Kuna hadithi najua kuhusu vile wahenga walinena,

Oju to ba ri Gelede, ti de opin iran (au iron?) 

“The eyes that have seen Gelede, have seen the ultimate spectacle”

ukweli, au siyo? infinitely grateful for standing tall on the backs of wahenga wangu na wa hii ardhi tunayoishi

kama vile Baba Awoyinfa Ifaloju alisema “We, those that follow Ifa’s

Religious Philosophy and other African systems have this as our responsibility to give our efforts and support, to make this year’s events [honouring our wahenga] memorable and serve our progenitors justly and rightly for what they have done for us to be standing where we are today, had it not been, where would we be ?

Ifa husema,

Egbe olowo l’egbee wa                The group of the owners of wealth is our group

Egbe olomo l’egbee wa                The group of the owners of children is our group

Egbe Oroki i s egbe ole                 The Oroki group is not a group of thieves

Aje olomo l’aje awa                        Powerful beings (who are) the owners of  children  are our powerful beings.

E tele mi ka’lo                                   You[pl.] can follow along with me,

E le r’omo gbe jo                              (so that) you can carry pikin and dance


hadithi njoo, ukweli njoo, utamu kolea,

infinitely grateful for those among us who beba de sage secrets of loving and share their gifs in abundance,

hadithi like these, symbols ya postcards of inspiring & replenishing hubs na gif exchange networks,

make me so proud and happy to be an Afrikan growing with/in revolushunary learning vijiji in [love wid] de diaspora

I give thanks for today, yesterday en tomorrow, for doors closing balanced with others opening, blue-skying en cool wotas, nashukuru upendo na imani tunayo… nashukuru the continued guidance and protection of de ancestors of dis land, wale wahenga wangu ninaowajua, wale sijui, na wale wanaonijua deeper than ninayojijua….inifinitely grateful for de blessings of dis week, for dis counting down to de first anniversary of #To David With

Love, coming into an ‘epic’ year of mi twenties, and celebrations of Afrikan Heritage (or Black History) Moon, like Dinner, Performances & de first tambor for Ibeji at de Children’s Peace Theatre. Big tings’ a gwaan wid dis ting called ubuntu….

So, in the spirit of intimacy and de spaces between recovering from rituals en preparing for mo ceremonies, this hadithi kuhusu Toque de Santo is transcribed from Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria, written by Katherine J. Hagedorn.

Dear Katherine, asante sana for sharing your re/learning. And deeply grateful to mi Tdot teachers for offering the kind of priceless educational programs not only I’ve been looking for, in grassroots universities, across borders. Asante Baba Gee & Baba Falo, Sista Leopard & Mama (wa) Amani Theatre, Prof Ausar & Papa John.  Na asante for (re)birthing dis post mi goddess mama No.3 –  Beth, who not only gifted me dis book we’re sharing with you, but co-creates en maintains sacred spaces with other honourable elders to remember the sage secrets of loving en continue fulfilling our highest destinies.

Asante akina baba, mama na watoto wa Afreeka. Nashukuru bredrin and sistren in solidarity….

[pamoja tukifafanua ukweli wa Anaa na]  TOQUE DE SANTO: Evoking the Orishas

A toque de santo (or tambor) is de main public religious performance of Santeria [en other traditions], de popular name of de [looked pon as] polytheistic religious tradishun that grew from Afrikan and European roots during the four long centuries of de slave trade in Cuba. Toque refers to de verb tocar (to play) en to de specific noun toque (rhythm), as well as to de general noun toque, meaning de event itself; santo refers to de deities
called santos (orichas or orisas) who are evoked by de toques. Although de performance of Santeria includes other ceremonies involving music en dance (such as festive bembes en guiro ensembles), toques de santo require the use of de sacred bata drums, en are thus considered de most divinely powerful of all de religious ceremonies of Santeria.

the warriors

The origins of de toque de santo lie in de Atlantic slave trade. Cuba imported de bulk of its slaves during the nineteenth century. Most of de Africans captured en sold into slavery who were landed in Cuba came from a curved corridor of present-day West Afrika stretching from Guinea down to Angola, en a significant plurality of these came from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Togo, en Cameroon. These Afrikan regions share some formal characteristics in their monotheistic religious traditions, which, under, de chaotic en brutal conditions of slavery in Cuba, gradually developed by de end of de nineteenth century into what became known as Santeria.

One of de most powerful similarities among de many West Afrikan mono & polytheistic traditions thrown together in Cuba during de nineteenth century was the evocation of deities through de performance of specific praise songs, drum rhythms, en gestures. Toques de santo can be interpreted as a distillation of more than a century of diverse, divine per formative intent.

In present-day Cuban Santeria, toques de santo are ritual drummings, typically held as offerings to appease orichas or santos. These drumming ceremonies may also be offered to de santos to change de objective circumstances of one’s life…..

Although de deities of Santeria may communicate with humans through divination, prayers, en dreams, they relish de communicative powah afforded them through music en dance. Each santo or oricha “owns” certain melodic gestures, rhythms, dance movements, en praise songs, as well as specific colours, numbers, animals, foods, en natural phenomena. They respond readily to songs en dances that incorporate these associative representations-such as, in de case of de salt-wota deity Yemaya (whose name is said to mean “Mother of Fishes” in Cuban Lucumi), a dance that imitates de undulation of de waves, or a song that evokes de powah of de sea en its creatures. De main goal of these rhythms, songs, en dances is to summon (or goad) de santos to earth, so that de deities may soothe those who are grieving, heal those who are sick, rebuke those who have acted unwisely, bless those who appear to be deserving, en set de tone for de next few weeks or moons in de community.

For a toque de santo to be successful, however, each participant must know how to behave, how to engage correctly de divine potential of de ceremony. What are de “rules of engagement” at a toque de santo or tambor? How does one know when to dance (or sing, or become possessed) en how? Are there different ways of participating in Afro-Cuban religious en folkloric events, and, if so, how does one discriminate between them?….

De rules of engagement in religious and folkloric performances seem to shift in accordance with de goal or intent of de event, en with de expectations of de religious practitioners. In a toque de santo, for example, de aim of de ceremony is to summon one or more orichas to earth, so that de deities may address de needs of de community through specific blessings, healings, en advice. In this case, de “rules of engagement” for each participant in a religious event are determined by socioreligious desire en necessity.

In the events presented by de Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, by contrast, de goal of a performance is primarily aesthetic excellence-de perfect (or near perfect) execution of dance steps, percussive rhythms, song phrases, en gestures of a toque de santo in accordance with norms established by “folkloric” schools of performance. In de CFNC, then, the “rules” of participating are determined by one’s ability to maintain a uniform standard of performance of specific rehearsed musical en physical gestures.

Yet the genres of “religious Afro-Cuban performance” en “’folkloric’ Afro-Cuban performance” inform each other, “use” each other, en at times even inhabit de same sphere of sacred intent (see de page on ‘a is for….’ de architecture of syncretism in santeria: remixed).

This sphere of sacred intent is most often constructed by resurrecting de memory of de sacred in both folkloric en religious performances. And in both types of performance, de memory of de sacred is translated through de body. De body is where “sacred” en

“secular” meet, where de boundaries are blurred, en it is this liminal space that is both powahful en disruptive because it calls into question de per formative categories implied by de terms “sacred” and “secular” en forces de participants to renegotiate their respective “rules of engagement.”….


Protectors of (not only) Cuba’s Afrikan heritage and representatives of its future, ritual musicians hold de key to an analysis of the toque or tambor, and control de first stage of engagement….


Engaging appropriately in a toque de santo, then, requires de competent use of sacred knowledge…Toque etiquette varies widely from casa templo (house of worship) to casa templo, but what is much less variable is de philosophy that informs de rules of etiquette for each particular “house.” “Tradition” might vary from house to house on de same block, from city to city, en from country to country, but what keeps religious practice unified is de overriding theology that invents it, en de santo families that are cocreated en enlarged each time a new creyente is initiated into de religion…….


In order to be a good drummer in the Conjunto Folklorico, according to Alberto, one must not only have de religion, one must respect its rules. When de author of the excerpts of dis book asked Alberto who decided de content of de Conjunto Folklorico’s performances, he responded that there were different departments that could influence de decision, such as research, management, percussion, chorus, dance, the board of directors—but that ultimately Rogelio Martinez Fure, the asesor or artistic advisor to de group, made de final decision. Immediately afterward, however, Alberto began talking about de new dancers (thos who had attended the aficionado schools) who did not appreciate the religious basis of the folkloric toques, and how these young people considered the Conjunto Folklorico’s performances to be art, without any religious aspect…..

Alberto sees his religion not only as someting beyond compromise, but also as a source of powah en authority in de aesthetic skirmishes that he en his colleagues may face on a daily basis. His religions informs en is inseparable from his work [as it is with not only me, but many others]. When Katherine Hagedorn asked Alberto about de connection between his religion en his work, however, he said there was none. “My job is over here [right hand], and mi religion is over here [left hand]. This [his job] has nothing to do with this [his religion]. We don’t tell de secrets of our religion in the Folklorico. That would be impossible-because then it wouldn’t be my job, it would be mi religion.”

Alberto sees himself, en creyente drummers in general, as true representatives of de religion. In this sense, he acts as a preserver of his religious tradition, although he claims that his work and religion are totally separate. He is an absentee guardian of the authenticity of de folkloric renditions of his religions, which is to say that he does not allow his religious persona to participate actively in de folkloric performances but de passive knowledge of what that religious persona would require during a religious ceremony is allowed to remain, and it safeguards de remnants of the performance’s spiritual dignity…..

The drummers in de Conjunto Folklorico are de main actors in de negotiation process between the sacred and secular aspects of performance…How  religion is “brought” to art seems to revolve around the paradoxical and elusive (yet not rhetorical) questions regarding the differences and separations between the two……

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi Njoo….

Sahani ya?

Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi? Hadithi? If diasporic encounters indigenus narratives ni kama vile mwezi wapasua wingu, wachimbuka, waleta anga, basi ni ukweli – si mpya…
Kwa hivyo leo, tutaendelea kusimulia hizi hadithi za kale, kutoka kitabu ya Tobe Melora Correal – Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa


…To get to de soul of Orisa, we begin wid de egun, de wahenga, ancestors.  [Not only,] De Yoruba [abanyore, bukusu, chokwe, Dagara, kikuyu, luo, shona, na swahili] believe that de spirits of our wahenga walk among us. Having shed physical form, they continue to function on Earth as powahful forces that bring healing en good to de living. De Yoruba [en other spiritual traditions] also believe that de living give longevity to de dead. We keep them alive

through our memories of them, en their energies en energetic imprints on our souls shape who we are and how we live our lives. The living en de dead are inextricably woven together in a sacred tapestry of interrelatedness. We exist in different places on de same continuum. We belong to a single hadithi….

Orisa teachings say that de nearest resolution to any problem resides with de spirits of your bloodline…Any elder you choose to learn from will start you on de path of Orisa by first making sure your feet are firmly planted in de soil of de wahenga. Working in de ancestral shamba will become fundamental to your daily maisha en will provide de foundashun upon which you learn to breathe with God.

In order to know de deities, you must first know yourself, which involves knowing intimately en paying homage to your roots, your origins, de egun.

Cultivating a soulful connecshun with wahenga requires our full commitment, focused attention, hard work, en consistent care. As we do  de daily, often heart-wrenching en back-breaking kazi (work) of turning over, seeding, weeding en tending de ancestral shamba, de

rhythms of our lives start to badilika (change). When we learn to share our existence with a palpable en wise spiritual presence, our relationship with de wahenga becomes a sheltering arm that protects us when we are vulnerable, embraces us when we are lonely; en carries us when we are too weak to walk alone.

Gradually we learn how to give our plot de right balance of mwangaza na maji (light en wota) en how to protect it from de spiritual predators of fear and soulless ritual. We develop de ability to work gently through difficult feelings about those wahenga whose actions when alive caused harm to us or our loved ones. We (re)discover spiritual resources for tending to de unmourned losses en unhealed rages within our family histories, those tangled vines that live alongside de succulent vegetation in all lineages. With kazi en time, we find ourselves in an abundant shamba overflowing wid sweet fruit to sustain us on our journeys en strengthened by de vital roots out of which our existence has sprung.

mlango kwa akina baba, mama na watoto wa Afreeka

It takes years to grow a lush ancestral shamba, to discover which fruits grow well beside which vegetables, which rituals en practices will strengthen your bond with de wahenga. It takes continual practice to discern which parts of your plot are loamy, sandy, clay en rocky en  how best to enrich each. You’ll need certain tools, materials, en basic informashun.

I share these werds with you, as one of mi elders gave me dis kitabu, as I sit at the knees of wazee wenye busara sharing ukweli na ustadi, as de elder that wrote dis book, Mama Tobe Melora Correal, was given dis knowledge en wisdom by her elders, en as she (en we) learned to work with them in caring for her (en our) own shamba ya msambwa (garden of the spirits). Make them your own en work with them as your moyo (heart) tells you. Ase….

Our last Tambor at 109 Vaughan Road is for the Orisha Erinle (Inle), tonight from 8 – 11pm.

Erinle is one of the Warriors whose domain is riverine and is a giver of Abundance and is a Healer like the Orishas Osanyin and Obalu (Babaluaye). In fact he is the physician to the other Orisha.

He is sometimes called “the Fisherman”
In the Lukumi faith Erinle is also considered to be a patron of gay people.

In most paths his colours are blue, green, yellow and coral.


Inle is the orisha of health and all medical healing. Inle’s house resides near the coastlines of where the river and 
oceans meet. Inle is a man with fine features as of a woman. He has long silky hair that he puts in 7 braids and wears the finest clothes. For him to look as elegant as he does, he also became the patron of homosexuals. Inle was not, on the contrary as he is married to Abata. Inle has had relations with Yemaya and Oshun. His knowledge of all medical herbs and sticks is very abundant. He learned a lot from Osain and has put his knowledge to use, taking care of the needy and the sick. He is a very humble man and is always tending to ones that are in need of him. Inle as well is a

hunter and a great fisherman. He walks with a tall staff and his fishing hook. He enjoys to sit alongside the waters with his best friend Ochosi and they both catch fishes with ease. Wherever Inle is at, you can always find his best friend Ochosi nearby in hunt. These two go hand in hand. They love to sit at the rivers and drink and converse. Inle is represented in Santeria in a bluish green tureen in which there holds the secrets of Inle. He takes a trident in front of him, who is the spirit of Boyuto. Before his marriage to Abata, Inle had a relationship with Yemaya and due to that, Yemaya speaks for Inle. Inle is not crowned directly on the head of his children. What’s done is Yemaya oro Inle. This means that they are initiated into Yemays’s realm with the additional knowledge of the orisha Inle.

The Pataki of Inle

Inle was walking alongside the seashore noticing the different herbs that grew at the edge of the woods. He was gathering and studying each and every one of them to see what there purpose was in his medical magic.

He was dressed very exotic as he always did, drinking his fine wine and his sweet cakes. He sat on a rock that sat near the ocean and was doing what he does best which is study. He suddenly heard a splash in the water that startled him, but when he turned to look there was nothing there. Days passed by and the same incident kept happening. Not to his knowledge that this splash was being made by the great queen of the ocean, Yemaya. She always knew the time Inle came by to sit on the rocks to study his herbs. Yemaya was intrigued by the beauty that Inle had and deeply wanted to know more of him. Within the days that she saw him, her intriguement fell into love and lust for him.

After Yemaya got her nerves together she saw Inle sitting on the same rock in which he always sits on. Inle heard the splash, but since he was already immune to the fact that every time he turned around there was nothing to see. But this day when he turned, he saw a beautiful mermaid with long black flowing hair with pearls and diamonds that adorned her neck and breast. He was infatuated with this that he kept staring as Yemaya’s body glisten in the sunlight. Yemaya swam close to Inle and said hello in which Inle could not respond because he was gasping for words to respond. Yemaya giggled and asked him his name. He responded to her with his name. They both started to engage in conversation and Yemaya told him how she has watched him walk alongside the seashore everyday. Inle asked her if it was her that he would hear everyday making splashes in the water. Yemaya responded yes and she told him she was just noticing him from afar.

Everyday these two orishas met at the seashore on the rocks and conversed until one day Yemaya leaned to him and gave him a kiss. Inle who was waiting for this was very excited for the great ocean mother was in his grasps. Inle asked Yemaya if she would like to come and live with him in his house as his wife to enjoy the earth’s scenery and life. Yemaya told him she would love to but she was a queen and her castle and reign was the ocean. Inle told her that it was impossible for him to go with her because he could not breathe under water as she could. Yemaya smiled and reminded him who she was. Yemaya grabbed Inle’s hand, and brought him into the water. Inle was very nervous and with a caress of her hand, Yemaya passed her hands over his mouth, nose and lungs. He embraced her and they both kissed as they submerged into the water. Inle at first was scared, seeing that his was going deeper and deeper in the ocean water. Yemaya smiled at him and told him to breathe as she gave him the secret to breath under water. Inle did as she said and they both descended to Yemaya’s castle.

Weeks passed by and the lovers were inseparable. Yemaya showed Inle every loop and crack of the ocean above and below. She took him to where Olokun resided. She took him to parts of the world that he has never seen. She even took him to the river water where her sister Oshun lived. When Oshun saw Inle, she was wrapped in his beauty as well. Yemaya continued to take him everywhere and showed him all the riches and gems that she contains. All her secrets that no one has seen, Inle viewed them all.

Months passed by, and Inle was gliding through the ocean noticing the everyday fishes that swam with the current at the same time in the same place. Inle was sitting near a coral and he saw Elegua who swam up next to him and Elegua noticed that something was wrong with Inle. He’s seen Inle everyday and he noticed that everyday that goes, by his face changes more and more. He asked Inle what was the matter. Inle looked at Elegua and started to tell him that he loved Yemaya but he was not happy where he was at. He was missing his home upon land. He missed the different tree life of the dry land. The birds, the flowers, the different animals, the things that meant a lot to him on the dry land. He missed helping the people with their sickness and he felt bored where he was at. Elegua told him to follow his heart and to be honest with Yemaya. 

A few more days pass and Inle’s demeanor had changed and now the great queen of the ocean is noticing his actions. She asks him what’s wrong but he tells her that he is alright. Confused and worried, she goes to where Elegua is and asks him if he knows what’s wrong with Inle.

 Elegua looked at Yemaya and told her that he didn’t remember what Inle had told him. Yemaya looked at Elegua and told him if she gave him some sweets, will he remember. Elegua jumped up and said yes. Yemaya gave Elegua his sweets and Elegua proceeded to tell Yemaya that Inle was not happy living down here in her watery domain. He went and told her that Inle missed his life on the dry lands. Yemaya was taken back and sort of hurt that her husband felt this way. She was determined to see him happy and if letting him go back to the dry land makes him happy, then she would grant him what he wants.

She approached Inle and asked him if he missed where he came from. Inle told her that yes he did indeed miss the life he had. He told her that he does love her but there’s nothing for him to do down here. No one here needs his expertise here. It’s the same routine everyday, all day. Yemaya asked Inle if he would like to go back to the surface and continue his life. He put his head down and responded to her, yes. Yemaya with a stern face grabbed Inle by his hand and started to ascend to the ocean surface. She took him to the same spot where they met by the rock. When Inle saw the seashore he was happy and he told Yemaya that he does love her but he just can’t deal with the solitude of the ocean. Yemaya nodded her head and told him she understood. Inle was about to jump on the rock, by the seashore when Yemaya grabbed Inle and ripped his tongue out of his mouth. Inle in pain wondered why Yemaya did that. He made signs to her as in why. Yemaya replied to him that she did this so he can never tell anyone about her domain under the sea. She said that her riches and secrets are for her and for the watery world that she lives in. Since he could not bear to stay with her after she introduced him to that lifestyle, then he will not have the tongue to say what she holds far under. And from now on, you can and will only talk through me. Your children will also be my children and initiated through me. With a twinkle from her eyeshe started to swim to the middle of the ocean laughing.

Inle saw Yemaya in the distance as she descended back to her kingdom. He then went back to his home where everyone asked where he was. Since he could not talk, he just nodded his head. He lived mute without the world understanding him.

Inle’s feast day is September 29 which is the same day of the catholic Saint Raphael. Inle loves all fine foods and drinks. He loves precious stones, art, music and the love of healing. His necklace that is worn by the priests of Inle is made up of blue, yellow, green and coral beads. It’s also adorned with multiples precious stones. The children of Inle are usually quiet individuals. They seem to love the medical field and they are known to be nurturing people. His children are made like I said above, through the secrets of Yemaya. To initiate him the person must have Ochosi next to him throughout the entire ceremony. He eats rams, roosters, quails and pigeons. All of his animals are white due to white is pure and clean. He is the patron of doctors and hospitals. He is the medical doctor of Santeria. If you look at Inle’s trident, you will notice that it’s the same symbol used today by all and every medical faculty across the world. It’s a staff that contains 2 serpents wrapped around it.

The family of Inle 


She is the wife of Inle. His helper. You can associate her with the nurse that aids the doctor. She is the one that helps Inle in all of his medical cases. In some houses or ramas, she lives inside the same tureen with Inle and in other’s, she lives in a separate tureen that lives right next to him. Both of these ways are acceptable.


He is the spirit that walks with Inle and he guards the vision of people. He is represented by the fishing pole and the trident that is placed in front of Inle. He is the orisha that brought silver to Obatala. He is also the orisha of mirages (mirages of the desert and sea), He is also known to help people with their vision and also helped Ibu Olodi (path of Oshun) in one of her battles which is the reason why she takes everything double.

Laro/Logun Ede

He is the son of Inle with Oshun. He as his father is an androgynous orisha and contains the secrets and riches of his father.


He is one of the helpers of Inle. He is represented by the fishing hook that one puts on the fishing pole to catch a fish.


He is also a great friend of Inle and accompanies him everywhere.

[post compiled by Beth Peart Weekes]