Beads of sweat scattered across her face. She kept turning sideways… her legs stretched out on the mat furiously shaking. Her hands were held down at each side. Billows of smoke filled the air as the priest moved from each end of the room making incantations. Neighbours gathered round the house as this was a frequent experience. The women were consoling the mother. “Mama Iyore, she’s going to be fine”.
Mama Iyore freed herself from the clasp of her neighbours and started rolling on the floor. The wrapper on her body almost fell off if not for neighbours who quickly held her down. “Why is this happening to me, she cried out loud. This is the only fruit of my womb after loosing several other children. She looked upwards to the sky with tears streaming down her face “OLOKUN, she cried out loud. Why have you done this to me”. She bowed her eyes down with more questions lingering. The fear of the gods was so powerful that one had to be careful of words and utterances.
The Jingling sound of anklets could be heard. Voices accompanied the jingling sounds. The people in the compound gave room for passage for the procession. Standing in the centre of the procession was a woman clothed in white. Her exposed hands and legs were covered with native white chalk. Her hair had cowries intertwined and woven together. She was covered with white regalia which was tied round her chest. Her neck beads were white as it is a known symbol of the Diety Olokun.
Surrounded by other maidens in white, she walked towards the hut with her staff which is a symbol of her authority. Mama Iyore looked up with hopeful eyes as the gods had heard her prayers. The Priestess stood in front of the entrance to the hut. Suddenly… she turned around, her eyes were like snow balls of fire, she looked at mama Iyore with a piercing gaze. Tiny shivers ran through Mama Iyore body. The Priestess took 2 steps backward and forward and swirled around. The spirits had taken hold of her. She ran swiftly to the back of the house as her maidens ran after her. She stopped at a particular spot and a white cockerel was handed to her.
Heavy incantations filled the air as with one swift move, the cockerel’s neck was broken. Iyore screamed out loud from the room, calling out for her mother. The priestess took hold of a hoe and hit it on the very spot where she stood. Papa Iyore who had been surrounded by the men of his age group, took up the hole and started digging. Under the hot glaring sun, Papa Iyore dugged until the blade of the hole touched something. He dug furiously and brought out an item wrapped in a black clothing. The Priestess while muttering incantations stretched out her hands and Papa Iyore placed the item on her hands. The Priestess turned and her procession followed her out of the compound.
Mama Iyore ran inside to meet her daughter who was vehemently asking for food to be brought to her. Mama Iyore planted thousands of kisses on Iyore’s forehead as her daughter was hale and hearty. Sympathisers were happy as all seemed well with the family. The men patted Papa Iyore’s back as a sign of congratulating him for doing a great job.
To be continued…
This is purely a work of fiction. Not all parts are entirely true.