I spent all last night beading. I am beading a set for someone I am about to initiate. I love to make my own Elekes for my godchildren and feel that there is a lot of worth in a set of Elekes that you have made with love and passion. This does not mean that they still don’t go through a spiritual process. Each set of Elekes have to go through a process before they are received. An Ide and Eleke for a new initiate also goes through a process before being bestowed on the new initiate. Not everyone enjoys beading and it is an option to buy Elekes from a Botanica, but if you have not been initiated then shopping for Elekes is not something that you should be doing.
I was made aware today that people who maybe following the tradition are not clear about who wears what and why. Looking through questions that people have googled and and found their way to my page include today as I write this: “ I have just bought myself an Oshun bracelet, which wrist should I wear it on?” !!!! My answer to this question is, if you were meant to be wearing a bracelet for Oshun, you would not need to ask this question. IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INITIATED STOP APPROPRIATING.
Here is a breakdown:
- Elekes. Four or five Necklaces given by Olorishas in a ceremony. The four pillars and sometimes Elegua are given in a ceremony when it is divined for someone to receive them. Some houses don’t give Elekes and will only do so on full initiation.
- Eleke and Ide of Orula. This is given when you receive your hand of Orula from a Babalawo.
- IDE, large multi stranded bracelets worn by initiates who have gone through the ceremony of KARIOCHA only will be wearing these.
- EXCEPTIONS: sometimes a single Eleke may be asked for during a reading for the protection of the person coming for the divination.
- Large double stranded Elekes. Worn by initiates who are crowned. New fashion in Cuba is to receive these on initiation.
Horrible Inventos. At the moment in Cuba. Newly crowned individuals in some houses are now wearing double stranded Elekes of both their mother and father in Ocha. They are also wearing two Ides. One symbolising their crown and the other symbolising the corresponding mother or father Orisha. This is not necessary and this is relatively new.
My aim is to keep to tradition. There are reasons for everything within this tradition and it is a hierarchical tradition where there are clues to people’s status via what they wear. This is so across the board in any given African tradition whether in Africa, or in the Diaspora.