It is the time of year when we spend intensive time within the Munansos, making offerings to the Misterios and strengthening and empowering the Ancestors. Although the weather is cold, sometimes raining or snowing, there is no weather condition that has prevented this from occurring. Here we are speaking specifically about the Ebo that we did for the Feminine Misterios in the women's Munanso. The women's Munanso is located behind Nsasi's Munanso and can be seen in the photo below at the very end on the right. A critical element in the offering is the fire and grill on the right that in the photo is heating a large pot of water so that we have some hot water available.
Below is the doorway into the women's Munanso. Concentration and focus is vital during this whole process to assure that the sacrifices entailed in the offerings are not in vain. We want to be certain that the offerings are reaching the World of the Ancestors and that our invocations accompanying the offerings are clear and carefully considered. We also stay focused in order to catch any disruptive energies before they cross the energy of the offering.
Below the late afternoon light shines through the small window and door, illuminating the Munanso in a very beautiful way. The bano utilized during the process has been made from plants that have come directly from our array of tropical plants (kept indoors in winter) and plants still growing outside despite the unusually cold temperatures. We are very excited that we were able to make all three banos that we utilized during this particular time exclusively from plants that we have growing. This not only saves us money that we would otherwise have to spend at botanicas, but it also means that plants are picked fresh moments before they are used and that we are achieving our goals of providing the materials the Misterios need from our own harvest.
A beautiful view of the offerings in the Munanso. Herbs harvested during the summer hang from the ceiling, including sage which is used to smudge the space. Behind the offerings (not visible) are jars of herb infused oils. When making offerings to the Ancestors and Misterios it is important to bring an abundance not only physically but also mentally. People (in this society) are very used to an incredible rate of consumption (much of which gets wasted). The offerings made to the Ancestors are delivered to the Ancestral World where it increases and enhances the Abundance of the Ancestral World, and enables the Ancestors to move in more powerful ways (which of course also benefits the Living). We always make sure that we select very high quality offerings for the Misterios. It is especially wonderful when we can use offerings that we have grown ourselves as they have an even greater innate value than those that we simply purchase elsewhere.
Fundamental to our understanding here is that when we give with abundance to the Ancestors and Misterios, we build that which never dies (that which is immortal) that which we came from and return to. Although it is very important to provide for the Living, oneself, family, community, it is just as important to provide for the Ancestors for that is the true "wealth". Simba Simbi (Uphold that which hold you up)!
Bear in mind that world wide traditions of offering to the Ancestors are practiced with great love and dedication. However we find ourselves in a society and a time when that has been pushed to the side. The concept of making offerings to the Ancestors is a concept that sadly many find strange and unnecessary, and many others approach with a stingy mentality. As Paleros and Tainos we must understand that we come from Traditions who truly have concepts of the Ancestral World, the power of the Ancestral World and the methods by which to communicate and make offerings to the Ancestral World. Although we may fall short in our concepts of these things at this point due to the onslaught of colonialism and the american dream, this must never be taken for granted, and we must strive to reclaim our full Ancestral Understanding of these things. The doorway to reclaiming that Understanding is to approach Ancestral Offerings and Offerings to Misterio with Love and Great Respect!