Jan ’02 – entry 3

Being Lifted

Well I couldn’t write for a while because I needed to go through some ceremonies and do some personal work. But at the end of January, I had the blessing of being lifted. Being lifted is a ceremony in which you are elevated spiritually so that you are no longer the youngest member of the god family. So off I went to New York City.

The poor iyawó had the unfortunate “blessing” of going to the river in the dead of Winter in New York City. Needless to say, she came back frozen and could not move her feet, the poor thing. Fortunately there was some warm soup waiting for her to help defrost her bones. The next day, she was to be crowned with Oshún in the ceremony of Kariocha. She would become the “baby” godchild of the family and I would be elevated to be her older brother.

I have to admit it was really interesting seeing it all from the perspective I now had, having already gone through everything. Some of the good points included being able to witness and itá and not worry about what I would have taken away from me as taboos, going to a tambor and being able to see it from the perspective of being under the throne, not having to go to the river again, etc. Some of the bad points included about ten hours of penitencia prior to the ceremony (I had 12 hours of penitencia – where you are sat in a chair facing a wall and are not to talk to anyone, and are expected to remain quiet with your head covered with a towel until the ayubona comes to take you into the room.) sleeping on a hard floor again, and the goddamn toilet!

Let me explain. The toilet in this basement was in bad condition when we got there. It would not flush properly and you had to basically become a plumber for about five minutes until it finally trickled down. Well, after about twenty priests and guests participated in the ceremony, it just plugged up and we had to call Roto-Rooter to unclog the drain. They sent a very lost young man who kept calling me for help – yeah, like a gay guy dressed all in WHITE is going to know anything about plumbing? – apparently I did know more than this guy, so you never know! He spent 6 hours prior to the ceremony trying to unplug the main line. He finally did it and went home at around 4am. He came the next day to try to unclog the toilet and failed, and then he was at it again the day of the tambor and nothing was TRULY unclogged until tuesday morning. An ocha riddled with Roto-Rooteristas running around in the igbodu (sacred room) trying to find the main line to the house, while we are trying to avoid them seeing the animals and orishas. It was a nightmare.

The iyawó was really cute. She looked beautiful in her outfit for the middle day. I was dressed in mine next to her. I apparently had gained a few pounds in the two and a half months, and my belt kept popping off. Of course the lady who made it used velcro – a bad choice – and my madrina promised to fix it with real hooks so that it wouldn’t pop off again. The tambor was off the hook. The musicians were wonderful. They toasted the iyawó – a special thing done because it is for Oshún – and they even stopped the songs to explain what the lyric meant. They were the same group with slightly different musicians, that played at the tambor for my ocha. The iyawó really liked it a lot.

The poor iyawó kept complaining about the hard floor at night. She couldn’t get comfortable – who can? So I cheated and let her share my heavy blanket with me. I took pity because no one took pity on me. It was funny because she kept asking me what was going to happen before it would happen and I would refuse to tell her … but I would assure her that she would be fine.

And I was lifted.

Next Chapter >>> Toxic Discoveries


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