BLESSINGS ON THE FEAST DAY OF THE INFANT OF PRAGUE!
As African slaves were brought to locations throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, they encountered slave masters that were Catholic – such as the Spaniards in Cuba. The African slaves syncretized their deities, Orishas, to certain Catholic Saints and this practice continues today with many saints also representing Orishas and lwas in many Afro-Caribbean religions.
The Infant of Prague is one of the forms that is also recognized to be the Orisha Eleggua. He is the Orisha that is propitiated first in ritual and has the most important function of “opening the roads” and providing access and messages from the other Orishas. Eleggua is a beloved Orisha in my house and he has many, many forms. Sometimes a trickster God, sometimes a child-like messenger, sometimes a wise old man, Eleggua is fluid and interactive.
The Infant of Prague is a 16th-century Roman Catholic wax-coated wooden statue of the child Jesus holding a globus cruciger. The statue is located in the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic. Interestingly, the statue was said to once have belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila who is syncretized to the Orisha Goddess OYA – who also is syncretized to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The statue has been venerated for hundreds of years with reports of visions and auditory messages. At one time, the original church was plundered and the statue was tossed on a trash heap for years. A priest found him and restored him to the sanctuary. January 3 is the recognized Feast Day for the Infant of Prague (and Eleggua!). Also this month, on January 13, we recognize Mary as Our Lady of Victory from Prague, Czech Republic – also where the Infant of Prague resides.
Some interesting experiences with the Infant of Prague … he likes to go for rides which makes sense with his connection to Eleggua. He is said to manifest himself where miracles are needed and to give messages of hope and blessings, also like Eleggua. And where one comes, others are sure to arrive, I can guarantee that!
When I moved back to Delaware, I had just completed my Lukumi initiation where I received my consecrated Eleggua. Within months, Infants of Prague began showing up, in thrift stores and through gifts. Each time, I heard Eleggua chuckling. I now have 13 Infants around the house, each inviting blessings and miracles and holding energy for my Beloved Eleggua.
Have you encountered the Infant of Prague? Or the practice of Saints representing other deities?
For your New Year, may the Infant bring you miracles and blessings and may Eleggua open all the roads for a prosperous and magickal New Year!