Ifa divination lesson 8

April 17, 2013 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Ifa divination lessons 

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Deciding what texts to read

Ifa-Divination-LessonsWhen an Odu is cast in Ifa divination, a number of Ese Odu Ifa (Ifa texts) presents itself to us. In some Odus there may be only three or four texts, while in others (like the Mejis) there may be dozens. There are several methods to determine what texts are applicable to the client. Some diviners simply chant verses until the client stops him because (s)he recognizes something relevant, which in my opinion is not the best option because more often than not the problem the client thinks he has, is not the real problem at all. I want neither the client nor myself to decide what is relevant… I want Ifa to decide (Members: click to read on)


Knowing vs arguing, a proverb

April 9, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Jaap's mental musings 

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ArgueAmong the proverbs I’m occasionally asked my opinion about, is: The one who knows does not argue, while the one who argues does not know. This is often interpreted to mean that the knowing (about a given subject) person should keep silent, and not take part in any argument and/or discussion conducted by those who lack knowledge about the subject in question. Of course this interpretation is at best incomplete, and at worst plain bullshit. Now look: discussions, even arguments, are (Members: click to read on)


African origins of the Oyinbo

April 4, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Apparently burning questions 

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It’s becoming kind of boring, but with depressing regularity questions crop up whether White people (“Oyinbo”) should or should not be initiated into Ifa-Orisha. The argument against, is usually that the Orishas disapprove of White people, where in fact it’s more likely that Black people disapprove of White people… which to be honest I can hardly blame them for. Anyway, here’s what Ifa says about the origins of White people… and it doesn’t seem the Orishas disapprove of the Oyinbo.

Some stuff on how the White ethnicity (AKA the Oyinbo) was born in Africa, according to Ifa. Based on words spoken by Chief Fasuyi Kekere Awo of Ile Ife, in 1985.

Black and White handshakeIt’s in Ejiogbe that the origin of Whites is explained and narrated. There were three groups of Oyinbo, respectively moulded by Obatala, Oluorogbo and Olokun. Obatala moulded the European groups. In 1985 there still was was the Igbo Oyinbo (White Man’s Wood) in Ile Ife… for all I know it may still be there. Before creating/moulding the White variety of the people of Ile Ife, Obatala visited the diviners Alaanu, Oloore, Sungbemi, Magbemiti, Saaragaa and Ejufiri, who divined for him and made the necessary ebo. This way the White ethnicity came into being. When the Whites were about to emigrate and populate the world from Africa, they informed Obatala of their plan. Obatala blessed them and gave them the following template for greeting and responding to each other:

Greeting: Alo
Response: Alo
Greeting: Ewo maanio
Response: Ewo danindanin.

Translated:

Greeting: Hello
Response: Hello
Greeting: It is taboo to forget this way of greeting
Response: It is a serious taboo.

In 1985 there were still groups in Ile Ife greeting each other in this manner, and the White children of Africa (Oyinbo) that populated the world after Obatala created them, still greet and respond to each other until this very day.


What is this thing called “Ifa”…

April 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on What is this thing called “Ifa”…
Filed under: Finding your way in Ifa-Orisha 

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… and whaddafugg is it for?

This little article is specifically geared towards newbies in Ifa-Orisha. For others it may contain nothing new. But read it anyway… you never know… 😉

Called Ifa Ifa in its in the West best-known form is an ancient, levelheaded religion and a way of life, grounded in the West-African Yoruba culture. Ifa recognizes complex combinations of spiritual and metaphysical forces called Orisha’s, more or less (probably less…) comparable with the archetypes of Jung’s psychology.

In this Ifa tradition, Orunmila is the spiritual force that was present when Olodumare (God) decided to create the earth and populate it with human beings. Orunmila knows all the secrets of creation, the forces of good and evil, and the possibilities to deal with those; he represents the moral and ethical order in the universe, in contiuous interaction with Eshu who represents the creative disorder behind all sorts of evolution.

Initiated persons, when using metaphysical techniques, are able to communicate with the Orisha’s. This is called Ifa divination, a spiritual experience that helps lead a balanced life in a world that is full of conflicts and contradictory interests.

Ifa Divination, whaddayaknow?!

Ifa divination knows 16 metaphysial principles that may be combined in 256 ways. Each principle or Odu is a window on reality; through divination the Awo (Ifa priest) determines the window behind which the client stands, in order to help him or her see their situation in the right perspective. The Odu that is applicable to the client’s situation of the moment comes out through the casting of an oracle chain (Opele), sixteen palm nuts (Ikin) or sixteen cowrie shells (Owo Merindinlogun); a second, sometimes a third cast supplies additional information on how to interpret the first Odu.

Each of the 256 combined Odu’s contains several texts; those Odu’s that are important during the consultation are clarified by one or more of these ancient myths and historical tales. The texts give, among other information, “prescriptions” for daily life, tailored to the client’s specific situation. During Ifa divination all kinds of questions may be asked, preferably formulated in such a way that they can be answered with “yes” or “no”. As it happens every question, even those containing multiple choices, may be divided into subquestions that can be answered with a clear yes or no.

Besides diagnosing problems, in most cases Ifa divination also offers their solution. Often this is pointed out by the texts, while in other instances the Awo’s knowledge and experience give the first impulse to solution. The ultimate purpose of divination is to help the client live in harmony with his/her destiny, which is not a fixed and narrow path, but an extensive navigation map from which one may choose the very best road!

What the Awo thinks he’s doing

Ifa divinerSpecialists in Yoruba-based Ifa divination are called, depending on their initiation(s), Babalawo, Omolawo and/or Awolorisha. The translations would be something like “Father of the Mystery”, “Child of the Mystery”, and “Mystery of the Orisha”. The position of diviner is not gender-specific; many Owo Merindinlogun (Dilogun) diviners both in Africa and in the diaspora are female, while mainly but not exclusively in Africa also female Opele and Ikin diviners are not unheard of.

The Awo is consulted on important issues in daily life, like spiritual development, material prosperity, marriage, health. Their advice is also asked for decisions or choices on making a journey, change of jobs, buying a house, or choosing a partner. It is not necessary to be a follower of Ifa to consult an Awo. Actually almost nothing is required by Ifa, except the development of good character. As an initiate in the mysteries of his/her Orisha the Awo speaks a universal language, communicating with the client’s conscious and unconscious self, and with external spiritual forces.

The Awo never stops learning; their study is a lifelong process. The more the Awo learns, the better he/she is able to counsel, diagnose problems, prescribe traditional or non-traditional remedies, and perform rituals on behalf of those who consult them. Depending on where one lives, the rituals may get either less or more emphasis than in Africa. This should not be regarded as a deviation, but as an example of the remarkable adaptability of this ancient tradition, that for the Awo is a way of life as well.

(Note: for old-timers and others who know me and this site, it should be clear that the above is a description of what’s traditionally accepted in the Yoruba system of Ifa. I posted it this way because for most newcomers that’s the only system they may have heard of. However, I do not limit myself to the Yoruba system, nor do I subscribe to the idea that for performing Ifa divination any initiation into f’rinstance Orunmila would be required.)


Ifa is not Yoruba

April 1, 2013 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: Ifalution: the larger picture 

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Old globeI’ll be pissing off a lot of people by stating that Ifa is not Yoruba. Even the name Ifa is just a dialect version from a large cluster of names for the same thing: Fa, Ifa, Evwa, Afa, Ebba, Eva. But… what’s in a name? That which we call Ifa, by any other name would be as good. In fact it is (happy grin)!

So… Ifa, being the Wisdom of Nature, definitely is not Yoruba. Ifa/Nature was there long before Yorubas, Americans, Dutch, Cubans etcetera came (Members: click to read on)