Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oròrò Ifá; The Narrator within Ifá context

Narrator (def.)
One who tells a story. In a work of fiction the narrator determines the story's point of view. If the narrator is a full participant in the story's action, the narrative is said to be in the first person. A story told by a narrator who is not a character in the story is a third-person narrative.
Cultural Definition: Narrator
A person who tells a story; in literature, the voice that an author takes on to tell a story. This voice can have a personality quite different from the author's.

What is Oròrò within Ifá
Similarly to the dictionary definition, Ifá teaches us that the Plea (see prior post: Plea enlisting Collab...) performed by a Priest acting on behalf of a petitioner / supplicant, to the listening "Ear" of the Divinity (Orìṣà, Ẹlẹ̀dá etc).
Thus Oròrò is likened to the western defined Narrator; third party explaining a situation and delivering a clear message, avoiding ambiguity on behalf of petitioner.
In some cases, when the matter may be of a more personal nature, or may even be a specific Plea the worshipper is making on behalf of themselves. This act takes on yet another dimension of first-person narrative, however, still remains a narration in the context of the definition.

In both examples, the dictionary definition of what is a Narrator and the Ifá concept of Oròrò remain consistent.

Furthermore, in the Narrator (Cultural Definition) listed in the dictionary (above, second paragraph), similarly, the Oròrò within Ifá, during specific occasions highlights the nature of the Plea event with a voice relevant to the occasion. An example is with a poetic dirge recitation (called Ifá Sìsùn). Once again the Narrator performing the recitation, will alter tonal voice befitting the occasion, as a story teller.

An example from within Ifá
IrosùnGbèMí says;

Oròrò ( the Narrator ),
I will surely Narrate (my wishes)
these were the Ifa Priest who consulted Ifa for Ọ̀runmìlà
when going on a teaching mission to ile gbanja
he was advised to perform ritual,
he performed all the rites
Ọ̀runmìlà declared*;
now, I am in Love with Longevity
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of Longevity, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Perfect Health
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of Perfect Health, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Well Being
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of Well Being, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Wealth of Knowledge
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of Wealth of Knowledge, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Financial Success
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of Financial Success, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Home Ownership
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love for Home Ownership, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Spouse
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love for Spouse, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Off-Spring (Children)
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love for Off-Spring (Children), Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with Peace
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love for Peace, Oròrò
Ọ̀runmìlà declared;
now, I am in Love with all Good Things
Ifá has come to Narrate
I too have come to Narrate
Oròrò (the Narrator), Ifa will surely Narrate,
Oròrò, I too have come to Narrate my Love of all Good Things, Oròrò

This is Oròrò the Narrative Declaration within Ifá.

Àború Àboyẹ

Awo Ifálojú
twitter @alawoye

I will continue to discuss several aspects of contextualize ritual from within Ifá, using the Odù-Ifá (oral literature) as framework.
We have already discussed in IrosùnỌ̀sá; importance of heeding Ifá-Oracle advice, and more recently A Plea; enlisting Collaborative Support from Odù-Ifá OgbeAte.

I hope you find these articles informative & continue following Ifá Speaks blog (post your comments & blog topics), as we move to bring other aspects of the deeper ideas within Ifá to the foreground. I am also preparing to relaunch the popular Eko Ifa Podcast (Eko'fa - Ifa studies podcast on iTunes) after a long unplanned absence, I have heard your complaints & request to reinstate the podcast session, thank you for being patience.

Stay connected, stay blessed

Awo Ifálojú

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Plea; enlisting Collaborative Support

Today, this Ifa Day (Ose-Ifa/Awo), I felt the need to discuss Collaborative Support of Powerful Positive Affirmations, on todays Ifa Speaks post.

Positive affirmations seeking collaborative support made in the Morning upon rising, Ifa calls calls; making a plea or request, to those in 'Heaven' who hear such Pleas.

(Plea def. – noun; an appeal or entreaty: a plea for..)
(Collaborate def. - vb; to work with another or others on a joint project)

One example is listed below in the sacred Odu Ifa, Ogbe Irete,


"When we wake up early in the morning,
When we wake up at the dawning of new day
Let us plead (pray) for something from the Owner
So that the Owner may give it out to us
And for the Owner to release it to us
This was the Ifa declaration for Orunmila
When going to Heaven on mission to bring Egungun
to assist his wife & her lineage..."

Now, to discuss this verse of Ifa within the chapter of OgbeAte, let us first resolve who is the "Owner" that Ifa is referring to here.

Within other religions and traditions one might consider such a being as the Creator (Olodumare in Yoruba for lack of better term), or God, Allah, Jah etc.

But within the context of Ifa philosophy this might not be so clearly distinguished, for example, our tradition is a tradition of "monotheism and polytheism" at the same time, without conflict.
We believe and understand the existence of Olodumare, in Olodumare rightful place, yet we also do recognize and venerate the "supporters" of Olodumare, we refer to as the many Orisa (Humans intermediaries with Olodumare).

So the Supremacy concept of the Creative force is not centralized to one Being, as with many other religious traditions. We see such a Supreme Being as more like a community of Supreme Beings, all providing Her & His own complimentary attributes and virtues.

Furthermore, addressing the issue in the Ifa Stanza listed above OgbeAte; 'making a morning Plea to the Owner', one might misinterpret this as a simple morning prayer, to God/Allah/Jah etc
Yet within the view of a traditional Ifa practitioner, this is only a part of the greater picture.

The Owner mentioned, who hears and answers prayer, might be a collective or community of Beings we refer to as Orisa, which have a close relationship with Olodumare.

Today it might be ones Egberun or Iyemoja that is the "Owner" who has heard and "championed" our Plea, and another day it could be Egungun or a combination. The idea is collaboration & collective supporters.

The next issue to discuss, one might argue is different from commonly held religious belief, is the items we use in the process of entreating the Orisa to hear our Plea. This is yet another matter, and one that is codified with the various means we deploy in questioning the Orisa or collective body of "Those who Hear and answer Plea."We deploy these processes to ensure our Plea has been heard and accepted thus coming into reality.

We make Plea, with the assumption and resolve (through questioning), that the "Owner or Collective" who assist its manifestation will accept our request and petition, thus helping the Plea to come into reality.

May the Owner(s) of this Day, hear our Good Positive Pleas and accept our petitions...

Awo Ifaloju

Sunday, September 12, 2010

IrosùnỌ̀sá; importance of heeding Ifá-Oracle advice...

One example from Odù-Ifá, IrosùnỌ̀sá,

Ifá teaches us the importance of heeding the advice of the Divine Oracle (Ifá). This is the story of Ọ̀runmìlà & the then 800+1 Orisa that were all seeking for prominence & entry into the Earthly realm to occupy a dignified place.

Ifá says:
...The Head (Orí) should be accorded His due
All collectives must have Olórí (A Leader)
This was the Ifá message to Ọ̀runmìlà and the 800+1 Orìṣà
Who were contesting for position on the Earth
they were told to perform ebo and render annual tribute to Olódùmarè
it was only Ọ̀runmìlà who performed the complete ẹbo

Olódùmarè was placing the necessary Àṣẹ upon those who came seeking, yet intentionally did not disclose all the attributes needed in order to prove worthy of attaining this Àṣẹ.
The intent of Olódùmarè was to see which of the Orìṣà would perform appropriate rituals and heed the advice of the Oracle, such a deity would understand the importance of undergoing divination and following the advice, prescriptions and rituals needed. This combination of advice(s) is the word of Olódùmarè and Olódùmarè true intent, failure to follow ALL the "intent" would result in one issue or the other, thus incomplete.
It was only Ọ̀runmìlà who not only sought the advice of the Oracle, but also completely ingested its advice. Including the appropriate disposition needed to truly embody the characteristics of Olódùmarè, acting as Olódùmarè representative on Earth.

This Ifá-Oracle advice as with many Odù-Ifá, tells Humans our lives need order and divine intervention (advice), in order to capture the true intent of our Purpose here on Earth.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Truth & Righteousness

Ifa Says;

You, who do not know the Mother;
  Stop your impetuous lying,
You, do not know the Father;
  Stop your impetuous lying,
You, do not know the Mother, you do not know the Father of Olódùmarè (The Creator).
This is the Ifa divination cast for Tẹ̀la Ìròkò
Who arrogantly proposed to name the origins of Olódùmarè, impossible,,,,
The King who spreads the mat, but yet exposes His head to the rains, 
It is impossible...

It was the story of Tẹ̀la Ìròkò, who would make his occupation traveling to speak ill about people, spread false rumors about people, blow matters out of proportion and attempt to destroy peoples names and reputations, he did so with arrogance knowing full well he was wrong.
One day he decided to claim he had gained the knowledge of all and everything, and even claimed he had the secret knowledge of Olódùmarè, when people laughed at him, knowing full well he is only trying to build his inflated ego with more falsehood. Tẹ̀la Ìròkò was more eager then ever to claim his position of trying to become somebody, he pressed this matter until it was brought before the Council of Elders (Iyaale & Baale) of the town. Tẹ̀la Ìròkò insisted he had such secret knowledge, when the Elders brought the matter to the Ifa Diviners mentioned above, they articulated the story and asked him to prove such knowledge under Ifa oath, Tẹ̀la Ìròkò could not.
They then performed the necessary actions to deal with such persons and declared such matters tabu, not only was Tẹ̀la Ìròkò removed from the town but his attempt at building respect was totally destroyed.
What should remain sacred should remain sacred, attempts at building ones name at the expense of others should be considered tabu

From one Odù-Ifá

Aboru Aboye

Awo Ifaloju

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Is Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ ?

What is Ikunle Abiyamo ?
and can I attain it ?

some professors of Yoruba thought have written that Ikunle Abiyamo is only the Yoruba traditional act of giving birth on bent knees OR is a combination of acts during the final stages of the expectant mother-to-be in labour.

In a paper titled ABIYAMO: THEORIZING AFRICAN MOTHERHOOD by Prof. Oyeronke Oyewumi, writes

,,,".....Motherhood occupies a special place in African cultures and societies. Regardless of whether a particular African society displays a patrilineal or matrilineal kinship system, mothers are the essential building block of social relationships, identities, and indeed society. Because mothers symbolize familial ties, unconditional love and loyalty, motherhood is invoked even in extrafamiliial situations that calls upon these values. For example, in the Ogboni a traditional political organization which formed part of the hierarchy of governance in some Yoruba polities, members refer to each other as omoya - mother's child— emphasizing that fraternal and sororal bonds derive from mother and the institution of motherhood (Oyewumi 2003a). My goal in this paper is to articulate Yoruba conceptions of motherhood as one African model.
The social context of motherhood and the meanings attached to birthing events are a good starting point for appreciating Yoruba constructions of the institution. At the moment of birth, two entities are born - a baby and a mother. In Yoruba language, the term for mother is abiyamo, which can be translated as natal mother or nursing mother. In everyday usage, the term abiyamo is usually accompanied by another one ikunle which means kneeling, the preferred birthing position in the culture. Thus ikunle abiyamo refers to the kneeling of a mother in labor. The day a particular mother gives birth is referred to as ojo ikunle (day of birth).
The kneeling posture is invested with a lot of meaning, as is demonstrated by the prevalence of this pose in Yoruba art. In the cosmology, Ikunle recalls akunleyan - the pregestation act of kneeling before the Creator to choose one's - ori— Destiny on earth. It is significant that the most fateful choice any individual makes at this crucial pre-earthly moment is the selection of one's mother. Apart from the fact that the mother is the one who introduces a person into earthly life, there is the added fear of choosing a mother who has a short lifespan, because a motherless child is unlikely to survive. Omoalainiya (literally motherless child) is the term used to describe an orphan in Yoruba, regardless of whether the father of the child is living. The saying omo k'oni ohun o ye, iya ni ko gba - a child survives and thrives only at the mother's will - suggests the critical role the mother plays in the child's welfare. She is not only the birth giver - motherhood being present at creation - she is also the life giver, making motherhood a lifelong vocation.
Motherhood is a lifelong commitment and one remains a child to one's mother regardless of one's age. The importance of having a mother who has a long lifespan cannot be overemphasized. It is understood that one needs one's mother at every turn in life and most especially through rites of passage after birth such as marriage, and the birth of one's own children. Until the very recent past, an expectant mother normally had her first child with her mother in attendance....."

Ifa however, teaches us that the RITES of Ikunle to become Abiyamo starts at the very dawn of ones life, let us examine some statements from Yoruba women who have performed traditional & cultural Ikunle Abiyamo rites of birthing.

(Excerpt from Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ)

Mrs. Olúṣàánú Kólájọ
“Before I became an ardent follower of Ọ̀rúnmìlà, I was convinced that the blessed position a birthing mother is supposed to assume during labour or childbirth is for her to kneel down. Any time I went to the hospital for child delivery, the doctors used to advise me to lie flat on my back but I always refused, insisting that I must kneel down. Thanks to Olódùmarè that I did. All my children are blessed by Olódùmarè. Anytime I pray for them and I invoke Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ, my prayers usually come to pass. Let all mothers assume this position henceforth during childbirth and they will have spiritual access to Olódùmarè in shaping the lives of their children for good”.

Folúkẹ́ Ọdúnfá-Jones:
“I was very young when I had my son. An elderly woman in our house assisted in taking the delivery. During labour, I instinctively knelt downand the elderly woman encouraged me to do so. Shortly after, there was a disagreement between my husband and me. I left my matrimonial home and took my son along with me against all pressures from my husband’s relations. Three weeks after, my son fell seriously ill and the doctors said that he had only 20% survival chance. I prayed that may Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ come to my aid so that I shall not be blamed in the end. Surprisingly, my son became well three days later, we were back home from the hospital. Ever since that time, he had never been ill. This incident happened eleven years ago. Thanks to Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ”.

Mother to Son:
“I beg you in the name of Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ, whatever the differences between you and your wife, I want you to forgive and forget. If you do as I have said, Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ will bless you abundantly. Remember, I am the one who poured blood on your face when you were about to enter into this world”.

Mother to Daughter:
“For taking proper care of me as your mother, I am totally convinced that Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ will bless you and repay you in several folds. Anytime you remember me as your mother, just say “Àṣẹ”, because you already have the blessing of Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ”.

Father to Mother:
“You are not giving your children proper moral education, I advise you to change your attitude in order not to incur the wrath of Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ”.

Mrs. Adijat Adékúnlé
“The accident was terrible. We were in an eighteen-passenger bus traveling from Abẹ́òkúta to Lagos when suddenly the tire burst and the bus somersaulted three times.  Only my daughter who was carrying a seven-month old pregnancy and I came out unhurt. There was too much blood. I am sure it was Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ that saved us. I Beg Olódùmarè to let Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ spare the lives of those who are still unconscious”. 

Ìkúnlẹ̀- Abiyamọ is more than the position a woman assumes during childbirth. 

Certainly, it is the

Àṣẹ of Motherhood.

I am posting a copy of these Ifa stanzas on marriage process, and other matters to consider with relationships according to the tradition of Ifa. These are an excerpt from a recent Ifa book - Ikunle Abiyamo : The ASE of Motherhood, by Chief S. Solagbade Popoola & Fakunle Oyesanya, (isbn 978-09810013-0-2) by Asefin Media LLC