Black Spirituality Religion : Ebo: Animal Sacrifice

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ebo

    Gratitude connects us to the Orisha, connects us to life: To express gratitude is to consciously appreciate and celebrate the blessing of this beautiful world created for us. To express gratittude for the gift of all the richness life brings is to fully celebrate life.

    Ebo, or sacrifice, is the way we in Ifa celebrate and embrace this idea, it's how we server and show our gratitude to God, our ancestors and the Orisahs.

    Ebo takes many forms: some "sacrifices" are so colorful and wonderful as full parties thrown in honor of the Orishas (a bembe or tambour) featuring scrumptious delicacies prepared and shared especially in honor of the Orisha, sacred spiritual drumming, singing and dancing-in fact, the Orishas will often "come down" and "mound" one or more of their children physically through the awsome power of trance possession so they can dance, laugh, advise, eat with and bless their children-fully accepting and enjoying their sacrifice in the process.

    Other Ebo are simpler, made weekly or when requested by an Orisha through divination, and with the tastes and sacred atributes of the Orisha receiving in mind. A few pieces of fresh fruit, a special beverage (good old rum, most often, or simply cool water), a good cigar, some honey in a dish: these are a few of the many offerings which may be given to an Orisha.

    Orishas are not, vegetarian. The infrequent sacrifice of eje (ritually offered animal blood-most commonly that of a rooster or hen) is a concept that can be speculated upon, argued about, and politicized forever, but it is a concept, and an act, that the western mind has to experience to even begin to understand.

    Most commonly, those new to Ifa quickly find that their apprehension turns to respect and reverence when they participate in the ritual. Only highly initiated Santeras, Santeros, Oriates and Babalawos may shed blood. animals are very well treated-they are considered sacred to the Orishas, and cruelty would be an affront. Great pains are taken therefore that the act itself is quick and as painless as possible. When we consider a fried chicken dinner didn't grow on a friend chicken tree...

    The ritual offering of blood is a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of religion itself ( the concept of kosher, for instance, is a form of blood sacrifice that still takes place), and feeding eje to the Orishas is an important part of our living tradition today.

    Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebo (sacrificing or offering) in the religion. There are many categories of ebo. There are offerings such as adimu whch can included candles, fruits, candy, or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or Orishas in the religion. In divination, the Orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelsry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the Orisha will come to that person's aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his Orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth there is blood

    In our modern society we have become so seperated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear it is pre-processed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that mind remind the buyer of the fact of the animal's death. The buyer is kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animals life, and ofcourse, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though only the deity revered here is greed.

    On the other hand, whan an animal in Ifa. it is first and foremost done with the respect, respect for the Orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well cared for because it is the property of the Orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person and the Orisha expects that animal to be well cared for and pampered as theirs.

    At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgement that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animals. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves..

    Sacrifice/Ebo guarantees success!

    We all shouild know what sacrifice is. "The giving up or foregoing of some valued thing for the sake of something of greater value or having a more pressing claim". Whatever one desires in this life requires the giving up of something. Life does not strive on taking alone. Life also requires giving; hence life is a process of give and take. The simplest for of sacrifice one can give is time. The most complex form of sacrifice one can give is change. This subject takes on many facets.

    The sacrifice of time is the most fundamental form of sacrifice. In America we sacrifice most of our youth towards school. We then sacrifice our time towards daily labor to aquire finances for daily living. On a deeper level the sacrifice of time involves patience.

    Time sacrificed does not always bring about the desired result in our lives. Nor does time spent on something guarantee you peace of mind. WHen these disharmonies are prevelent we are taught to seek the spiritual realm and pray to beg God for favors. Many of us are unaware and do not realize that the spiritual realm like the physical one requires some sort of giving in order to receive. Imagine walking into Human Resources at IBM and demanding a paycheck knowing that you never (sacrificed) worked a day at IBM. The spiritual realm works the same way.

    The Yoruba believe in one supreme God called Oludumare. Oludumare is very remote to the Yoruba by virtue of the duality that exist with Oludumare. In other words God created both the "good" and "evil" forces at play in the universe and he gave Ase (power) to both sides. "When you speak about 'good' you have already presupposed 'evil.' One cannot exist without the other. There are two sides to every story or problem. Within Oludumare lay both sides to one story. so directing energy to Oludumare directly can be in vain. Within Ifa the cosmos is divided into two halves. The right side is inhabited by the benevolent supernatural powers and the left side is inhabited by the malevolent supernatural powers. The benevolent powers are the Orisha and their helpful associations with humans. The malevolent powers are the evil and destructive energies like Iku (death), Arun (sickness), Ofo (loss), Epe (curse) and so on. Thers is no peaceful coexistence between these two powers. they are always in conflilct.

    The African believes that verbalization is not enough in one's relationship with the supernatural. Ifa divination serves as a preamble to prayer. Via Ifa divination we can ascertain how to pray, to whom to pray and for what. For the Yoruba, divining (Ifa) serves as an approach to prayer and shows one why they need to pray and shows one the best procedure for elevation one's prayer via some from of sacrifice. In this world of many choices, this complex and varied approach is neccesary. The variety of sacrifice includes time, song, dance, money, change and life force offerings.

    Communication with the spirit realm is what Ifa is all about. Sacrifice is an attempt to rearrange the forces of the universe so that they can work for us, resulting in peace and harmony for us in our environment, Within Ifa, sacrifice is an attempt by human beings to send a message to all these supernatural powers of the universe regarding our own human affairs. When all the supernatural powers accept our sacrifice/ebo, everybody is happy and are committed to work for us and we can achieve peace.

    All of God's creations have some form of relationship with God and communicate with God at some level beyond our comprehension. For instance, most humans cannot smell sugar, however if we put sugar or honey on the table, ants will flock there by morning because they have smelt it. Their sense of smell is much higher than our own. The Ifa sacrificial rituals use the unique communication abilities of animals to relay our messages to the supernatural forces at play. The chicken is the first animal inhabitant of the earth and she accompanied the divinities from heaven to earth. The chicken is a favorite communicator of messages to the spirit realm because of its close association to the Deities from the very start. Life force offerings direct prayer via the animals' life force to a specific force in nature to elevate our prayers for our benefit and to rearrange the universe to work in our favor.

    For example, if someone is sick and a sacrifice is prescribed by a diviner, that sacrifice is meant ot appease the left and right side divinities. Humans do not give sacrifice directly to the supernatural powers on the left. they give it to their own guarding divinity who is on the right. The closest of these right hand divinities is Ori (Head) and can include a host of other Orisha and Egun (ancestors). Esu, the divine messenger, who is always supposed to get part of any blood sacrifice and who shares elements of both the left and right side, will assure that the left hand divinities get their due. Esu plays a very important part in reordering universal events for the good of anyone that sacrifices in this manner.

    Sacrifice is essential to human well being. Some people live happy lives sacrificing their pride to beg from strangers. Some people sacrifice half of their adult life in school earning PHD's. Meat eaters in our society directly benefit from the blood sacrifice to accomodate their daily meal. Most meat eater are disconnected from the total disregard of the poor animal's life during its slaughter/sacrifice for their benefit. The Jews have their kosher food, which is prayed over animals, sacrificed for consumption. Within Ifa most sacrificed animals are consumed as to further their power (Ase) for our cause and the animals are treated with respect. The European sacrificed the lives of an estimated 100 million African men women and children for their Gods of materialism, greed, lust and conquest. The Christians celebrate the human sacrifice of Jesus Christ and to this day still symbolize this via cannibalism with their communion ritual. Within Ifa the holy Odu Irete-Meji and the OturuponTura forbids human sacrifice! Within the traditional African worldview you are for the most part responsible for your own self-improvement. If you want to change your condition you must make sacrifice. Sacrifice often times does not require blood. Sacrifice sometime requires one to look in a mirror and see beyond what is reflected and to make some psychological change. This can be the most difficult of sacrifices. However, we are aware of why the chicken crossed the road, and now you know
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I inadvertantly posted a thread I created in a pre-existing thread, can one of the moderaters move this post to it's own thread?
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Anything for you Brother Sekhemu ... :love:

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks to no end beloved Sistah :hearts2: :grouphug:

    You are a true blessing!
     
  5. MenNefer

    MenNefer Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Your words helped to put things into a clearer context for me.

    Someone at my job asked me about The Mel Gibson movie ( Apacolypto) and used it to make their case against indigeneous spiritual practices; validating the colonizers religious position as "civilizing".

    I told them to read the Popol Vu and tried to explain in a similar but clumsy way how our perceptions of life and death are abstractions within the context of culture which incubates our identities. In this system WE "think" WE live and "Think" WE die and go about characterizing the quality of "our lives" in its justification (highlighted by how much we identify with pain/pleasure). What we live and die for is either consciously or unconsciously instututionalized. In a society that collectively accepts the notion of "coincidence" or "accident" one views these processes as, measurable/predictable, intentional or "Natural" ie threatening. When "so called" *Nature*, in all of its unpredictable savagery and randomness, sets the stage for a human life to be taken (within western culture) it is considered a disconnected event; one to eventually be conquered or compartmentalized for manipulation or relegated to the will of a concept called God.

    Fundamentally one buys into the foregoing conception as an incontrovertable "Reality" and looks at any other frame of reference as savage, un-evolved, misdirected ect.

    I don't think any system of thought has the monopoly on what life or death should be given for (objectively speaking), its value is usually defined in the overall integrity of the people or equally their cosmogony.
     
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  1. which orisha does have animal ebo