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Switch to Forum Live View I have a question for Orisha followers.
4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 2:58AM #1
Bairre
Posts: 122

Why is Orisha so damn expensive?


My wife is African-American, and she has become involved in the Orisha religion.  I think this is great, but it is really expensive.  I mean, misas are hundreds of dollars, initiations are thousands of dollars, the gods help us if she is crowned with Eshu, which is $50,000.  I realize Africans were well enough before European and Arab exploitation, but seriously I doubt the average Cuban can afford $10, 000 for initiation into Santeria, or that the average Jamaican can afford that for Obeah, or the average Trinidadian can afford that for Shango.  The average African-American can't either.  If she were to go to Nigeria she would be charged the same thing, $10,000, by the Yorubans there.  Why?!?!


I follow the Heathen traditions of Europe, and priests from my religion (reconstructionists, as we have no living tradition as the African diaspora have managed to maintain) don't charge anything, as they see it a duty to their religious community to tend to the spiritual needs of the followers.  I respect the Orishas, and their follower, but I have serious questions about why everything is about money.  Spirituality isn't about money.  Its about the universe and the individual's and community's connection to it.


I mean, the history is that this was continued as a lived tradition from Africa by slaves.  How did slaves pay thousands of dollars?  Do Yoruban Nigerians pay $10,000 American to become initiated into Orisha today?  I seriously doubt it.  I want to hear from Orisha practitioners.  I know that you're out there.


I've heard that whether you go to Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Brazil, or Nigeria it will cost the same.  How do Orisha practicitioners expect the average Black person to be able to connect with their ancetral heritage.  Honestly, I find it absolutely sickening.  I  mean, my wife and I make enough to pay our bills, barely.  We both wanted to seek out our ancestors religions and mine is lost to history for the most part due to Christian genocide of Pagans, and the West African religion is right there in front of us, except that it cost too much for us to be a part of.  I guess we should all be paid NBA salaries to be followers of the Orishas?  Do the Orishas not want the "average" black people?  Are they only interested in being the deities of well to do blacks?  Do Orisha practitioners in the Caribbean and Africa have to be rich worship or become initiated, or just the blacks in Europe and America?  Or is the Orisha movement in the US a scam perpetrated by a bunch of greedy Caribbean assholes trying to get back at the oppressed in the belly of the beast?


I want my wife to be able to have access to the beliefs of her ancestors.  I understand the nature of offerings and sacrifice as I am a Heathen, and my father is a Methodist Minister.  Why can't these ceremonies be based on the person's ability to offer and not some set standard?  I mean, you can't be an Orisha follower if you don't have the money?!?!?!  Seriously, the Christians aren't even that messed up!  They only ask for 10% of what you make, whatever it is.  Maybe that's why so many slaves in the US became Christians.  They can't pay 10% of nothing, and the Christians didn't expect them too.  Heathens don't either. 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 10:56PM #2
Vasilissa
Posts: 3

I will be the first to admit that I only have a limited knowledge of African traditions, but I did have a professor who had been initiated herself (under Oya) and many of her friends were initiates as well, and she never mentioned any kind of monetary requirement. Nor did my (again, albeit limited) research into Voudou/Santeria/etc. make any similar mention. I hate to put this so bluntly, but it sounds like someone's trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Then again, perhaps they want to discourage all but the most serious applicants?


 If you read Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men, especially the second part which chronicles her own initiation into the conjure tradition, she undergoes several initiation ceremonies under different teachers and was never expected to pay anything.


There is a concept of reciprocity and balance in many African-based traditions wherein practitioners will ask for some form of payment for services rendered, i.e. I'm doing something for you so you should do something for me, in order to maintain balance, but not an unnecessarily exorbitant amount.


Hope that helps.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2010 - 12:27AM #3
Bairre
Posts: 122

There are two lawos here that have just recently moved into the area.  And they both require money.  Maybe we're looking in the wrong place.  Thanks.

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 01, 2010 - 6:40PM #4
Dofona
Posts: 1

There are a few things going on here.


 


1. Iyawos cannot do any work for your wife, so they shouldn't be charging anything! 


 


2. The tradition does cost money, but $50,000 is ridiculous!


 


3. Your wife needs to understand the following:


 


a. Initiation isn't for everyone.


 


b. You don't have to enter the religion right away through initiation.


 


c. She needs to get to know people VERY well before opening her checkbook.


 


 


 


Where do you live?  If you are in or near California, the East Coast, Texas, Florida or Chicago I may be able to connect your wife to reputable people.  If she is interested in learning more about traditions outside of the US (Nigeria, Brazil, etc...) I can point her in some directions as well.  Good luck!

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 1:46AM #5
Bairre
Posts: 122

We live in Asheville, NC. 

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