Mae Stella: Which Orixa Rules the Year? a translation
Mae Stella: Which Orixa rules the year?
By Maria Stella de Azevedo Santos
Translated by Melissa Oliver
The objective of this article is to bring forth clarity. I will try to take an issue that comes up every year and make it understandable. The press runs stories, and people inquire of one another, or themselves, about which Orixa will influence the New Year that is upon us. They do this with the intentions of guessing what must be, instead, DIVINED.
To guess is to make a deduction using intuition, something that every human being can do. To divine, however, is to enter into communication with the sacred by using rituals guided by priests. It’s clear that every living being, by possessing a bit of the divine, is capable of connecting with the gods. But, the use of the oracle – that which provides more precise information about the destiny of a community – requires a special preparation, and a lifestyle that provides [development] of the intuition that is inherent in everyone to bring forth more clarity. Intuition, here, is transformed into a revelation: when the veils that cover mysteries are drawn back by the gods to the extent that our journey will be guided and we can complete the task that was left for us with the least amount of hassle possible, therefore making our lives less complicated.
Readers who are used to articles that I write may be surprised with the formality of this article. It’s because, “there’s a time for everything,” – to tell stories, recite poetry, reflect on life…this theme demands severity. I do this because I believe that the press is the ideal means to clarify issues that are not better commented about because of lack of opportunity and knowledge. Now having this opportunity that was given to my by the A Tarde [daily newspaper], I don’t want to waste it. I, myself, am aware that nothing changes overnight; I will take advantage of the moment to try to better the understanding of the general population of the responses of the oracle that was brought by Africans to Brazil, hoping that the seeds planted here will one day bloom and bear good fruit.
The correct question is not which Orixa rules the year, but rather which Orixa rules the year for the people who worship the divinities and are linked to the community in which the divination took place. If that’s not clear enough, and consequently, not understood, it comes across seeming that all of the yearly readings are wrong; while one Iyalorixa says the Orixa of the year is Iyemanja, the other says it’s Oxum, or one Babalorixa says it’s Oxossi. While running the risk of writing a boring article, I’m adamant about some points with the intent of being very clear. In our Terreiro, the Ile Axe Opo Afonja, 2012 is ruled by Xango. This divinity, revealed by the divination performed by me, neither rules the entire world, nor Brazil, nor Bahia. He is the guide for the people who, one way or another (more profoundly – as in the case of those initiated, or superficially – the devotees who frequent the “house”), are linked to me as Iyalorixa, or to the house in question [Ile Axe Opo Afonja].
The reader, in light of this explanation, could be confused and feel the need to ask, “What about me, who doesn’t cultivate Orixa or have a relationship with Candomble – will I not be guided and protected by any divinity?” The answer is: Of course! You will be protected and guided by that in which you believe. A Catholic or Protestant will be guided by the teachings of Jesus; a Buddhist by the wise teachings of [the] Buddha. Another question could be raised, “And what about the people who aren’t religious, will they be lost to the wind?” No, of course not. These people will be guided by nature, which is the concrete presence of an abstract God. Your instincts, protected by your heads and hearts, lead your lives in the manner in which your steps always follow the correct path.
May Xango – the divinity of eloquence, strategy, [and] the fire that produces the necessary movement for all types of prosperity – be able to receive, from my spiritual children, sufficient worship to be fortified in order to make them strong in return to be able to weather the storms that come with each year. Thank you to the old year for the past experiences [that bring us] to the New Year.
Maria Stella de Azevedo Santos is the Iyalorixa of the Ile Axe Opo Afonja.