"Mateka Mbuta, Mavwa Vwinya"
The Kikongo proverb above loosely translated means "The water the Old Man gives removes the Thirst" (ie. The Old Man gives good advice). This is a proverb alluding to the wisdom of the Elders, and is a proverb that also alludes to the need for the Yayi and Tata to listen carefully to the wisdom of the Elder(s), especially the wisdom of the Tata Nkisi and, or Yayi Nkisi of the Munanso.
Back in January we Divined the "Odu of the Year" for our Munanso. We examined in depth the significance of the Odu, its reflection within the Munanso itself, its reflection within all the Tatas and Yayis who have been initiated within the Munanso, and we also took the time to explore how the energies of the Odu interrelated with and reflected the larger global energies.
Note on term: We use the term "Odu" to signify the caracol divination that we do within the Munanso. The term "Odu" itself is Yoruba and the Caracol divination is a Palo absorption of utilizing aspects of Yoruba divination. It is important to understand that the Bakongo people who arrived in the Caribbean adopted various practices and spiritual tools from various other peoples, including Taino, Yoruba, Dahomey, Mandika, Takua, Kissi, Calabar, (also known -excluding Taino- including Kongo-as the Seven African Powers). The adoption of practices and spiritual tools from other Cultures was (and continues to be) contingent on one thing- the Results! If it works, a Palero/ Palera will use it!
The Divination of the Year made reference to various Spiritual Forces (Mpungo) and other Powers! Chola Wengue- Mpungo manifesting as the Rivers, Waterfalls, Sweet water floods, Springs, and Blood in the Veins. Kalunga- Mpungo manifesting as the Ocean, strong powers of Motherhood and Emotions. Centeya- Mpungo of the Tornado, Mother of the Dead! The Odu also made reference to the Seven African Powers, the Power of the Palo Tradition, its adaptability, it ability to transform in order to survive.
Vital points for a Yayi or Tata of this Munanso to remember for this year is to renew, reinforce, expand and empower one's connection to the Munanso. Negative thinking, lack of self worth, and bitterness, sourness and refusal to take action for progression were/ are to be those things the Power of the Tornado-(Guabancex/ Centeya) was/is coming to take! Family could be a source of drama and emotional manipulation, Yayis and Tatas were instructed to stay in clear waters emotionally and not to get drawn in or become victims of emotional manipulation. The Spiritual Family of the Munanso was to be honored and respected and attention given the Mysteries and effort applied to one's progression and spiritual evolution. The Spirit of Humility and Gratitude was to be embraced! Yayis and Tatas were to reflect on their Initiation, the meaning, significance and progress of that. Divination was to be the key to overcoming anxious or difficult states of mind. It is not a good year to allow negative feelings to fester, but to air them out through Divination!
It is a year of a pivotal point of choice. A crossroads and the choice of road taken would/ will make all the difference. The choice was simultaneously the choice of the Munanso and the choice of the Individual Yayi and Tata. In this Odu relationships can be very strained and the power of the Tornado comes testing all those relationships. Centeya comes to take away all that the individual shows through their actions that they do not value. It is an odu of renewal but the odu reminds us that renewal cannot occur except through letting go of those things that are not fertile and productive and embracing positives choices that bring about positive changes.
When we see a tornado ripping through an area, she tears up trees, rips houses, buildings, cars apart, debris is flying everywhere at a high velocity. People and animals run for shelter and sometimes the shelter they are in is ripped right from them. Lives are lost, structure is damaged and destroyed. Tears, frustration and anger are inevitable in the wake of the Tornado, however we must remember that the destruction brought by the tornado forces Renewal! New structures are imagined and then built and sometimes the choice is made to build newly based on Ancient Practices or to build in a way that is sensitive to our Mother Earth. The tornado also reminds us of those that "it" took, it reminds us that they were sacrificed in the wake of the tornado.
We also can look at a raging river. Is she beautiful? Many years ago we were doing a Cleansing Weekend and it was raining heavily. We did meditations in the rain sitting on the edge of the bridge. At one point I asked those gathered as we looked into the churning muddy raging River below, "Is She Beautiful?" All those present responded "yes" however from a new age perspective, so I responded "so jump in right now into her beauty". No one took me up on the offer, but the moment was memorable. We call her "Chola Wengue La Machetera" when she is in her raging, muddy, swirling, outraged state. She will take houses pulling them down into her, she will rip out concrete roads, take out bridges, and again like the tornado, she will take lives. On a global scale every year we see floods but some of the most damaging floods have occurred this year (Pakistan) which continues at this date its effects and devastation. We have also seen droughts followed by flooding rains. Again and again we are reminded of the need to appreciate and conserve the precious sweet water that we are blessed with, but which we so often take for granted. It is a reminder to "count our blessings" and show gratitude to the Mystery for the abundance spiritual and material within our lives.
The odu also speaks strongly of not just the Ocean, but of the Depths of the Ocean, and we all know what happened at the depths of the Ocean this year, the bleeding that occurred of the Blood in our Mother Earth's veins. This Bleeding on the Global Scale is a cry, a yell of outrage and of consequences, a question and decision- how far will greed go to destroy even its own foundation? Within our Munanso in the mini-microcosm that it represents, this parallel of the Blood erupting from the depths of the Ocean must be considered carefully, not only on the physical level, but also on the spiritual level. Globally we continue to hear a cry from Mother Earth of Rage, Frustration, Anger and a call to make radical and revolutionary leaps within Spiritual Consciousness and Physical Progression. How that cry is answered with each Yayi and Tata of the Munanso is critical and will make the difference in the micro-cosm and contribute to energies within the whole! Is the choice to embrace Spiritual Consciousness and Physical Progression? Is the choice to embrace Reconciliation and Thriving with Mother Earth and her Indigenous Traditions? Or is the choice lack of self worth, selfishness, mediocrity, negativity and the victim syndrome and mental sloth.
At this point we find ourselves three quarters of the way through the year and involved in a deepening of the ongoing analysis and exploration of the energies of the Divination of the Year. We look back on several critical points and decisions that took place within several Tatas and Yayis of the Munanso. We also look deeply at the decisions that we need to make as caretakers of the Munanso to move with integrity within the energies of the Divination of the Year. We explore those things that the Mysteries themselves are bringing to our attention, those things the Mysteries are looking to take away and those things the Mysteries are looking to bring renewal to.
Several Yayis and Tatas have been given (spiritually and also in some cases physically) the Machete, 7 Ribbons, 7 Sunga, $21 (for those that understand what this refers to). This came about through both the choice of the individual to prefer and choose mediocrity, negativity, procrastination, refusal to embrace teachings of progression, and refusal to transform negative habits into positive changes. This also came about through the choice of the Munanso not to continue to "enable" mediocrity and negativity especially in those cases where many years have been spent in profound teachings and opportunities. This decision was presaged in the beginning of the year and shared with some of the Yayis, although at the time we did not see who exactly it was referring to. In these situations decisions may be difficult but the choice must be made with clarity and certainty and with the integrity of the Munanso at the forefront of the Tata Nkisi's mind.
The root of betrayal lies in allowing the Ancestors to be "second class citizens". In a sense this statement flows to the essence of the Divination. The Divination is calling for our total commitment to the Tradition. This total commitment is very difficult for those who come with a new age mentality or have been staying with a new age mentality to fully grasp, as new age encourages "butterfly" spirituality (going from one flower to the next). Total commitment to the Tradition means total commitment to one's Ancestors and the Camino that one's Ancestors have guided one towards. It means that one puts the needs of Ancestors on equal footing with one's own needs, and is not only what we term a "weekend warrior" or a "workshop Palero". The root of the Ancestors is Full Time! It requires a greater commitment to accountability.
Ancient tradition that has survived to the present, such as Palo which derives from more ancient tradition (Bakongo, Taino and more) is to be protected and defended. It is to be cherished, care-taken, honored and nurtured. It can never be just about empty words and part time interest. We say "somos o no somos" which is a profound declaration as to our commitment to Palo and the Ancestors. Palo is committed to YOU as a Yayi or Tata, and it is a treasure to be valued and respected, and you as a Yayi or Tata must be committed to Palo! This year the energies spoken of in the Divination all gather their forces disrupt the complacency that the individual may have fallen into and bring one face to face with the meaning and essence of one's Trato, ones Initiation (RAYADO) for Life! Somos o no Somos!