The Diloggun: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santeria

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Overview

The first book on Santer?a?s holiest divination system to thoroughly explore each family of odu and how their actions and reactions affect the spiritual development of the client.

? Includes the major considerations for sacrifice, providing the diviner with ways to placate and supplicate the Afro-Cuban deities known as orishas.

? Demonstrates how to properly end a reading so that negative vibrations are fully removed from the diviner's home.

? Provides a thoroughly detailed ...

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The Diloggún: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santería

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Overview

The first book on Santería’s holiest divination system to thoroughly explore each family of odu and how their actions and reactions affect the spiritual development of the client.

• Includes the major considerations for sacrifice, providing the diviner with ways to placate and supplicate the Afro-Cuban deities known as orishas.

• Demonstrates how to properly end a reading so that negative vibrations are fully removed from the diviner's home.

• Provides a thoroughly detailed description of each of the 12 families of odu that exist in the diloggun—from Okana through Ejila Shebora.

The diloggun is more than a tool of divination. It is a powerful transformational process, and the forces that are set in motion when it is cast determine the future evolution of the adherent. The Diloggun is the first book to explore this Afro-Cuban oracle from the perspective of diaspora orisha worship. It is also the first book to explore the lore surrounding this mysterious oracle, which is the living Bible of one of the world's fastest growing faiths.

The twelve families of odu that are available to the diviner include 192 omo odu, the children of the odu, and each of these patterns or letters has its own proverbs, meanings, prohibitions, and sacrifices. Ócha'ni Lele provides the secret but essential information that the adept diviner needs to know to ensure that every element affecting a client's spiritual development is taken into consideration during a reading. His book is also the first to detail how to properly end a session so that negative vibrations are absorbed by the orishas and fully removed from the diviner's home. For those seeking the wisdom of ancient Africa, The Diloggun is an indispensable guide to the mysteries of the orishas.

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Editorial Reviews

Edward Batchelor
“In this new book Ócha’ni Lele has brought together information never before published for the education of serious students of divination, and for use by initiated practitioners of African traditional religions, especially those who follow La Regla de Ocha. In doing so, he has more than justified his own claim that ‘one cannot overstate the academic and scholastic value’ of this work.”
Vision Magazine
"Every nook, cranny and crack of Santeria is covered, explained, demonstrated and laid out in clear, simple terms."
March 2004 - SirReadaLot.org
"The Diloggun is an indispensable guide to the mysteries of the orshas."
Mike Gleason
"The sheer amount of information contained within the covers of this book is astounding. I have never seen a book which explains this type of divination in anything like this amount of detail."
Eric Lerner
"The first important work to document the art of Diloggun reading thoroughly in English."
Elizabeth Hazel
“The effort that went into writing this book is only exceeded by the expertise required to write it. Ócha'ni Lele has produced a highly significant addition to the body of lore on Lucumé/Santería that is valuable for its comprehensive insights and its value to prosperity in the religious tradition. Kudos to the editors and publisher of this book for accepting such a massive undertaking. Well done!”
March 2004 SirReadaLot.org
"The Diloggun is an indispensable guide to the mysteries of the orshas."
April 2004 Vision Magazine
"Every nook, cranny and crack of Santeria is covered, explained, demonstrated and laid out in clear, simple terms."
From the Publisher
"Stuart Meyers is to be congratulated and commended for producing this strikingly beautiful volume."

"The first important work to document the art of Diloggun reading thouroughly in English."

“In this new book Ócha’ni Lele has brought together information never before published for the education of serious students of divination, and for use by initiated practitioners of African traditional religions, especially those who follow La Regla de Ocha. In doing so, he has more than justified his own claim that ‘one cannot overstate the academic and scholastic value’ of this work.”

“The effort that went into writing this book is only exceeded by the expertise required to write it. Ócha'ni Lele has produced a highly significant addition to the body of lore on Lucumé/Santería that is valuable for its comprehensive insights and its value to prosperity in the religious tradition. Kudos to the editors and publisher of this book for accepting such a massive undertaking. Well done!”

"The Diloggun is an indispensable guide to the mysteries of the orshas."

"Every nook, cranny and crack of Santeria is covered, explained, demonstrated and laid out in clear, simple terms."

"The sheer amount of information contained within the covers of this book is astounding. I have never seen a book which explains this type of divination in anything like this amount of detail."

Library Journal
In the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, diviners cast the diloggun (cowrie shells) in order to discern the moods and attitudes of the orishas (spirit deities) toward the devotee and to advise the devotee on how to honor them and enter into their good graces. The present work is an expanded edition of Lele's 2000 work, The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination. Here, Lele offers more complete lists of the traditional proverbs associated with each possible casting, as well as extended expositions of each casting's significance. New to this edition are recipes for offerings to placate the orishas. On the whole, the expanded readings give a clearer sense of how the spirits interact with human life and make their concerns known. Nonetheless, the sacred legends (patak s), an important source of knowledge about the lives and characters of the deities, are still not included. This book will replace its earlier edition for Santeria devotees, but others will find the detail and vocabulary daunting. For larger public and academic libraries and special collections in religion and Caribbean culture.-Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892819126
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 8/15/2003
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 495,342
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ócha'ni Lele has been immersed in the underground culture of orisha worship since 1989. He made Ocha in 2000 and was crowned a priest of Oya. His other books include The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination and Obi: Oracle of Cuban Santeria. He lives in Florida.

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Read an Excerpt

One may describe the word itself, diloggún, in two fashions. First, when speaking of diloggún, one may be referring to the cowrie shells received by a Lucumí priest or priestess upon initiation. In the ritual known as asiento (or kariocha or just ocha), an adherent is crowned with his guardian orisha. Note that the concept of a guardian orisha is central to this faith. It is believed that each person who lives is ruled by one orisha, and when the ritual of asiento is given, that one spirit is put to the initiate’s head and is worn, briefly, as a crown. After this is done the initiate becomes a iyawó (bride) of that spirit and is properly initiated into the mysteries. For most, during the asiento one receives the following orishas: Obatalá, Yemayá, Oshún, Shangó, Elegguá, Ogún and Oyá. Each orisha is comprised of four material elements: otanes, implements, and diloggún. The otanes form the body of the deity; they are stones, and it is upon these that sacrificial offerings are given. The implements are the metal or wooden tools sacred to each spirit, symbols by which they do their work on earth. Diloggún is the most important aspect of an orisha, for within these cowrie shells are the soul of each deity. All except for one spirit, Elegguá, will have eighteen shells in his or her diloggún. Elegguá has twenty-one shells in his, for twenty-one is his sacred number and is shared with no other spirit.
    Diloggún is defined within the context of divination as well. For just as the shells are believed to house the soul of an orisha, they are also believed to be their mouthpieces. In its natural state, a cowrie shell has a smooth, rounded back on one side, and on the other, an elongated, serrated opening resembling a mouth. Before initiation, the initiate’s godparents painstakingly sort through bags of these shells, picking the largest, strongest, and most beautiful to house the orisha’s soul. With a knife or file, the rounded side of the cowrie is worn away so that both side are flat. When the orisha’s stones and implements are consecrated, these shells are consecrated as well, born from the godparent’s own orishas with the aid of an herbal elixir known as omiero. Once born, it is believed that the orishas can speak through these shells, for they are their mouthpieces. When reading or casting the oracle known as diloggún, the diviner uses sixteen shells from an orisha’s set of cowries. He picks these from the lot at random, and sets the remaining shells to the side, facedown. Cowries left to the side are known as adele (witnesses), and while they must be present for divination, they remain unused. The mechanically opened side of the shell has a value of zero while the natural mouth has a value of one. This means that when the sixteen cowrie shells are cast on the diviner’s mat, a numerical value from zero to sixteen is obtained; it is through these numbers that the orisha invoked speaks to the priest. For the purposes of this book, when one speaks of casting or reading the diloggún, it is assumed that one is speaking of the sixteen shells used in divination.
   To comprehend the diloggún’s system, think of it as a vast, limitless book chronicling creation, beginning with the first stirring of Olódumare. If the diloggún is the complete book, each odu is a single chapter of that book. There are sixteen major divisions of the diloggún known as the parent odu, and it is not incorrect to think of each parent odu as a single chapter to itself. From them are all things in this system derived. Each parent odu has a name and a number associated with it. To effectively employ this oracle, one must know all sixteen names and their numerical equivalents.  These are: Okana (one mouth), Eji Oko (two mouths), Ogundá (three mouths), Irosun (four mouths), Oché (five mouths), Obara (six mouths), Odí (seven mouths), Eji Ogbe (eight mouths), Osá (nine mouths), Ofún (ten mouths), Owani (eleven mouths), Ejila Shebora (twelve mouths), Metanla (thirteen mouths), Merinla (fourteen mouths), Marunla (fifteen mouths), and Merindilogún (sixteen mouths). The number of mouths displayed in a single casting of shells corresponds to the number of an odu (hence, if five open mouths fall on the diviner’s mat, the odu Oché is open). 
   Just as many books have smaller sections within each chapter, so does each odu have smaller divisions. These are called the omo odu (children of odu). Each is a part of a spiritual family linked by the parent odu that gave it birth, just as each subheading of a chapter is part of the chapter’s greater whole. When casting the diloggún, an italero accesses one of these patterns. He does this by gently awakening the spirit of an orisha with an invocation known as mojubando, a litany paying homage to God, the earth, the ancestors, and the orisha whose diloggún is cast. The diviner himself does not know, initially, which section of the book to read; however, by awakening the orisha with the litany of mojubando, that spirit identifies what part of the diloggún applies to the client. To do this requires two castings. The first names the parent odu, and the second letter modifies the first, narrowing the reading down to 1 of 256 possible combinations. For example, if the diviner’s first casting of diloggún results in a mandala of nine open mouths on the mat, the parent odu is Osá. Casting the cowries a second time, if the diviner counts three mouths, the odu Ogundá has fallen. The first casting of Osá is modified by the second. The resulting odu is named Osá Ogundá, and the diviner knows he must search his memory for the meanings of that sign. 

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Table of Contents


AN INTRODUCTION TO THE LUCUMÍ RELIGION

ONE MANIPULATING THE DILOGGÚN, THE ORACLE OF THE ORISHAS

TWO THE FAMILY OF OKANA

THREE THE FAMILY OF EJI OKO

FOUR THE FAMILY OF OGUNDÁ

FIVE THE FAMILY OF IROSUN

SIX THE FAMILY OF OCHÉ

SEVEN THE FAMILY OF OBARA

EIGHT THE FAMILY OF ODÍ

NINE THE FAMILY OF EJI OGBE

TEN THE FAMILY OF OSÁ

ELEVEN THE FAMILY OF OFÚN

TWELVE THE FAMILY OF OWANI

THIRTEEN
THE FAMILY OF EJILA SHEBORA

APPENDIX: THE ODU BEYOND EJILA SHEBORA

GLOSSARY

SUGGESTED READING

INDEX

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Excellent Resiurce for a traveling Olorisha

    The book is by itself a great resource. To have it on your Nook reader is even more of a blessing. Its worth the investment. Orunmila ,Ire,O

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Exceptionally well written! Highly recommended, and a MUST HAVE!

    This book is a wonderfully written, historic and informative book. The author is very clear, concise and personable. I love the way it is laid out, very descriptive and a great educational book. This book is a keeper and will be used within my religious family as a conversational piece, guide and inspiring book. Most of the books written about the Diloggun are written in spanish and are written in such a complex tone, that they can be a turn-off...NOT THIS ONE. This book is thought provoking and so beautifully explained that it will be of great help to me in my teachings of the religion. Alafia! Maferefun todo los santos! Mami, Papi, Madrina y Padrino gracias por todo, y por luz y progreso.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    A True Appreciation of the Santeria Culture

    The author has done an outstanding job in portraying not only the meaning of each Oddu but also the true significance of what Diloggun represents as a whole within the Santeria culture. The author goes to the grass roots and explores how the tradition survived the slave trade out of Africa and was later modified to become what is known today as, ¿Santeria.¿ The author honors the people who have played vital rolls in the modification of the religion and explains how their teachings and practices are still honored today. This book if more of a guide than a manual and it goes beyond regular ¿Story Telling¿ by touching the heart of the religion in a way that is enlightening and inspirational.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Thank you, Babalori¿a Ochani Lele, but...

    I was disturbed to have encountered a person who, without a crown, without Ori¿a the first, was studying "cowrie shell divination" because she wanted, in my opinion, to diversify her divination (this was a skilled Tarot card reader). Even knowing me (who was a dedicated abori¿a at the time), she had no interest in being read by anyone. I have only given three stars because while this is an excellent work and helpful to priests (who have already been trained by their Mayores), I think the ease with which one may obtain it is deeply problematic. Not wrong. Just fraught with problems. Your work is a mandate from Òyá. I respect, understand and *celebrate* that (Yansa crowns my head). I just think of other *successful* Ori¿a-centered authors whose books and treatises are deliberately harder to find. Adupe, but please rethink your distribution.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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