Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)


I thought this would be a good time to tell you a little more about the goddess Amachi.  Below is Chapter 1 of her story. I would love to hear your thoughts!


Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
S-
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CHAPTER 1
There was a time when I walked the Earth in human form.  My people considered me a healer but I was also known as an oracle, born with the ability of sight. I was called Amachi, Goddess of Light.  Though my people were aware of my abilities and knew that I would harm none, some feared me because my eyes were as clear and fathomless as the sea that surrounded our land.

            Sometimes, I would hear them whisper, “When she looks at you, it is as if she can see inside your soul.”

I have existed for many millennia.  My spirit is re-born every 500 years into the body of one of my sistren. With each re-birth, I become more powerful than before.  But never more powerful than the gods who created me.  Sadly, my powers leave me exposed to loneliness, and it pains me to watch those I love grow old and die before I ever will.  Still I continue to use my abilities to try to make their lives on this land happy and peaceful.

Through the centuries I have seen my people face many obstacles.  Bound by the Orisa there was little I could do to help my kin.  Assisting a human was forbidden even if they were of my blood.  Breaking this rule would mean the end of my cycles; the end of my reincarnations; the end of me.  I believed in my heart, that their determination and courage would always allow them to persevere, at least until now… 

On the first night of each summer solstice, I cast a spell to allow me sight into the future.  It is only on that night that I am able to see what the gods have planned for my people.  With the use of a balefire, I call upon Olodumare the High to give me the strength I need to evoke the spell. 

‘Olodumare bless me with your power; help me to see the unseen.’ 

But one night, my insight into the future was different from all the others.

As the summer moon glowed in the darkness, my balefire burned high into the sky.  Turning a sky blue it glazed over into a sheet of solid ice.  On it a vision began to form.  In it I saw a hut and inside, a woman struggling to give birth to a child.  Outside lurked a dark presence, angrily circling the hut but unable to get inside.  Behind the hut I saw black, sinister clouds rushing towards my land and following it, an ominous wall of water.  Then suddenly a bright blinding light flashed, so beautiful that it moved me; something that has not happened to me in many lifetimes.  I raised my hands to the cold panel of ice, but when I tried to trace the images in the vision, it disappeared. The ice melted suddenly, and crashed onto the ground in a tide of cold water that slid over my bare feet.

I was afraid, because the premonition meant danger to my people, but it also meant that they still had hope.  I rushed to the elders and told them what I had seen.  But as powerful as I was, they saw me only as a woman and refused to listen to the message I was trying to convey.

‘The existence of our tribe is in peril.  I have seen a great danger, one that our powers cannot save us from.  But there is hope; I have also foreseen the birth of a savior.  This savior will be the light of our people.’

“Amachi, that is utter nonsense, we are above all that!”

“We have nothing to fear!  The gods will protect us!” said an elder mockingly. 

Their ignorance infuriated me.   Only Elder Shombay one of our high priests, looked beyond their stupidity.  He knew in his heart that what I said would come to pass.

Though Elder Shombay was younger than most of the tribe’s leaders, he was given great respect.  He was the seventh great grandson of Elder Madu, a highly sought after advisor that lived during the time of my parents.  His caring nature not to mention his good looks (according to the young women of the tribe) made him more approachable than the senior members.  He was the mirror image of his great grandfather who was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark skin and intense dark brown eyes.

“As you well know, the first night of harvest is a sacred one. Every 25 years on that night a child is born to our people.  Upon its birth we will know whether he is the true savior,” said Elder Shombay. 

‘How will we know this?’ I asked.
 
“The child will have an aura like no other.”

***

‘After speaking with the Elder,’ Amachi thought to herself, ‘I realized that I needed to dedicate more time to my people.  My concern about the vision affected my dreams and premonitions; making them distorted.  Blocked at every turn, they have become dark and unreadable.  I cannot provide the clear insight that the Olorun had depended on for hundreds of years.’

Sitting in front of the Ogun River, Amachi drew upon the power of the balefire once more. Calling upon Olodumare the High, Obatala the Pure and Yemoja the Mother she asked that they give her the strength and the fortitude she needed to free her mind and to do right by her people.  She chanted:

‘Fathers, mother, I your daughter call upon
you for guidance and clarity.
My fear for our people has clouded my sight. 
Remove all obstacles from my path and present before me
the ability to claim all that you have bestowed upon me!’

Amachi closed her eyes, and could feel the tension draining from her body. She opened her eyes slowly and sensed the presence of Yemoja the Mother.

“She is near,” Amachi whispered as she smiled into the night air, brimming with the essence of the mighty goddess.

Satisfied that the gods had heard her, Amachi offered a quick prayer of thanksgiving; her heart felt lighter than it had in a long time. She drew bucket after bucket of water from the Ogun, and extinguished the balefire. Silver smoke billowed into the dark sky.

***
One Hundred Years Later…
            I have little patience left.  My enthusiasm and hope for my people are waning, slipping through my fingers like loose sand. One hundred years have passed with no sign of the ‘special’ child we are searching for.  With each passing birth, my hopes have dwindling like the flame of a burning candle. Though I could not age, Elder Shombay did.  His body was frail and his sight weakened. His once smooth dark complexion was lined and his eyes yellowed, but his mind was still razor sharp. I went to him with my concerns.
‘Elder Shombay, I fear that our savior may not be born in time to save us.  My dreams grow darker and I awaken with the sheen of fear running across my brow.  I am afraid that our time draws near.’
 “Where there is fear, there is hope, Amachi.  Isn’t that what you told me, that there is hope?  I believe that his birth will not elude us.  He is destined to be born, he is our destiny.”
On that same night, Adebanke jumped up from a deep slumber.
            “Oluwafemi, Oluwafemi awaken, awaken!  The vision has invaded my dreams once more!  For years its meaning has been unclear.  But finally, the gods have deemed me worthy enough to know the answer.  At first I could only see that a woman was trying to give birth to a child, but I could never see her face.  Now I realize that the woman is me!”
            Unknown to the young couple, Adebanke had been an important part of the vision that plagued Amachi for many years.  Amachi knew that a child would be born but she was not allowed to see the mother’s face either.  Perhaps Olodumare the High did not believe that any of them were ready to know.  Now that the vision was made clear, steps needed to be taken to assure that this special birth would come to pass.  Adebanke and Oluwafemi would soon become creators of a new life.
“Well, Adebanke,” said Oluwafemi, “the reason why the gods put us here is because we have a purpose in this life.  Not only was it meant that we meet each other, but it is meant that you bring forth this child into the world.  He must be very special if you have dreamt of his birth, even before it has taken place.  I hope it will be a boy, but whatever the gods bless us with will be a blessing indeed!”
            Across the village, Amachi sprang up from a troubled sleep, her eyes wide, and her breath short. She yelled out with joy and relief, for her cloudy vision had cleared like fog evaporating from a field. She had seen the woman who would bring the Oloruns peace.  She wrapped her arms around herself and smiled.
“The wait is over,” she whispered and began to pray and make plans for the future.