Food *Gift from the Gods*

***Ritual Uses of Foods

All ritual starts with an intention and the way magic works is that through certain steps you are able to manifest your intention. Try to always prepare and cook foods that you enjoy, as you are preparing food not only is it necessary to cook with intention, it is also necessary to visualize what magical outcome that you are working towards, by doing this you are igniting the energies within the food and within yourself. As you eat your magic food be fully present and make sure you are thinking about that which you wish to conjure, make sure you are visualizing your ultimate magic outcome.

Imagine the energy of the food not only sustaining you, but with enchantment bringing about the changes that you want, be at one with the food you eat and the magic you are creating.

 *** When using food for Ritual work always have the reason for cooking certain foods, such as cooking for love, cooking for prosperity, for health or for protection. As you handle and prepare the food have a particular goal in mind, when stirring food always stir clockwise with two stirs anti-clockwise as you finish stirring. Sharing a meal with friends or those you love is a ritual in itself, there is a certain energy associated with this simple pleasure, and with the Ritual of food our life is sustained. 

 ***Agbado Corn-MaizeMagical Ways=Seed of Seeds!!!                                     Of all the grains eaten in the world, Corn Maize probably is surrounded by more legends and folklore than any other. Corn has been planted, tended, harvested and consumed for millennia, and so it’s no wonder that there are myths about the magical properties of this grain.

=== Ceres was the Roman Goddess of grain, specifically corn, and of the harvest season. According to legends, she was the one who taught mankind how to farm. She is associated with agricultural fertility and a bountiful harvest. Make her an offering, and she may well protect your crops from natural disasters such as flooding or blight. 

***Sprinkle corn around your ritual area to delineate sacred space. Make a corn doll to honor the deity of your tradition Corn = Maize, is the seed of seeds. Key words associated with corn are: Sacred Mother, Protection, Luck, Divination… Corn represents fertility and is used to invoke Mother Earth. Used in ritual, it teaches the mystery of life, death, and rebirth. Many cultures gave corn, which is regarded as a food of prosperity, protection, and spirituality, a special God or Goddess of its own.

The Magical Aspects of Corn… It is a symbol of fertility and is often used to invoke Mother Earth. Whether it is used as a centerpiece, a wreath for your front door, or as a delicious side dish at your next meal, corn pops up in a variety of ways from mid-late summer through fall. Corn teaches us the mysteries of life, death, and rebirth. The spiritual representation of the corn and is closely related to the higher self or third eye of sacred sight, this symbol represents the saints and often depicted with a lily, and most prominently in association with royalty. Many cultures revered corn as a spiritual element, which is regarded as a symbol of longevity, prosperity, protection, and spirituality.

Hundreds of years ago food was worshiped and seen as a gift from the Gods, the energies contained within the food we eat are vital to our survival. You will find food all the more enjoyable as you approach it from a magical perspective, and every meal can be a wonderful act of alchemy that magically changes the food you prepare into a beautiful meal for you and yours to enjoy and energized by. When eating be conscious of the higher power existing in the foods, this way each meal can be a celebration, and cooking will take on an entirely new tone.  

The Ancient Egyptians used food as a means of exchange and food was stocked in the tombs as a gift to the Gods. Corn has been used by various tribes over the centuries and used in rituals, it is a symbol of fertility, life, eternity and resurrection. Corn was also used for divination purposes, it was practiced by the Ancient Aztecs, it was often used in elaborate healing ceremonies. Corn is still considered sacred by many tribes and is treated with great reverence, it is thought to bring blessing and heightened spiritual enlightenment.

 *** It’s believed that burying a sheaf of corn while uttering a curse will cause your enemies to die–they will rot from the inside as the corn decays in the soil. Use corn in rituals involving growth and transformation. After all, a single kernel brings you a tall stalk full of more kernels! You can also associate it with self-sustainability and fertility, both of people and of the land.

                      ***Epo Pupa = Red Palm Oil Offerings…
***Ritual Uses of Palms in Traditional Medicine…

Palms are prominent elements in African traditional medicines. In some rituals, Palms play a central role as sacred objects, for example the seeds accompany oracles and Palm leaves are used in offerings. In other cases, Palms are added as a support to other powerful ingredients,  Palm oil used as a medium to blend and make coherent the healing mixture. 

Traditional medicines in rural sub-Saharan communities recognize that the occurrence of disease can result from the intrusion of negative supernatural forces. These forces are often defined as  sorcerers, broken taboos, displeased Ancestor spirits or deities… Afflictions which are mostly related to the action of the malevolent forces are either serious and chronic or emerging suddenly and unexpectedly.  Thus, traditional healers often apply divination and various rituals in order to understand the overall significance of a healing process and counteract its cause. Since palms are part of the everyday life of nearly all rural people in Africa, it may be expected that they are also important in the spiritual framework of rural life in Africa.   

 The Palm fruit is made up of three carpels that fuse to form a drupe with one or a few seeds, covered by a thin seed coat.  Palm seeds are often called Palm kernels or Palm nuts. Perhaps palms bring justice because they are associated with understanding, peace, and harmony, or with indwelling tree spirits themselves. Palm leaves also served in various ceremonies, rituals and religious festivities. In Benin, the Palm has been recently reported as sacred and protected where ever it grows because it is seen as the realization on earth of the God Fa. Nobody is allowed to cut it down or to use its fruits for making oil…  

All parts of the palms were used in rituals, but the most commonly used part was the leaf, followed by the fruit and oil extracted from the fruit, seed, entire Palm tree, sap in the form of Palm wine, root and inflorescence. In some treatments, the Palm is the actual sacred object or the central element of ritual practices, for example entire Palm trees determine sacred places, Palm seeds accompany oracles and Palm leaves serve in offerings. Continuous interactions with the spiritual world are axiomatically absorbed in childhood, and subsequently reinforced in every phase of life.  

***Palm Oil is called various things all over the world. The Yoruba  call it Epo Pupa–Red Oil whereas it is called “Manteca Corojo” in Spanish. Traditionally, it is a common cooking ingredient dating back centuries, but to the Orishas… it is the food of choice…

                     ***Eja Gbigbe = Dried Fish

Fresh fish rapidly deteriorates unless some way can be found to preserve it. Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Open air drying using sun and wind has been practiced since Ancient times to preserve food.  Fish are preserved through such traditional methods as drying, smoking and salting. Drying food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. 

 Eja Gbigbe = Dried Fish  the curled up brown thing you see in the above Photograph is a different breed. You see it all over the markets hung up on long poles or stacked high in buckets. If you don’t see it first, you will definitely smell it. The fish, usually either catfish or small eel, is dried with all the bones and guts inside. It tastes a bit salty and mostly takes on the flavor of whatever soup/stew you eat it with. The fish is treated with salt, either in form of strong brine or a surface coating of dry salt. This combination of reduced moisture and salt inhibit the growth of spoilage bacteria, a basic principle of all cure meats.

***The Significance of Yams

Yam Festival:  It marks the first harvest of Yams during the autumn season, after the monsoon season. The Yam is the staple food crop in West Africa. The first harvest of Yams during the autumnal season, subsequent to the monsoon season. Yam festival has both religious and economic significance. Religiously, the festival is used to thank the God and the Ancestors for the new harvest and to traditionally outdoor the new yam.

The first offering of the crop is made to the Ancestral Gods by the chief priests; the religious rites includes taking the Yams on the second day of the festival in a procession to the Ancestral ground. Music and dance are part of the festivities, the festival is also popular because the Priests supervise  the performance of the ablution ceremony by cleaning all the Ancestral shrines. The Yam is carried by the Priests in a colorful procession for offering to the Ancestors buried in the burial chambers. Only after this offering is completed are people allowed to consume the new crop of yam. A day is observed as a mourning day for the Ancestors and also to keep a fast… 

                             ***Snails as human food…   

When the word “snail” is used in this most general sense, it includes not just land snails but also numerous species of sea snails and freshwater snails. Snails have considerable human relevance, including as food items, as pests, as vectors of disease, and their shells are used as decorative objects and are incorporated into jewelry. The snail has also had some cultural significance, and has been used as a metaphor. Both snails that have lungs and snails that have gills have diversified so widely over geological time that a few species with gills can be found on land and numerous species with lungs can be found in freshwater.  

Snails can be found in a very wide range of environments, including ditches, deserts, and the abyssal depths of the sea. Although land snails may be more familiar to laymen, marine snails constitute the majority of snail species, and have much greater diversity and a greater biomass. Numerous kinds of snail can also be found in fresh water.

In parts of West Africa, specifically Ghana, snails are served as a delicacy. Ghana tiger snails, are also known as some of the largest snails in the world. In Cameroon, snails, usually called ‘nyamangoro’ and ‘slow boys’ are a delicacy especially to natives of the South West region of Cameroon. The snails are either eaten cooked and spiced or with a favorite dish called ‘eru’.

The Yoruba religion uses snails in different ways: to offer them to the Orishas, to cook them and eat them after an offering, to appease certain religious entities,  to drink the dribble of the snail, for preparation of medicine, for preparation of very powerful religious powders, for preparation of consecrating baths for religious icons and religious initiations, for preparation of medicinal and religious soaps, creams.

***Orisha Foods***
Ogun: roasted yam, palm wine, rooster, Dog.
Sango: Amala and Gbegiri, Agbo(Ram), Rooster.
Òsun: Adiye agada, Sekete drink, Corn meal and Vegetable, Yam porridge.
Egbe: Fruits, Ekuru, he goat, corn meal and vegetable.
Egungun: Moinmoin, Akara, Eko, Rooster.
Òrìsà Oko: Pounded yam, Mellon soup.
Osu: Rooster
Obatala: Snail, Guinee Pepper, Egusi Ito, Dry Catfish.
Aje: Ekuru, Honey, Ripe Banana, Boiled egg, Pigeon.
Esu: Rooster, He goat, Akara, Pigeon.
Orí: Coconut, Catfish, Pig, Akara.
Yemoja: Vegetable with Onions
Orisa Ibeji: Beans and Stew.

===== Orisha Taboos (Eewo)=====

OBATALA: Hates Palm wine (emu), Dog (aja), Palm oil (epo pupa). OGUN: Dislike Cricket (ire). Snake (ejo), and Deer (Agbonrin) OSUN: Abhors Guinea corn (oka baba), Solanum nigrum (efo odu) Solanum macrocarpum(efo osun),Tears, and Sheep(Aguntan) EGUNGUN: Disgust Red monkey (ijimere), Making of fire in the grove, Weeding with hoe in the grove, and Obo (Monkeys) SANGO: Loathe Roebuck (Eran esuro), Yam beans (Ewa Sise) ESU: Black palm kernel Oil (Adin), Hot liquid, Obi gbanja (two eye kola nuts), Dog and tortoise IYAMI: Resent Bitter leaf (ewuro), cow bones (eegun eran), Coconut oil, palm kernel Oil Adin), and Offensive Odor. OYA: Feel hostile towards Pigeon (eyele), Squirrel (Okere), Native African Mango (Oro) Irvingia gabonensis. ORO: Is angered by Red monkey (ijimere), Making of fire in the grove, Weeding with hoe in the grove, and Obo (Monkeys)

   Reference Sources: Wikipedia = Ogunda Bede = Google Search/Photo

Atare = Agbon = Odidere…

The Magic of Ataré…Grains of Paradise = Alligator Pepper 

Ataré, aka 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.

Guinee pepper 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.

===If you do not use Atare, you are definitely missing out on this amazing gift of nature. It is a common ingredient in pepper soup; though It has a hot spicy taste, never mind, that is where its healing power lies===

                         *** 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 Kea is the only Alpine Parrot in the World

The Magic in a Feather: A Feather Found***A Gift From SpiritThe 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 speak 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!!! === 

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 = Google Search/Photo