Welcome to the greatest change in my entire life, the iyaworaje (“ee yah wo RAH heh”.) On November 3, 2001, I was initiated to the level of priesthood in La Regla de Ocha in the Bronx, NY. I was crowned with the orisha Shangó and my mother in Ocha is Yemayá.

For the next year, I will be known as Iyawó (“ee yah WO”) – “bride of mysteries,” as all new initiates are known. This year as an iyawó carries with it many restrictions and guidelines that I must uphold in order to protect the energies that were implanted in me as part of the initiation and in order to give them time to sink into my system. The iyaworaje is a time of introspection and learning.

As part of the iyaworaje, the iyawó must dress impeccably in white for the entire duration of the year. This is to protect them from absorbing any negative energies, and to keep their aura pure. White is a sacred color in La Regla de Ocha. It represents holiness, purity, wisdom. White is owned by the orisha Obatalá, the eldest of the orishas and it is a symbol of his status and age. Additionally, I must keep my head covered for the first three months to protect the consecration that is performed as part of the kariocha ceremony. I cannot hand anything directly to anyone, or take anything from another person’s hand. This is often misunderstood by those who are unfamiliar with the religion, but its purpose it to preserve the iré (blessings) that you have from your itá and to not give that away to others. The reason it is specifically a “hand to hand” contact, is because our hands are our tools with which we create and destroy. Another restriction is that I must be home by 6pm every evening and I cannot leave the house from 11:45am to 12:15pm. These restrictions are because of the sensitivity of an iyawó to energetic changes that occur at these times of day. At 6pm, nightfall, there are many disturbing energies and negative influences that come out which the iyawó can pick up. This is why it is important for me to be home under the immediate supervision of my orishas. At noon, the Olorun’s energy (the sun) is so strong that it can negatively tweak what has been done to the iyawó’s head as part of the initiation.There are many, many restrictions for the iyawó to observe, but they are all in place to protect the iyawó and what he has recently gone through, so that it settles in place properly.

I hope to capture all of the crazy things I experience in this online diary, as I go through my year in white. I hope that this can be something to give soon-to-be iyawó’s the hope or inspiration they need to make it through their iyaworajes. I was inspired to do this by my friend Calvin, a priest of Oshún who lives in New York, who pioneered this type of a diary online. Modupue Calvin! Check out his site the Iyawó Experience. As each month passes, I will write entries of my experiences on their corresponding pages listed in the navigation to the left. I hope that my iyaworaje can bring you some inspiration and at least a few laughs.



  1. Hello Eddy,

    I can’t tell when this was published, but my guess is that its been a few years. I just received me Santo Yemaya and I am two days outside of my 7 day initiation. I could not believe that I found this blog online. I am so grateful. Doing Santo was something my mother really wanted me to do. She would cry and suffer because she felt that I wasn’t protected. And anytime I did so much as sneeze she told me “see this would not happen if you did Santo. Your health is at stake.” So I went ahead and did Santo hoping it would finally bring her some peace. I respect my mother so much and I wanted to appease her and do the one thing she wanted most. The only problem now is that, I am not sure where I stand. Ive had respect for this religion my entire life. Everyone in my immediate family has Santo. Everyone talks about all the health and good things it has brought them into their life. And that is great however, now that I have Santo done I don’t feel any more drawn to the religion than I did before. One night before I went to sleep en el throno, I started crying. I was so sad. I felt anxiety, fear and troubled. That entire week everyone was thrilled but me. Now I am back home, dressed in white, and looking at my Santos. I wonder what is next? I feel so confined and scared. My journey in White is just beginning and I already feel lost. I went looking through the internet and I found your blog and almost cried. I have read all of your entries and you really captured my feelings exactly.

    Some of the rules of this religion are so contradictory and confusing. And I completely agree with you that there are so many things about this religion that need to be changed. Why does it have to be based on fear? I have a lot of issues with that. I want to show my appreciation for the Santos but I don’t to fear them. I want to buy flowers and show them love, but I don’t want to feel guilt because I didn’t follow one of their rules exactly. Which contradicts my beliefs about God loving all of us unconditionally. It just looks like a disconnect between God and the Santos.

    Well, I can go on about this forever…but I just want to say THANK YOU for your honestly and for sharing this with everyone. I can’t tell you how much better I feel. May God and all the Santos Bless you forever.


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