The Magic of Ataré..”Grains of Paradise = Alligator Pepper”
Guinea Pepper is so called because it is a native plant from the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Other common names for this spice are Guinea grains, melegueta pepper, and grains of paradise. Alligator pepper is a West African spice which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum Danielli. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum Melegueta. However, unlike grains of paradise which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds.
The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family of flowering plants, native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed, the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back. It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine, where it imparts both pungency and a spicy aroma to classic West African soups (stews). Often, a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added as a flavoring to West African soups. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavor.
It can open the way to communicate with the Orisha and Ancestors, it is the key ingredient in countless Sacrifices and literally there is no major initiation that can proceed without having a bit of its Ashé. It can also be used for protection and even to set wrong doings.In the Orisha community Ataré is also known as Pimienta de Guinea.
When babies are born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of Alligator Pepper (Atare) shortly after birth as part of the routine baby-welcoming process, and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets. Alligator Peppers and kola Nuts are presented to guests at the top of the agenda and prior to any other food or entertainment. Prayers and libations are made together with kola Nuts and Alligator Pepper.
Ataré is important because its energy awakes our bodies & spirit, it increases our Ashé, it makes our words carry the heat of creation and it opens doors to the realm of the Ancestors and Orisha. However, the value of Ataré goes beyond the spiritual reasons our bright Ancestors recognized centuries ago.
*** Agbon = The Coconut Oracle ***
Coconut Palm Tree = “Tree of Life from heaven”
There is no doubt that the ritual of breaking the Coconut has its origins in Hindu practice. There is no doubt that it is performed by people of all religions today in India. It is even performed in enterprises conducted by the state, which are supposed to be truly secular.
Smashing the coconut is symbolic of annihilating the Ego and Humbling oneself before God. Whenever a work of magnitude is undertaken it is natural for the persons involved to feel a sense of pride at what they are setting out to achieve or what they have achieved. This ritual indicates that the actual “doer” is God and humans are merely instruments in his hands. Coconuts are also broken before the deities in temples during normal worship. Again, the philosophy is the same – complete submission to God.
Coconut Palm Tree is called the ‘Tree of Life’, ‘The tree from heaven which gives all that you desire’ by those living in coastal areas. As a thanksgiving to God and a symbolic gesture, for the path to Self Realization which you tend to forget in the midst of the stress and strain of day to day living.
*** Coconut is a symbol of selfless service to the almighty. Each and every part of the coconut is of use to mankind. Nurturing a Coconut tree does not require much effort. It can grow all on its own and serves the mankind in many ways.
The Evolution of Obi Abata to Coconut: Divination is performed using four pieces of Coconut meat in Santería Lukumí. When the Lukumí people were abducted to Cuba, they found themselves in a different climate where many of their native plants did not grow. Kola Nuts do not grow on the island of Cuba, and yet the Lukumí people needed to perform Obí Abata divination to begin restoring their religious practices. They decided to innovate and used Coconut meat instead of kola Nut (Obí Abata). By cracking open a Coconut and extracting its meat then dividing it into four pieces, they developed a suitable alternative for Obí Abata divination. Over the years, and with the loss of fluency in the Lukumí dialect, Santeria adherents fell into the habit of referring to Coconuts as Obí since they were being used in the Obí Abata system of divination. But in the strictest sense, the Lukumí word obí actually refers to Obi Abata, and Agbon is the proper word for Coconut.
*** Coconut water is an essential spiritual item which stand for mystery and parity. We are require to apply Coconut water to this great bath ritual rites to purify ourselves. What we are suffering from is unknown to us, our enemy is known to us, items they used for the evil spells are unknown to us: mystery. For our deliverance to reach 100% purity, Coconut water must be involved. Remember, literary, coconut is been used to reduce or dilute the effectiveness of drug. The amount of injury, harm, pains, and suffer our enemies leveled against must be fight using mystic force of Coconut water.
*** The Coconut is an independent object of worship… A coconut The fruit of God, alone is also used to symbolize ‘God’ While worshiping any deity. The three eyes of the coconut represent the three eyes of unknowns. In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a Coconut. It is also offered occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. In traditional ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshipers. The Coconut also symbolizes selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc, is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc.
Parrot = Odidere = Ayekooto : The World Reject Truth…
The Magic in a Feather: A Feather Found***A Gift From Spirit…The Birds are sacred and special in various ways and thus make them to be different from other Birds. One of these Birds is a Bird named Parrot = Odidere = Ayekooto which means = The World Reject Truth… because they believe the Bird is strictly a Bird that say nothing but the truth. This Bird is a special bird with many beautiful features and brilliant characteristics that makes it different from just any other Bird. Legend has it that during the Ancient times of myth, animals including Birds speaks and understand the human language. And it is believed till this day that Odidere = Ayekooto still retain this special mystical power to speak, hear, and understand the language of human.
Parrot spirit animal is the wise teacher of the power of your words, spoken or not spoken, for even the silent. Words in your mind are driving you forward, having dominion over your choices and the paths you take. Parrot reflects to us the immense power of our inner mind. Parrot spirit animal shares his wisdom; to take care in the words you speak and the secrets thoughts you carry.
In forest one can easily see other Birds like pigeon, sparrow, dove and even hawk. But to see this Bird named Parrot = Odidere you will have to go deep into the thick deep forest because it is not a common Bird, and even the nest of this sacred Bird is hardly seen by people. It is even the belief that the egg of Odidere is a sacred object that cannot be seen by a mortal, and thus make it so rare to be seen in open places. The feather of Odidere is used by royalty and it is a symbol of the elite. A symbolic special Bird that combines its beauty together with its mystical attributes… (Obatala Odidere-Crown Ogbe Ose)
Parrot is symbolic of truth telling = Speaking from the center of the heart. As Parrot speaks back to you the words you have spoken, you hear your own words with no filter. This is a powerful reflection of self, as you able to recognize the truth of your own words and what you are communicating or you will be reminded of the secrets that you are keeping, or the untruths that are being told. Parrot is a great teacher of communication and brings guidance and assistance in your ability to communicate that which you really feel.
Feathers come from Birds and so are thought to be magical by association. Birds have long been regarded as messengers to the Gods, as Ancient people believed they would carry messages to and from the heavens. Birds were the only animals who could defy gravity, and so they were sacred to many cultures around the world in old times. Because of this, their feathers were regarded as gifts from the Gods…and today if a feather is found it is said to be a gift from Spirit—be it a person’s spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one. There is something special in every found feather, and feathers can be used to bring good things into one’s life. Every Bird’s feather contains the power of the Universe… Feathers are magically ruled by the element of Air. But each feather also can hold other special powers; depending on the bird it came from, its color and place of discovery and other factors.
The feather represents the element of air, of the intellect and the realm of thought, which is the first step toward creation. Bird feathers are symbols of the wind, the mind and new opportunities. Finding a feather can also be a sign that we are connecting to the divine and the creator God. Finding Bird feathers is a reflection of change and of reaching new levels of consciousness.
*** Orisha Worshiper practices open pathways to the sublime in all of us, and foster a deep and loving respect for all that lives through stones, crystals, trees, plants, animals and humans themselves. To the Worshiper, all is alive, all is sacred and all is connected in a cosmic web of beauty…
Reference Sources: Wikipedia =