Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería, Diloggún Tales of the Natural World, Teachings of the Santería Gods, The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination, Obí: Oracle of Cuban Santería, and The Diloggún: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santería. He lives in Winter Park, Florida.
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

“Finally we have an author willing to serve up the spiritual beauty of ancient Africa at the table of the modern world. Clearly, there is a legacy beginning to unfold.”
Iyanla Vanzant, founder of Inner Visions Spiritual Institute, host of the TV show Iyanla, Fix My Life, and author of Peace from Broken Pieces

“Once again, Ócha'ni Lele has demonstrated his masterful grasp of an often confusing subject with clarity, compassion and wisdom; a must-read volume sure to be eagerly studied by newcomers and elders alike for generations to come. As Lydia Cabrera is to Palo Mayombe, Ócha'ni Lele is to Lucumi.”
Candelo Kimbisa, host of Candelos Corner, Blog Talk Radio

“I loved Osogbo. I don’t say that often, or lightly; to earn such praise a book has to open up a whole new world for me, to change my point of view, to teach me something I can use daily. This is such a book. When misfortune visits your house and you wonder why, you may find enlightenment and comfort in the pages of his book. You will, if nothing else, find a great teacher.”
Susan Starr, Spiral Nature, September 2014
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

SPIRITUALITY / RELIGION

“I call him the ‘Orisha Rabbi’ because Ócha’ni Lele takes the philosophical mysteries of diloggún and exposes them to the light of human experience and understanding. His work in Osogbo is much needed and much appreciated for those who choose to embrace the power of the Yoruba/Santería traditions.”
--Iyanla Vanzant, Omo Obatala, author of Spiritual Life Coach

Beginning with the story of his goddaughter’s battle with stage IV cancer, Lucumí priest Ócha’ni Lele explains the role of osogbo, or misfortune, in our lives. While everyone seeks blessings in life, undeserved blessings make us weak and lazy. It is tragedy that encourages us to grow and persevere. Exploring the Lucumí beliefs regarding osogbo, Ócha’ni Lele shows that the Lucumí faith is neither fatalistic nor defeatist but healing and life affirming. He shares more than 40 patakís--stories stemming from the ancient Yoruba of West Africa--about the different spirits of osogbo, who, like the orishas, once walked the Earth in human bodies. He explains the place of these spirits within the 256 odu of the diloggún, the divination system used in Santería to receive guidance from the orishas.

Lele shows that the spirits of osogbo are not only concepts but also real deities. If we understand their natures we can fight them with ebó, sacrifice, and hard work. He reveals how the osogbos see themselves as entities of misfortune who stand against life and all that is good in the world, but in truth it is misfortune that strengthens us, misfortune that motivates us, and misfortune that brings great evolution to the world. As the author shows, “Without bitterness, one could not know sweetness.” Likewise, without misfortune in our lives, we would never know blessings or what it means to be blessed.

ÓCHA’NI LELE has been immersed in the underground culture of orisha worship since 1989. He made Ocha in 2000 and was crowned a priest of Oya. His other books include Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería, Diloggún Tales of the Natural World, Teachings of the Santería Gods, The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination, Obí:Oracle of Cuban Santería, and The Diloggún: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santería. He lives in Winter Park, Florida.

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