***Women of the Calabash…

                SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY TO BRILLIANCE…

!!! Ilu-Shekere Agbaye = El Chekere Mundial !!!
!!! Ilu-Shekere Agbaye = El Chekere Mundial !!!

Mistakes Are The Portals Of Discovery * Play A Wrong Note = Insignificant * Play Without Passion = Inexcusable

Measure The Breath & The Length – The Hands Reaches Much Higher Than The Head – No Forest Is So Dense That The Iroko Tree Cannot Be Seen. May Your Life Be Clear & Pure Like Water Drawn Early In The Morning…

The Goddess “Shekere” Invents Her Own Life & Lives According To…Her Own Vision. This Quality Requires = Imagination – Dedication & Practice.  

*** Mother, with whom one enters into covenant for all good thing  the Woman that supreme among other Women  the mother that puts breast of wealth in her child’s mouth  you are not up to a louse before an unbeliever you are not up to an egg of the louse before a fool  you louse, the fire on head that burn them more than the real fire you are up to an egg of the louse and much more  you are up to an egg of the louse and much more.

Existence Is Not About Learning To Accept Reality, But Rather Remembering Your Power To Create It…

*** The Calabash is a functional creation of nature with a wide variety of uses and traditions in cultures around the world. “Shekere” is a general name to describe the beaded calabash rattle. It comes in many shapes and sizes, is played in a variety of styles, and has many different names. In Africa it is found primarily, but not exclusively, in the countries of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. Different language groups in each country often have their own names, styles, techniques, and traditions associated with the Shekere.

Mother Shekere…. A Beautiful Face Will Age…A Perfect Body Will Change…But A Beautiful Soul Will Always Be A Beautiful Soul…

Calabash is the embodiment of Women’s Mystical Power, the ability to control physical & spiritual forces, to create life through procreation, and the sustenance of life are considered to be ultimate power. The Female being has been chosen by the creator to be the portal between the spiritual realm and this physical realm. 

 Be Strong Enough To Stand Alone = Be Yourself Enough To Stand Apart = But Be Wise Enough To Stand Together When The Time Comes.

 All  Women of the Calabash ever really needed was someone who holds a safe space for us. Someone who sees our gifts and magic, understands the incredible potential this kind of presence is capable of and creates a safe place for it to unfold. You’re not complicated, you’re exquisitely created. You’re a unique gem waiting to be revealed from your raw form. Have you been touched by hands that don’t shake with the responsibility of revealing such extraordinary beauty? You deserve a confident touch and an experienced eye. If you’ve never felt fully seen, your beauty never fully revealed, know it’s not the perfection of your beauty that’s been missing, but the eye of one with the vision to see what’s been there all along. You’re more than enough. You always were.

There Is A Line Where Ignorance & Knowledge Merge As One. Everything That Can Be called Wisdom Happens On That Line.

The VAGINA is the 3rd dimensional portal to Mother Earth. In order for all souls to have a physical experience here on this planet, they must come through her divine portal. It’s no wonder that she is considered the – Gate of Heaven. The Intention Is To Offer Practical Guidance To Connect And Work With The Divine Mother Ancestral Wisdom, And To Use It To Empower Lives Today. The Calabash As Symbol For The Womb… Because Of Her Shape, Calabash also Symbolizes The “Womb”. In Both The Sense Of The Female Reproductive Organ As Well As In A Broader Creative Sense.

This Audio/Video presentation is dedicated to all the Players and Lovers of Shekere.

I look forward to your comments below!

“Has this guy got stories to tell. Yagbe Awolowo Onilu rightly deserves a place at the table of the Elders. The passion with which he has investigated and shared African spirituality with the rest of the planet has left us all richer.” Modupue Baba !!!  Scott Wardinsky

West African, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Haitian Master Drummer/Educator/Ethnomusicologist/Living Repository of Folkloric Knowledge/Keeper of the Flame…My Brother…Yagbe Awolowo Onilu…I am honored to know you. Kamau Mensah

“Thanks for posting this Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu Sometimes it appears that the shekere gets dismissed as a “rattle .” Like anyone can just pick one up and just shake it. Good to see emphasis on technique and rhythm.”

“The Straight Stick” Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu, My Friend, My Brother, My Mentor and indeed Master of many disciplines. You have been an inspiration to me and to many whom have crossed your path. Although it is only a fragment of the many secrets that you possess, this music/video is truly a blessing to me. The world needs to see and hear more of your work. Thank You for your unwavering energy and for breaking me down when proper instruction was necessary.  Joe PIlly Martinez 

Nothing so funky and profound can ever be dismissed…. Thank you Yagbe for making this available to us all. I hope more will be coming in the near future.     Gustavo Kayro

Me gusta mucho todo lo publicas me lo trámites se ve que eres apasionado en todo lo que quieres y en lo que haces verdaderamente toda mi admiración.   Mar Tandy  

Excellent information. The gourd is really the belly symbol that generates life – Container of Wisdom Supreme Orunmilá Baba Ifa, which introduced the principle of humanity. The magic is in the ability to generate weddings, continuing the human species. Ire, o!   Juliana Arruda 

Your work is priceless my Brother! Thank you for sharing!   Stan Corpus

Alafia! Adupe! Thank you for sharing the wisdom Yagbe. Ase’!   Maria Medina 

Gracias baba por todo su arduo trabajo y toda estas bellas enseñanzas. Yissell Diaz 

Heart throbbing beat… Sekere lo n Oba jo. Great Vibes abound, around and colorful. Ire Awon Irunmole…   Babatunde Kayode

I am hugely moved and humbled to be included in this photo tribute to the power of the Calabash Shekere to uplift and move people in both ancient and modern traditions! Thank you, Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu, for these very inspiring photos! And thank you for including me in this series! Blessings to you.  Jim Greiner 

Much appreciation for your efforts BABA needles to say that you’re constant dedication to the secrets of the CALABASH is second to none,I’m so blessed to have you as one of my closest Brother that I never had,I do really appreciate all that you do.   Mosheh Milon Sr 

 

 

IGBA ODU = Container of Existence

 SPIRITUAL CONSECRATION: (((IGBA IWA-ODU)))

Oriki – Prayer = Odu… *** Odu the one with lead spear marks beautify the leopard’s face  the tiger whose body is full of small-pox like marks  spirit, Wife of my lord the deity that blesses her child  one who allows secret never to leak out it is through the back head that you drink blood  it through the face that you eat snail. One who rejects palm oil and does not take it  one who abhors pepper and eat it not. One who rejects palm kernel oil and never taste it  she who use shear butter to prepare soup. Mother, with whom one enter into covenant so that one will not die.

*** Mother, with whom one enters into covenant for all good things.  Mother that puts breast of wealth in her child’s mouth  you are not up to a louse before an unbeliever you are not up to an egg of the louse before a fool  you louse, the fire on head that burn them more than the real fire you are up to an egg of the louse and much more  you are up to an egg of the louse and much more. Odu, it is your blessings you should shower me with. Mother, never allow people to know my life secret… 

The Redemption process might be said to begin with the final episode in the saga of Witches. Odu the female principle imagined as a container, the fourth elemental being to issue forth from the Python’s egg, having grown “Too Old”, expresses her desire to go underground.

*** Seated on her mysterious cylinder box, she calls her four advisers: Obatala – Obaluaye – Ogun – Oduduwa  gets them to agree on her departure by promising revelations to those of her children ( Awo Orunmila ) who come to solicit her properly in her house in the forest.

*** This house has become Sphere-Box containing a Calabash (Her Body) which contains in turn the four Calabashes given to her on that occasion by the four advisers.

*** Obatala gives a Calabash of chalk (Efun) – Obaluaye offers his favorite substance Cam-wood (Osun) – Ogun Offers charcoal (Eedu) – Oduduwa offers Mud (Eere).

*** These gifts imply four roads, four corners of the universe. They are the original four major signs. From one of them will be “born” another first principle, as once Odu from the Python’s egg.

Ofun, the Calabash of Chalk (Efun) who gives himself, produces Obatala the white divinity as: Orisha-nla, greater than, the beginning and the end, first and last, the container of them all. The egg within becomes the womb, passivity becomes creativity personified. Surely this is part of the meaning of the Orisha Obatala as Ofun. Igba Iwa-Odu  becomes an Orisha, the divinity worshiped by Diviners (Olodu) who have attained the highest degree of self-knowledge ( Awo Orunmila ). Only such diviners may install the terribly powerful Calabash of existence.

“Symbol of the sky and earth in their fecund union, container of the supreme wisdom of Ifa. The Installation of which validates an esoteric principle of universe symbiosis”

= Egg Symbol of the Soul & Life = Holy Odu “Ofun Meji” teaches that in the Spiritual Egg, Divine Spirit stands before primordial matter and from their union springs the great Soul of the World. Often connected with the Spiritual Egg is the idea of a sacred bird that drops the Egg into the waters of space or chaos.

Universal Symbol = The Egg was incorporated as a sacred sign in the cosmogony of every people on the Earth, and was revered both on account of its form and its inner mystery. From the earliest mental conceptions of man, it was known as that which represented most successfully the origin and secret of being. The human egg is the female reproductive element. The egg contains within itself all the essentials for development, leaving the sperm the role of activating an already prepared system.

IGBA IWA-ODU (Calabash Of Existence) The Diviners of the house of Orunmila consulted Ifa in order to know the day that he would take Odu as his wife. The Awos of Orunmila said “Hee.” Odu that you wish to take for your wife. A power is in her hands.They said, because of this power Orunmila must make an offering to the earth. In the interest of all of his people. They said, so that with this power, she will not kill and eat him.  Orunmila carried the offering outside. At the arrival of Odu, she found the offering in the street. She said, but she did not wish that they should fight with him. She said, she did not want to fight with Orunmila.

== She wish to tell him her taboo: She said, she did not want his other wives  (Apetebi ) to see her face.

!!! From this day no Diviner is complete without possessing this Odu. One who does not have Odu will not be able to consult Ifa. The day that one comes into possession of Odu, On that day will he become a person that Odu will not allow to suffer.!!!

** The struggle for dominance between Male and Female that is a central component of life on earth is repeated over and over in the world. Central to this struggle is Man’s acknowledgement of Women’s superior spiritual power that cannot be taken from them, that is based in Women’s ability to create life.**

The VAGINA is the 3rd dimensional portal to Mother Earth. In order for all souls to have a physical experience here on this planet, they must come through her divine portal. It’s no wonder that she is considered the – Gate of Heaven. The Intention Is To Offer Practical Guidance To Connect And Work With The Divine Mother Ancestral Wisdom, And To Use It To Empower Lives Today. The Calabash As Symbol For The Womb… Because Of Her Shape, Calabash also Symbolizes The “Womb”. In Both The Sense Of The Female Reproductive Organ As Well As In A Broader Creative Sense.

*** Magical Calabash – Gourd Anthology Of Sacred Wisdom From The Ancestral Mothers And Magic Inside It We Add Ingredients To Direct Our Intentions To That Which We Want To Birth To Life.

The calabash shape is taken to represent heaven and earth with an extended meaning representing the entire universe. Within the Calabash there is a mystical zone in the form of an alternate universe or the entrance to another world, and Orisha – Vodun – Spirit immortals and practitioners can travel between these two worlds. The “marriage” of these two substances was a sexual metaphor for the union of semen and menstrual blood to create life.

The top half signifies Maleness as well as the sky/heaven–the realm of invisible spirits. The bottom half represents Femaleness and the primeval waters out of which the physical world was later created. A mysterious Power called Ashe is thought to hold the gourd in space, enabling the sun and moon to shine, wind to blow, fire to burn, rain to fall, rivers to flow, and both living and nonliving things to exist.

This power emanates from a Supreme Deity known as Alashe – Owner of Power Olorun- Lord of the Sky and Olodumare – Eternal One and Source of All That Exists. Assisting Olodumare in administering the universe is a host of deities or nature forces called Orisha-Vodun-Spirit. Said to number four hundred or more, each Deity (Orisha) personifies a Power (Ashe) associated with a natural or cultural phenomenon.

*** If an Egg is broken by an Outside force, life Ends. If an Egg is broken by an Inside force, then life Begins. Great things happens from the Inside.

Reference Sources:

 

***Magical Calabash…

Calabash (Gourd) History & Cultural Background…

The Myth Of The Sacred Calabash = Mankind’s Most Useful Plant…. Magical Calabash Anthology Of Sacred Wisdom From The Ancestral Mothers And Magic.

The Calabash (Gourd), was one of the first plants cultivated by humans – not for food, but for use as a container.  It came from Africa and has accompanied us around the world for thousands of years.

In Africa, the Calabash (Gourd), plant, has long been used as a food and medicine, and its hard shell as a bottle, a dipper and even an ancient musical instrument. Calabash have traditionally been used to carry medicine, wine and “magic”.  Calabash were also tied to the backs of children and boat people to serve as life preservers. Calabash is also possibly mankind’s oldest musical instrument resonator. It is the only known plant whose use by humans spanned prehistoric cultures across the entire globe, but one thing that has puzzled scientists was how – given its African origins – it came to be so widely used in the Americas.

The Calabash (Gourd) seeds drifted across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the Americas, then took root and grew wild in the New World. The wild African Calabash belongs at the base of the bottle Calabash family tree.  The tree then splits into two main branches: African domesticated Calabash, and Eurasian ones. Both ancient and modern American Calabash samples belong to the African branch of the tree. 

Furthermore, genetic mutations showed that the American Calabash- shared a common Ancestor with African Calabash. The seeds of wild African Calabash may have washed out to sea to successfully germinate after making landfall in the welcoming climates of places like Florida,  and Brazil.

The Calabash (Gourd) is a functional creation of nature with a wide variety of uses and traditions in cultures around the world. A fruit of varied shape and size, it commonly grows on a vine not unlike the squash, but there are also varieties that grow on bushes and trees.

  ***The most highly esteemed and favorite Calabashes (Gourds) had chants composed for them as though they were human beings, and when they were placed on the table one would hear their owner with proud countenances, chanting of the celebrated deeds of those for whom they were named.

More and more, as Western utensils and pottery became available, traditional Calabashes were not thrown away but rather, were kept and treated as valuable heritage.

Ancient Shaped Calabashes (Gourds) – after the Calabashes had been shaped and hollowed they were finished with  tung oil to enhance the grain and polish the Calabash leaving it with a soft finish. Iron tools replaced the traditional stone and coral tools for fashioning Calabashes when they became popular to collect, they were often refinished with shellac to give the surface a glossy finish, the Calabash being treated as any piece of fine woodwork. Ancient methods of polishing Calabashes fell into disuse.

Repairing Calabashes (Gourds)during the crafting process or during the life of the Calabash was also a skilled art and repairs were often looked upon as marks of beauty. Repairs consisted of filling holes and cracks with wooden plugs and using plugs to stop cracks from enlarging. The most commonly identified repair is the butterfly repair.

***Steps which can be taken to ensure a longer life for your Calabash (Gourd). Because Calabashes are made of wood, an organic material, they are susceptible to damage from insects, humidity, light and dust. The following is a summary of how these forces work to accelerate deterioration of Calabashes and steps which can be taken to limit them. Insects Wood-boring insects such as termites are a major source of damage to Calabashes. They should be examined periodically for the presence of holes and fine pellet or sawdust droppings. If a Calabash has any cracks, as many do, these are sites of exposed wood which are particularly vulnerable to insect infestation. 

***Calabashes (Gourds)should never receive direct sunlight – Illuminated by bright spot lights. Dust can damage Calabashes by attracting insects and mold. The goals of safe storage are to avoid insects, mold, dust, light damage and damage due to mishandling. Calabashes should be stored in a clean, dry, dark storage space.

Calabash (Gourd) are related to melons, squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers, all members of the cucumber family.  The Calabash family also includes many economically important fruits and vegetables, including pumpkins, squash, and melons. Calabash are used by people throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and the Americas for musical instruments, including shakers, maracas, drums, horns, marimbas and various string gourds resembling a banjo.

Other uses include pipes, masks, canteens, water jugs, dippers, birdhouses, bath sponges and decorative Gourds with intricate etched designs. So important were Gourds to Haitian people in the early 1800’s that gourds were made the national currency.

Musical Calabash from Africa and India, such as drums, lutes and sitars, have beautiful, polished finishes decorated with beads and carved designs. Some of the earliest guitars and violins in the United States were made from Calabash by African slaves.  Shaker Calabash are probably one of the earliest of all musical instruments.

In Africa, hollow Calabash are covered with a loose netting strung with hundreds of beads. As the beads slap against the gourd, a loud shaker sound is produced–as good as any modern instrument for this purpose. Using the neck of the Calabash as a handle, the sound is amplified by the hollow interior.

But of all the uses for Calabash, some of the most interesting are the “Penis Sheath Calabash” worn by men of New Guinea. Penis Calabashes are also known from Africa and northern South America. There is considerable speculation among anthropologists about the purpose of such Calabashes, but most agree that they are more than a protective device and serve an important social function.

***Calabash was historically used as a container for water, and still is an essential utensil in many parts of the world. In rural areas of the U.S., they are often used as birdhouses…

In Africa it is found primarily, but not exclusively, in the countries of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, DanXome, Sierra Leone and Côte-D’Ivoire. Different language groups in each country often have their own names, styles, techniques, and traditions associated with the Shekere. It is a personal instrument and never loaned or shared, even with family members. However, a son who is a professional musician may inherit his father’s Agbe-Shekere. Ilu-Shekere among the Yoruba of Nigeria are often connected with religion, given great respect, and play a very important role in certain traditional musical forms.

Ilu Anya *Shekere – Mangala* Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu

In Nigeria, the very Large beaded Calabash is called  “Agbe” Medium size Calabash “Sekere“ and Small size Calabash “Akese” Traditionally these Drums are used in Religious Worship strictly attached to Ritual Ceremonial events.

A Calabash Which Has No Base Is The One Which Sits On Its Side…

Reference Sources: The Caning Shop – Jim Widess = Earlybirds Farms = Buffalo Bill Meerschaum = Przemek Krawczynski = Jordan Straker = Everwilde Farms Inc. = Encyclopedia Britannica