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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

African grey red tail feathers

The red feather of the african grey is not a novelty but a required item in the yoruba religion. This feather has the authority to invoke prestige in the yoruba community. Its possession, is reserved only for selected priest to wear. This feather is a symbol of their rank in the community. Its ultimate power and ability is to attract the ever seeing eye of Olofin. The presence of this simple; yet beautiful plumage, bestows blessing from Olofin himself.

These feathers come from the Psittacus erithacus species. Its common name is African Grey, Congo grey. The name for this bird in yoruba is “iko ode". The grey by far is the favorite of olofin, although Olofin has many familiars, all of nature serves the lawgiver yet the greys feathers garnish his crown.  

The reason for the feathers authority comes into play in the Odu (Ogbe-she). One of the legends of the Pataki of Ogbe-she state: "The gray was not always grey it was a white feather bird".  Olofin always had special favoritism for the grey because of his playfulness and his special humorous dance; not to mention, his great ability at mimicking the human voice. This special consideration created envy from the other birds of the forest. Many of the other forest creatures felt that they should have Olofin eye since they had extravagant bodacious plumage. Some even believed that there mear size or skills should have earned them admirable consideration, "Not this small, white and unimpressionable looking bird". The birds of the forest gathered and plotted to end this relationship.

One day, the grey and all the forest animals received an invitation that Olofin was having one of his feast. All of Olofin's invites where to attend. That night, the grey had a nightmare that chilled his bones. Confused by this dream; which felt so real, the grey decided to visit the divining oracle of Orumila.

The oracle was invoked and Ifa marked the odu of ogbe-she. The oracle expressed to the grey "you have many enemies plotting your demise". The oracle told him of a special invite. That he should attend but he was not to arrive on time. It said to offer the spirit of destiny an offering, to alter the evil that was already in motion. The last advice was "no matter what the circumstance, he should continue his journey or destination as much as he felt to quit or go back".  The oracle expressed if he offered destiny the gifts, he would be uplifted into a unimaginable status. The grey did the offering to destiny and went on his way to the feast.

“The plan of the enemies” plotted to capture him, pour ash and red palm oil on him as a prevention from the grey's arriving to the feast giving them the opportunity to sweet talk Olofin’s ear. As the grey left his offerings at the the shrine of destiny the villains did as planned. They tied, poured ashes, and smeared with red palm oil.

Olofin waited for his favorite to arrive with his humorous dance and mimicking, but the grey did not arrive. Concerned that the grey had refused the invite, Olofin's mood sadden.  The party dragged and the creatures of the forest attempted to appease the the lawgiver with shows of there beautiful displays of plumage and bird calls, but all this was of little amusement to Olofin.

After what seemed as endless hours of untying himself, the grey felt disappointed that after the oracles advice and his offering to destiny this would occur. He remembered the oracle telling him to continue no matter the situation, but he so desired to return home and change- after all his beautiful white feathers had been ruined and Olofin favored the color white. 
Destiny pushed him forward, the grey decided to arrive at the party as is. To the surprise of the villains, Olofins attention was drawn to the screams and gasps from all the invitees as the grey entered with the funniest of dances and danced he did. Olofins humor returned. The party was a festive event again. The animals of the forest not recognizing the grey, but because Olofins laughs uplifted the party all seem well with this new comer. Olofin spotted the grey and approached him The grey gave first the reverence to olofin. Olofin gives the grey his blessing and lifts him from the ground and asked why did you arrive to my invite so late, its not honorable to keep me waiting and in this appearance. The grey apologized and told Olofin that some bandits had delayed  him, pouring ash and oil over his feathers but he didn’t have time to change, because Odu, via Ifa had instructed him to never go back, to continue on his mission.  Olofin upset over the audacity of these vile creatures, ascends to his throne. The creatures of the forest all drop to the ground as the lawgiver is about to speak, Olofin decrees “ As of this moment on all ritual ceremony, offerings made should contain the red feather of the grey, as now he shall be known, The feather will be added so I may look upon it, giving it my blessing. If the offerings are without this, I will not look upon your ceremony, or offerings. TO ABAN ISHU.

This is the reason why the african grey feather is now one of the important ingredients in our offerings or when performing ceremonies in orissa, This feather should be applied to the ebbo of the iyawo so Olofin notices the rituals and ceremonies being done to the Iyawo. when offering to the spirit of destiny (ESU), there needs to be a feather in place, All ebbos are delivered to olofin, you may offer Obatala, Yemaya, Shango, any offering but it is taken first and  presented to olofin by the orisa to receive the blessing of the lawgiver, This information is not well known or understood, many think the asking orissa is the one eating the gift, Orisa ask their fathers blessings first. For all things must be approved by the one and only OLOFIN..
“No deed good or bad can occur if its not approved by the divine”

There is one other Pataki about red feather, that I will add next. The Crown of Obatala.

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