Egun are the spirits of the dead. Mainly of our egungun (ancestors) that have passed on into the world of the dead. We all have eguns that walk with us. Eguns range from family members that have passed on, to the spirits that God has appointed to us. Even eguns that are in our orisha lineage or family that have passed on walk with us. It is said the God appoints us a number of eguns when we are about to be born into this world. He sends them down when your mother is giving birth and it is there that they are appointed to walk with us and watch over us so that the mission is completed.
The spirits/eguns are very important to us in our everyday life. They just as the orishas, teach us and guide us on the correct path to fulfill our destinies. They are very sacred in our religion as we praise them before any ceremony we do. “Iku Lobi Ocha” (The dead gives birth to the Orishas) is the correct format in our religion. Without the praises of the dead, we can not be closer to God or to the orishas. It is very important that we maintain that bond and understanding with the eguns. It is said that we all have a guardian angel that God appoints to us and we all have a ruling orisha that walks with us as well but we are introduced to the orishas by our eguns. It’s the eguns that take us to the house where we will perform our ceremonial orisha crowning. As I say, we are born with our eguns, not with an orisha crowned. That comes after.
Now in our spiritual cord we have different ranges of eguns. We have the eguns that everyone knows about which are the Congo eguns. These are the eguns that came from Africa that lived an everyday life and were taken as slaves to the New World. They are familiar with the Palo Mayombe rites. This including the men and the woman who the majority are called Francisco’s and the Francisca’s. These are the guides who teach us how to be strong through their practices to God.
We also have our Jitana’s and Jitano’s. These spirits are Spaniard spirits who were once gypsies. These spirits often teach us how to love one another. The Jitana’s are also worked with to help us in love situations and or money situation. They are used to worship and divine through tarot cards and coins.
The nuns, priest or monks are another type of eguns that walk with us. Strangely you would wonder why would a nun or priest walk with you in your spiritual cord? They are all servants of God and they teach us serenity and to be close with God. These spirits love to hear lots of spiritual and church hymns. Bible scriptures are spoken to these spirits.
Now there’s much more. We have our Indians, Arabs, Egyptians, Mayans, Romans. All walks of life are eguns because they once walked this earth. And with the help of God for us, they now walk with us being God’s voice on how to live humble and with one another.
The Boveda or Spiritual Alter
The boveda is the sanctuary where we worship our eguns. It is usually placed somewhere quiet in the home where you can sit and meditate with them. The items that are needed to construct this alter is indefinite. But the main things that you need are:
A small table
A white cloth
7 or 9 clear glasses
*Note- spiritualist use either 7 or 9 glasses. It doesn’t matter because this is your alter and your eguns run this alter. 7 is the universal number so that’s why 7 can be used. 9 is the number of the dead so that’s why 9 is used. Which ever way they are both good unless your eguns say other. Now once you located your house of ocha, your godparents or through a divination with the shells or Ifa, they might tell you specifically which number of glasses to use.
These are the main items that are needed. You first locate the area in your house where you can set your boveda or spiritual alter up with no interruptions ever. You clean the area with holy water and perfume (Florida water). After the area is clean and blessed you burn church incense in the area to purify it and your home. Place your table with the white cloth in the center of the area. Out of the 7 or 9 glasses you are going to use, one of them should be slightly bigger than the rest. This glass is known as the dedication to God and it should always be placed in the center of the table. The remaining glasses are placed either around the main glass or as in a pyramid affect. Again however your eguns indicate. But to start off place them around the main glass in a circular formation. Fill each glass to the brim with crystal clear water. Water is the main conductor in the spiritual world. Place your bible on the table and your incense, whether its incense sticks or the actual coal. Now place your rosary and your white 7 day glass candle which should be in front of all the glasses and lit. That’s the basic way of constructing your boveda or spiritual alter. Now once you have gotten the hang of it you can start to place pictures of dead relatives, different color cloths around the edges when you are praising the Congo spirits, you can place a cup of coffee with a cigar or a small shot glass of rum. You can place different types of healing and meditating stones as well to help you in your transition. Flowers are important because it brings a sense of joy in our lives as well as the eguns lives. Tarot cards and coins for the Spaniard eguns. Basically anything and everything that you know your eguns like you can place it on the alter.
Once your alter is set up you can now sit in front of it and start of with some of the selected prayers in the Kardec's Book of Prayers or you can say any prayer you want. You can read versus from the bible in worship of God and sing any type of hymns or songs you wish and meditate upon your eguns. You can also place your egun stick (palo de muerto) there as well and you can summons your spirit using this particular stick which is prepared for you by your spiritual godparents through certain offerings.
Another spiritual alter that is allowed in our religoin is the teja (roof tile) which is marked by Ifa. When one gets a consultation from Orula, it might be specified that the person needs to tend to their eguns and Ifa will open that portal as well with the teja in which the babalow will diving through the oracles and consult directly with your spiritual cord. The babalow will perform certain ceremonies and mark this spiritual teja with certain markings to call your eguns and eggunguns closer. This is usually placed in a spot where it wont be bothered. Whenever you perform some type of ceremony within the ocha realm, that egun teja will be praised and certain services will be put to it in homage of the eguns.
The Misa or Spiritual Mass
The misa or spiritual mass is where a group of people gather around with spiritualist to contact the eguns. A white table where the boveda or spiritual alter is placed and a selected prayers usually from Kardec's Book of Prayers are performed and songs and praises are sung to them After the procession of prayers and hymns, usually the medium will pick up any egun activity that’s in the spiritual mass. The portal is open in where the eguns are now welcomed to communicate with us and to send us messages to guide us in the direction where we connect with God.
Now just as in our world we have people who are liars, manipulators and evil people, the same thing happens in the world of the eguns. There are eguns that are liars and manipulators and we have to be very careful of the connection with them. In a spiritual mass, the mediums have to be very careful and not communicate with these eguns. The negative eguns are given a set of prayers to look into the light and to return to the foot of God for forgiveness. Sometimes a person is said to have a negative egun that walks with them and in order to get rid of this negative egun you should see a santero or babalow to rid this or you can go to a spiritual mass and if there are responsible mediums there, they can tend to this energy.
Now a lot of people in our Spanish community speak and sing spiritual songs in Spanish. This is understanding due to that the majority of our eguns that were enslaved in Africa were brought over to Spanish speaking countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama and Dominican Republic. So these spirits have adapted to the Spanish speaking communities. Now you have lots of African Americans who are into our worship and they worship their eguns in English, due to some of the spirits didn’t all go to the Caribbean’s, they were brought to English speaking countries. This means that no matter where your from or what language you speak, your eguns will always listen and understand you.
Where ever you go you will see some kind of egun worship. In all lands you see people who worship the dead. Whether it be in your own home or at a church, it is around. Usually in a orisha celebration there will be a service made for the eguns outside on the ground. People who live in apartment buildings or who are discrete usually have these services or the foods for the eguns in the kitchen, bathroom or by the boiler room. This is because the pipes lead to the earth where the eguns final resting place was. Some priets or priestess will have gigantic alters for their spirits or numerous alters for them. You can see the usual alter or boveda in the house and you can also see some type of boveda outside of the house in a backyard and this is from certain signs or oduns in a divination that speaks of other astrological eguns that we have as well. There alter is usually outside and its prayed to the same and gets its strength not only from God but from the astros in the universe. I’ve usually seen the children of Oya have the majority of these spiritual alters due to the relationship there guardian angel has with the dead.