From Chapter 1: If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Can Take You There
First of all, welcome and congratulations! If you are reading these words, it is because you have made one of the most important decisions of your life: to look inside yourself, understand what makes you exactly the way you are, and, especially, dive deep into the mysteries of your soul to unveil what prevents you from achieving happiness! Talking like that may seem magical or easy but believe me: it takes a lot of courage to truly take this step, and I believe you have that courage, even though it may feel like it’s asleep.
From now on, I will guide you on a journey of self-knowledge, and in the end, you will certainly not be the same person who is reading these words now. However, you need to make two lifetime commitments to yourself.
THE FIRST AGREEMENT
Our first agreement is that you will never again believe the biggest lie that exists and that, I am sure, you have been saying repeatedly throughout your life: Things happen to me because the world or someone did (or said or felt or thought) something.
Other versions are: I am not lucky in life because the world or someone did (or said or felt or thought) something to me. Things in my life go wrong because the world or someone did (or said or felt or thought) something to me.
Never again allow yourself to believe any lying phrase that shifts responsibility for what happens in your life to anyone other than you.
You are solely responsible for the life you’ve been living!
I’m not saying there are no external factors that influence our lives, whether they are of a practical nature, such as moving to another city or losing or getting a job, or subtle and subjective issues, such as jealousy or envy of others or even the effect of negative spells against us. But even if in many situations we have no control over what happens to us, in absolutely every situation we have numerous alternatives about what we do and how we feel about what happened.
Let me tell you a real story: about five years ago, a woman came to see me for a consultation with cowrie shell divination. She had assumed a leadership position at work and complained that every day her colleagues and subordinates would not accept her position and persecuted and humiliated her. During the divination, the Odus Oshe and Owarin--both in their negative aspect--confirmed her complaint, indicating exactly the situation she described. Furthermore, she had Odu Ossa as a regent Odu in the two main positions of her Orisha birth chart: Odu Ori and Osogbo Ori (don’t worry, you’ll learn what this means later). This indicated a perfect scenario for having conflicts and power struggles with other women in her efforts to consolidate her life.
Once the problem was identified, which in this case had an external origin, we waited a few days and later did the necessary rituals to neutralize the negative influence of the Odus, which the divination had shown. The conflicts at work calmed down, her authority was once again recognized by her colleagues, and her life got back on track.
From then on, every three or four months the same woman came to see me for a new consultation. Each time she came with complaints similar to the original one but with new characters and plots. On her next consultation, she reported she was dating the director of the company and now, in addition to professional issues, she added persecutions and disputes caused by coworkers’ and subordinates’ jealousy of her relationship with the director. In these new divinations, no Odu appeared to provide spiritual care; instead, all the advice offered was for emotional matters, guiding her on how to respond to the adverse events happening to her.
Almost a year and a half after the first consultation, Eshu--through Odu Obara, the path of prosperity and happiness--indicated that she should leave her job for new opportunities that had risen, among them to be a project consultant in her area of expertise. This time, we conducted a huge ritual to Odu Obara to enhance the professional growth indicated by the cowrie shell divination.
For the next two years I didn’t hear from her. Then she appeared, wanting to consult the cowries again with familiar complaints about the same people from the same job. The relationship with the director had ended, and the persecutions and humiliations were happening again. The situation had actually worsened. We started the consultation, but no cowrie shell opened. Eshu had nothing to say about the situation!
“How can that be?” she asked indignantly, caught between anger and tears. “I am having a serious problem! I can’t take another day being so humiliated, and the Orishas don’t say anything?” I asked Eshu for permission to pose a new question, despite His initial negative response, and Eshu bluntly answered: What I have to say has already been said. What had to be done (spiritually) has already been done. What has she done with everything I have given her?
Even considering the bad character of some of her co-workers... Even considering the woman’s Birth Odus, which really brought constant persecution in all areas of her life since childhood... And even considering that, in this period of almost five years between the first and the last consultation, numerous positive and negative situations happened to her. . . . Who, after all, chose to continue living a toxic and destructive reality?
Can you see how, despite outer influences, ultimately, we are solely responsible for everything happens to us? It’s like my father used to say: not to make any decision is, also, to make one!
The truth is that the events of our day-to-day lives are not fatalities or coincidences of fate: they are more or less positive results of the decisions we make--or fail to make--and this whole process has a name: self-responsibility!
Maybe I shouldn’t say it like that, so openly at the beginning of the book, but it’s for your sake: I’ve been exactly where you are today, with the same anxieties and the same bunch of questions that you have at this very moment. I also doubted it when I first heard that I am responsible for everything that happens to me. And I also hoped that working with the birth Odus and the Orisha birth chart would magically solve my problems without me having to consciously examine who I was until I could become who I am.
All the stories and experiences you will read in this book are real, and everything you will learn here was experienced in practice. Our first agreement is the most important lesson so that what we’ll see next makes sense in your life--as it did in mine. Of course, the first time that I swallowed my complaints about the outer world due to my frustrations and I stopped for a few minutes to understand what my responsibility for all of that was, it was painful--but also liberating! When I started to understand that if pain was inevitable, suffering was optional, I became able to avoid mistakes and frustrations before they even happened. And that feels like magic.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved fantasy movies like the Harry Potter series or those with magical and esoteric themes. In fact, I must confess, even though I come from a spiritualist family, the great trigger for me to start studying and practicing magic was the film The Craft. It was exciting to see those girls in the middle of the forest performing rituals, materializing their desires through spells and achieving their desired goals, no matter how silly those goals seemed to be. But, as inspiring as that could be, it was necessary to admit it was just a movie and in real life our desires don’t materialize like a miracle to the eyes.
THE SECOND AGREEMENT
If you’re reading this book, it’s because, just like me, you believe in the power of the Orishas, and you know that magic exists, and that the power of spells is true. What few people will tell you is that the results of these spells are linked to the effort you are willing to undertake to make your wish come true. Therefore, our second agreement is as follows: If you want to truly transform your life and awaken the best version of yourself, then you need to admit that this will only be possible through personal effort and that to get where you really want to be you must pay the price of life.
Because most people do not commit to these two agreements they continue to experience the same problems over and over again, even if they change jobs or end a relationship. In their version of the world, they never make mistakes. The blame for their insults is always on others, and any effort seems too much because they expect a miracle to come from heaven and change everything around them, as long as they don’t need to change anything about themselves. But when it comes time to roll up their sleeves and take their own life in their hands, treading the path that they’ve asked the Orishas for so many times, they give up before the first drop of sweat runs off their faces!
Once again: you are the only one responsible for the life you have lived until today, and everything you have achieved so far is the result of your choices--or the lack of them! If your current reality is not what you wanted and if you are the only one responsible for it, then you are also the only one who can change this situation.
A PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION TOOL
Know yourself and you will know the universe.
This saying and its variations have been known since ancient Egypt, and are written at the entrance to the Luxor Temple--one of the oldest and best-known temples of magic and wisdom on Earth. It represents one of life’s great truths, serving as a guide for searching our deepest goals: our reality reflects the ways we are, think, and act. For this reason, knowing yourself is the first step to achieving happiness.
From now on, this old lesson will make even more sense in your life, and the biggest mistake you’ve been making so far is to ignore it: like a big invisible network of energies, absolutely everything in the universe as we know it is connected and related to one another, which includes the events in your life, the way you relate to people, and the situations you find yourself in. So, what if you could predict some of these situations before they happen? Even better, what if you could change the way you react to what happens to you and, in that way, change the whole course of events in the future?
The truth is that your future will be a pure and simple result of what you do today. Understanding the energies that rule your birth and the influence they have on your personality and the ways you interact with day-to-day life can change how you perceive yourself and how you relate to the world around you.
Most successful people I know say that, at some point in their lives, they went through a deep process of inner searching, seeking to know themselves better through tools, such as oracles, birth charts, or spiritual guides. Like those seekers, you’re one step closer to starting this journey and becoming able to transform your reality and the way you live.
On the journey to unveil your soul and awaken the best version of yourself, you may have already consulted cowrie shells or the tarot when doubts crossed your mind. Or perhaps you have even done the necessary rituals to balance negative energies that you may have identified. But none of that matters if you continue to focus all your efforts on understanding the outer energies that influence your destiny without examining how they combine with the inner energies that have guided you since birth. If you look only to the outside, I’m sorry to say, you will be doomed to repeatedly experience the same problems over and over again.
When I first saw it happening, I almost didn’t believe it. As I came to understand that the situations in my life followed behavior patterns, and made conscious efforts to break those patterns, I was able to completely change the outcome of these situations and the way I dealt with the day-to-day difficulties. Consequently, actions flowed better in my life, and I was able to accomplish more. The deeper I got into it, the more I was able to anticipate the challenges around me, the ways I dealt with them, and their results.
I’m sure you have heard that we live in a world of energies. Even science, through quantum physics, has found evidence that the vibrations of objects, people, and situations around us directly influence our lives. However, what most people who say this do not understand is that our personal vibrations and energies also influence and modify the outer world. These inner energies, which define and differentiate us from any other human in the world, are what we call birth Odus.
To conquer the largest mountain in the world, a climber needs a lot of willpower and stamina but also the necessary equipment. Likewise, to meet this challenge of discovering your inner self, you need both determination and the right tools--and this is where the Orisha birth chart comes in. The chart is a powerful tool that will help you to discover your intrinsic qualities and learn the best ways to explore your potential on a daily basis. In the next chapters you will learn to analyze your birth Odus and the influence they have on different areas of life, allowing you to know and understand the positive and negative aspects of these energies and your ways of loving and relating, expressing yourself with people, dealing with professional and financial issues, and facing the challenges of destiny.
The birth Odus act like the signs in a horoscope, in this case an African horoscope. At the same time, in addition to the energy of each Odu, each is connected to or provides a conduit for specific Orishas, and these Odus and Orishas influence us in all aspects of our existence. Therefore, two people with the same regent Odu in one of the Orisha birth chart major houses, such as Oju Ori (personality) or Osogbo Ori (the challenges for the inner revolution), will be influenced differently by the joint action of the observed house’s Odu, of other Odus in their charts, and of the Orishas that manifest in them.
But there is no point in having an excellent tool in your hands if you don’t know how to use it correctly. First, we will learn some important concepts about what the birth chart is and how to use it and its many features. A central concept is that Odus are roads for the flow of energies to circulate between Orun (the African heaven) and Aiye (Earth), and like any road, it takes its travelers from one place to another.