topic posted Fri, January 14, 2011 - 4:27 PM by  Iyawo
I was crowed 28 days ago and I am so excited I can not sit still ...I want to learn everything and anything that I can..Does anyone have any good books so that I can learn?
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  • Re: Iyawo

    Sat, January 15, 2011 - 5:07 AM
    Hello my dear! I am not so much familiar with your terminology; but, I assumed crowned to be initiated. In African traditional spiritual systems one learns ALL that he needs WHILE one is in the initiation chamber. And if he/she is not, then, I am most concerned. We are so fortunate for the internet; yet, why is it that your priest/priestess cannot teach you? WHY would one have to go to the internet to learn those things that are supposed to be taught in the temple?

    I do not wish to burst your excitement; but, I do want people to start being aware that something is not kosher the diaspora.

    • Re: Iyawo

      Thu, February 3, 2011 - 9:28 AM
      I fully agree with Wediosi on this one too! Speak to your godparents ASAP!
    • Re: Iyawo

      Sun, February 3, 2013 - 5:24 AM

      "I do not wish to burst your excitement; but, I do want people to start being aware that something is not kosher the diaspora."

      its things like this being said that are trying to destroy the yoruba unification and belief system..discriminating between branches (searchin for a difference)
      how do you know that there is something not kosher in the diaspora? is every ile the same in the rest of the world? or are u just trying to get your point across without taking the time to ask WHY?
      an iyawo in many houses is considered to be a baby.. especially in the first three months before ebbo is made!
      when a child is born.. do you force him to stand up when he is not even able to sit yet?
      it is a SHAME! to hear something like this from an elders mouth!

      as for the the iyawo's question .. talk with your godmother/father and always try to take their advice for it is osogbo to disobey your (spiritual) parents.
      ask them why.. and what is the reason.. i hope u will get your answer from themso you dont have to seek refuge on the internet

      Aboru aboye abosishe!

  • Unsu...

    Re: Iyawo

    Sat, January 15, 2011 - 5:29 AM
    Hermano speak with your padrino or madrina let them guide you. I know right now you must be very excitited but reaching out to the internet will only bring you confusion. Its going to take time everything can not be learned in one shot. A lot of things will have to be taught through experience. By different iles have different ways of doing things.. don't open yourself up to have other question your godparents and try to tell you things are wrong because they do things different. As far as I'm concerned no one should question the way you are being taught because we all learn different.
    • Re: Iyawo

      Sat, January 15, 2011 - 8:41 AM
      Hello, Iyawo!

      Congratulations! I was crowned almost five years ago, and I well remember the excitement and desire to know everything RIGHT NOW! LOL Patience, iyawo... patience... it will come!

      What you need to know right now is this:

      1) Some iles (casas/houses) utilize the week "under the throne" for basic instruction.

      2) Some iles utilize the week under the throne for the purpose of quiet mediiation and reflection.

      3) Some iles utilize the iyaworje (year of iyawo) for the purpose of training.

      4) Some iles believe that the iyaworje should be spent simply in observation, with the purpose of learning patience and humility.

      Bottom line? Every ile is different, and even more importantly, every ita is different (and this is pertinent because some odus [letras/letters] emphasize the need for a person to learn patience, obedience, and/or humility, and this information can influence how your godparent decides to interact with you during your iyaworje).

      So, what to do? First, talk with your madrina/padrino and/or your auyobona. Tell them of your desire to learn and ask them what they would like you to focus upon. It is wise to ask their permission before turning to books or the Internet because, as someone else has already mentioned, too much information from too many different sources can lead to confusion.

      Now, what to do if your godparents are neglectful (it happens) or you wish to stubbornly do your "own thing"? Well... My advice is this:

      1) Be careful using the Internet for information on this religion, unless the articles you find include reputable sources and a lot of them!

      2) Avoid any books by MIgene Gonzalez-Wippler and any books/articles that list her as a source of information. Her work is considered to be "flawed" and not respected within the general Santerian community.

      3) Avoid any "how-to" books/articles, at least for this year of iyaworje. How to "throw obi", how to "interpret the diloggun", how to perform the assorted ceremonies, etc. are all things that are best learned by watching your elders and learning from them. Once you have the basics (and know what is considered "appropriate" vs. "inappropriate" within your own ile), THEN you can move on to using those "how to" books to fine-tune your techniques and expand your awareness of other ways of doing things.

      4) If you are interested in knowing the history of our religion, the origins of some of our traditions, the reasons for the different Ramas and different practices between Ramas, my personal favorite book is "Santeria Enthroned" by David H. Brown, a priest of Obatala, and owner of the online botanica, He wrote this book in conjunction with the Smithsonian, and I consider it to be the best book on the subject of Santeria. The anthropologist, William Bascom, also wrote some excellent books, although the focus of his fieldwork was studying Ifa in Nigeria. Finally, John Mason has written a large number of fantastic books that range in topic from songs to recipes to basic rituals (I own all of his books), and he has worked very hard to try to provide not only the correct (Yoruba) spelling of words, but also the English translations.

      Finally, some things of which you should be aware:

      1) You just got MARRIED! "Iyawo" literally means "bride". Take a minute and enjoy your "honeymoon" (aka Iyaworje). Get to really KNOW your crowned orisha and the other orishas that you received. Talk to them (and I mean just that -- sit with them, speak aloud to them as you would to any human being, and then sit quietly and "listen" for their voices [sometimes, real voices; sometimes, simply images that pop into your head; sometimes, just a deep "knowing"]). Build your foundation of trust, respect and love with them now, before the insanity of becoming a working santero takes over your life! LOL

      2) Nobody [should] expect you to be an "instant santero"! Anybody can learn to throw obi or diloggun, but it takes YEARS of practice before you can become truly competent! Be patient. Pay attention. Listen more than you speak, and when you DO speak, remember to be respectful and humble -- nobody likes a "know-it-all", especially in a iyawo! Visit your godparents as much as possible -- you'll be amazed at what you can learn just "hanging around".

      3) If you have access to your ita, read it. Then re-read it. Then do it again. I'm constantly going back to my ita, for both guidance and education. (Disclaimer -- some iles do not give the ita to the iyawo until after the first three months, or after the Ebo Meta, or after the iyaworje is over. It all depends upon the discretion of the godparent and the traditions of the ile).

      4) If you have mojubas (literally "I [mo] - "pay respect to" [juba]), memorize them until you can rattle them off aloud without hesitation. You will need to know your eggun (ancestors, both biological and spiritual), so now might be a good time to start gathering that information. Who are your grandparents? Great-grandparents? Great-great grandparents? What about deceased santeros and babalawos in your ile lineage?

      There's an Ifa proverb that states, "Bit by bit, we eat the head of the rat". I swear, that was my mantra during my iyaworje, and even now! ROFL

      Iyawo, just take it "bit by bit..." and enjoy the experience! Once you're out of whites, you'll just be an ordinary santero like the rest of us; but for now, you are an extraordinary, bright, shining, brand-new bride to an orisha! This is YOUR year to be special, petted, pampered, loved and cherished. Don't rush it with mundane things.

      Fun iwo ni ire
      Fun iwo ni owo
      Fun iwo ni ayo
      Fun iwo ni alafia

      To give - you - to declare -good fortune
      To give - you- to declare - money/wealth
      To give - you - to declare - joy
      To give - you - to declare good health

      (If you are asking for these blessings for yourself, you would say "Fun mi ni..." ("Mi" literally means "me" or "I").


      • Re: Iyawo

        Sat, January 15, 2011 - 9:25 AM
        Elaine..Wow you have amazed me with your words and wisdom..My Godparents are very good people but they are so busy..that I dont want to overload them with all the questions I have. So that is why I went to the internet. You have given me alot if information i never new what Iyawo means and now I do. I am currently learning my mojubas but in my head I think I should know what it means so that I can understand it and since its not spanish or english I am having a hard time with it. I now know what Mojuba means ( (literally "I [mo] - "pay respect to" [juba]), I never knew Iyawo means Bride now I understand more than ever. What a wealth of information you have given me thank you so much..many blessings to you THANK YOU..
        • Re: Iyawo

          Sat, January 15, 2011 - 2:07 PM
          You are welcome, Iyawo!

          So, you are learning your mojubas? Good! Below are some Yoruba words/phrases that you may come across while saying your prayers. I've included the correct Yoruba spelling and literal translation in English for the words of which I am certain, and for a few of which I believe are correct:

          Moforibale = Mo Foribale = I - to worship

          Mojuba = Mo Juba = I - pay respect to

          Iba [a]ye baye t'orun = due respect - world - to encounter + to have an understanding of - [those in] heaven
          ...(OR)... Igba aye igbayen t'orun = life (igba aye) - then - [to those] in heaven
          ...(OR)... Iba [a]ye laaye t'orun = due respect - world - to be alive - [those in] heaven

          (*Note: "araorun" or "ara orun" [meaning "inhabitants or people of heaven] is sometimes substituted for "t'orun")
          (*Note: "t'orun" is often mispelled and mispronounced as "tonu")
          (*Note: The phrase above is often incorrectly written as "Ibae baen/bayen (or 'layen') tonu")
          (*Note: The general meaning is "I give due respect or acknowledge those who are now living in heaven")

          Ki enikan masai = To greet - somebody - [I] do not hesitate to do
          ...(OR)... Ki nkan masai = To greet - something - [I] do not hesitate to do
          ...(OR)... Ki nkan ma se = To greet - something - I - to do

          (*Note: pronounced and often mispelled "Kinkamache/Kinkamashe" as one word)
          (*Note: the general meaning of the phrase is "I do not hesitate to greet someone/something..." and then you name your living elders in Ocha).

          Ko si iku -= does not exist - death
          Ko si ofo = does not exist - waste/loss/empty
          Ko si arun/aisan = does not exist - sickness
          Ko si adeba = does not exist - accident/mishap/misfortune
          Ko si idina = does not exist - hindrance/barracade/obstacles
          Ko si akoba = does not exist - unforeseen evil/being implicated or framed

          (*Note: often mispelled "Kosi", as one word)

          Fun mi ni ire = to give - me - to possess - good fortune
          Fun mi ni owo = to give - me - to possess - money
          Fun mi ni alafia = to give - me - to possess - good health
          Fun mi ni ayo = to give - me - to possess - joy
          Fun mi ni a'iku = to give - me - to possess - longevity
          Fun mi ni iwa pele = to give - me - to possess - character - to increase (i.e. good character)
          Fun mi ni ile dara = to give - me - to possess - abode - to be beautiful (i.e. a beautiful home)

          (*Note: "Ni" means both "to say/to declare" AND "to have something/to possess", depending upon the context in which it is used)

          Here are a few other Yoruba words you will encounter frequently in Santeria, with their Spanish and English equivalent (Standard disclaimer -- remember that the Yoruba spelling of a word can have several different meanings, depending upon the placement of accent marks, which I do not have the capacity on my computer to add):

          Tutu = frio/fresco = cool

          Omi = Aqua = Water

          Ana = pariente por afinidad = in-law (or, relatives by marriage)

          Ori = cabeza = head

          Ile = casa = house/abode

          *Ai iku (A'iku) Baba Wa = longevidad = longevity (literally: "Without - death - father - to exist") *Often mispelled "ariku"

          Awo = secreto/oculto = secret/occult/hidden

          Oyin = miel = honey

          Oti = alcohol = alcohol (usually refers to "rum")

          Aye = mundo = world/earth/planet

          Ewe = hoja = leaf

          Orun = cielo = heaven

          ileri = promesa - a promise

          Gbogbo = todo = all/total

          Are you boggled yet?? LOL

          • Re: Iyawo

            Mon, January 17, 2011 - 1:33 PM
            Elaine, ache pa ti

            If you have or when you have god-children in our will be a great teacher and should be highly respected because, I have not seen anyone give such detailed information to the fullest. I respect you!!!!!!!!!!

            Iyawo I hope that you have taken everything she said into consideration to what she has given you. I went to cuba to do santo with my daughter and we were born together, she was intated Ochun and I was Yemeja. It is hard for me because i live in the United States and she lives in cuba, my padrino lives in florida, my ibona lives in mexico so yes it makes hard for me to learn many things. i like to learn, but i make it my business to always get in contact with them with what ever questions i have because it was in my madrina's house i was born and we must (or should) practice the traditions of our be it..I love my god-parents, they have been good to me.

            When i am with them, I learn many things. Learning in this religion is forever. they are so many things that in a life you will not learn it all....but you learn and practice and it will give you the experince you need to get the knowledge that is nessesary..God Bless you....

            ache pa ti
            • Re: Iyawo

              Mon, January 17, 2011 - 7:41 PM
              Bendicion, Helen! How many years do you have in Santo? (Cuanto anos en Santo?) We are of a biological age -- I'm 47, with almost 5 years in Santo (come May) -- omo Oshun (en ella camino, Ibu Odoko). (Yes, readers, I'm practicing my pathetic Spanish skills! LOL).

              I've no godchildren yet, although I've been told that my services as a yubona have been recently requested (!) -- now we see what Oshun has to say about that! <grin> I love to learn, and I learn best through teaching and being challenged to find answers. Thank you so much for your compliment! I've been blessed to have access to good reference material and santeros mayore who are intelligent, educated, inquisitive and don't mind my endless curiosity and questions!


              • Re: Iyawo

                Thu, January 20, 2011 - 10:37 AM
                Bendicion, Elaine

                I have two years (come May 18) jajaja. I did santo in cuba, YEMAYA and my father is CHANGO.. as known, oni oni with my oldest daughter, she is OCHUN too.. father OBATALA , we are (Jimaguas). It was a beautiful experience and I have the best of my madrina and padrino, best teacher's. I love to learn and yes me to love to asked lot's questions. I was born into the religion through my grand-parents. they were very true and real in our religion and my grand mother was very well known in New York. And as a child she would take me with her and she always say to me listen, look, and if i felt something she say don't hold back let it go, and i do just that. When i was 9 years old i did my own alter and it was when that it came into me more than ever. I started to experience things and I started to learn and learn and i am still learning.

                As far as being requested to work de Yubona is the best way to learn to do santo. I too, is still learning the yoruba tongue. I travel a lot now to CUBA, MEXICO, FLORIDA....and things are done different in every country, but a lot of it is the same, just different form and shape of doing things. But it is very interesting and you pick some things here and there, but one must remember to practice the religion where you were born at (house you made santo). I like to your # and where you are from. I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem, New York City......East 110th Street and Park ave. I live in Pennsylvania, move here in 2000, was marryed to a cuban for 28 years(died in a motorcycle accident in 2008) and have 3 daughters and 3 grand-children. Here in PA our religion is not practice so much like New York or Florida and it's small town, they are many spanish people here and i have found more Paleros then santero's and maybe 2 o 3 babalawo's. I do my things here, i have many that Yemaya has put in my path they come knocking on my door requesting my services. Well I love what i do that is i love my life and it is my destiny to help others in every aspect in life and more.......if need be.

                well Elaine I hope that OCHUN TE DE MUCHAS SUERTE EN TU VIDA......

                • Re: Iyawo

                  Fri, January 21, 2011 - 7:02 AM
                  Muchas gracias, deseo el mismo para usted -- mucha suerte en la vida!

                  I don't recall if I mentioned it before, but my "father" is Aganju, but it is Chango that I see as my "white knight" (always rescuing me). And then there's Yemoja and Obatala who, for some inexplicable reason, love me very much and are always standing up for me.

                  Kabo si ile, Chango! Kabiyesi! (Usually written as "kabosile"; literally, "Welcome back - to be extant - abode/house", or something along the lines of "Welcome back home", with the "si" implying that -- in this case, Sango -- never left. "Kabiyesi" literally means, "Your Majesty". I've seen folks write "Kawo", but I can find no indication of "kawo" as a Yoruba word).

                  Mo dupe, Orishas!


      • Re: Iyawo

        Mon, December 24, 2012 - 1:22 PM
        Hello Elaine, I was recently initiated (2 months ago) and have been searching for answers to many questions. Your response to Iyawo was the most intelligent respectful response anyone could have offered. A response I took to heart. My Godparents are wonderful and are good teachers, but, I am a curious child and keep searching. I do not know much of anything yet. As you said, they too say "be patient Iyawo". But I am just awed by your response to the then Iyawo. I would love to know more about you. Bendicion, Iyawo Dianne
        • Re: Iyawo

          Mon, December 24, 2012 - 4:23 PM
          Iyawo, remember that part of the process is learning to be patient and accepting the reality that you are literally a "new born" in the religion and you need to learn about the religion the way a baby does, one day at a time, every day will bring new discoveries, but your brain can only absorb and hold so much at a time. In my ilé the year in white is a time for quiet reflection, and learning starts after you complete all the ceremonies and are officially a Santero or Santera. As a iyawo you will naturally have many questions and it's fine to ask them, but know that sometimes the answer will be: "Ask your godparent," or "You'll find out later, be patient." There's a shift in your whole being during this year, you will literally become a different person by the time you complete your iyaworaje, and your brain has to have time to adjust to those changes. Things won't make sense until your brain is ready. When my godfather told me that, I was upset! I wanted to learn! I was very serious about the religion and wanted to study everything I could find. But he explained to me that there is a reason that the learning process is spread over time, it's not that elders are being mean, you have to "grow into" the religion slowly, so that you can experience everything fully when the time is right for you. I was told that I could learn some prayers (I did) and I could learn some words in Lucumi (I did), I was told to read about the history of the religion if I was interested (I did), it was all helpful, but what knowledge I have of the religion today came from studying the proverbs and the odu, and I didn't start to learn that until after my year in white was over. I have been studying it for years now, and I can say that I am only now getting to the point where I can say "it makes sense," it's very complex and requires those of us who were raised in modern, western culture to change our whole way of thinking, to see the world with different eyes. A wonderful journey, not to be rushed, think of it as something you can look forward to. The rest of your life can be spent studying and learning. Use this time as a iyawo to simply "be," and get familiar with the experience of being connected to the Orichas in such an intimate way. I have an educational website that's for people who are just starting out in the religion - some of it will be too basic for you, but some of it might be new and interesting - check it out. I think the proverbs are especially helpful for getting insight into the Ocha way of thinking. Blessings to you.
      • T.
        offline 11

        Re: Iyawo

        Tue, December 25, 2012 - 1:14 AM

        You have always been so amazing to me. I will follow your advise too. I just crowned Obatala Ayaguna and I'm desiring more info on who he is.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Iyawo

    Wed, February 2, 2011 - 7:23 PM

    I am with Wedosi a bit here. Your godparents have told you their Ile's rules for an Iyawo...right?? The internet is not a good place for info..credibility is questionable and every ile and culture does things different.
    You should take it slow (assuming you were given basic rules of ile for your period as an Iyawo...). A lot of change can /will happen and your godparents should be accessible if you have issues going on. Even though the term Iyawo means bride in Yoruba are basically a baby accessing new and powerful energies. However i should mention I did see an omo Oshun who documented his Iyawo year on the web..forget title...but it was very heartfelt and interesting....

    Good Luck/Ire.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Iyawo

    Thu, February 10, 2011 - 3:36 AM
    Wedosi hit the nail on the head. There are many issues in the new world (for example babies making babies) and everyone is very touchy about how things are done or who trains their iyawo. I have tons of books that I can recommend but you should be looking to your godparents/house first. Some of the advice you are looking for should have been sought before you were initiated. I try to help people getting into the religion become aware of the many options available to them (including going to africa or cuba or brazil or venezuela or wherever) but you are now somewhat committed and before you go around your godparents you have to give them a chance to do what they should.

    Iba Orisa
    • Re: Iyawo

      Mon, December 24, 2012 - 7:24 PM

      Since it was mentioned...........

      • Unsu...

        Re: Iyawo

        Mon, January 14, 2013 - 10:57 PM
        Jeez...a post over a year old...and still going ....An Iyawo should not be asking for Info on the web..period..unless the godparents are real Shit$.
        The real work ..from my personal experience only..during Iyawo time is inner (sometimes violent) transformation...just try and relax and read up on the religion...but not too strenious(and don't put to much in what u read..your Godparents will tell you how thier ile does things).. the real work is the inner change of far as rules and such...ASK YOUR shelled out a small fortune and made other are their responsibility...they need to help you and guide you. is not like u are are a client who sees them occasionally for made a HUGE SACRIFICE.
        • Re: Iyawo

          Wed, February 6, 2013 - 9:31 AM
          Unfortunately, there are some godparents who don't see their godchildren as their responsibility, and feel that it is the godchild's responsibility to learn the religion themselves. But a child does not learn or teach them self how to eat, walk, chew, talk - their parent is at their side to help and guide. This brings reason to why some iyawo's look to the internet, maybe they fear their godparent, maybe they dont want to argue with their godparent, which it shouldn't be that way. Down here in South Miami, it's like being a client - i was told to register for an online or in class training/education for Obi, Osain- Plants, Ordination - why should I pay for someone else to teach me when it should be the responsibility of my godparents? This is my issue unfortunately - but I just love my Orishas and have them there for me. :)

          So if most people are against iyawos going to the internet for questions, ease up a bit, you dont know if there is a situation they are facing where they cant go to their godparents. We're a big community/religion, and we should each help one another to the extent that we can.

          Have a great day!
          • Re: Iyawo

            Wed, February 6, 2013 - 10:04 AM
            Hi JP, I don't think it's bad for Iyawos to ask questions on the internet, it is natural human curiosity to have questions and look for answers. But in the end I always end up saying "ask your godparent" because as you know things vary from one ile to another, I can tell you one thing and someone else another and someone else another, and then you would just be confused, unless you have learned from your godparent what's the "right" way to do it in your ile.

            Also the religion is very complex and it takes many years to learn and absorb the teachings, and sometimes iyawos need to hear "be patient, you'll learn that later." The surest way to learn nothing is to try to learn everything at once. In my ile, the iyabo is told to just chill out for a year, not to worry about trying to learn a lot, it is a "growing" period when you need to adjust to your new life, and the learning will come later. This lesson was repeated to me by so many of my elders, I accepted it and learned to be patient and obedient and not question, and slowly but surely I started to absorb things and when the time came for them to teach me, they did, little by little.

            This is ideal, and I know not everyone has that luxury, but it's always good (in my opinion) to have the old traditional ways as an ideal we can aspire to live up to, even in this modern world. That's why you want to know your godparent well before you make santo and see how he/she treats other godchildren, to see if that godparent spends time with them or not. Many see it as a business, as you say, and they aren't willing to put in time and effort. Hopefully a wise godchild will check out the situation first, and know what to expect from the godparent, then there won't be disappointment later.

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