Nana Burukú is the great grandmother to all of the orishas. Also known as Nana, Buku or Nana Buluku and she is praised more in Candomble than in Yoruba tradition in which she is starting to rise more and more each day. She is the primordial mother of the universe and of the earth. Nana Burukú is in charge of all maternal issues pertaining to females. She is the spirit of the earth and the moon. Nana Burukú is a wise old woman you likes to tend to herself watching over her grandchildren and the earth. She is petitioned for health issues or to help aide in a pregnancy whether if it is to obtain or destroy a pregnancy. When I say destroy a pregnancy I don’t mean for anyone who doesn’t want a baby to go to her and she will help you destroy it. I mean she aides in raped pregnancies and from that she is also an orisha of justice when rape or wrong maternal instincts are at bay. Nana Burukú essence was here long before the essence of the earth. She is the rays and the motion of the moon. When Olodumare made the earth it was Nana Burukú who was in charge of looking down on the earth and with her light from the moon to navigate us humans on earth.
Nana Burukú is seen near rivers and oceans. She is the ultimate mother of the waters especially the sweet river waters. Oshun domain is the sweet river waters, but its through her mother Nana Burukú, where she gets the river waters from. Nana Burukú waters come from those high secretly places high up in the mountains were streams flow down from and form the rivers and the lagoons. She is also seen in the middle of whirlpools where her offerings are left. The woody marsh areas as well belong to Nana Burukú.
Nana Burukú is the grandmother of all of the orishas as she was married to Obatala at one point and she nurtured them when they were born. People say that Yembo and Nana Burukú are the same entity. I can see where they would say that but I believe they are 2 different orishas with the same manifestation. Yembo gave birth to the orishas and Nana Burukú looked after them from the sky and nurtured them all. When Nana Burukú was in the Yoruba cult, she was in the manifestation of Yembo who was violated by her son Ogun. Due to that disgrace she fled to Dahomey and the regions of Brazil where she was recognized as the great Nana Burukú. Her name means “The great wise Buruku” or “Wicked Grandmother” and to this I say she is not wicked. Nana Burukú is a strict orisha and does not like disrespects in any shape or form. She is that grandmother that your mom or dad would send you to get disciplined.
Nana Burukú is the mother of Asojano, the orisha of disease and epidemics, Ochumaré, the rainbow god and Iroko, the spirit of the cieba tree. Her spells range from different angles and work immensely powerful. Nana Burukú doesn’t like anything to do with metal due to the disrespect of her son Ogun and due to that her sacrificial animals are not sacrificed using a knife. Her sacrificial implement is a knife made out of bamboo material. This knife is sharpen and it lives with her. Her sacrificial foods are sacrificed in a different manner unlike the other orishas. Since she is the spirit that embodies the universe, her animals are suffocated in water where she consumes the spirit or ashe of the animal. Once she has consumed the spirit then her bamboo knife is used to finish the sacrifice. She does not like to hear any noise so that’s another reason why her animals cries are suffocated before giving to her. Usually her animals are sent to the woods where a river or lake is found. If its near the ocean even better.
Nana Burukú is kept in a clay pot exactly like Asojano but in a different size. As long as it’s a terra cotta bowl it makes no difference. Her pot is painted in pink and black which are her colors and inside her vessel is where the secrets of Nana Burukú are kept. Alongside her, the 2 bamboo knives are kept and you can decorate her with her beads and shells. She also takes an Ajá 9spiritual broom) in the shape of a hook where she is believed to guide her children on the righteous path. Her number is 7 and she likes to be secluded alongside Asojano and his family. She doesn’t like to be seen and away from any type of light. She is not allowed no way near Ogun in the priest/ess house or orisha worship room. When she is received just as Yembo, Ogun is to be covered with a white sheet and placed outside until the ceremony is completely done. When Nana Burukú as well as Yembo eats, Ogun should not be in the room, if not taken out and his knife should not be in presence of this orisha.
Pataki of Nana Burukú
There was once a town where Ogun once helped by restoring their tools and weapons for their harvest. The towns people bowed to Ogun for aiding them and said that they were going to give Ogun a festival and pay him a big homage. Ogun was appeased by the towns offers and was very ecstatic about his party. All of the orishas were summons to partake in the party for Ogun. So as the orishas came down for the event, Nana Burukú heard about it but was still upset and hurt on the disrespect that Ogun had performed on Yembo but was willing to attend the party to see how her son Ogun had changed in any way.
The party went on and the orishas were all there and were having a good time. The elderly Nana Burukú was present at the function but kept to herself as a lady with such great wisdom would do. Ogun was so into his party and he began to drink and drink until he was stumbling and smearing his words. He began to pull on the towns women and seduce them with his brutality. All of the orishas saw this but they figure that its Ogun and he is having fun at his party. Oshun was dancing to the beats of the Ana drum that Chango was playing while, Elegua ate and drank every second he could get.
With Ogun’s drunken ways, Nana Burukú saw that he has not changed that much. The great Nana Burukú stood up and was about to leave the party when Ogun stopped the drumming and made a speech that left everyone in shock. He ordered all of the town that they must always bow to him Ogun. With that he said that at that moment in time they must all come before him and bow to him one by one. He was even looking at the orishas as he slumbered his words. Nana Burukú as the great mother she is said to Yemaya and Obatala that Ogun’s ignorance is still the same and she definitely did not want anything to do with him no more, especially after this new disrespect. Obatala agreed with Nana Burukú and the great wise woman picked up and left the function.
She went back to her marshy wooded area where the river meets the ocean and proceeded to swim to her domain at the center of a whirlpool and never again looked at Ogun.
Nana Burukú is the light that shines at night. Just like a mother she is always looking and guiding us.
The moon is forever out and about. Even if you don’t see it, its there just like Nana Burukú. When one is lost and needs direction, you can call on Nana Burukú. Especially if you’re a hiker and your lost in the woods at night, you can call on her to guide you with her rays from the moon. Nana Burukú sacrificial animals are pigs, rams, rooster, guinea hens and pigeons. Nana Burukú does have children, very seldom as men in the religion due to Ogun ordeal. Her traditions on crowning her directly is somewhat lost as only a few elders have the knowledge of performing this ritual but she can go to the head of an initiate. I know if you are a child of Nana Burukú, ebbos and cleaning are to be performed to the godchild as well as the god parents. Offerings of a pig and other animals are taken to a river in a woody area where it is given to Nana Burukú, which is then burned with alcohol and the skin is then placed to Nana Burukú and left near the river’s edge. The meat is then cooked and served to Nana Burukú and she is then taken back home to begin the other cleansing parts of the ceremony.