Olorisas and Health
My initiatory period was the most routine time of my life. I ate at the same times everyday, and knew what to expect of my meals more or less. Most days the menu consisted of meat (from the ebos), a starch (rice, yams, or potatoes), and a fruit or vegetable. During my period of restrictions, my meals remained pretty much the same; simple homemade food that I could eat with my hands without getting too messy.
My Babalorisa had one caveat though, every meal that I eat must contain a vegetable. This was no strain, as I had already been accustomed to eating balanced meals.
In Candomble the belief is that once you are initiated, the Orisa lives within you and so you have to take even better care of your body in order to manifest a strong Orisa that can grow over time. My body is no longer mine; Osun lives here.
This got me to thinking on several levels beyond just including vegetables in every meal. I began to look for healthier ways to eat all around; fresh vegetables instead of canned, organic foods instead of pesticide and hormone filled, more wheat products instead of white flour (I had already given up white bread, but I’ve since started eating wheat pasta and other brown starches), brown organic eggs, brown rice, etc…
At first I thought I would hate it! But I’ve learned that with the right (homemade) seasoning, brown rice doesn’t have to taste like a cardboard box!
For many Olorisas, eating healthy can be problematic because many of us live in the inner city; fruit stands, vitamins, and organic products are hard to find in the hood. Chains like Wholefoods may be too expensive for many of us. And sometimes, a bag of chips just seems more inviting than a bowl of mixed fruit. I know!
It takes some training to take care of your body. I admit that it’s probably easier on my wallet because I’m single and it doesn’t take much to stock my fridge. But changing a few habits like where I shop (goodbye Stop & Shop, hello Trader Joe’s) helps a lot!
I read on a forum once about an Olorisa’s frustration with how we (don’t) take care of the earth. He mentioned the hypocrisy that Olorisa’s exhibit by belonging to an earth-based religion, but not respecting Aye (the earth). He challenged everyone to be more mindful about depositing ebos, and basic litter. I’d like to take his challenge a step forward; let’s be more mindful about what we put into the bodies that we were born with, but have given to the Orisa for manifestation.