The other day I was so busy doing all and everything that I had forgotten to eat until on my way back home. My stomach reminded me that I had neglected it. I went and bought some vegan food (been toying with the vegan possibility for a while, but there’s a big spiritual reason why I may not go vegan after all, I will do a post on this soon), and some other kinds of snacks on the side. As I got home and showered, this was about 8 or 9 pm, feeling nicely refreshed, I sat on the veranda for a while, relaxed, ready to eat while enjoying the night’s breeze, there is nothing like a sweet Jamaican breeze and a glass of nicely iced sorrel beside me.
I opened up the box of food which consisted of split peas rice, some red peas stew, curry chickpeas stew, salad and some veggie chunks (tastes good, but looks like dog food). The aroma rose up to my nose which eagerly inhaled all its tropical flavored goodness. It was very pleasant. Anticipation of my first bite made me salivate. I dug my fork into the rice, lifting some veg along and a piece of the chunks and…
In fact, almost half the food fell from my entire plate. My first taste fell to the ground. I was so disappointed I could have sworn the food fell with a thud.
But as I stared frozen for a second at the fallen bite, a small laugh escaped me as realization came full frontal.
I had neglected the spirits.
Before eating, it is an important practice to offer the first bite to Spirits (or your ancestors). If you are aware of this, or unaware of this, often times, you will find your food falling from you every time. It is their way of reminding (or alerting you) of their presence.
Now, it is very important to know that Non-Physical Beings do not actually eat food as humans do, nor for the reasons humans do. Food Offerings are given to spirits for the energy they provide. Energy is what binds them to us here in this material world. The spirits will absorb the energy from the offering, often leaving behind a dried and lifeless meal. Humans, too, absorb energy from the foods they eat. However, they are very much unaware of this, as foods are consumed for tastes and pleasure more than its spiritual benefits.
We are not here on this planet alone. Each and every one of us has spirit guides and guardians. We all have ancestors, those who have gone on before us. Remembering and venerating these Non-Physicals aids them in their assistance to us (which also aids them in return: See this post: A Broader Look at Ancestral Worship).
We have all gotten to a part of our lives of understanding here on Embracing Spirituality. If you are here and are still skeptical about what you are reading, then give yourself time and return to this post at a later date.
I am sure many of you have had instances where you are about to eat and the plate turns over spilling everything to the ground or some of the food falls out. Many of you will think this is just an accident. There have been occurrences with me and my household, where food will fall from everyone’s plate! My children now know the signs and its meaning, and even if I am not home they will do what I have taught them so that our spirit guides and families would be satisfied.
When this becomes too much, I know that for me it is time to give them a feast.
Have you ever walked into a kitchen and smelled the aroma of food cooking, and a pleasant feeling comes over you, even if you have not tasted the food as yet, but a certain satisfaction fills you? The effort we take to cook and serve our ancestors is pleasing to them. Therefore, what is also consumed, is effort, the energy put in to the food’s preparation.
It is the act of remembering them whenever we are about to eat, the fact that we share a plate for them or we throw some food on the ground when we are outside – it is this that buys us great favor with them.
They have their work to do here for us in their non-physical form and we have our journey to complete with their help and guidance. When and if we complete our journey, our mission here on Earth, our spirits (guardians) evolve within their realm, moving up into Light Continuum. If we ascend whilst on earth, they ascend within their realm as well. Their interactions with us here on this plane is evident daily in our lives.
Anything you eat later after having offering the first bite, you do not have to offer. It is only a pinch or fork full of your first meal. If you try this, you will see how your life changes for the better.
The other day while coming back from Mandeville in the middle of the night, as we approached the toll gate in Kingston, a black dog ran in front of our car. The driver, a good friend of mine, sharply stepped on the break so as not to hit him. The dog paused and looked at me as he ran across the street. I, being who I am, knew that this was a message.
I told my friend to be careful on her drive, as the dog was a sign of accident. Yet there was something (I will explain this to my students in classes to come) that occurred during the time the dog ran across our path and her stepping on her break that made me know for sure that we would get home safely despite what awaited us ahead. We were taking the North South Highway, going through the mountains to St Ann. While driving, someone in the vehicle asked my friend (the driver) if she wanted her to drive instead? My friend declined and continued on. I also asked my friend if all was well, (remember that I had the message from the dog in mind, but was not worried, because I had also peeped that something would see us through), again my friend assured us.
We made it through the heavily-foggy-Chinese-made-highway without incident. Three days later, I called my friend (the driver) to my room, and without thought (I called her not knowing why I called her) I blurted out, “You were nodding off while driving the other night weren’t you?” She of course answered “Yes“.
I opened my mouth in shock. I was shocked because she had been warned by me, because of the dog, had been asked by another if she would leave the wheel for her, and had assured us all was well. Needless to say I was upset with her for not being honest with us, and for putting our lives in danger, but I did not allow myself to quarrel, because we had made it home safely.
Immediately I called my compound in Africa and spoke to my Oluwo. I begged him to please ask Orisa Ogun if we needed to give something to him (the dog is Ogun’s messenger). It was Ogun who sent me the message of protection from accident that night, and I felt the need to thank him by offering sacrifice. Ogun had not requested anything from me when asked, I was reminded by my Oluwo that I had propitiated him before, perhaps this is why he sent the message and also allowed my friend (who admitted to nodding off twice while driving) not to plunge us all off the highway and somewhere down the mountain. To this I hail Ogun, Ogun yayyyyyyy!
If you are awake and conscious, then you must have a sacred space, a spiritual altar, somewhere in your house where you communicate with your non physicals. This is where once per week when you cook (not that you cook once per week, but you lay this out as such, as oppose to your daily giving), you will place the first share from the pot, onto a clean white plate and give to them with prayers. If you do not have an altar (shame on you) then place the food on the table, or on top of your kitchen counter or the top of your fridge, move de cereal box dem. Make sure the space is not cluttered. Be certain to also place a glass of water there. Serve this with pride and respect. Treat them as if you would someone very important to you.
Ogun saved our lives that night. I have never neglected any of my Guides, Guardians, ancestors or Orisas. If you remember your guides and ancestors, you, too, can be assured of your protection. I have been kind to benevolent and malevolent alike. I do this not only for me, but for my children.
My son was going out late one night to a nearby shop. It past 3 in the morning. He (being the most ‘modern’ of my children and not deep into spirituality) heard a distinct voice telling him to go back home. He ignored it and continued to walk, but the voice came again. He stopped and looked around, he was the only one on the street. He continued to walk, a bit faster now. The voice came again, but frighteningly loud and stern, he turned back and went home. It was in the morning (I think, I already wrote this story here) that he heard of a robbery that took place at 3AM at the gas station near the shop he was headed to. I make certain to never offend nature and to always appease unseen forces, so that not only I, but my children can walk the earth and be looked after.
Cooking for your spirits is like cooking for yourself. Only if you are doing something specific must the recipes be different or the cooking done a certain way. If you cook your food daily, then offer food to them. The first meal of the day is always theirs, and the first share from a plate is always theirs.
The first thing you put into your mouth must be shared with them, before you taste it. Practice this as aspirants and see where your life leads you to.
I will do a part two of this post to share with you how and when to cook for your spirits specially and how to know when to feast them. Again, for the “fraid ah duppy” people dem, please pass this post by, oonuh snoring!
Note again: Work to remove ego from your lives, be respectful of all and everything and everyone. A soft answer turneth away wrath. It is not every thing you have to fight about, leave some things be, what you are fighting for today, may be small compared to what is coming for you just around the corner. Let go and let life flow along not fight along!
Character is like smoke; it cannot be covered up -Yoruba Proverbs!