Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yoruba People - Rediscovering Self

Reemergence & appreciation of traditional Yoruba Cultural Art Aesthetics’ is under way in many parts of Yoruba land. The first great comeback likely began 45+ years ago in Osogbo because of the efforts of the Austrian Suzanne Wenger – Adunni, with the artisans’ community she helped establish and build which aided many Yoruba traditional artist to recognize and build a new appreciation for Yoruba art aesthetics in the many forms of artistry.
Ms Wenger was also the instigator of establishing the Osun Sacred Grove as a National Park, preserving it from the onslaught of christians and muslims to take the land and build churchs and mosques, now the land is preserved and protected.
Also one cannot forget the great accomplishments and immense contributions of Prof. Wande Abimbola and Dr Wole Soyinka in literature among other things. In the ‘70’s Ifayemi Elebu-ibon following his mentor the late great Duro Ladipo as a master in the artistry of theatre integrating Ifa as dramatic arts, Oloye Ifayemi followed with the popular Nigerian TV series Ifa-Olokun Asorodayo.

Of recent, another great rediscovery is well underway in Republic of Benin and closely followed in Oyo, Oyo State, Nigeria because of the recognition by UNESCO in both Gelede (’01) and Ifa (’05), as intangible world heritages, (see more at www.)
The centre established in Sabe, Rep. of Benin, one of the central places of Gelede, which originated in the Egba areas of what is now Nigeria & Rep. of Benin, several border towns claim its origin but history may place the origin in present day Ketu which according to my own research I believe to be correct. Other regions of Egbado people where Gelede is well rooted include Alara, Abeokuta, Ijio, Iwoye, Iseyin, Sakete and others, but ese Ifa clearly state Gelede is of Egbado origins or they were the Yoruba sub-group that up held the practice once its importance was established.

I was recently in attendance (check back to my website for pictures at both institutes, these buildings were built with the generous funds coming from Japan, to establish and preserve the indigenous Yoruba knowledge on ground in these important places, before this knowledge disappears.
Japan believes that if we can “preserve and research the ancient wisdom of Ifa and find the philosophical similarities with our own ancient knowledge, we will have a much clearer picture of the beginnings of humanity on this earth”, which is a very correct assumption.

The events held recently in Sabe in the north of Republic of Benin, and the planned launch of the Ifa Institute in Oyo, headed by Prof. Abimbola in early 2008, has created a much needed fury of attention and interest in the ancient traditions of the Yoruba people by the local communities, long overdue.
it ‘sometimes takes a neighbor to look into your own backyard and recognize you have a rare species of plant that ought to be cherished, you may have just regarded such as an ordinary shrub’ Yoruba saying.

While visiting I had many discussions and meetings with elders and youth alike in Sabe about the matter of Gelede and other traditional ideology of Ifa, and was amazed at both the honest lack of knowledge and the renewed interest this UNESCO project has created with recognizing Gelede in Rep. of Benin.
As more international attention is attracted to these grassroots initiatives it will help the local communities to grow a renewed appreciation of their own indigenous knowledge and the contributions of ancient Yoruba sciences to global society.

The youth in Sabe have now come to identify that bush in their own backyard before it dries and disappears, and I am sure the same is underway in Oyo town.

Writing while still visiting Nigeria,
Check my website in the weeks to come for updated pictures and other commentary on my recent travels to Nigeria, Rep. of Benin, Togo and Cameroon also expect new Ekofa Podcast to come soon

Awoyinfa Ifaloju

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Purpose; our concept of Salvation

You are a busy professional, you have several projects due that require your immediate attention and you need to stay in a place in order to complete them and relax. You are running a tight schedule, you have many meetings and appointments, your agenda is full, but you are told you have to run an errand to the grocery store (market), there is a terrible storm coming your way so you want to get everything you need on this trip.
This is to avoid having to go out again, having the chance to stay at home and finish all this work you have. Then later rest comfortable knowing you have everything you need at hand and do not have to worry to go out for quite some time if you so choose.
You ask what is needed in the house for this relaxation and the items you are told to get are somewhat long, so you decide to write them down, on something so as not to waste time going all the way to the grocery store (the market) with your mind completely preoccupied with the other things that could easily distract you. You make a list and keep it in a safe place while you proceed. You make it to the grocery store, and then ……

you forget your list, you have three choices
i) you can go back home to collect it
ii) you can try to think & recollect what it was on your list and go from memory
iii) you can “call” home to ask someone to elucidate the list by reading what was written
you soon realize you can not make it back home for risk of not being able to return back to the market, it will not be possible and you will need to stay in either of the two places, the process of trying to recollect is too unnerving, so this leaves you one feasible option, you call home, if you chose this one you have chosen well and should congratulate yourself.

You collect the items on your list and while there encounter just as many other items you came across at the market that interest you.
You decide to take them as well and add to your basket, when you get to the register you encounter another problem, you do not have enough money to get the things you need from your list AND the things you want as desires, what do you do? you have three choices
i) you can remove the individual items you can not afford
ii) you can take all the items that meet your craves or immediate desires
iii) you get all the items on your list then add the other ‘wants’ where feasible

Again if you chose option number iii) you chose well, as it ensures you get the things you came for and only the other things you can stretch out of your budget.

Ifa teaches us that in “essence” alone this is what transpires when we are busy doing something at “HOME” and get summoned or requested to the “MARKETPLACE” Home is Heaven and the Marketplace is earth, we come here to complete our task, our assignment and fulfill our purpose for coming to the “market”
It is during conception and traveling the birthing channel, that we forget our “list” which is our destiny / purpose for coming, to reason for having Ifa divination is to reveal what was on our list in Heaven, for us to collect here on earth, the telephone call and information delivered is the particular Odu Ifa as the advice for redirection in our life to get on path for our destiny.
We come to do what we are sent to complete to make our existence complete, we have the things we must do (the list) and can also collect some other things not on our list but things we may see as wants or desires, but this must be taken in measure and not as more important then the “list” or we face the risk of having a failed mission and the need to come back again to complete the list, reincarnation.

I decided to write this blog, using terms we are familiar with to explain in plain terms the issue of purpose and destiny, also the central role Ifa divination plays in our lives and why it is crucial in finding our way and directing our ourselves.

I will discuss this in more detail during a future podcast on the matter of divintion and the methods of divination used within our system of Ifa worship, check it at

Awoyinfa Ifaloju

Friday, September 7, 2007

Relationships - Ifa Teaches


While looking around at our community, inside the Ifa /Orisa community and the generation X, after the baby boom generation, we see that relationships and long term commitments are not sought after or cherished the same as they were the generation before, why is that?

Let me state two stanzas of Ifa that teach us about the importance of relationship and the reason why some if not many of us struggle with attaining or maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.

Whats is for me, I will take
What is for you, you should take
What is for us both let us enjoy
Enjoy like free gifts of fortune & pleasures
That which is left untouched may it remain so,
That which is untouched is the matter of what is right
Made so by the 201 Irunmole
These were the Ifa Priest who cast Ifa for the man
When taking what he does not own but wants
These were also the Ifa Priest who cast Ifa for the budding young women
When also taking what she does not own and becoming manipulative in the process
Why are human beings acting out,
why don’t they deploy intelligence
intelligence that will pass down generation to their children
cast Ifa for Asuada (Togetherness)
the child of Olodumare
when summoned to correct this issue between the irrational men & women
The man was asked, why he wants to take from a young woman, that what he does not want to cherish? Don’t you know that it is the act of entering that makes a women feel complete, do you want her moving from place to place seeking to feel whole?
The young women was asking why she is taking from the man and looking in the wrong place for what she could find, had she looked very well and taken good advice she would have what she wants, it is futile to look for yam tubers buried in the beach sand.
She was told to deploy her mothers knowledge on how to attract the right suitor, and take her fathers advice when about to be betrothed, so that her matter will be a matter of rejoicing and equally memorable.
She will find what she is seeking and he will too find what he is seeking.
It is a righteous man that should be looking for a spouse who will bare him good children to continue his name with respect, children is what a man seeks and gains respect.
They said, it is called a good woman who will keep herself and be the Owner of Respect living in the house of her husband, such a woman can have pride and consider themselves of good position, it is a husband that makes a wife gain respect in the community,
They were told to perform sacrifice and behave in a manner that is befitting of the Irunmole, they were told to make the sacrifice of Togetherness and adopt same into their lives such that they will have something to look towards as Reason
Man did not perform the sacrifice complete, nor did woman, so as to enjoin themselves complete.
It was in lamentation that they began to praise their Ifa Priest, who praised Ifa, their lamentation became a song of sorrow and grief,
They said, am I of the kind that made my own complete
Ifa Agboniregun, why can I not make my own complete now ?
Ifa sung in response, when it is your time again, Togetherness is what you seek after, Togetherness

In another stanza of Ifa, Orunmila teaches the importance one should place on establishing one self as a respectful contributor to society at large, the focus is on character and accomplishment.

It is impossible to strike a thorn with bare hand
It is the spike of a porcupine that prevents people from mashing on it
Conspiracy and uprising had prevented them from knowing the site where their mother was buried
These were Ifa’s declarations to Abejiwaye
When weeping in lamentation of her inability to have a child
When she gave birth
She gave birth to Oja, market
She also gave birth to Ona, road
And Ile, Home was the youngest of them all
They were advised to offer ebo
It was only Ile that complied
A good home with a good spouse are ones beauty and pride
No body shows off without a good home
A good home with good children are ones beauty and pride
No body shows off without a good home

It is clear that Ifa teaches us the place and the pride one should place on relationships, and the fact a relationship is worth nurturing combined with many forms of sacrifice in order to maintain.

I will expand on this blog, with a future follow up blog message and more stanzas of Ifa for clarity and understanding.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Eewo the Instigator of Ajogun

Taboo the Invitation / Door Opener to Ajogun (Adversaries) into ones life.
Inviting the rivals of Ire (goodness) in ones life is the function eewo performs, this eewo can occur at in instance yet takes days, weeks or longer to correct, and in some cases become life threatening if care is not taken.

Often times people ask why is it that problems occur or illness sets in, or things occur that a recent divination did not reveal, then question many things about the tradition or even the competence of the diviner, some even wonder why an Ire promised did not manifest or takes longer then an affliction (Ajogun) to occur in ones life ?

This can sometimes be because of the issue of Eewo or taboo / tabu

Definition :
ta·boo or ta·bu adj
1. forbidden to be used, mentioned, or approached because of social or cultural rather than legal prohibitions
2. set apart as sacred and at the same time forbidden to be used
1. a prohibition or rejection of particular types of behavior or language because they are considered socially unacceptable
2. a type of behavior or a subject that is forbidden or disapproved of because it is considered socially unacceptable
3. the practice, especially in some Polynesian societies, of regarding particular things, people, or types of behavior as sacred and therefore forbidden to be used, made contact with, or engaged in
1. to prohibit or disapprove of particular types of behavior or language because they are considered socially unacceptable
2. to regard particular things, people, or types of behavior as sacred and therefore forbidden to be used, made contact with, or engaged in

Ifa teaches us that the breaking of eewo can have far reaching implications in life and open the door to all kinds of calamity in ones life. Eewo itself can render someone vulnerable to the very thing they are trying to avoid. This breach also includes Priest(tess) as well; it can reduce us in spiritual level. These taboos may not only be food, but places, people or things, it can be as simple as losing ones temper or reacting in a certain fashion that is in opposition to what the message of your diviner (Dafa, Opele, Erindinlogun or Obi) advises. It can also be the very subtle lack of showing proper respect to ones elders, teachers or rank within the hierarchy of our tradition.

Consider breaking ones taboo likened to exposing ones self to a flu virus WITHOUT the proper precautions namely healthy eating, resting habits & personal hygiene etc, virus are all around and we need to take care to avoid getting afflicted by them. Same as all the Ajogun are around any one of us, at any giving time. It is true our Ori, ancestors and Irunmole will protect us to a certain extent (like the healthy lifestyle choices mentioned above) BUT the necessary precautions still need to be made. One cannot take what is poisonous to one and proclaim arrogantly that what they have taken as prevention will protect them, common sense must still prevail.

In Ifa IkaFun, Ifa says that just because one has done Itefa ceremony does not make one to feel they could jump into a fast moving deep river without knowing how to swim !!! in essence do not think that the priest is impregnable.
Also in Eji Ogbe Ifa say, that now that you have “climbed to the top of Holy Palm Tree, don’t let loose your hands” the end result in both cases could be disasterous.
One must still respect taboo and use sense, if one knows what is poisonous to one, then such a person should make efforts to avoid such.
The same applies to the matter of relationships and personal intimate affairs, this holds true, we still must use sense even in matters of the heart, namely when engaging into a relationship as a priest, we, both genders must acknowledge the divinities that reside within us, and end the “flipping or sampling” that appears to be too prevalent within our community. The relationship should be as the person is, scared and treated as such, so misdeeds, taking other peoples partners, slanderous commentary and betrayal have no place within the relationship, and should for all purposes be considered as Eewo, punishable by Ifa. I will write a blog specific to this topic in the future, to add more explanation and details about this matter.

One Odu Ifa dealing with the Taboo issue,

It is the tortoise, which wakes and places the Ifa tray on its head
The snail is it which travels and uses its house as its load
The black ant’s masquerade is it which comes out in its flying costumes
These were the Babalawo who cast Ifa for Olodumare
After creating the world and assigning the parameters to operate within
Olodumare made taboo its king
If we undergo initiation into priesthood
We shall later eventually die
If we do not undergo initiation into priesthood
We shall later eventually die
Please let us recognize taboo
Taboo is the most difficult (to sustain)
The most delicate of them all (to observe)
It is taboo killing people in the world
They were merely accusing death falsely.

Ifa says that your success in life, your ability to achieve success, happiness and sound health depends entirely on how much taboo you are able to recognize and avoid. Whether ones chooses to perform their own initiation into any priesthood or not, much of how they will live their lives depends on the observance of ones taboo.
We have the ability, through our means to communicate with divine to identify our own taboos, but knowing the path and walking it are two separate things. Ifa is stressing how we live our lives, what we do in life and who we are is the key, what position we occupy in life, is only a footnote to the much larger issue.

In conclusion, in ones journey in life, consider the potential ramifications of breaking taboo, when you have come to know what your own personal taboos may be, one should make efforts to observe them, doing your own initiation into Ifa or Orisa is only a portion of this, even having ordinary divination and hearing the messages is a portion of the whole picture, coming on path or not is subjective AND relative to performing full and complete sacrifice, that full ebo I am referring to is the ebo of personal observance and adjustment, the critical one. A major part of those messages from Divinity and performing the sacrifice is the observance of taboo.
Study your life, learn and master your own Odu (letters cast during your initiation), do a thorough self analysis and incorporate the messages from Divinity into your daily routines and habits, this will aid one in living well and in accordance with ones destiny. It is Eewo the invitation for all the Ajogun into ones life, which can pull one from ones path and create other hindrances and obstacles in life.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju

Friday, May 11, 2007

Faith, Hope & Prayer – Do We Have It ? Are We Teaching It ?

Has our system of Ifa, become a system of making demands and not practicing patience ? has the powerful knowledge to affect change in life made faith absent in our consciousness ?

Egotism replaces Humility!

The struggle of Tangible vs. Intangible, the opposing forces within a Religious context.

These are pertinent questions we who worship Ifa (word of Olodumare) as a philosophy and incorporate the cultural aspects of Ifa as major aspects of our religious doctrine. In the past, based on the way the religion was preserved and spread through most of the world via the Cubans, the issue of rituals and making our wants be heard and accepted became the order, and most were met.
But for many, the issue of destiny, patience and FAITH are often times left behind or forgotten, perhaps because out of conceit, we get results far to often or quickly (arrogance breeds overconfidence, void of humility), so we start to believe that faith is only for Christians or others that have nothing else but faith to hold onto. However true that may be….

Why is it (apart from sincere ignorance) that Christians can be hopeful, prayerful and patient for several years or longer WITHOUT losing faith and still believing, I have met Christians praying and allowing “divine” destiny to manifest for not months but years and sometimes decades, yet having full & absolute confidence (FAITH) that it will come their way. Interestingly sometimes those very Christians or other converts who would then embrace Ifa and almost as a matter of due course become impatient, demand amazingly fast results and near miracles, WITHOUT the efforts of before, and we as the Priest allow this behavior? Why would we condone this ongoing opinion, which is counter to the very teachings of Ifa?

Sadly this behavior is prevalent even within the recent flux of people going to West Africa to perform Itefa ceremony or any Orisa ritual, (same said for both sides of Atlantic) out of need to solve many life problems then returning and expecting 30-40+ years of their life’s issues to instantly disappear without doing the personal behavioral changes needed.
Then blame the very Irunmole or officiating Priest, if they have not seen the results fast enough in their lives, tell those very people to take back Jesus – they can learn something about hope and faith, then when they have attained patience from praying for several years come back to worship Ifa, since they clearly lack the good character needed.

The real question is are we doing this to people or are they doing this to themselves? We as Priest, who are in the course of moving closer towards the philosophical teachings of Ifa and incorporating this into our daily lives as a personal connection to Divine, and not just worshipping or practicing Ifa/Orisa as ritual only and a place to solve ones problems. We need to take a critical look at the issue of Faith, Hope and Prayer, and not simply at functionality within ritual context.

This point is stated within the stanza of Ifa, pointing to how Olodumare wanted us to live our lives, and enjoy lifes blessings to the fullest, without securing one in lieu of another,
Odu Ifa – OseWori

Baba of Destiny (faith)
Baba of Purity (hopefulness)
Baba of Supplication (prayer)
Owner of Coolness (contentment)
Master of Deliverance (relief)
Destiny the praise name of Ori, cast Ifa divination for Ori
Hope-fullness the praise name of Osanla, cast Ifa divination for Osanla
Supplication the praise name of Orunmila, cast Ifa divination for Orunmila
Coolness the off-spring of Osun, cast Ifa divination for Osun
Deliverance the praise name of Osain, cast Ifa divination for Osain
When they were seeking after the good place in life called perfect Ire, but while staying in different places not knowing why things have not changed to their liking
Why is it that I have Ire, but still feel this emptiness inside ? they asked Olodumare
Patience the offspring of Olodumare,
Cast Ifa divination for the five of them and told them to combine and be always working together in the same place together and the feeling of fullness and content will be theirs, enough so that it will engulf the world over, (all existence)
They were told to make ebo, large enough that as long as any person who deploys all your attributes with earnest in the world will enjoy the fruits of your efforts,
They heard the ebo and performed it fully
They were since praising their Babalawo, who would then praise Ifa, and Ifa will justly be singing the daily praises to Olodumare
Come and meet us in complete satisfaction, it is in complete satisfaction that one is normally found at the feet of King of the Orisa

In this Odu, Ifa is laying the emphasis on attaining Ire, but not just ordinary Ire, but true Ire Alaafia, which is the important aspects of total and complete well being or a sense of comfort and satisfaction in ones life. Our lives can be filled with certain pleasures that come and go, but sometimes we still have a feeling of emptiness.
Ifa says if one incorporates these aspects of faith, hope, prayer, contentment, relief and patience, we will enjoy a life of sweetness and easy.
The Tangible (able to be touched or perceived through the sense of touch) items we give as offerings, should be augmented with the intangible (difficult to define or describe clearly, but nonetheless perceived or known) concepts of true Faith, Hope & Prayer.

The greatest and most profound change occurs first within Self and emanates around ones Being. Not just the superficial and circumstantial change based on a system of ritualism, making demands using tangible sacrificial items.
Ifa is more than that, now is the time to bring our religious worship to the next level.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ori – The Divine Calabash of Destiny, Character & Potential, Seed of the Creator

This is by no means a full comprehensive work, but merely a glimpse into the position of authority Ifa places on Ori, the divine spark of Olodumare within our lives.

If one wanted to define ones Ori, it could be said to mean ones destiny, morality or character, it may be the potential in ones life or the potential to change ones situation in life, Ori could also be said to be ones personal god and the spark of Olodumare that resides within each of us. Ori can be said to be the Divinity that makes us Divine, if we conduct ourselves in such a way that is befitting of such grandeur.
So Ori can be defined as all of the above and then more, Ori truly is multifarious in essence and by nature. Just as one cannot easily define or even comprehend Olodumare, it is equally difficult to understand the complex ideology of what is ones Ori.

Let us try to shed some light on this topic, I will use certain stanzas of Ifa for better understanding and clarity on the subject, as required.
Ori is the believed to be the most important Orisa of all, since Ori alone is responsible for changing / shaping the life of the person. Every person has a piece of the Divine Essence given to us by Olodumare, this piece is called Ori.
Obatala is said to form the human skeleton with his tools and the help of Ogun, Olodumare gives us his Divine daughter Emi (breath), then as said in Ifa-OgbeYonu the person goes to the home of Ajala (a certain place in heaven) to select their Ori. It is Ajala that forms the inner head (Ori-Inu), which can be formed very good or not, depends on the level of patience that will determine which head will be selected, to repair a badly damaged inner head this will require many sacrifices, ritual and appeasement.
The only Divinity that can repair a damaged Ori is Orunmila, namely during the process and messages of Esentaye, Isefa and Itefa. In Ifa-Ogunda Meji Ifa teaches us that the only Orisa that can follow its devotee all the days until death is ones Ori, no other can do this (we share all the other Orisa), it is Ori that can bless a person quickly. Ori is your dynamic force or potential, natural qualities and strength of your character which can impact public image and boost popularity plus many other important human endeavours. Ori is the Divinity of full possibilty and the other Orisa only help bring this potential into fruition.
This is where the Ifa concepts of Ayanmo, Akunleyan & Akunlegba come into play within ones life potential and what we regard as ones destiny. I will try to briefly explain all three:
Ayanmo: is aspects of self that are fixed, don’t change and remain so until death, they are gender, race, family and natural roles we must do as that person in physical manifestation etc
Akunleyan: is essentially virtues and values, chosen by person in heaven, they form likes and dislikes, taboos & similar
Akunlegba: is the additives to ones chosen virtues, which are given by various Irunmole in the inner realm of heaven called Onibode and happen during the mid-later stages of pregnancy. This is where ones complementing Orisa are assigned to assist one in completing ones task here on earth
Upon coming to earth (birthing) most if not all of this recorded information is forgotten or unlearned while growing infant is getting corrupted with “outside” ideas based on ignorance. This is were the position of Ifa comes into play, and states the importance of Awo performing esentaye (first rites for newborns, done very early in life), receiving Isefa (one hand of Ifa) and divination from time to time (using Ikin, Opele or Cowrie shells) to know the message of Ifa (word from Olodumare) redirecting the person towards pre-selected destiny, in order to stay on course or come out better by avoidance of pitfalls. This is where our system called Ifa prevails by giving both the compass and the map.

By performing the esentaye and Isefa rites, we are helping the parents to mould and shape the life of the child to attain, repair and in certain cases outperform potential in life by guiding using a pro-active approach of specific advice, clear directives, ideal environment and anticipated outcome.
In fact I suggest both young and mature to receive, worship & appease ones Ori container, called Ile Ori in Yoruba land and Igba Ori in Brazil. Where the important tradition of receiving ones Ori is still very prevalent for all, regardless of call to the Orisa Priest hood or not, all worshippers of this tradition must receive. In Cuba, which has shaped much of the religious basis worldwide, does not make the need to receive Ori for all followers as important as both Yoruba land and Brazil.
However many Cuban Babalawo have the icon of Ori which they appease at special times and many of the very old Babalawo in Cuba will tell you it is a must within the system of Ifa practiced in Cuba and will attest to the potency of its spiritual works (this is where a women can appease Oko-Orun their heavenly husband), within the circles of Orisa Priest/tess in Cuba it is not a divinity they receive and often for the few that know that such a Divinity can be received they will tell you it is an Orisa of a Babalawo only, and within the context of Ifa worship. However on occasion and namely during major rituals the Orisa Priest/tess and Ifa Priest alike will perform Ibori ceremony (rogations as called in Cuba) to both initiates and non-initiates.

Ori is for everyone, and a major Orisa we all ought to appease and venerate often, in fact it is our Ori we should be going to first, before any Orisa this is what Ifa teaches us. When we consult with Awo-Ifa it is Orunmila who advises us of the true intent of ones Ori, that is why Orunmila has a more in depth connection with the person coming for divination and will reveal all clearly. Ifa consults the Ipin-Ori or Iponri of the person (since only Orunmila is Elerii-Ipin witness of creation/destiny) who resides in heaven and known as the Enikeji (counterpart) of its double on earth which is our Ori-Inu which resides within us.

I will conclude by addressing the concern many who worship this tradition sometimes face, it is the matter of why they have done so many rituals, so many sacrifices and gone through many rites, yet their problem or concern may persist & reappear, this is once again due to the lack of dealing with the various aspects of ones Ori, I will site several examples below from Ifa stanzas that speak about this matter;


Gentle character it is which enables the rope of life
To remain undamaged in ones hand
These were the Babalawo that cast Ifa for Orunmila
Who by means of his gentle character
Was going to win the rope of life from the other 400+1 Orisa

Crazy gave birth to craziness, it is a maddening circle
Leave them alone, let them run round and round like craziness
Until they exhaust and reflect on their error
Don’t you see it is their bad character that chases them round crazy
These four Awo were the ones who cast this Ifa for Aniwonikun
Who is fearful of what is to come because of what has just happened, again
They said;
Will you please practice gentle character
Will you but practice sound character
Will you please practice good morality
And stop running about chasing yourself

Getting mad amounts to nothing good
Patience is the Father of good gentle character
The elder that has patience
has all the good life can offer
divined Ifa for Orunmila
when seeking opulence & abundant success in life
he was told the only way was to make ebo and marry Iwa (character) as wife
he did so and became very successful
then produced many children all taking a piece of Iwa and showing others to do the same (produced plenty of people to multiply doing good on earth)

in another from Ogbeyonu, the same diviners said:

Getting mad amounts to nothing good
Patience is the Father of good gentle character
The elder that has patience
has all the good life can offer
divined Ifa for Orunmila
when seeking after the very thing called a “good life”
the Awo told him;
Character is all that is required
Character is all that is required
There is no destiny to be called unhappy in ancient Ife
Character is all that is required

Ela moyin ‘Boru, Ela moyin ‘Boye Ela moyin ‘Bosise

Awoyinfa Ifaloju
Mar, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Recycling Programs – Is Green the New Religion?

As I prepare my goods to go to the recycling bin, I ponder what is becoming of all this. Here in Toronto we have a advanced recycling program (not as advanced as some cities namely in Europe but we are trying in the context of North America), we have a green bin for organics and non-organics alike, a blue bin for glass, plastics and metals, a grey bin for paper and cardboard, a black box (composter) for fruit and veggies, then the regular garbage pickup which is reduced to only twice monthly, since most if not all goes to the recycling programs. In theory only styrofoam goes to the garbage now a days, everything else can be recycled or turned into rich earth (the green and black bin programs), now it started to dawn on me, is this all a new discovery or is Nature just teaching us now that we are willing to listen. Again.
So then the big question is Green The New Religion or are we just reawakening the dead brain cells of the way we were before we got “smart”. This is a question to ask because had we not come to realize that we can not continue to steal from the earth without returning something, hmmm interesting idea will come back to,,,,,
And the earth can regenerate itself if we put some wisdom and make an effort, another interesting point.

I was recently in New York City this past weekend and was called by a dear friend and asked to possibly fill in at a lecture for another Babalawo who may not be able to attend his engagement, so as I was close and happen to be available she asked me to speak in his absence, I was delighted but unprepared, I asked what the topic to discuss and it had to do with indigenous African Religions – worldwide, I gave it some thought and started to formulate my ideas, before I got a call back saying the planned speaker my good friend would be able to attend and I need not concern myself, which I was fine considering I was not well prepared.
Had I spoken the idea I would of liked to convey was are we all on this earth only returning back to the way things were, are we realizing that the so called religions are not acting in accord with what Nature dictates, that they are only self serving and just take without seeing the need to return?
When looking at African Religions and other like, we are shown that coincidently all the ancient peoples of earth all revere the earth and appease the earth in one way of the other, the ancient people I am referring to here are the Africans, Asians (west Asia and the Orient), Pacific Islands and the North, Central, South American indigenous people with the Caribbean Islands (some ancient indigenous Europeans traditions also are similar). Then the only group outside of that is some certain Europeans (mostly northern Europeans), who have now finally seem to have “discovered” living Green, natural fuels, alternative power, regenerating resources and recycling goods.
So what I would have wanted to convey was quite simple, we give and we take, it is in measure, we appease and propitiate the earth and the Divinities within (Nature) so it can regenerate itself and produce more, then we take, and give again, the cycle or recycle continues, nothing new.
The farmer knows this that is why they plant seeds, why don’t they notice, even the very trees know this, that is why no matter how fruitful they will always drop some of its first fruits to the very ground beneath, that way it is giving back to the very earth it depends Ifa tells us this is 1/10th (Idamewa) of its harvest will go back or be spoilt, when will we humans or some humans take notice.

It fascinates me to examine the soil produced from my composter out back of my house and the soil around my Esu shrine (albeit during the summer months), it is very interesting to note they are very similar if not the same, the earth is very black, very rich, many small and large insects live within to keep regenerating the soil, has plenty of worms which signifies it can grow plants and other things and always attracts the most attention from other forms of nature, does this mean something or am I just getting ahead of myself. Truth is they create the same thing and it is all about giving Earth the tools to do what earth does, regenerate Herself. We give to Earth so Earth gives back to us.
My composter has saved me money in buying from the store, black earth and top soil, all I do is place my vegetable and fruit remains into the composter, then with the heat and restricted air, the water and then the growth of regenerative insects, few months later I have my own top soil, to start all over again. Maybe I am reading into this, but I don’t think so, this is no coincidence.

It is said in Suriname (where my lineage comes) ‘it is only the white man who goes hunting on a full stomach’ perhaps they have begun to learn that we, indigenous people take and enjoy what earth offers BECAUSE we give back to the very earth to replenish its sources, we don’t take more then needed.
Some take because it is there and sometimes for sport, time to wake up, the very ozone they destroy, their own skin can not take the excess heat generated and their hunting rifle will surely backfire.

Is Green The New Religion or have we just Awakened Dead Brains Cells ?
I will tell you, Green is the northern Europeans latest discovery, we have been practicing Green all the time.
This is just Nature telling us our time is fast approaching, we who worship Nature and help to sustain living things within Nature will be reaping its benefits, our time is upon us, we were once there before and have finally found out way back, Nature always has a way of winning and we are the ones leading the battle, we are the blessed ones of this Earth protecting the Divine Creation of the Olodumare, make offering on this Earth to reaffirm this our stance, our day has arrived.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju
Mar. 2007

Ancestral Links : The Hierarchy of Appeasement Within Ifa Worship

This topic I dedicate to my Father, who has recently passed over into the ancestral realm, may the emissaries of the ancestral realm guide and direct him to a rightful place, may he rest comfortably but not to ignore the pleas of his family left behind ASE

My dad was a true Father and a master of conceptualizing ideas, when I was 9-10 years old he and some of his “Lodge Brothers” founded the United Achievers Club in our basement while playing dominions and between sipping High Wine and Bush Rum (two Guyanese “HOT” drinks) while my brother and I looked on laughing as they joked and called each other pet names in jest, while trying to eat their jerk chicken wings and BBQ potato chips.
This organization United Achievers Club is for children of Afro-Caribbean decent living in southern Ontario and has taken off and flourished, it operates today with many programs to support these youth and the children living in the Caribbean small villages, they offer mentorship, scholarships, affordable housing, seniors programs and a host of other services. My Father has created many things and done other great things, he really left a mark and an impact on me, we became friends as I matured and the content of our discussions changed over the time, he was my best friend and I will miss him.
My dad passed young in comparison for my family standard, most lived into the mid 90’s including my dad’s mother who only passed two years ago at 96 yrs. So when my dad fell ill and was hospitalized (he was diabetic) it was a shock and I had some Babalawo "sound" Ifa for me and the message of Ifa revealed that I will lose my dad and it was his ancestors calling him home.
Over the months he was hospitalized I pondered what Ifa had said while seeing his stabilizing and making many strides to get better, it puzzled me. I was often wondering why Ifa had said this? and was I ready to lose my dad?
Then one day after almost tricking everyone to think he was pulling through, he was found very early in the morning not breathing, he was gone. As it turned out he passed on the very day his mother had passed and his mothers-mother, it was, sadly a fact, Ifa had spoken well and clearly my ancestors had called him home.
I was sitting between accepting the reality that Ifa teaches us death is a part of life and the physical loss of losing my dad, it was uncertain times, why now? I wondered, my dad still owes me 10-15 years like the rest of my family. Then one day I was speaking with one friend who is an Iyanifa and she assured me and said something to me very profound and thought provoking, she said “your dad had done something very well and completed a very important step in life”, she said “he created you a son who is well ingrained in traditionalism which included veneration of ancestors, so he has completed something very important”, she was right as I am also an Oje (Eegun Priest done Oyo town).

I used to tell my dad, when he would hint that my brother and I should join the Masonic Temple, I would quip, that, that was alright, the Masons had some interesting ideas, but they were only Europeans trying to recreate what little they learned from Africa, if one wants to know the root of the Masons look into the many Secret Societies we have in Africa (my dad was a long time member and past Grand Master of the Masonic Temple and Mechanics / Engineers Lodge from Suriname and British Guyana, he joined at age 16 and helped to bring that Mech/Eng Lodge to London GBR, in 1955 then to Toronto, he was never in the Orisa tradition per se. Heaven is home, Earth is only the market place, we come to do what we need (destiny), get what we need, then go back Home. Did my dad complete his mission ? what if anything else does he need on his return Home?

So when I reflect two important points have struck me worthy of highlighting, one is the importance of leaving a legacy behind, a mark of your life’s work for other to remember you for and continue to build upon and then it is the matter of making veneration of ones ancestors as a matter of routine, and especially a matter of routine for your children to witness.
I make it a matter of habit to appease and worship my ancestors on the weekly traditional worship cycle and will ensure my children as they grow will watch me while they learn to do the same.
The need to establish IleSanyin or Ojubode (place of ancestral worship within our homes) and systems to teach and pass on this wisdom to future generations.
Had our children not learned this process, who will be the one to do our own Isinku (burial or sending home ceremony) and etutu (appeasement rites) properly, and ensure we leave with the things we ought to have for our journey through the valley and to the entrance way to the ancestral realm. It is a very important task to become proficient and one we all must learn.

Ifa teaches us that human beings can become Orisa, the Orisa, Ifa is referring to here is not necessarily the same as Orisa we know (yet in future blog I will explain how this is attainable), but humans can become an Orisa of the family, if one makes it a matter of routine to appease their ancestors and regularly offer the items the ancestors accept and need, it is possible to place them in a position to make remarkable miracles in our lives and in most cases a much faster response then going towards an Orisa.
Why is this? because, the ancestors want us to live well, and they are much closer to us in every way then our Orisa, it is their blood that run in us. Ifa tells us that when we encounter a situation or we are looking for something, the first Divinity we should go to for support and appease is our ancestors after our own Ori, these two are the closest Divinities we have since they are very personal to us, we do not share with others, then we can go to the various Orisa for supplemental support if need be. If we make it a routine to perform proactive and continuous worship of our Personal Divinities, the need for "outside" help will be greatly reduced.

I hope that within the context of our tradition people do not forget the importance of feeding their ancestors, the Orisa of the family, and you will rejoice that your ancestors have made your issue the matter of quick resolution.

As we all journey through this perpetual market place, let us gather the things we need so we can have all the things in our Home, may we also know the rites to perform so our ancestors can enjoy the benefits of replenishing their goods from this here market place, they are sending us on a errand, will you fulfill your own.

Dad and all my ancestors I intend to complete my own errands in life to the fullest.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju
Feb 2007