Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Frank Baba Eyiogbe, author of the new Babalawo, Santería’s High Priests.
Starting early in the morning on New Year’s Day, every online forum and blog having anything to do with Santería is abuzz with one question: “What is the Letter of the Year from Cuba?” The blog could be about the uses of fruit in Santería, but you’d still see the question in the comments. It is simply THE most awaited event in the Santería calendar. But just what IS this Letter of the Year?
Every year hundreds of babalawos, the high priests of Santería and specialists in divination, gather in Havana, Cuba to perform rituals and make offerings to dozens of “positions” or aspects of nature and to the Orichas for the benefit of the whole world, whether they are in the religion or not. The month of rituals and offerings culminate in the most awaited event of the santeros’ year: the pulling the Letter of the Year. This is the Ifá sign that will rule the year and whose prophesies and advice will be followed by many inside and outside of the religion, as well as which Orichas rule the year. In the last few years, the Letter of the Year has been published in the New York Times, the Associated Press, ABC News, Fox News, and London’s Daily Mail.
This year the “Letter” Baba Eyiogbe rules the year. And just like in a personal Ifá consultation, whether the sign will show its more positive or negative aspects is largely up to us and how well we act and follow advice. If you’re interested in learning more about how Ifá and its 256 signs work, my Llewellyn book Babalawo, Santería’s High Priests goes into much more detail than I could possibly go into here.
This year’s sign, Baba Eyiogbe, warns of earthquakes and rises in the level of the seas and their terrible effects. In 2004, Baba Eyiogbe was the Letter of the Year, and a tsunami hit Asia with the force of 23,000 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs. 2011 was another Baba Eyiogbe year, the year of the Japanese earthquake, the fourth largest in history, and the accompanying tsunami that devastated the Northern part of Japan. Did I mention that Baba Eyiogbe is considered to be a very powerful sign?
Last year the Letter of the Year warned of taking extreme precautions to prevent epidemics, and the Ebola outbreaks showed us why. Baba Eyiogbe predicts the exposure of corruption and hypocrisy as well, such as when WikiLeaks released a huge cache of diplomatic cables exposing massive corruption on a global scale.
But besides warnings of disaster, Baba Eyiogbe is also a sign of great opportunity and spiritual and material abundance, if you behave ethically and follow the advice this Ifá sign gives. The oddun calls upon the heads of the nations of the world to use intelligence instead of force to resolve their issues, and if they do those nations will find 2015 to be a very good year, especially economically. The steps taken by U.S. president Obama and Cuban president Castro to normalize relations are a good example of this, but they need to do even more.
People can also help their personal economies through baths made from ordinary basil, chinaberry (Melia azedarach) and siempre viva (Kalanchoe pinnatum), which can also be used to clean the floors and walls of the house as well. You can find the complete predictions of the Letter of the Year here.
Our thanks to Frank for his guest post! For more from Frank Baba Eyiogbe, read his article “Hacking Life, the Universe, and Everything through Afro-Cuban Ifá, Santería’s High Priesthood.”