Monday, October 9, 2006

Respect, Eldership & Wisdom

The position of Orunmila (and his Priest) and the respect due to Ikin (the Holy Palm nut), is a scared matter contained within many Odu Ifa for our understanding.

First let us explore the matter of Orunmila, the devoted Prophet of Olodumare-Oba Olorun, Orunmila which is also referred to as Ela and Ifa.

Ela is the most ancient names of Orunmila and in some circles is considered his rightful name with Orunmila as an appellation highlighting his ability or responsibility within the realm of the Divinities and Olodumare, thus Orunmila means only Ela knows who will be saved in Heaven OR Ela is the way to salvation in Heaven.

Ifa on the other hand is not Ela nor Orunmila, but is the specific word of Olodumare sent to earth for humanity to learn, incorporate and understand as a way of living and interacting with one another, Ifa wisdom is a complete and total way of living – ancient philosophy of life.

Having said that, Ifa was given to Orunmila or earned from Olodumare after the later witnessing Orunmila’s humility or gentle character coupled with Orunmila’s wisdom, which in some cases predated the creation of this Universe for which Olodumare is in charge, and it was Orunmila who helped Olodumare organize this Universe in the manner for which it operates today.

Ifa is the means to help organize things and put them in order, calling on the most ancient wisdom from the most ancient of times, perhaps outside of this very universe or likely this Earth. This is why the wisdom of Ifa speaks for yesterday, today & tomorrow, since History (Ifa) says everything we are seeing today has happened before, albeit somewhere else but everything moves in cycles and will continue until we as the Divine Creation get it right and live in support of Nature, thus occupying our rightful place in the ancestral realm.
This is saying it was Orunmila that deployed the wisdom of Ifa in helping Olodumare in situating the Universe and even helped the other Irunmole (Orisa and Divinities) in completing their assigned duties on this earth, as forces and manifestation of Nature.

Does Irunmole also have Ifa ? the answer is absolutely yes, every aspect of the emissaries of Olodumare incorporate Ifa (Divine Wisdom) in what they do, and this wisdom is revealed when utilizing the scared divination tools of the Orisa and Divinity, it is the unquestionable wisdom by Olodumare’s authority each Irunmole is employing when revealing the scared messages while utilizing the divination tools. It was Orunmila who managed to acquire the bulk of this ancient wisdom of Olodumare, however all the Irunmole share in this wisdom. Meaning Orunmila’s specialty is revealing the most complex intentions of ones Ori (personal god) which is the spark of Eleda from Olodumare – thus the intent of Olodumare for that person, Orunmila uses the wisdom of Ifa to deliver that message to keep one on course and in sync with ones higher destiny and purpose.

This is the Orunmila’s specialty and in so each other Orisa also has his or her own specialty, but can also divine. Ogun can be approached for matters of war and overcoming obstacles but can also bless one with children, in so every Irunmole has a specialty but can be utilized in other ways. Orunmila’s is divination and accessing the total vastness of Ifa’s wisdom, but can also be approached for other matters. The other point that makes Orunmila unique is his deep knowledge of Ifa can be used to learn and gain deeper insight into any other Irunmole (more on this topic in a future blog).

All the various Divinities on occasion and during their annual festivals would have Orunmila and his followers consult the Ikin to know the intentions of Olodumare through Ikin-Ifa the highest and most complex form of divinatory practice of the Yoruba people. Up to this date in Yoruba land (and most of the Diaspora) the various Priest and Priestess of every Divinity would consult Ikin-Ifa for this same purpose, this was not a recognition gained lightly and was earned by Orunmila himself, as seen in the Odu Ifa OwonrinSindin as follows…

OwanrinSindin Sindin begot insects
and those very insects birthed more and more sacred beads
beads that will one day adorn a crown of an unsuspecting person
These were the divine priest who made divination for Orunmila
When Orunmila was shown a grave disrespect from all the other deities (and their followers)
Orunmila was told to make full sacrifice and etutu (appeasement) to command the respect of the Deities
Orunmila asked what have I done to attract such blatant maltreatment?
I have done nothing but support and assist these various Deities, the same assistance I gave was what made them to become so great, what have I done to be treated this way?
More and more each Deity would forgo Orunmila, some would even ask for his assistance under the cover of night, but most attained their positions and forgot to recognize the position of Ela and found no need to appease Ifa again, they forgot the help and directing they received to their position of greatness
Orunmila made the ebo and etutu,Orunmila showed how he can make a simple being into an item worthy of veneration and appeasement, he made simple things into greatness
he started to get the honor & respect of all and sundry, he continued to help the Deities and the Deities vowed to never forgo the position of Orunmila.
Orunmila started to dance and rejoice he praised his Ifa Priest and they praised Olodumare saying:
OwanrinSindin Sindin begot insects
and those very insects birthed more and more sacred beads
beads that will one day adorn a crown of an unsuspecting person
These were the divine priest who made divination for Orunmila
Orunmila was told to make ebo and etutu
Orunmila perform the rituals,
Ifa has been placed in a high position, let us openly adorn Ikin-Ifa,
for the person who chooses to adorn Ifa, it will be that same Ifa that will make them great in life, let us adorn Ikin-Ifa
it is only Ifa that can make someone to attain the pinnacle of greatness
let us adorn Ikin-Ifa

This is one story that highlights how even the Royal Deities of Olofin-Aye had shown honor to Orunmila, because of his great wisdom and humility, not his age or eldership, but his deep knowledge and wisdom of turning sorrow into opulence.

End of part one of a two part blog on this topic:

Awoyinfa Ifaloju
Oct 2006

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