Archives For predictions

The beginning of a new calendar year usually means a flurry of predictions. These prognostications can be educated guesses, fervent hopes, pessimistic fears, or, in some cases, spiritual messages via divination, omens, or other supernatural methods. One widely reported instance of a yearly divination tradition is the Ifá predictions from Cuba’s Santeria priests, who’ve been gathering for nearly 30 years to make predictions and recommendations. This year the reigning divinity is Olokun, accompanied by Yemaya, and they are predicting a year of generational conflict and ecological imbalance.

“Afro-Cuban priests warned Thursday that the new year may be marked by outbreaks of disease, environmental disruption, familial disorder and conflict between people and nations that risks spilling into war. In the annual “Letter of the Year,” a commission of “babalawos,” or Santeria priests, also predicted that 2014 could see the death of important global political or religious leaders, and elderly people in general. They did not, however, name any names.”

In an interesting twist this year, three different groups of Santeria priests, one in Miami, and two in Havana, all agree that Cuba will have an “optimistic” 2014.

For the first time in memory, New Year’s predictions issued by three groups of Cuban Santeria priests — two in Havana and one in Miami — have agreed: The communist-ruled island faces an “optimistic” year. Now the babalawos are trying to figure out exactly what the prediction, or “letter,” means. [...] “There is no precedent for the three being identical,” said Ernesto Pichardo, head of the Lukumi Babalu Aye Church in Hialeah and part of the group that issued the Miami “letter.” “Now the question is what road to follow … More precision is needed.”

At Patheos, Lilith Dorsey comments on the unique nature of this alignment of readings, calling it “unprecedented.”

“In the religion of Santeria (La Regla Lucumi) the New Year begins with a divination. Many Santeria houses (spiritual centers) perform their own divination. Special note however is paid to the readings done by the larger spiritual houses. These readings give predictions, prohibition, and insight into the coming year. Devotees use these predictions as guidelines for the coming year. It is a very good idea to follow the rules dictated by your spiritual home. I have several cautionary tales about how someone didn’t follow a food prohibition and then got ill, or didn’t follow a sex tabu and then got an STD. There are a few things to remember when reading this information. First, follow the instructions of your own ile, and your godparents first and foremost. Secondly, if you are not initiated into the religion this information is provided for informational purposes only. Fortunately or unfortunately Santeria is not a home study religion, and it can not be self taught, everyone is different and needs the individual guidance and support that come from belonging to a spiritual family.”

Dorsey also shares the Yoruba Cultural Association’s letter for 2014. For a deeper picture, you can look at many different yearly Ifa readings from many different groups and councils, here.  Meanwhile, the faithful take to the streets in Cuba to ask the powers for a prosperous year to come.

“Cuban followers of the Santeria faith beat sacred drums, sacrificed animals and sang ceremonial songs in the Yoruba tongue Monday to give thanks for the year’s blessings and ask for prosperity in 2014. About 200 believers and onlookers thronged Havana’s most important market, Cuatro Caminos, for the ceremony dedicated to Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and also protector of the universe. “This year was good, it was prosperous,” said Victor Betancourt, a “babalawo,” or Santeria priest.”

Naturally, Santeria isn’t the only faith that engages in divination, though few Pagan organizations formalize yearly divination in such a manner (usually readings are personal and done for clients). There are, on the other hand, plenty of Astrologers giving 2014 forecasts. Whatever your method, Dorsey’s warning to treat these various readings as informational if you aren’t entrenched in the belief system or school in question is well heeded. As for their accuracy? Only time will tell.

“Carol Mayer, a self-described “undercover psychic” at Benicia’s Angel Heart 4 You, 501 First St., (707) 745-2024 also sees improvement on the horizon. “Twenty thirteen was a very difficult year for everybody, so I guarantee 2014 will be a better year for everybody; a really wonderful year for all of us,” said Mayer, who said this prediction comes also from observations as a local business owner.”

Have you done divination or oracular work for 2014? Just have a strong hunch about the months to come? What are your predictions and advice for the coming year? Feel free to share them in the comments, and welcome to 2014!

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

spirits

 

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

The beginning of a new calendar year usually means a flurry of predictions. These prognostications can be educated guesses, fervent hopes, pessimistic fears, or, in some cases, spiritual messages via divination, omens, or other supernatural methods. One widely reported instance of a yearly divination tradition is the Ifá predictions from Cuba’s Santeria priests, who’ve been gathering for 26 years to make predictions and recommendations. Last year they were eerily accurate in their readings, predicting “abrupt changes in political systems”, intense drought, and “dangers of war and conflicts.” This year the reigning deity is Oya, and they are predicting a year of “war and confrontation, social, political, and economic change, and a dangerous increase in temperature.” However, the mainstream press seems to have positioned this as a Babalawos vs Mayas prophesy-off thanks to the ubiquity of New Age “Mayan Prophesy” books that predict a great ending/beginning in 2012.

Believers around the world have furthered the theory, which stems from a stone tablet discovered in the 1960s at the archaeological site of Tortuguero in the Gulf of Mexico state of Tabasco that describes the return of a Mayan god on that date, similar to the story of Judgment Day. But Cuba’s priests say that “what needs to die is not the world itself, but rather the ways in which the world has lived until now: confrontations, wars, misery and discrimination,” said Lazaro Cuesta, one of the island’s leading Santeria priests, or babalawo. “For us, an old world must end so that a new world is born …. It is not a physical end.”

Despite the Mayan “2012″ theory being debunked again, and again, and again, and again, and again, some still think something momentous will happen when that calendar runs out. As Mayan Elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun says, “I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff”. I suppose the popularity of 2012 as an end-date made such a comparison inevitable, but still, I would have liked to see more on the Ifá predictions instead of having them comment on the popular Mayan trend. In any case, here are their events of social concern for 2012.

  1. This is a sign of war and confrontation.
  2. This is a sign of transition, and social, political, and economic change.
  3. Loss through old age (aging population).
  4. Increase in seismic movement.
  5. You should pay attention to all household issues.
  6. Serious marital problems.
  7. Seek nimble solutions to any existing problem.
  8. Dangerous increase in temperature.

And here are the recommendations from the 2012 reading.

  1. Improve hygiene in hospitals.
  2. Improve apprenticeship in the manual trades.
  3. Special attention to agriculture and the organized distribution of products.
  4. Attention to your children.
  5. Grant consideration to women in every aspect.
  6. Better the organization of public economic management.
  7. Use music as social therapy.
  8. Organize a campaign of general sanitation against environmental contamination in order to avoid epidemics.
  9. Make offerings to ASOJUANO.
  10. Take advantage of the properties of the following plants for their respective uses: albahaca (basil), hierba de la sangre (blood plant), caisimón, quita maldición (remove curse), ciruela (plum), algodón (cotton) and bledo blanco.
  11. Control the increase in promiscuity.
  12. Preserve the environment.
  13. Avoid false accusations and defamations.
  14. Change and revise penal laws, bringing them up to date.

 

As for good omens from other sources, I would like to think launching of a new Pagan community center in Washington DC is a particularly good one. What omens, predictions, and visions do you have for the year of Oya?

Each year there is a gathering of Santeria priests in Cuba where they perform Ifa readings for the coming year. While these readings usually try to avoid blatant political statements, that’s been starting to change in recent years. This year, the priests “predict coups d’etat and sudden political changes,” alongside a general theme of reorganization and “economic openness.”

“We are sure that there will be changes” in 2011, said the one of the group’s top priests, Lazaro Cuesta. “We’re certain that good moments are coming.” [...] The priests announced their latest forecast — known here as the “Letra del Ano,” or the “Letter of the Year” — following a secretive New Year’s Eve ritual that includes religious chants and animal sacrifices. Some 1,000 priests participated in the closed-doors ceremony, Cuesta said.

Naturally Cuba’s government-sanctioned Santeros, knowing where their bread is buttered, aren’t predicting the drastic changes seen in the independent group’s readings.

Predictions by a rival Santeria group agreed that 2011 is the year of Oggun. In a statement Sunday, the group, which enjoys official government sanction, added that “great difficulties” would be overcome this year.

You can find the full text of the 2011 Ifa readings, here.

So, having seen their predictions, let’s turn to the Pagan community. Did you do any readings about the coming year? Have any predictions you want to share with the world? Feel free to post them in the comments. But be warned! We’ll be looking back in 2012 to see how accurate you were!

Each year there is a gathering of Santeria priests in Cuba where they perform Ifa readings for the coming year. While they generally try to stay apolitical, this year was a bit different.

“Their prediction: a year of social and political unrest, struggles for power, and treachery. They also warned that there could be a coup d’etat or other sudden political change. Speaking about their findings, one of the leading babalawos, Victor Betancourt, said it was time for a new generation of leaders to take over. “Times change. The older generations should pass their experience on to young people because they are better prepared,” he said.”

Naturally these sorts of predictions don’t sit well when your country is being ruled by a pair of increasingly elderly brothers. So the only thing to do when your power is thus threatened, short of imprisonment and murder, is to release some predictions of your own to muddy the waters.

“A rival Santeria group, which enjoys official sanction from the government, came out with its own predictions later Saturday, saying 2010 would be a year of improving health.”

That rival Santeria group knows where its bread is buttered.

Naturally the meeting of Babalawos and Santeros in Cuba isn’t the only new-years predictive ceremony that’s held.

“Mexico’s ”Brujo Mayor” or ”Great Witch” is scheduled to announce his predictions on world events and celebrity affairs on Monday, and Venezuela’s Santeria priests are expected to make their own New Year’s predictions.”

I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to predictions for 2010. So let’s turn to the Pagan community. Did you do any readings about the coming year? Have any predictions you want to share with the world? Feel free to post them in the comments. But be warned! We’ll be looking back in 2011 to see how accurate you were!

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 3, 2009 — 2 Comments

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

Cuba’s babalawos have gotten together once again to make predictions for the coming year. While warning against natural disasters and marital strife, they seem somewhat upbeat (if cautious) about economic matters.

“There is a favorable time for loans, an increase in certain powers from the financial point of view, but one has to be careful about using that increase,” [Victor Betancourt] said. The prediction also warns of the perils of drinking water being contaminated, family quarrels, wars and the threat of natural disasters, and calls for men to respect women in the home. He also recommends being careful when speaking to avoid interpersonal conflicts, not revealing secrets people trust us with, and guarding against marital infidelity.

The Ifa readings for 2009 say the year will be reigned over by Oggun, the loa of war, and by Oya, in charge of storms and gentle breezes. You can read what I think is the text of the 2009 readings, here. You can also look at last year’s readings to see how accurate they were.

Medusa Coils reviews a new book by Jeri Lyn Studebaker (aka Athana of Radical Goddess Thealogy fame) entitled “Switching to Goddess: Humanity’s Ticket to the Future”.

Studebaker (who blogs as Athana on Radical Goddess Thealogy) doesn’t mince words in her bold assessment of where “war-daddy god” worship has gotten us and why we need to return to the female divine, whose cultures have been associated with peace, equality, and risk-taking. She doesn’t tip toe around difficult issues, and isn’t afraid to directly and strongly criticize Christianity and the Bible, for example. Though she often writes in a slangy style, you’d be wise not to be taken in by the flip language: Studebaker is no intellectual lightweight. The offbeat language helps make the book more accessible and enjoyable, but behind it a strong intellect and Goddess interpreter is at work.

Studebaker’s book was released by O Books, who have been gaining a good reputation as a company unafraid to publish thoughtful, challenging, and provoking Pagan-oriented books (most notably recent works by Brendan “Cathbad” Myers and Emma Restall Orr). For those unfamiliar with Studebaker’s work, note that she is an unapologetic Goddess booster on a mission (not that there is anything wrong with that). Even her positive reviews typify her writing as “fierce”, “provoking”, “zealous”, “fiesty”, “hard-hitting”, and (naturally) “radical”. Personally, I’m glad to see more Pagan books unafraid to stir things up now and then.

Attention scholars, music lovers, metal-heads, and others interested in the links between spirituality and music. A massive new collection of (seemingly free) interviews with musicians entitled “The Spiritual Significance of Music” has been released. Of particular interest is the “Metal Edition” which covers the interest in Pagan, Satanic, occult, and esoteric practices by metal bands.

…an exciting exploration of how music powerfully impacts spirituality, and why spirituality influences music. Readers will discover sincere expressions of spiritual beliefs from the world of metal music. This portfolio includes an eclectic mix of musicians playing many forms of metal music; ambient metal, avant-garde death-metal, black metal, brutal metal, death metal, doom metal, experimental metal, funeral-doom, gothic metal, grindcore, heavy metal, industrial metal, melodic metal, power metal, progressive metal, psychedelic metal, Satanic metal, sludge metal, speed metal, symphonic metal, technical metal, thrash metal, and includes musicians from alternative-rock, avant-rock, and hardcore-punk bands. Metal Edition provides readers with an important introduction to metal music’s affinity with demonology, divination, magic, mysticism, Satanism, spiritualism, the occult, and witchcraft.

There are also “Christian”, “World” and “Authors” editions to peruse as well (though the “World” and “Authors” sections seem to be down at the moment, perhaps due to traffic problems). Just the metal section alone looks like a treasure-trove of information, and I can’t wait to start sifting through it all. Kudos to editor Justin St. Vincent for the yeoman’s work performed here.

More signs of the growth of alternative and minority faiths in prison? In a fairly standard profile of prison chaplains for a women’s prison in Idaho, they reveal the religious make-up of the institution.

Mostly, he refers the inmate to one of the numerous groups that routinely visit the prison as part of the ministries program. At initial intake into the prison population, each woman is asked her religious leaning. Forty-five percent of inmates identify their orientation as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 24 percent as non-Roman Catholic Christian, 10 percent as Catholic, 4 percent as Wiccan, Odinist, Rastafarian or other less-mainstream religion, and 1 percent as Jewish.

The high Mormon numbers seem about right for a state  where around 23% of the population are LDS members, but I was surprised to see a prison in Idaho with such a high percentage of minority and Pagan faiths. Are more Pagans going to prison, or are we seeing an increasingly large number of people turing to Pagan faiths while incarcerated? If so, it certainly places extra importance on efforts to obtain equal and fair treatment of Pagan inmates across the country.

In a final note, the Reuters FaithWorld blog highlights the unveiling of Catholic Google (no official relation to actual Google) that removes (as much as possible) offensive sites and gives extra weight to pro-Catholic sites.

So now there’s Catholic Google, a search engine that calls itself  “the best way for good Catholics to surf the web”, It claims that “it produces results from all over the internet with more weighting  given to Catholic websites and eliminates the vast majority of unsavoury content, such as pornography”. When I heard this today, my first question was whether Google was getting into the religion business. Were there Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or other versions of the search engine out there as well?

I truly hope that this isn’t something that takes hold. I would personally recoil at the thought of a “Pagan Google”. What is wonderful about Google is the lack of fences in search results. When religious faiths start acting like China when it comes to the Internet, the possible damage to ecumenicism, interfaith outreach, and dialogue is inestimatable.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Instead of reading more 2009 predictions from a collection of local psychics, let’s turn instead to the SF Gate’s interview with astrologer Rob Brezsny. The “free will” astrologer takes some time to punch holes in the predictions of your neighborhood doom-sayers.

“I believe that some astrologers, not all, are like a lot of New Age prophets and right-wing fundamentalist prophets in that they gravitate toward the visions of the future that stimulate fear, because at this cultural moment fear is more entertaining than the more uplifting news, and it gives them power. It gives them power to scare somebody. I try to have a very tolerant nature towards all people, but I have to admit that it really grates on me when astrologers just fixate on the ugliest possible interpretation of any astrological aspect.”

Then again, he also says the real prophets of our culture are creating a darker world.

“The more dangerous prophets are the storytellers of our culture – the journalists, the filmmakers, the writers of fiction and many musicians who are constantly besieging us with dark visions. I think about Muriel Rukeyser, the poet, who said that the universe is not made of molecules – it’s made out of stories, and if the storytellers of our culture are constantly telling us that the only true thing is an ugly thing, then yes, I do think that’s a problem.”

Being someone who alternately styles himself a journalist and an artist, I take issue with the idea that “dark stories” are creating an “ugly” future. Art isn’t just joyous inspiration, it is also catharsis and reflection. Imagine how darker things would truly be without the “dark visions” providing a safe outlet for all that “ugliness”. So while I admire Brezsny’s commitment to positive thinking, he seems to be stuck in a sort of “pronoic” tunnel vision of his own making on this particular issue.

But let’s not end the first post of 2009 on a critical note, here is a final quote from Brezsny that should warm a few Pagan hearts.

“I subscribe to Krishnamurti’s principle… he said that “we need four billion religions.” Now that number is up to 6.5 billion – a religious tradition for everyone on the planet, 6.5 billion paths to God.”

For more on Brezsny and Free Will Astrology, check out his web site. I’m also fond of his piece “A Prayer For You”. I hope you had a great New Years, and aren’t suffering too much from last night’s celebrations.

Yoruba Sacred Texts

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 22, 2008 — 1 Comment

In a recent post I mentioned that two copies of a rare book about the Yoruba religion were donated to Florida International University.

“The text, The Book of Diagnosis in Ifa Divination, was drawn from the religion’s oral tradition and first published in the 1940s. The original text and its copies were kept from the public until the present day … The text is a compilation of Yoruba and Afro-Cuban history, culture and philosophy. It was written in Yoruba and Spanish.”

Now a follow-up article about the donation, from student paper The Beacon, goes into greater depth about the history and importance of this text.

“After years of criticism for not having a written religious canon, leaders of the Yoruba religion have decided to reveal two original texts that were kept for decades in the hands of privileged priests. The texts were showcased at a meeting for the inauguration of Africana Knowledge Working Group of South Florida held at Biscayne Bay Campus on Jan. 18. This event marked the first time any sacred text of Santeria, the syncretic Yoruba religion, has ever been exposed to the public. The Book of Diagnosis in Ifa Divination was written in 1940 by a group of priests and recopied by the same authors within the next ten years.”

For anyone interested in minority faiths, this is a major development. I only wish this had been covered by a major new outlet who had the time and money to really dig into this story. For instance, what is the general consensus of this text among different manifestations of Yoruba-derived religion? Was there any controversy in making this text known? Do Santeria practitioners feel differently about the book than Vodou priests in America? Is it truly a “sacred” text in the same manner as the Bible? There are so many questions that have yet to be explored here, but I’m almost certain of one group’s reaction, academics and scholars are no doubt excited about these texts. In a couple years we will most likely see papers that explore this new find, and perhaps they will answer the questions that the journalists didn’t get around to.

Speaking of Yoruba and Santeria, babalawo Antonio Castaneda, the first priest of the Santeria religion to be elected to Cuba’s parliament, predicted the continued rule of Fidel Castro despite concerns about his health after a recent surgery.

“‘Olodumare says he is the one that should be there and so he is untouchable,’ said Antonio Castaneda, a babalawo (priest) in the religion slaves brought to colonial Cuba from Nigeria. Hurricanes may batter Cuba this year, but Castro’s health will not break, according to the orishas (deities), he said … Santeria followers have believed their gods were on Fidel Castro’s side ever since a white dove landed on his shoulder during a victory speech in Havana after his 1959 revolution.”

Of course Castaneda belongs to the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba, an organization friendly to the Cuban government, so he might be seeing what he wants to see, instead of what will be. Only time will tell for sure (you can always look at the Ifa predictions for 2008, and make your own judgments).

A traditional pastime in many cultures is to perform divinations and make predictions for the coming year. One of the more famous groups releasing predictions for 2008 is a consortium of (predominately Cuban) Santeria priests.

“Priests offering New Year’s prophecies from Cuba’s Afro-Cuban religion on Wednesday gave few hints on the future of convalescing leader Fidel Castro and instead warned about dangerous climate change and epidemics … This year’s batch came after a meeting of more than 1,000 priests, including babalawos visiting from Venezuela, Peru and Italy.”

While most journalists wanted to hear about Castro, the babalawos seem far more concerned about environmental issues, war, and global warming.

“More violent robberies and wars are on the way in 2008, along with dangerous forest fires, and this may be the year global warming unleashes worldwide catastrophe. But with hard work and moral discipline, the planet’s people just might turn things around … In their forecast released Wednesday, the priests warned “Cuba and the world” of heightened danger from forest fires, “violent robberies” and “serious climate irregularities.” But there is still time to seize the moral high ground, reduce violence and slow climate change, Priest Lazaro Cuesta told a news conference. “There is still hope because there are still possibilities,” he said.”

Santeria priests aren’t the only ones making press for 2008 predictions, some local papers are hitting up psychics for clues to what the future holds.

“But ask local psychics Pernel Dove and Flash Silvermoon what the capricious future holds, and, without a heartbeat of hesitation, they’ll answer … According to Dove’s annual predictions, Hilary Clinton will “without a doubt” be elected president … According to Silvermoon, Osama bin Laden will finally be found and the Bush family will get caught in a “communication oriented” scandal during the first week of March … Dove predicted at least two hurricane landfalls in the United States.”

But you should be careful with predictions, because they can always come back to haunt you.

“In 2001, Nikki had forecast that two planes would crash into the World Trade Center. She had also predicted Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwins demise. She, however, wrongly predicted in 2007 that an explosion would rock Rockefeller Center, Fidel Castro would die, and the United States would invade Cuba. Her predictions that a terrorist would attack Air Force One, and that Leonardo DiCaprio would be kidnapped, also did not come true.”

Have you done divinations for the new year? What predictions are you willing to make for 2008? Leave a comment with your hunches, guesses, and certainties, but be careful, you may see your predictions (wrong or right) revisited come 2009!

ADDENDUM: Full text of the Ifa Reading for 2008.