Saturday, March 10, 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

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