Lukumí believe plants are living things that are undeniably connected to humans. Sacred botany must be respected. Extracting parts of a plant for ritual use must follow traditional religious protocol to ensure the efficacy of its use and healthy continuity of the plant. The egregious behavior of modern oxidants are observable at the acquisition point of plants for commercial purposes. Sacred botany is eroding into a commodity to satisfy market demands. Plant gatherers ignore the appropriate lunar cycle for pruning. They sliver parts of a plants soul in disregard of its welfare. The behavior ignores asking the plant for permission to take portions of its soul in sacrifice for a higher purpose. Plants are unaware who’s to benefit from its sacrifice. In many instances the gatherer mistreats surrounding plants, as well. The attitude of mind is about entitlement for profit on the basis of free-will.
The consciousness of the gatherer ignores that plants: see, feel, breathe, hear, smell, taste, and their basic structure is similar to humans. This attitude of mind has been borrowed from Western materialism, and its appalling diffusion is not questioned by many in the Lukumí priesthood. Our religion teaches that we must be good stewards of the environment. If we are truly a nature worship based religion adherents must abandon a plunderer attitude of mind and behavior.
Religious leaders don’t seem to reflect or care about the environment and conditions where plants were obtained. It is observable that acts of exploits ignore the fact that plants live in community and have siblings. The gatherer roams and randomly slivers plants that may be located at a hospital, in the vicinity of a cemetery, dump site, defunct strip mall or business, contaminated spaces, homes where human suffering prevails, etc. These plants are exploited and used in life changing sacred ceremonies.
When a plant is desecrated and its peers are maltreated, and comes from contaminated spaces, it cannot constructively benefit the human. People often express that the divinities are not manifesting with the same power. Indeed something is perversely changing in comparison to the old days. Nothing prohibits the Lukumí from following traditional protocol. It is Ori’s aberration that is borrowing, changing, and diffusing an attitude of mind and behavior that violate universal principles. In this context, modern Lukumí postulators are breeding a generation of unsuspecting victimizers whose practices mold a new history and tradition. I encourage the new generation to abandon modern oxidants that pollute mind and behavior. By returning to universal principles of nature worship our religion remains sustainable.
Oba Ernesto Pichardo