Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cajón de Muertos

Yesterday the Northeastern professor, Alan West-Duran, invited his students and us to a Cajón de Muertos. He was recently initiated into the Santería religion and it was his first cajón. In this ritual, the spirits that guide him are called down and it's pretty much a celebration to honor them. Taking Professor Behar's class introduced me to Santería, so I had an idea of what Regla de Ocha (another name for it) was about. Or so I thought...

The ritual was in a very humble house in a different barrio. I don't think I can even explain what I saw or experienced. So I won't, but it was unlike anything I had ever seen/heard/experienced before. I can't blog about it because it would feel wrong. However, I was so moved. The spiritualist (shoot I forgot his name!) told me I had the spirit of a gitana, a gypsy, the spirit of Oyá. Oyá is an orisha, a goddess warrior if you will. She has been syncretized in with the Catholic images of La Virgin de la Candelaria. He also gave me a set of instructions to follow, that I don't want to discuss in this blog either. I really don't know how to explain it. It was just a very special and moving ritual. This is a depiction of Oyá...

In about 2 weeks, Professor West-Duran will have a Tambor, which is another ritual, but this one is in honor of the orishas, not his spirits. It will be in honor of Yemayá, who is his specific orisha.

Today has been low-key. Went swimming this morning until 2pm!! Then had some lunch and came back to the residencia and did some homework. I still have a lot of reading to do for class tomorrow! Argh! Okay. I think I'm going to take a power nap before dinner!



  1. i am VERY CURIOUS about what happened in detail, so hopefully i'll get more info from you later on...BUT, the spiritualist sounds like he's on point with you and Oyá. Do you get to go to the Tambor? Oh Yemayá!!! Mother of the (7) Seas who offers protection to women and much more:)

  2. Wow... That must have been incredible!!!

  3. Querida Carla:

    Muy bonita las fotos que pusiste Me gusta que pongas fotos de arte. Espero que sigas aprendiendo de la Cultura a la que has ida visitar. Recuerda siempre caminar con nuestro Señor.


  4. menos mal q no soy gata, porq me mataria la curiosidad!!