Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Inle is the orisha of health and all medical healing. Inle’s house resides near the coastlines of where the river and oceans meet. Inle is a man with fine features as of a woman. He has long silky hear that he puts in 7 braids and wears the finest clothes. For him to look as elegant as he does, he also became the patron of homosexuals. Inle was not, on the contrary as he is married to Abata. Inle has had relations with Yemaya and Oshun. His knowledge of all medical herbs and sticks is very abundant. He learned a lot from Osain and has put his knowledge to use, taking care of the needy and the sick. He is a very humble man and is always tending to ones that are in need of him.
Inle as well is a hunter and a great fisherman. He walks with a tall staff and his fishing hook. He enjoys to sit alongside the waters with his best friend Ochosi and they both catch fishes with ease. Wherever Inle is at, you can always find his best friend Ochosi nearby in hunt. These two go hand in hand. They love to sit at the rivers and drink and converse. Inle is represented in Santeria in a bluish green tureen in which there holds the secrets of Inle. He takes a trident in front of him, who is the spirit of Boyuto. Before his marriage to Abata, Inle had a relationship with Yemaya and due to that, Yemaya speaks for Inle. Inle is not crowned directly on the head of his children. What’s done is Yemaya oro Inle. This means that they are initiated into Yemays’s realm with the additional knowledge of the orisha Inle.
The Pataki of Inle
Inle was walking alongside the seashore noticing the different herbs that grew at the edge of the woods. He was gathering and studying each and every one of them to see what there purpose was in his medical magic. He was dressed very exotic as he always did, drinking his fine wine and his sweet cakes. He sat on a rock that sat near the ocean and was doing what he does best which is study. He suddenly heard a splash in the water that startled him, but when he turned to look there was nothing there. Days passed by and the same incident kept happening. Not to his knowledge that this splash was being made by the great queen of the ocean, Yemaya. She always knew the time Inle came by to sit on the rocks to study his herbs. Yemaya was intrigued by the beauty that Inle had and deeply wanted to know more of him. Within the days that she saw him, her intriguement fell into love and lust for him.
After Yemaya got her nerves together she saw Inle sitting on the same rock in which he always sits on. Inle heard the splash, but since he was already immune to the fact that every time he turned around there was nothing to see. But this day when he turned, he saw a beautiful mermaid with long black flowing hair with pearls and diamonds that adorned her neck and breast. He was infatuated with this that he kept staring as Yemaya’s body glisten in the sunlight. Yemaya swam close to Inle and said hello in which Inle could not respond because he was gasping for words to respond. Yemaya giggled and asked him his name. He responded to her with his name. They both started to engage in conversation and Yemaya told him how she has watched him walk alongside the seashore everyday. Inle asked her if it was her that he would hear everyday making splashes in the water. Yemaya responded yes and she told him she was just noticing him from afar.
Everyday these two orishas met at the seashore on the rocks and conversed until one day Yemaya leaned to him and gave him a kiss. Inle who was waiting for this was very excited for the great ocean mother was in his grasps. Inle asked Yemaya if she would like to come and live with him in his house as his wife to enjoy the earth’s scenery and life. Yemaya told him she would love to but she was a queen and her castle and reign was the ocean. Inle told her that it was impossible for him to go with her because he could not breathe under water as she could. Yemaya smiled and reminded him who she was. Yemaya grabbed Inle’s hand, and brought him into the water. Inle was very nervous and with a caress of her hand, Yemaya passed her hands over his mouth, nose and lungs. He embraced her and they both kissed as they submerged into the water. Inle at first was scared, seeing that his was going deeper and deeper in the ocean water. Yemaya smiled at him and told him to breathe as she gave him the secret to breath under water. Inle did as she said and they both descended to Yemaya’s castle.
Weeks passed by and the lovers were inseparable. Yemaya showed Inle every loop and crack of the ocean above and below. She took him to where Olokun resided. She took him to parts of the world that he has never seen. She even took him to the river water where her sister Oshun lived. When Oshun saw Inle, she was wrapped in his beauty as well. Yemaya continued to take him everywhere and showed him all the riches and gems that she contains. All her secrets that no one has seen, Inle viewed them all.
Months passed by, and Inle was gliding through the ocean noticing the everyday fishes that swam with the current at the same time in the same place. Inle was sitting near a coral and he saw Elegua who swam up next to him and Elegua noticed that something was wrong with Inle. He’s seen Inle everyday and he noticed that everyday that goes, by his face changes more and more. He asked Inle what was the matter. Inle looked at Elegua and started to tell him that he loved Yemaya but he was not happy where he was at. He was missing his home upon land. He missed the different tree life of the dry land. The birds, the flowers, the different animals, the things that meant a lot to him on the dry land. He missed helping the people with their sickness and he felt bored where he was at. Elegua told him to follow his heart and to be honest with Yemaya.
A few more days pass and Inle’s demeanor had changed and now the great queen of the ocean is noticing his actions. She asks him what’s wrong but he tells her that he is alright. Confused and worried, she goes to where Elegua is and asks him if he knows what’s wrong with Inle. Elegua looked at Yemaya and told her that he didn’t remember what Inle had told him. Yemaya looked at Elegua and told him if she gave him some sweets, will he remember. Elegua jumped up and said yes. Yemaya gave Elegua his sweets and Elegua proceeded to tell Yemaya that Inle was not happy living down here in her watery domain. He went and told her that Inle missed his life on the dry lands. Yemaya was taken back and sort of hurt that her husband felt this way. She was determined to see him happy and if letting him go back to the dry land makes him happy, then she would grant him what he wants.
She approached Inle and asked him if he missed where he came from. Inle told her that yes he did indeed miss the life he had. He told her that he does love her but there’s nothing for him to do down here. No one here needs his expertise here. It’s the same routine everyday, all day. Yemaya asked Inle if he would like to go back to the surface and continue his life. He put his head down and responded to her, yes. Yemaya with a stern face grabbed Inle by his hand and started to ascend to the ocean surface. She took him to the same spot where they met by the rock. When Inle saw the seashore he was happy and he told Yemaya that he does love her but he just can’t deal with the solitude of the ocean. Yemaya nodded her head and told him she understood. Inle was about to jump on the rock, by the seashore when Yemaya grabbed Inle and ripped his tongue out of his mouth. Inle in pain wondered why Yemaya did that. He made signs to her as in why. Yemaya replied to him that she did this so he can never tell anyone about her domain under the sea. She said that her riches and secrets are for her and for the watery world that she lives in. Since he could not bear to stay with her after she introduced him to that lifestyle, then he will not have the tongue to say what she holds far under. And from now on, you can and will only talk through me. Your children will also be my children and initiated through me. With a twinkle from her eye she started to swim to the middle of the ocean laughing.
Inle saw Yemaya in the distance as she descended back to her kingdom. He then went back to his home where everyone asked where he was. Since he could not talk, he just nodded his head. He lived mute without the world understanding him.
Inle’s feast day is September 29 which is the same day of the catholic Saint Raphael. Inle loves all fine foods and drinks. He loves precious stones, art, music and the love of healing. His necklace that is worn by the priests of Inle is made up of blue, yellow, green and coral beads. It’s also adorned with multiples precious stones. The children of Inle are usually quiet individuals. They seem to love the medical field and they are known to be nurturing people. His children are made like I said above, through the secrets of Yemaya. To initiate him the person must have Ochosi next to him throughout the entire ceremony. He eats rams, roosters, quails and pigeons. All of his animals are white due to white is pure and clean. He is the patron of doctors and hospitals. He is the medical doctor of Santeria. If you look at Inle’s trident, you will notice that it’s the same symbol used today by all and every medical faculty across the world. It’s a staff that contains 2 serpents wrapped around it.
The family of Inle
She is the wife of Inle. His helper. You can associate her with the nurse that aids the doctor. She is the one that helps Inle in all of his medical cases. In some houses or ramas, she lives inside the same tureen with Inle and in other’s, she lives in a separate tureen that lives right next to him. Both of these ways are acceptable.
He is the spirit that walks with Inle and he guards the vision of people. He is represented by the fishing pole and the trident that is placed in front of Inle. He is the orisha that brought silver to Obatala. He is also the orisha of mirages (mirages of the dessert and sea), He is also known to help people with their vision and also helped Ibu Olodi (path of Oshun) in one of her battles which is the reason why she takes everything double.
He is the son of Inle with Oshun. He as his father is an androgynous orisha and contains the secrets and riches of his father.
He is one of the helpers of Inle. He is represented by the fishing hook that one puts on the fishing pole to catch a fish.
He is also a great friend of Inle and accompanies him everywhere.