In the Yoruba language, “Eyele Funfun” means “White Pigeon”. In  Yoruba/Lukumi tradition, white pigeons represent purity. They are often used to remove negative energy. For several years now, my Babalow (Godfather in Ifa, spiritual mentor) has had me do a yearly cleanse on New Year’s Eve with a white pigeon.

It is very simple. I get a white pigeon- not the dirty pigeons you see on the streets. But a beautiful bird purchased from a reputable bird store. I take the bird and sweep it across the top of my head, across the front and back of my body, front and back of my legs, my arms, and my feet. Literally cleansing myself of all negativity.

Think about all the craziness you deal with throughout the year. The hate and jealousy people have towards you. All of the struggles you have dealt with throughout the year. Just remove it all and set the bird free. Very simple, right? That’s exactly what I did, but the pigeon didn’t fly away immediately. I told my daughter it would eventually fly away, just give it some time. She became fixated on that bird. Before I knew it, she had given it a blanket, food, and water. I called Baba the next day and he assured me it would fly away when it was ready. Might take a couple of days.

It had been almost a week and this bird had made itself at home! Not only had it made itself at home, other birds starting dropping by and hanging out with it. I called Baba again to tell him the bird was still at my house. He laughed! He began to explain the role the bird had in our lives and that the bird was a representation of the african orisha Obatala  That it was a sign that all is well. The bird staying with us is a blessing from Heaven. He reminded me of the spiritual work I had put into 2017, that it paid off. The bird is a sign that I’m spiritually clean and blessed. Wow! What a beautiful conversation and testiment that was!

We named our white pigeon Harriet Tubman. The way I see it, Harriet Tubman is taking me straight to the promise land. I decided to go out and get Harriet Tubman the proper food for a pigeon. She had been dining on our love bird’s food. I also decided to get a new cage for our beloved love bird- Michelangelo. Now this is where the story gets deeper.

I found a cage I was interested in online at a bird store so I headed over. I get to the shop and I see the owner talking to customers. In the meantime I was eyeing his cages and some of his birds. I looked closely and noticed he was wearing elekes around his neck. He glanced over and noticed the elekes around my neck. He came over and greeted me in Yoruba and commented on my elekes. “Who is your Padrino?”  I’ll stop right here with his conversation, but I will say this. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He was an older, Cuban gentleman who was born into this tradition.

We spoke about Santeria, we spoke about Palo, we spoke about Ifa, this man had an abundance of knowledge. I told him about my white pigeon and how Harriet Tubman came to be our new pet. He laughed just as Baba did. He gave the same testiment in regards to Obatala just as Baba did. The icing on the cake is that this gentleman is an Obatala priest. He told me to pray for whatever I want to my pigeon. My pigeon was sent from Heaven. It is a blessing. Two priests, that have never met eachother, have shared the same advice and wisdom. I’m not taking it lightly and just giving it a shoulder shrug. Harriet Tubman is a force to be reckoned with.

When I told my daughter about my experience at the bird store she was delighted and intrigued at the same time. I’ve been back to say hello to my new cuban friend and pay my respects. Respecting your elder’s is big in this tradition. Meanwhile, Miss Harriet Tubman is living quite comfortably in our backyard. I sit and drink coffee with her, have cocktails with her, and sometimes we just stare at the moon. Eyele Funfun- white pigeon. Blessings from Heaven. You can read more about my journey in this tradition here


eyele funfun- white pigeon
Harriet Tubman