Xire of Orixas
16 prints and book of Xire of Orixas from the artist João Makray
16 prints and book of Xire of Orixas from the artist João Makray
Inspired by the cosmogony of Templo Guaracy, João Makray, explored the universe of the Orixás to reveal through his art some of their manifestations in nature. Much more than divine ancestors or personified mythical gods, João’s Orixás bring to life all the dynamics of nature.
Sixteen Orixás follow a sequence named Xirê by Templo Guaracy. The word Xirê translates as dance or wheel and evokes the elaborate organization of the forces of nature born with the creation of the world.
According to Guaracyan Cosmogony, at some point in eternity, light – the original substance of the universe – concentrated, acquired consciousness of the space and expanded. This explosion, and the subsequent fragmentation of light, known by scientists as the Big Bang, gave birth to a trinity: Light, Consciousness and Energy. The three of them expanded at the same time in a unified manner. However, while Light and Consciousness progressed in a linear and parallel fashion, Energy started losing intensity and acquiring density. Energy then distanced itself gradually from the point of origin creating a descending curve from which the Xirê emerged revealing the manifestation of life on Earth.
This extraordinary dynamic of the Orixás runs through a mandala of the four elements of nature in a continuous and infinite spiral. The Xirê begins with the primordial Fire of Elegbara that transforms into Earth and Water until it reaches the great synthesis of light in the Air, Oxalá.
To accompany each print, a compilation of words was harvested from the wonderful Guaracyan vision of the Orixás. The intention of these words is merely to help navigate towards the encounter with the sacred nature through the eloquent art of João Makray.
The Fire Orixás – Elegbara, Ogum, Oxumarê and Xangô – open the way from creation to crystallization. They represent the origin and the starting point. They can be found at the south quadrant from where the sequence of the 16 Orixás unfolds in a clockwise dynamic to complete the Xirê and its four directions.
The Earth Orixás – Obaluaiê, Oxóssi, Ossãe and Obá – represent the physical and concrete reality of life. It is the cycle of health and subsistence. Acting as a bridge between the elements of Fire and Water, the Earth Orixás follow a sequence according to the amount of Water they retain, from driest to dampest.
The Water Orixás – Nanã, Oxum, Iemanjá and Ewá – are related to all feelings and emotions. They follow the natural process of the Waters, from the springs to the oceans all the way to evaporation. Water stands at the north of the Xirê, opposite to Fire in the south. The cycle of Fire is associated to potency and the cycle of Water brings consciousness, thus creating the balance of dualities.
The Air Orixás – Iansã, Tempo, Ifá and Oxalá – lose gradually their physical representation. After Iansã, they can only be perceived with our mind and spirit.
Oxalá is the last Orixá of the Xirê. The point to which all converges before the beginning of a new cycle of the manifestation of life on Earth. In Xangô, only a fraction of the energy produced by Elegbara gets crystallized. This energy is lapidated and refined through the cycle of Earth, diluted during the cycle of Water and synthesized in the Air. When it reaches Oxalá, only a tiny percentage of the original energy is present. It is the culmination of everything that has manifested on Earth: the light of all realizations.
Iemanjá is the ocean, the final destination of all Waters. Our planet is 70% seawater. Iemanjá receives the Waters that run through the Earth and the ones that pour from the sky. The continuous rhythm of the tides brings the flux and reflux of the emotions. Iemanjá promotes fertility and the interaction between feminine and masculine genders.
Oxóssi is biodiversity and the ecological balance that enables our survival on the planet. With more Water the Earth becomes more fertile promoting the development of multiple forms of plant and animal life as well as the dynamics that rule their interactions. As the eternal hunter in search of material and spiritual sources of sustenance, Oxóssi seeks the mysteries of life to guarantee the survival of the species.
Xangô is the crystallization of the form that originated in Elegbara. It is the first Orixá of the Xirê that has a solid physical representation. We find Xangô in all the rocks and minerals on the Earth.
Ogum is the force responsible for any movement. Because of Ogum, planets orbit the sun, rivers run towards the ocean and hands of watches tick their way around the clock. With Ogum, we move to conquer our lives.
Oxum is the Water that rules over fertility and maternity. It promotes the sprouting of the seeds and their growth, bringing abundance and prosperity – gold. As she emerges from Nanã’s spring, Oxum flows towards the ocean, forming lakes and waterfalls, carrying with her the fish and all other forms of life that find refuge in fresh waters.
Elegbara is chaos and the initial spark. It represents impulse and transformation. It is the infinite creation and re-creation of the manifested universe. This Orixá embodies libido and motivation towards life.
Through Water the light of the sun fragments itself, revealing the colors of the rainbow. Oxumarê adds direction to the movement of Ogum. It is responsible for the process of composition and organization of the cells that give form to embryos and all of creation.
Obaluaiê is the dust of the rocks of Xangô that, due to the effect of Water, is transformed into different types of sands and soils. This phenomenon affirms that in nature nothing is lost, rather everything is transformed.
Ossãe are all the plants which contain active substances that enable re-balancing and re-harmonization. Like Oxóssi, Ossãe also lives in the forest. Its mysteries provoke the enchantment that inspires the hunt of Oxóssi. Ossãe’s knowledge of magic coupled with Obaluaiê’s power of transformation promotes the healing process.
Obá is the mud, the highly permeable Earth, infiltrated by a large quantity of Water. It is the filter that balances reality and emotions, announcing the kingdom of the Waters. Obá promotes the feelings of care and compassion that compensate the severity of the laws that rule reality.
Nanã reigns over all springs and fountains. Its Waters move up, propelled by the Fire at the center of the Earth. After they become purified by Obá, they are renewed and born again above the surface.
Ewá is the evaporation and distillation caused by the heat of the sun over the Waters of the Earth and the ocean. Ewá returns to light as pure Water in suspension, leaving the sediments behind. It is the rebirth of the Waters, the transformation of the liquid into gas, the separation of matter and spirit.
Iansã represent the winds, from the softest breeze to the most violent hurricane. They are all born from Fire, Earth, Water or Air. Through Iansã seeds are propagated broadening the outreach of pollination. Iansã promotes the expansion of ideas and all possibilities.
The Times: eternal Time, chronological or physical Time, spiritual Time. Time that is born from each Orixá. Like Iansã this Orixá cannot be seen, only perceived through its effects, such as the signs of aging of the chronological Time. Time brings consciousness and the references related to life on Earth: past, present and future, as well as the aspiration to eternity.
Ifá is the wisdom contained in all knowledge. Ifá is the power of synthesis. Through simplicity brought by wisdom we can reach the light of Oxalá.