Oyeku Meji, the Winter Solstice , and the Darkest Night before Dawn
It’s the Holiday season and a number of religions are celebrating in their own way. Many are quite unaware that this season used to be tied to nature herself. This is the season of the winter solstice. Tonight is December 21 and it is considered the beginning of winter…at least in North America. It may be different things in different parts of the globe, but it is also the longest night of the year. December 21-24 are considered the longest nights because the time of sunset and sunrise is extended the most. On the 25th of December The Sun rises again and it is considered a rebirth because from that day on, the sun will stay out longer and longer until the longest day which is the Summer solstice. So this is where we get the birth of the son…but it’s S-U-N not son. Still, the time is significant because as the Ifa Orisa tradition seeks alignment with nature, this process of dark and light happens inside of us too…
So as this time is dark we must reflect on what the dark means. I’ve always hated the categories of dark and light. For one because people always made it out to be a good or bad, enlightened or baneful thing. Frankly I think it’s crap but these are world politics that support one group to justify injustice to another group so…. Anyway what the darkness brings to mind for me is Odu. Now Odu is many things to many people and in fact multidimensional. For one, she is the feminine force of divine wisdom who relays the Oracle Ifa. In African Vodoun Afa, she is Gbadu, daughter of Mawu who has 16 eyes. In Yoruba, she is called wife to Òrúnmìlà (considered a prophet or deity of wisdom too) and it is through her that Orumila taps the Oracle to communicate the message. One thing about Odu is that she prefers the dark. She is depicted with eyes closed where it is dark. Another symbol for her is a womb…also a place of darkness, mystery, and sacred power. A sacred portal where a soul is nurtured and receives the veil of human form. The darkness, is where we are not distracted by the outer trappings of the world like the ego who seeks to control and dominate. The dark is where divine light is Born and Wisdom lives. It’s not dreadful or baneful at all. It is where we all come from and will return to.
Then there is the Odu verse …(the sacred verse or teaching from the Ifa oracle ) Oyeku Meji. People sometimes fear Oyeku Meji because they associate it with death or the averter of death. While it can mean that, when it comes up, it is often something other than literal death. It’s significance is much broader than that. It could mean it’s a time to close doors, or a need to tap ancestral wisdom, or the darkness found with closed eyes in a meditative state. It can be death like the trees whose leaves fall but retains life to be reborn in the spring. Or the death of a child who leaves the mothers womb and spiritual world to be born into this one. It can be the end of a bad situation and the return of better days. As the opposite of the odu Ogbe Meji who is often associated with masculine and light, external, movement, Oyeku can represent the epitome of the feminine , internal stillness… like the darkness of the womb. Oyeku is associated with the name Atooro meaning from the very beginning. As such, Oyeku can represent the darkness of the ocean deep and Olokun and the darkness of Onile Mother Earth herself. The darkness of deep space and the triple blackness of the black hole that gave birth to this entire universe. Oh yeah it can go deep… very deep.
Even if you move away from your position
I will not move
The foundation stones of the house must not fail the house.
The crown of the head must not fail the person at the market.
So I will not move away
And you will not move away
You are the light
I am the light
Twilight is just appearing in the sky
But some people thought it had already dawned
Cast Divination for Eji Oye
Who would Dawn on the earth like daylight
Oyeku Meji speaks of the time of darkness just before dawn… And that is what we find at this time of the year… Dawn being on the 25th… So during this time of darkness, if we are tuned to nature, we might find ourselves needing to shut down and go within. While many see the new year as January 1st, the new year is actually the 25th. So on those dark days before it, we can do what nature calls us to do…plant seeds… spiritual seeds for what we want accomplish next year. We take time to reflect on what has passed, what has been learned, and what needs to be done next. We fast or meditate and close our eyes to the distractions of the world. We enter the darkness behind our eyelids as we access the inner wisdom of our Ori. We write down goals and visualize them coming into being. We get Divinations to see what lessons are in store for us . We do rituals to tune into the pulse of nature.. We become still..settled like the Earth almost at rest untouched by time or space. We slow down our breath waiting in Heavenly peace in this silent night where all is calm. We tap the virgin part of our spirits and become receptive as a child receiving wisdom from our inner mother. And we wait.. for the rebirth of light.