Cemetery Sweeping

Shy Pacheco Hamilton and student sweeping the cemetery, 2017

Shy Pacheco Hamilton (left) and CCA student, Fall 2017

Ritual as Community Service . . . allowing untended Ancestors remain members of beloved community . . .

Ile Orunmila Oshun has been carrying out the Cemetery Sweeping Ritual since the 1980’s as an annual community service project. Each year in the fall season Ile Elders, members, students and friends visit Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery in Oakland. The ritual involves cleaning and feeding the untended graves of ancestors who reside there, and celebrating Orisha Oya.

In 2016-2018, Ile member Shy Pacheco Hamilton and students from her class Conjure! (at California College of Art-CCA located near the cemetery) have performed the ritual with Iya Sangobemi. Conjure! is a studio art class in the Diversity Studies program that engages African and African Diaspora art, history, culture and spirituality.

students at the cemetery gate, greeting Eshu before entering The Cemetery Sweeping Ritual starts at the entrance gate and continues in the untended area of the Cemetery where we clean and sweep the graves, make offerings, pray and sing for Egun and Oya.

info for Cemetery Ritual