The following essay was posted in the forum: The Yoruba Study Group of Detroit, Facebook.com. It is republished with the permission of Baba Kefentse Akim Bandele forum administrator.
When you receive sacred beads it is the formal induction into Orisha worship. The beads represent the energy of the various Orisha. The beads are a vehicle to connect you to the Orisha on a daily basis. It’s like a mini shrine being placed on your person.
The ceremony of receiving your sacred beads is like your baptism or first communion. It makes the statement that you belong to a family of worshipers in a particular line or spiritual lineage. The persons that perform the ceremony for you are your spiritual teacher guides or known in the New World as “Godparent.”
This relationship is rooted in the traditions that go back thousand of years. The Godparents responsibility is to guide, advise, and support the Godchild/student, whenever he or she requires it spiritually, emotionally, physically and at times financially. The responsibility of the Godchild or student to the Godparent is to establish and deepen the already established relationship. The student is expected to learn the traditional protocol and follow them with regard to the Godparent. Respect publicly and privately is expected as well as a reciprocal caring relationship. Keeping an open communication with your Godparent is an important aspect of your life. On the Orisha birthday of the Godparent the godchild’s presence is required and offering brought to the shrine.
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Care of the Eleke
No one should touch your elekes except for a priest. If you drop your beads on the floor or someone other than a child touches your elekes, rinse them off with cool spring water. The following should be observed:
Refrain from wearing elekes:
- During sexual activity
- During the menstrual cycle
- While bathing or sleeping
Remove eleke during:
- Cleansing rituals
- Ebo Leri /Head feedings
- Spiritual Consultations or spiritual sitting/investigation
If eleke break, pick up as many beads as you can and call your Godparent. This means that the eleke disrupted energy that could have caused you harm or protected you from something. When not wearing your elekes hang them up or lay on a white cloth.