We had met Osayin in 1977 while rummaging through the forests at Malubago Hills, Guinarona, in Leyte, Philippines. We did not know it was him; we thought it was some other malevolent spirit. We came upon his fresh footprints right after a light rain. Like hundreds of them–but only of the left foot! What creature walks with only the left foot?
Thirty three years have passed before we came to know it was Osayin, only because our friend McCauley Baranov, an accomplished Orisha practitioner, pointed it out to us. In her words, “Osayin is the one in charge of all herbs and herbally prepared medicines or baths. He is very important to all Orisha rituals. You are blessed to have encountered him.”
So Osayin is now an added dimension to our spiritual practice. Which is just as well considering how the Earth has come into some unhealthy balance–pollution here, logged out forests there. And global climate change defining the here and now.
With apologies to the skeptics and naysayers, we go headlong into the alchemy of herbs, a domain of Osayin’s. As we believe in self-discovery, we intend to go the trial-and-error route. Have you learned that Pierre and Marie Curie were aided in their landmark discoveries by the spirit realm? Well, we hope Osayin will be just as helpful.
Baba Oduduwa has this teaching about Osayin, thus:
Osayin Igba should also have a Stone carved figure of Osayin. He only has one eye, one ear, one arm, one leg, one testicle, and they should be from one side to the other; for example: left eye, right ear, left arm, right leg, etc, like in a zigzag way. Osayin’s physical aspect is that of an old man. Osayin has 16 Gourds, they all should be charged with Osayin secrets. You should go to the forest at dawn to make ceremonies to Osayin.
You as Olorishas should receive Osayin, in order to use the Magical powers of the herbs, even without need to reap the Ewe (herbs), you can create magical powders what the Lukumi call Inshe Osayin.
The person who gets initiated into Osayin secrets, should make the commitment to learn, to study, and to know about herbs and their correct use. They should go to the forest, the savanna, the woods, and they should invoke Osayin, they should look for herbs, see them, smell them, touch them, taste them, and they should connect with the Ori Ewe (the consciousness of the herb), Ori Igi (the consciousness of the tree) all these in order to enter into communion with the Spirit of the herb, to receive the Ashe or Power of the herb. Also they are alchemical aspects of the use of herbs.”
Pick up herbs at dawn, when the Solar Energy in relation to the Earth is most powerful.”
Since we had met Osayin before, our ritual for him three days ago was a way of reconnecting with him, and it was a success for all intents and purposes. On a green plate, we offered him a fresh rose with a libation of rum. We scribbled his name with a red marking pen on a small piece of white paper. The following day, we saw that the marks of the rum formed interesting patterns, and– mark this– there was a figure with just one leg! An indication that Osayin accepted and liked what we did.
Who knows then that down the road Osayin will lead us to the plants that will create a universal stir in the manner of the Curies?