"Sometimes, to save yourself from evil, you need evil."
Almost an entire life exercising the priesthood and always with the same reason for being: use all wisdom to do good.
Since childhood it was already known that Manuel Antonio would have an important role in the Yoruba religion and for that he was prepared, along with social life, his person was forged in the difficult and beautiful divine framework that our African ancestors left as a legacy for the whole world.
The origin of the herbs and their properties, the meaning of each animal and their use in religion, the meticulously detailed profile of each Orisha, their powers, attributes and relationship with humans, and how to know how to communicate with each deity to transmit advice and commands to believers.
As the years passed, Manuel gained experience and prestige among his godchildren, a community that grew beyond the borders, whoever wanted his help and shelter only needed to arrive under one condition:
__ "My works will only be used to do good."__. And life continued its good rhythm.
Close to turning seventy, Manuel Rodríguez received a visit that would forever change the destiny of an entire village.
__ Tata Manuel has to help us…__
It was the request of that skinny and gangly man. After offering him water and coffee, Manuel listened to his arguments:
__ I come from a village in the most intricate part of the country, we live on cattle, we are humble and hard-working people, but we can't take it anymore…__
The story itself was heartbreaking, the lake that supplied water, both for animals and people, had been fenced off by a landowner who, in complicity with government officials, was trying to charge huge taxes for having access to the precious liquid.
__ But how can I help? __
The matter had a dark side and it was as follows, the children of the village had contracted an extraña condition, they were not sick and yet they felt bad, with headaches and hallucinations.
__ That is a thing of the Ogba Ogú (priest) of the landowner... he has bewitched the boys, and only if we pay will he stop punishing them. __
For anyone else, this would be a crazy story impossible to believe, but Manuel knew that the impossible was real in the Yoruba religion.
He fired the humble man with the promise of not resting until solving such a horrendous agony. He immediately went to work, as a good santero he invoked his warrior Orishas, the snails gave him the answer that he feared so much:
Despite being little known, this minor Orisha represented evil in its greatest expression, something like the devil himself. For the first time, Manuel found himself in a crucial dilemma, since good is not always used to combat evil, so should he betray his principles?
__ “This battle will be difficult.”__, he told himself and began to prepare his war strategy. A week later she appeared in the village where the condition of the children was getting worse and worse:
__ take me to the lake__, they did so, once there he ordered to leave him alone.
__ Come back in the mañaNa, if I'm not alive... run away. __. That was the order, warning that his death would only bring greater reprisals against everyone and, therefore, the only option would be to escape far away.
Already in complete isolation, Manuel conditioned the place with the implements that he had brought.
__ "Evil is fought with evil..."__, there was only one thing left, to wait.
When the night became dense, Manuel lit a huge bonfire where he threw some sticks and herbs, in addition to accompanyingañathem with songs in the Yoruba language. The intensity of the flames combined with the smoke reflected supernatural images of strange beings in the sky.
__ Evil spirits, I order you to get out of here and never return! __
The images, turned into specters, began to surround him threateningly, however, he did not back down, continuing with his ancestral songs and dances. They then began to pounce on him, but, as if he were protected by a shell, they were rejected before touching Manuel's body, who continued to sing louder, making their presence unbearable until, one by one, they vanished.
When the last one left the place, Manuel fell exhausted, he was satisfied, but he knew that the task was not over, and he was right.
Despite the darkness, he saw it coming, it was a man with characteristic outfits of African tribes, although with grotesque features and symbols that the old priest immediately identified.
__ "Son of the devil…"__
The subject stood in front of him: strong, relatively young, and expressionless, he regarded his opponent with a slight sneer.
__ And are you the one who has come to defeat me? __
With one hand he lifted Manuel up, smelled his face, and burst out laughing.
__ Do you really think you can defeat me, the Ogba Ogú, me, the godson of Abita?__
With force he threw Manuel and shouted his greatest prophecy:
__Abita orders me, Abita tells me, Abita He sends me to water this village with death, these people, receive the fury of Abita and prepare for the worst… hell! __
He raised his arms invoking dark powers. Manuel got up, face to face, staring at him without doing anything else. As the subject shouted his curse, the flames grew more and more, returning with them the bunch of specters that circled around them until…
__ But what happens... why me... not me, him, destroy him...! __
Yes, the specters began to surround him, attacking in a rage over and over again, making him step back dangerously. He tried to dodge them in vain, when one last blow threw him into the bonfire, setting his body on fire until he fell dead. At the end of the horrendous scene, the specters were around Manuel, who fearlessly raised his arms and said:
__ Go in peace spirits, return to where you belong, in the name of Abita I order you to leave this village. __
Saying and happening, the specters disappeared while Manuel, deeply exhausted, sat down to wait for dawn.
The habitaBefore the village they arrived early with their faces drenched in happiness.
__ The children are fine, they are all cured. __, in unison they came to touch and hug their savior and ask how he managed to win the battle against evil, that's how they found out about Abita and his companionsañabefore: Ogueday, Iyabafún, and Osawani.
__ The Ogba Ogú did not know them, but I did, I invoked the four of them to defeat the cursed one. Abita it is only bad with the bad. __
And promising they would never live an experience like that again, he left humming a Yoruba song, happy to have defeated evil with evil.
"If you use religion to harm, religion turns against you."