This post was not going to be about Egun (Ancestors). I was going to continue to expand my discussion on Ellegua, but spirit dictated I do what they are telling me to do as often happens with my posts. My godsister brought up an excellent discussion regarding Egun and working with Egun. Then, today, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and a very heavy discussion unexpectedly started on working with Egun which was an actual expansion on what I had discussed with my godsister. So it is time to work with Egun.
My godsister made an excellent point. Many people have a list of 1,000 names of their Ancestors, and can spit out their entire blood lineage from the present day to 100 BC. Yet, they cannot tell you who their main, key protectors or spirit guides are. They have not built that relationship with Egun, do not have the communication with Egun, and have no idea who it is that is standing right next to them from across the veil. Which Egun helps you with financial matters? Which Egun tells you you’ve messed up and is in your corner to help you work on it? Which Egun do you go to when you have an issue with your husband, children, work? Who are your gatekeepers? Who are your sentries?
My godsister posted in our Ile group a while ago about sending $5 to our Padrinos. She said to me she wondered how many people actually went to their Egun about that before deciding to either act on the challenge or disregard it. Through life’s challenges, how many people go to their Egun to ask for clarity on a situation, assistance, or just companionship?
There are many questions that people ask that signal they do not go to Egun the way they should. My favorite ones are where people have dreams about a relative that has passed and a message is involved. If a relative has passed and is trying to tell you something in a heavily coded dream, there are a couple of things that make me question this. Why is the dream so heavily coded you have to decipher it and you do not already possess the keys for deciphering it? Why has your communication with them not been routine enough that you do not know how to have a conversation with them or understand what they were trying to tell you? Then the second thought is if they did communicate through a heavily coded dream you cannot decipher, why did you not go to your Egun altar or shrine and ask for clarity? Why can you not say, “Mom, Uncle George, mother-in-law, I can’t understand what you were trying to tell me”? Apetebiis and Awofakans, why did you not throw obi to clarify the situation before asking someone to help you decipher the message?
Relationship with Egun can only be built by going to them on a regular basis. I have godsiblings who do their work at their Ancestor altars, do hobbies there like knitting or sewing, and even one that sleeps there. You don’t always have to have something to say and not every interaction has to be some big magical production of exploding candles. The real magic is sitting there and spending time with them and being in their presence. In doing so, you will be able to feel them join you as you shop for clothes and you will not have to wait for a medium,who so happens to be walking by, to tell you they are with you.
I have an Egun who sticks to me like glue, to where I’m bumping into him, when things are about to be very challenging for me financially, physically or emotionally. He comes for big changes and he warns me of danger he sees ahead. So when I start seeing him and he is following me, I know to prepare myself for what is coming and it helps me to cope. He has even saved me from being involved in a serious car wreck on two separate occasions. He is a blessing to me, so when he shows up we really enjoy each other. We go hiking, we go to nurseries and absorb the energies of the plants we encounter. My children and fiancé have even seen him follow me into the kitchen when I was cooking. He is my companion.
Now, on the podcast. Who are your people?
I am not making any statements about any other practitioners of African Traditional Religions (ATRs), but I will say there is a degree of common sense. If you know who your people are, you would know better than to be swayed by someone who tells you your Egun are gypsies and you do not come from a family culture of gypsies. Traditionally and culturally, there are some groups that have a history of being very egocentric and did not mix with others outside of their race/culture/tradition. The chances of this being true are extremely low. If you are first generation in North America and someone tells you your Sioux Egun who came through… what? Now if they say Taino and your family is from the islands, we’re cooking with something here.
If you have Egun who are famous, like being the direct descendant of Henry VIII or Malcolm X, would you work just as hard to see the relevance they hold as your Egun if they were not famous? Would you still have the same vigor to continue a mission they started? While I appreciate some have famous Egun, this is only one Egun and may not necessarily be the one who consistently stands up for you in situations. It is nice to know, but really investigate, not just highlight one or two and ignore all the others. How disrespected would you feel if your descendants did that to you and forgot to care for you because a relative was famous? Are there not contributions you would like your descendants to remember about you?
This means that you have not had a good enough conversation with your living relatives and your Egun. If your grandmother is still alive, have a sit down. You can talk to any other family members with knowledge of your family’s lineage like aunts, uncles, or cousins. Interview everyone you know, and again spend time with Egun. I am not saying that during a misa someone is wrong if they mention an Egun you have not heard of before, because that happens often and often they are right. I am saying that if something does not line up with facts and common sense, you investigate for yourself before accepting this as a fact. If during a misa something comes up like this that you are unsure of, just be civil and thank the medium and tell them you received the information. Receiving and accepting are two different things, so you do not have to be ugly about it, just investigate for yourself to confirm it. Be courteous because mediums sacrifice their mind, spirits and bodies in order to bring messages for your benefit.
What if you’re adopted?
The beautiful thing is Egun does not need anyone’s help to find you and they are walking with you right now even if you do not know them. Start your Ancestor altar, get that glass of water and candle. Sit at it asking for their help and guidance to be directed to find information on them and learn about them. Be confident because they are there and hear you. Be consistent about your interaction, sometimes it takes time and patience. I have a godsister who was directed to an entire family she did not know at all and keeps giving wonderful updates about this person or that one she found out about. It is a beautiful process to witness.
Do not worry about if they want you. Passing into the realm of the Ancestors, their human cares and concerns did not pass with them. Often they remain here on earth as a living spirit that continues to haunt descendants, especially when speaking of familial dysfunctional patterns (but that is another post). If this is a concern consider a 9 day elevation ceremony for them asking your godparent(s) if this is appropriate for your given situation, and if not what else can be done. Even if a 9 day elevation is not done, give them light (candle) and pray for their elevation and higher level of being. That does not require anyone’s permission, these are your Egun.
The last thing I wanted to write about is there is a reason Lucumi, Ifa, and other traditions rely on a system of family and there is no solitary practitioner who has mastered all and needs no one. Lean on the strength of your godsiblings. I am sure that quite a few have gone through having to learn to work with Egun. Ask them. You may be absolutely surprised about the stories and insight they would love to share. Only looking to godparents gives a person access to one or two views, but if your godparents are anything like mine there are lots of godsiblings at all different levels. If a godsibling is not as far along as you, the conversation may help them progress. If the godsibling is more advanced, then you will progress.
This is a process that can take years to fully develop to something that can be relied on with confidence and innerstanding but is abundantly well worth the work involved. Luz y progreso!