Ogun, And Rites of Passage
Ogun is a savior, a breadwinner, and a hero. He is the patron of war, of clearing paths, of tool making, and agriculture. He is the Orisha who makes sacrifices for his family and community. He is the patron of iron and he is commonly associated with the manipura chakra. Our ancestors understood that men have ten times more testerone than women. It is believed that testerone makes men, in particularly teenage boys more aggressive. So in traditional times, every boy went through rigorous ceremonies to be come a man. Back then; boys didn’t get cake and ice cream when they came of age. They were sent away from their mothers and sisters, to work with the men in the village to perform, backbreaking grueling work.
They wrestled and fought, kicked and punched. They did this so they would know not only how to throw a punch, but how to take one too. I suppose that these rituals were very much like boot camp today. Only, they didn’t have all of the fancy gear and equipment to protect them from the elements. No, our ancestors were out in the fields for days, with bare feet and just the clothes on their backs. There are many people who view the Africans as primitive, engaging in barbaric practices that didn’t make any sense.
However, these rituals taught men how to become men. The rituals reared boys to be like Ogun, strong, powerful, and controlled. These rituals molded boys to make the necessary sacrifices for their family and loved ones. Most importantly, these rituals taught boys about compassion and the pain that comes from bloodshed. They knew how much it hurt to be hit, so they would never hit their wives and children. They knew how hunger felt, so they ensured that their family ate well. They understood pain and would do anything to keep their loved ones from experiencing it. Lastly, they understood that the essence of being a man was caring for a woman.