The hero represents the quest to discover and master your identity, which is synonymous with destiny. The process of becoming a hero then, is what we call Ijo L'aiye, the journey of life. Each segment of the journey is an invitation to show up more fully and demonstrate your ability to focus relentlessly and perform effortlessly. Can you be unwavering in your purpose? Can you be fearless in your love? Under any and all circumstances, can you stay totally committed to your spiritual identity?
These are the multifaceted challenges outlined in the sacred text of Odu Ifa. There are 256 Odu Ifa, each of which has hundreds of verses, mythological stories, sacrifices and spiritual powers. In all, there are tens of thousands of Ifa verses. More importantly, each Ifa verse represents a pathway to achieving your destiny. Think of it this way; when you consult Ifa, the Odu that emerges represents an itinerary that outlines your Hero's Journey.
It is for this reason that so many Ifa verses detail the heroic journeys of Orunmila, who is the custodian of Ifa and the intermediary of fate. The heroic journeys can be divided into three parts:
Igbá olóore kì í fọ́; àwo olóore kì í fàya; towó tọmọ ní ńya ilé olóore. The calabash of a kind-hearted person never breaks; the china plate of a kind-hearted person never cracks; both riches and children ever converge in the home of a kind-hearted person. Good always attends those who are good. Orisa Lifestyle is a unifying force. By linking practitioners to the patterns of Creation - as it emerges from the Earth, our ancestral lineages and the divinities themselves - Orisa Lifestyle engenders generosity in the hearts of all who aspire to help bring about the Good Condition. Ase. Live the Medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
What is deceit?
What is falsehood?
What more is subterfuge,
Than proffering the open palm of friendship
Whilst concealing the closed fist of hatred?
These were the wise words to Orunmila
When living amidst unknown, deadly enemies
- Holy Odu OgundaBede
Some people will consume your last morsel, while they hold a stockpile of food nearby. They will feel entitled to take your last dollar, knowing they don't need it, simply to weaken your position. It is tempting to demean these people as wicked and vile creatures. But, at the core of the matter, you must concern yourself with restoration. This begins with acknowledgement of the wound.
When the false friends and selfish lovers steal from you, it hurts you to the core. It is a betrayal of trust and leaves you feeling insecure about who you are and what you're really doing in the world. But know that love is not manmade. It is a gift from Olodumare. So even if you have reason not to trust humanity, do not lose faith in the Sanctuary, the Protector and the Source of all blessings.
Invoke his name in all you do and Olodumare will always tend to you, eniyan (the chosen). Ase!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Fear is the shadow of adrenaline. The former consumes, while the latter unleashes energy. The ability to channel adrenaline - and thereby become united with a sea of energy - is only a matter of conditioned decision-making.
Your pots, beads, pity parties masked as ceremonies and titles will not override your conditioned self. They will certainly thrill you with a temporary boost. Eventually, however, your old programming will drag you back into a world of shadowy thoughts and pettiness. Be honest with yourself. How often do you skip the opportunity to be negative, judgemental and condemning?
You come from a long line of fearful, negative, little trolls. They vomit terror and suffering with every word. You have been weaned on bile and bitterness. Beneath that $5.00 "goody two shoes" mask, hides decades - generations - of fear-filled conditioning. I SEE YOU!
Your perfidious manipulation has exploited the fears of many. But, unbeknownst to you, your fear-mongering is but a shadow of a far greater adrenaline flame! As the Yoruba say, One cannot block the glory of the sun with his hands. The brighter we shine, the greater your fears shall be and the darker you shall become. Eventually, you shall be relegated to the shadows and live out your final days in eternal darkness. Àse!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
To be human is to be delegated by Olodumare to facilitate the Good Condition. As such, humanity is tasked with the mission to balance heaven and earth. In this mission, each of us is born into a lineage and every lineage has an Ancestral Promise.
The Ancestral Promise is a family charter that defines your collective purpose. Not only that, it outlines your inborn resources, including ideal work, spiritual guardians and taboos. It is within the context of your Ancestral Promise that you discover and practice your natural gifts and talents.
Your natural gifts and talents are the means through which you live the medicine that will heal your life and the lives of those you're destined to serve. Focus upon these principles and your journey will forever be enriched by increasing levels of authentic happiness. Ase!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Nothing ever changes until you do. The secret of your success is embedded in your daily routine.
The quality of your life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, financially and intellectually – will always reflect the quality of your daily routines. As great as the Òrìsà are, I promise you, they will NOT wake your children every morning, make them breakfast and drive them to school… That’s up to you and your family!
If you’re going to do the kinds of things that will eventually enable you to become a DEIFIED ANCESTOR, now is the time to establish great daily routines, habits and rituals. Live the medicine!
Join Obafemi Origunwa, MA for the annual FREE conference call to learn more about ASETO: Spiritual Planning for the New Year.
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Alágemo was a Obatala's apprentice. One day, Alágemo cleverly contrived a plan. He ran away from Òòsà (Obatala) before his training was complete. People started to wonder, 'Where is Obatala's apprentice?' Òòsà would reply, "I haven't seen him lately. Incidentally, however, I have not given him his freedom’
The place where Alágemo ran to he tried and tried his hand at everything. He could, however, not make any headway. ‘You have to go back to Òòsà that you left’, they told him. He then went back to Òòsà. When he arrived, Òòsà said ‘You Alágeômo’, you will not die. You will not fall sick. You will live long. ‘But exercise patience.’
Alágemo then started to walk gently. Life so pleased Alágemo. He said:
Òfún marked it with chalk
Òfún marked it with Osùn cream
Òfún decorated it brightly with palm leaves
Cast divination for Alágemô oô tééré
The close associate of Òòsà
Offering of sacrifices
And free gifts given to Esu
Life pleases us abundantly
- Holy Odu OfunOsa
Ifá says life would be pleasant to the person who is generous to the devotees of Òòsàálá. If you are still in training and you are thinking of regressing, you should desist from the thought. Be patient and trust the process, from start to finish. Ase!
It is the dry wood that has no leaves
Parasitic plants have no tap roots
Cast divination for Míèéyè
Also cast divination for his wife
- Holy Odu OfunOgbe
Míèéyè and his wife were in search of prosperity. And so, they went to consult Ifa.
While both the husband and the wife were stressed about money, the husband's grief was greater than that of his wife. At this time, Míèéyè raised some local chickens as free-range birds in their backyard. One day, one of the chickens died. The husband burst into tears: "The bird in which I had hoped to sell for profit and feed my family is now dead!!!
He wept bitterly and became worried by survival.
At that point, however, his sacrifice was only beginning to manifest. Èsù came to Míèéyè and said, "Roast the chicken and keep it." Míèéyè did as instructed. Days rolled on days.
Months rolled on months. One day, a strange disease afflicted the daughter of Olókun. She was ill and bedridden. Olókun then went to consult with his priests. They told him to find a chicken that had died long ago, without which his daughter would not recover. They then started to look around for dead chicken. But Èsù, the spirit that shuttles between two opposing ends, heard about the sacrifice. He told them that a dead chicken could only be found in Míèéyè’s house. "Go and look for Míèéyè’" Èsù said.
Meanwhile, even before the servants arrived at Míèéyè’s house Èsù had already been there. He said to Míèéyè, "‘Tell them you would sell each of the chickens for two hundred thousand units of money." This was an extraordinary sum of money. As predicted, the searchers for the dead chicken came to Míèéyè. They brought out two hundred thousand units of money in exchange for the chicken. They used it to perform the rituals for the daughter of Olókun. She was cured!
After some time, the same type of disease also afflicted the child of Olósà. He too quickly thought of a solution and went to consult Ifa. They told him also to look for a dead chicken at the house of Míèéyè. One of Míèéyè’s chickens had died before then
He fired it and kept it also in expectation of another stroke of luck. They came and paid the same type of money paid by Olókun. Another two hundred thousand in Míèéyè’s pockets! But on the first and second occasions it was the wife of Míèéyè they met at home. She searched for her husband, explaining to him that there are some people who want to buy dead chickens. Míèéyè collected all the money. He refused to give a dime to the wife. The woman then became disturbed and exclaimed in sadness, "My husband did not even share any of this money with me."
That was how she took one of her own chickens and clubbed it. The chicken died. She roasted and kept it. After a prolonged period of time the same sickness of the first time affected another child of Olókun. "We already know where we usually buy the dead chickens", Olókun said. They headed straight for Míèéyè’s house. The same Èsù that usually followed them on the mission did the same thing this time around. As they entered the house of Míèéyè they met with his wife as usual. The woman quickly fetched for the chicken she had clubbed to death. As they were counting the money, however, Èsù haulted the process: "Let us be cautious" Èsù said. ‘Is it true that this chicken died by itself’?
Since he is a knowledgeable being, Èsù could distinguish the one that died naturally from the one clubbed to death. "Leave the chicken for her", Èsù said. The woman burst into tears. "‘Why must it happen on my turn? ‘Why must they refuse to buy the chicken from me’? She started to weep profusely. Èsù concluded, "No one uses one Orí to compare another. You are the one that rather compared your Orí with that of Míèéyè’s’ Ifá enjoins the wife of this person not to be jealous or annoyed at her husband.
Olore and Ika were good friends, Ika always had a complicated character, (wicked, bad mind, bad ways and jealous) nothing ever pleased Ika, he always sulked and complained. Olore on the other hand, was patient and kind, he was forgiving and trusting, having no malice for anyone. Olore had a cool and gentle nature, so although Ika was a terrible person, Olore did not let his character upset him and kept friends with him when another person would have shunned him.
Olore was such a good person and he had money, he never neglected tradition and so he always consulted with his Babalawos and did his recommended sacrifices, because of this his way was always open and so he assisted Ika all the time with money and his needs.
One day Ika said to Olore, “Olore, ah ah, how come you are always ok, you are never in need of money, your business is thriving everytime, instead of giving me money every, every time why don’t you show me the way, point me in the direction so I can make money for myself also, let me do business with you”
Olore, who was always giving and generous told Ika that he always do his sacrifices and check his Ifa, but before he can let him into his business he has to consult Ifa. So Olore told Ika to let him take him to his Babalawo to check Ifa and see what can be done, and how they can work together so that Ika could be alright as Olore.
The Babalawo told them after consulting with Ifa that they both needed to initiate to Ifa, If they wanted to do business together and for the business to be successful. They were told the cost of the initiation, to which Ika complained that it was too much. Olore, knowing the benefits of Ifa, told him not to worry he would pay the money for both of them which he did. They both had the same Odu come down for them during the initiation which was OgbeSa.
They were both given their Ifa pots with which to take home with them. Ika complained on the way home. “We came for money and this Babalawo gives us a pot instead, what can this pot do for me, what is this??… Olore, calm as usual, told Ika to calm down, he would soon see the benefits of receiving Ifa, all his things will soon go up. Ifa guides the way said Olore trying to assure his friend. Ika still complained but Olore assured him.
Now remember the reason for the initiation was because Ika complained about just getting money every time to care for his wife and family from Olore and he wanted Olore to make him apart of his business, but the Babalawo said before they can do business together they must receive Ifa, and they both came out with the same life path which is the Odu Ifa Ogbe Osa. One of their taboos was not to argue with each other.
The time came for them to do the business of course Ika complained that he did not have money to start the business, so Olore as usual fronted him the money. Ika’s money was not as much as Olore’s money in the business, so anytime they went to market, Olore’s items were far more than Ika’s.
Jealousy and spite began to play in Ika’s mind. Ika began to watch all the goods Olore would get when they came from market and compare it to his own, although it was Olore who fronted him the money and on top of that Olore had been doing this business for years it made him so upset that he could not reach where Olore was in wealth, so Ika began to plan against Olore.
Ika went to “Agbede” the blacksmith for him to make a iron contraption so he would use it to pluck out Olore’s eyes. One day soon after he got it, he asked Olore if he remembered that their taboo was that they must not argue, Olore said yes he remembered, Ika then produced the Iron contraption and gave it to Olore and told him to remove his eyes. Olore protested strongly and asked Ika what kind of suggestion was this, why must he remove his eyes? Ika told him”You see, we must not argue according to our taboo and here you are arguing”, Olore thought about it and said it is true and so Olore removed his eyes and immediately fell into darkness amid terrible pain. He fell on the ground screaming and crying from the pain he suffered.
Ika then packed all of Olore’s good and left him to die. Night came and Olore was outside still in pain and shivering from suffering, he felt his way to a tree not far from where Ika had tricked him, which was a huge tree where witch people from all over would gather every night and pass the time talking and exchanging information. Olore did not know this, and so he leaned back against the tree trunk not knowing what to do, and wondering to himself what will happen to him. He thought he would die.
Night came and poor Olore was hungry, fearful and tired and in pain, he cried at his plight, and then he heard the flapping of birds flying toward the tree and perching on the branches. Olore realized that these were witches and he feared that they would see him, so he quieted down his cry and hunched down behind the tree trunk fearful for his life as he listened to them speak.
They spoke of many things, one of which was of a particular town and its people called Hausas. One bird asked the other about them and he responded that they were suffering, because all in the town were blind, sick and lame. They were rich but they also were riddled with illness, but God had a cure and none in the town knew about it, and only if they sacrificed to the witches would they be well, they all laughed at this..
He said this very tree here is so powerful, from the leaf to the branches to the roots, that if they take one leaf and crush it into water or crush it until the pulp is released and use it on any aliment they would be better, If they were blind then they would see, lame, then they would walk or have the use of their limbs, barren they would get baby. Then they would sacrifice a goat along with the medicine. They all laughed at the fact that the Hausa people did not know the cure even while they suffered, but who would tell them? They laughed and flew away, as they flew away, the leaves from the tree fell and Olore upon hearing it, searched for the leaves, crushed them and rubbed his eyes, immediately his eyes returned into its socket and he could see again.
Olore prayed and thanked Orunmila, he thanked his IFA, OgbeSa. He gathered all the leaves he could when morning came and set out for the town of the Hausa people. Upon arrival, he saw the devastation the witches spoke about and asked to speak to the King. The Town people were curious of this fellow, a stranger coming into the town demanding to see the King so they questioned him, and he told them that he was there to save the town and cure the people. The King came, he had two sons who were sick and Olore asked for a goat, and some water, he did the sacrifice and used the leaves and cured the Kings children, all the people cheered him, and also the King and so all of them lined up to be cured and Olore cured everyone.
He spent months in that town and the King built him a house and gave him all he needed. There came a time when Olore informed the King that he wanted to leave for his own town. The King and the towns people protested and offered Olore anything he wanted, but Olore said he missed his family, and so they relented. The king gave Olore gold, so much Gold that he had to have hundreds of horses to carry them, he gave him servants who would travel with him, he gave him so much things that would equal to Olore being a billionaire here in our modern times. Olore set out for home amid the tears of all the Hausa people who were grateful to this kind and humble man who had cured them from disease.
All this time Ika was enjoying life in their town, he was rich, and people respected him. He had told the towns people that Olore had died on their last buying trip and the town had mourned the loss of a good, kind and generous man.
Olore arrived into town with hundreds of horses,servants, gold, spices and all things which said wealth. He was dressed in the finest of cloth and he looked good. The towns people were shocked and celebrated his return.
Ika heard the celebration and ran out to see what was happening, only to see the friend he betrayed Olore, he immediately feared Olore would expose him, but when Olore saw him he hailed him with a good heart. Ika asked him Olore how did you come into this wealth, and Olore responded that, “you see the tree where you left me to die, that was what cured me, witch people came and spilled some secrets there and I heard and so I did as I heard and it brought me into wealth”.
Ika said ok, that means half of your wealth is my own because of what I did to you, if not this, fortune would not have reached you, Olore agreed and offered to give Ika half his wealth, but Ika had another thought and told Olore “no keep your wealth”, while he told him this, he began to plan.
Ika went to the same tree he had left Olore beside and used the same contraption and plucked out his own eyes, and waited until night fall for the birds to come, he did not matter the pain and darkness, he was sure he would find the secret Olore did, which now mad him rich.
Night came and the witches came, they began to do as they normally would do on their meetings, which is catch up on the latest news. One asked, how are the Hausa people, the other said they all have been cured, which is impossible because the only people I told of the cure were you my fellow witches. They were all asked to swear that they did not reveal the secret to anyone, all of them swore.
One said “You know I bet that it was a human being who overheard our conversation and took the knowledge. Meanwhile Ika was keenly listening under the tree, way down. The witches said it was their fault for not checking all the time that there were no intruders eavesdropping on them and so unbeknownst to Ika they made hand signal to fly down and check to see if there were any humans listening. They found Ika who was frightened as they pounced upon him and accused him of stealing their secret, they beat him to death.
SOURCE: Orisa Unveiled
What does the number 9 mean inYoruba numerology? Is there even such a discipline as Yoruba numerology, as it is practiced in the West? For example, do the Yoruba count count this year as 2016? Does it make any sense to the indigenous mind to sum the numerals of a year in order to produce a number quality? (That is, 2016 as 2+0+1+6=9).
I assure you that this kind of logic is entirely foreign to Yoruba indigenous knowledge. Yet and still, there is definitely a form of numerology built into Orisa Lifestyle. In order to fully appreciate it, however, you have to be willing to think as the ancients thought, which means delving a bit into Yoruba language and culture.
Araba Fayemi Elebuibon tells us that "The ancient system created by the Yoruba reveals to us the inner mysteries of the universe through mathematical configurations. Everything has mathematical value..." It is natural then, that numerology plays an important part in Orisa Lifestyle.
As a whole, Orisa Lifestyle is a systematic way of healing and bringing balance to matters concerning "heaven and earth," the ultimate goal of which is to bring about the Good Condition. One of the principle methods by which the babalawo (Ifa priests) strive to bring about the Good Condition is called ebo riru, or sacrifice.
When we prescribe ebo riru, all the elements used are measured by numbers. Araba Elebuibon tells us that "When a person is distressed by lack of money, it may seem as if the priest adds to their problems by prescribing a heavy ebo, but the numbers of items indicate the actual location of the problem and also reveal the essentials of reformation."*
Let's take the number 9, as an example. 9 is pronounced esan, which means "It turns." But instead of running in circles, esan is turning things with purpose. Thus, "to take turns" islati sesan. Similarly, fi ire sanre and fi ibi sanbi mean to retaliate or pay someone back in their own coin. And so, the word san connotes turning over, results and exchange. It basically represents the principle of reciprocity. If you're in a situation wherein you're giving more than you're receiving, the babalawo might prescribe sacrificial items in multiples of 9 (esan) in order to activate the principle of reciprocity. Let us consider what the Holy Odu EjiOgbe says, in part:
...The next number is esan. Is it not?
I replied, It is indeed so, Ifa
Orunmila said, San, the root of esan means turn
Clothes are not turned until the ninth washing
The ninth washing is when clothes become thread-bare
Listen to this pun on the root san
The master of the market at Akesan repays courtesies with money and clothes
Do you comprehend?
San in Akesan is synonymous with san in esan
- Holy Odu Ejiogbe*
Here, it becomes essential to underscore the difference between esan as reciprocal energy and esan as mere rotation. Reciprocity promotes shared sacrifice and mutual growth. Reciprocity is responsible for creating spiritual abundance within a particular social context, i.e., Oja Ejigbomekun (the mythological marketplace of the orisa). You will remember that Ifa teaches us that "Earth is a marketplace. Heaven is our home." Within the marketplace of life, where we have all come to purify our souls in preparation for our return to the heavenly realm, "The master of the market at Akesan repays courtesies with money and clothes. Thus, we see that giving more is the only way to receive more. In this way, Oja Ejigbomekun is synonymous with Orisa Economics.
In order to fully understand the significance of number 9 to Orisa Economics, I want you to take into consideration the fact that reciprocity is actually one of three basic principles that govern Orisa Economics: They are dominance, reciprocity and identity.
These three principles, together, govern Orisa Economics, which drives Orisa Lifestyle. When practiced in harmony with the leadership and identity, the principle of reciprocity (esan) can elevate our spiritual consciousness and material wealth to exceptional heights. May Ifa continue to guide and protect us as we master the art of reciprocal energy. Ase.
Aboru aboye abosise
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
* Elebuibon, Fayemi. OgbeYonu Festival Program 2004
IT'S LIBRA SEASON! About the notorious Black Moon, Aamir Quereshi says, a month can have two full moons — in that case, the second moon is called a Blue Moon, an event which occurs every two to three years. A month can also have two new moons, with the second termed a Black Moon. Or at least, that's the most widely accepted definition of a Black Moon; as Time and Date points out, there's no one singular, definitive meaning of the term. It can also mean a calendar month with no new moon, a calendar month with no full moon, or the third new moon in a season with four new moons instead of the typical three.
For those of you who are attentive to the phases of the moon, this Black Moon means an opportunity to anchor your intentions and spiritual focus, which is especially important in the final quarter of the year. In my own practice, this is the month to venerate ori very well.
Òwéré/September: Introspection, learning, teaching
Ori can be translated as "you see". As such, ori is the capacity for inner vision, the ability to see yourself according to the truth of your divine origins. To accomplish this, you must remove darkness and ignorance from your perspective. Many times, intellect is the greatest obstacle because what you have poured into your mind distracts you from what you know in your soul. Your internal spirit is the best remover of these distractions.
During Òwéré/September you will initiate a deep inward journey to identify the obstacles that block your vision. Only then, can you begin to learn from your intuitive wisdom. Ori is the best teacher because it is your divine spark, your purest intention. The Òwéré/September moon is a time to rededicate yourself to the one who educates and guides your soul. By expressing gratitude towards the inner guide, you activate the greatest obstacle-remover that exists. It is a ritual practice of remembering, purification and acceptance.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
If people never come for Ifa consultation
The knowledgeable babalawo will not be in want
If people don't come for Ifa consultation daily
The knowledgeable babalawo will still not be in want
If Ifa is consulted or not,
The knowledgeable babalawo will not be affected
These were Ifa's messages for Osumare Ego
Who was the diviner of the King of Ife
And has now chosen to be the diviner of Olokunseni Ade
Before long we are blessed with a lot of wealth
- Holy Odu OturaIrete*
Power intoxicates. Even people who do not have power crave it so desperately that they will do anything, no matter how small-minded and petty to prove the impossible. This is the nature of controlling personalities. These are people who are drunk with power, either real or imagined. Either way, dealing with power hungry people and control freaks is always a challenge because they are constantly trying to impose themselves onto others, trying to excercise control over events and activities, even when they do not understand the fullness of said activities.
Judith Orloff, Assitant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA says the control freaks are the people who obsessively try to dictate how you’re supposed to be and feel. They have an opinion about everything. Disagree at your own risk! They’ll control you by invalidating your emotions if those don’t fit into their rulebook. Controllers often start sentences with, “You know what you need?”…then proceed to tell you. Their attempts to put you in your place and keep you there can range from irritating to abusive. What’s most infuriating about these people is that they usually don’t see themselves as controlling; only right.
Of course, the greatest remedy for regulating the control freak's tyrades is to set healthy boundaries and maintain them. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Granted, if you've ever been up close and personal with a bona fide control freak, then you know this is easier said than done. As soon as you set boundaries, they are going to exert themselves even greater to demonstrate their ability to control you in any way, shape or form. The bad news is that there is only so much you can do to insulate yourself from this kind of reaction. The good news is that, if you can maintain your conviction and focus relentlessly on the true source of power, you will transcend the most riduculous stunts of the power hungry, control freak.
In the verse above, taken from the Holy Odu OturaIrete, Osumare Ego was the diviner for the king of Ife. Because the king's demands were so great, Osumare Ego had no time to tend to other clients. If the king had been very generous, this would not have been a problem. Unfortunately however, he was not at all generous. In fact, he seemed to subscribe to the idea that Osumare Ego should be thankful for the opportunity to serve His Royal Majesty, the king.
One day, the king was overcome with negative ideas. It somehow entered into his mind that Osumare Ego was actually taking advantage of him. And so, the king decided to teach Osumare Ego a lesson by reminding him of the saying; "The king is calling you. You say you're divining. If consulting Ifa makes you happy and the king makes you sad, what then?" He decided then and there that when Osumare Ego came the following day to render his usual services, he would be promptly sent home without any payment.
The next day, when the babalawo reached the palace and was abruptly turned away, he was devastated. Matters became even worse when he reached home and had to explain the situation to his wife and children. The king was Osumare Ego's only client. How would they feed the family? Fortunately, Olodumare does not behave like human beings. At the exact moment that the king of Ife rejected Osumare Ego, a problem arose in the palace of Olokunseni Ade. His wife was unable to deliver her baby, in spite of the efforts of every reputable babalawo in the kingdom.
And so, by divine intervention, somebody mentioned the name of Osumare Ego. He was immediately summoned to Olokun's palace. And because they expected him to be at the palace of Ife, the messengers were greatly surprised to find Osumare Ego at home. He accompanied them back to Olokun's palace and made an Ifa preparation that quickly caused the queen to deliver a healthy baby boy. Needless to say, Olokun rewarded Osumare Ego handsomely and invited him to remain as his diviner, where he would be properly appreciated. In the end, Olokun bestowed numerous, fine fabrics and elaborate garments of a variety of colorsonto Osumare Ego. Hence, Osumare Ego, who can now don brilliant garments of any color is none other than the rainbow.
Certainly, we do not anticipate that every situation will resolve as neatly - nor as magically - as that of Osumare Ego. Still this archetypal myth serves to outline a template for transcending the power hungry people you will encounter in life:
Many times, what you interpret is limited to the intensity of your immediate experience. And while that experience is vital to your ability to be present and participate fully, it is essential that you also align that experience with the bigger picture of your DESTINY, which is provided by Olodumare. When you want to align your behavior with the organizing principles of Olodumare, ask Ifa. 510.485.2336 | www.ObafemiO.com
* Agboola, Awodiran. Ifa: Philosophy of Life
Òrúnmìlà Consulted Ifá for Success But What He Learned About His Wife and Peers Will Amaze You: Six Decisions That Promote Spiritual Freedom
Before leaving Heaven for Earth, Orunmila was advised that his success would attract jealousy, even from his wife and friends. He sacrificed to have the favor of Olodumare and several Orisa. But he had to go back to appease Esu as well. It was Esu who explained the details of his ultimate success.
He must join in on the meetings of his colleagues and be part of the community. Upon arrival, he was a great priest. As predicted, his peers began to use occult powers to obstruct him. He made sacrifice with a goat and organized a feast for his peers. Esu appeared again and demanded another goat in order to reveal who were the enemies. Orunmila complied.
Esu revealed that it was the handmaid of Obatala, the handmaid of Osun, the handmaid of Olokun, the handmaid of Death, as well as Orunmila's own wife who were working against him. Then, Esu entered the meeting and broke a gourd of palm wine, which is the taboo of those Orisa. They ran away from the meeting, at which point Orunmila was inducted into the club and told that the meetings would be held at his house every 8 days. Thereafter, he was blessed abundantly and lived to a very old age.
DECISION #1: SHARE THE LOVE
Conspiracy is driven by the feeling that there is safety in numbers, combined with the perception of scarcity. But make no mistake about it; love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others. This is the essence of sacrifice. More importantly, as you truly submit to the process of divination, sacrifice and keeping observances (i.e., taboos) you will become more attuned to the spirit of abundance that resides within you.
DECISION #2: TRUST THE PROCESS
Divination, sacrifice and keeping observances is designed to help you develop a variety of subtle qualities that defy simple definitions and individual traits. Rituals intensify emotions. In particular, one feature of Ifa is the sacred text, which contextualizes your emotional experience. Consequently, if you remain aware of the over arching stories that guide your reality, as your emotions intensify, so will your analytical abilities.
DECISION #3: LET THE BABALAWO & APETEBII LEAD
Here, it is important to emphasize the role of the babalawo and apetebii, who will continuously guide you through different segments of the story and the ritual as a journey. In the process, they will remind you of ways in which to engage with the various principles and characters in the story. As a result, though you will become more introspective, you will also experience increased social skills and robust interpersonal relationships; and while you will enjoy clearer judgement, you will also remain receptive to change and new ideas.
DECISION #4: SHOW UP & SERVE WITH ENTHUSIASM
As with so many spiritual disciplines, people who practice Orisa Lifestyle are much more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way you learn to use these strengths that ultimately defines who you are. As a rule, however, Orisa devotees are true altruists, who meet kindness with kindness-in-excess. When you give yourself completely to the process, you discover the unique ways in which you are called to show up with enthusiasm and generosity for people you're destined to serve.
DECISION #5: STAND UP FOR YOUR DESTINY & CAUSE
The challenge for many who practice Orisa Lifestyle is ensuring that what you do is noticed. Think about the extent to which you tend to underplay your contributions and accomplishments. Have you noticed that, while your kindness is often respected, more cynical, loud and selfish people are likely to take advantage of your dedication and humbleness? They might even go as far as pushing work onto you and then taking the credit. I have even had people try to take credit for work that I did BEFORE WE EVEN MET!!! In the same way that Orunmila made himself the central organizer of the meeting where his adversaries used to mistreat him, at some point, you need to know when to stand up for yourself if you're to maintain your confidence and enthusiasm.
DECISION #6: TELL YOUR STORY OVER & AGAIN
Sometimes, a side effect of protecting your feelings is that you end up hiding incredibly strong feelings, which are just beneath the surface of your service and devotion. And as strongly as you might feel these emotions, let me assure you that they not always obvious to others. Even though people may know you well and love you dearly, don't make it their responsibility to read your mind. If you do, and your emotions end up being taken lightly or for granted, then you have to accept that you created that reality for yourself. So, tell your story! Let your people know where you're coming from, where you're going and why you choose to serve them in the process. That way, the people you serve have greater opportunities to measure everything you do - romantically, professionally, spiritually or socially - according to your story.
Are you ready get started? Call Baba ObafemiO at 510.485.2336 or set an appointment today.
Who is closest to the doctor? Sick people. I know this is the case because my mother was a Registered Nurse. So I was practically raised in the hospital; the psych ward, the geriatric unit and pediatrics all became my "stomping grounds" as my mother's career progressed, leading her from one healing institution to another. In that regard, it is not surprising to me that I gravitated towards the helping profession. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to counsel, educated and heal.
Consequently, even before I became a helping professional, I always managed to attract sick people. It never really dawned on me until about the eleventh grade. My best friend and I were riding the city bus when a mentally ill man boarded. At some point in the long ride across town, he ended up sitting across from my friend and I. He looked at me for a long time and suddenly just started to talk. To me, it seemed quite natural to listen. During the "conversation" he would get more animated than what was socially acceptable. He cursed. His thoughts never really connected in a meaningful way. But, even though nobody outside of his head could follow his logic, what I noticed was the fact that he was not confused by his own madness. When his stop came, he rang the bell, got up and said good bye.
My friend looked at me with a combination of bewilderment and admiration. "Why do they always come and talk to YOU?" An older lady nearby chuckled audibly. I shrugged my shoulders and replied, "I don't even know..." That was thirty years ago. Today, I know a little bit more about my relationship to human suffering, especially my own. It has a lot to deal with my Ancestral Promise. For at least four generations, my family has been devoted to the human services. We've founded churches, built birthing centers and provided herbal healing to the community from Cairo, Illinois to Watts, California. According to my personal Odu, IrosunOse, I am destined to work hand in hand with my spouse to serve the community:
Ifa let my sacrifice be accepted
Ela let my rituals go up to the heaven above
Cast Ifa for Orunmila
And initiates Osun, the wife of Bara Agbonniregun into Ifa
On the day they were coming from the heaven above as a team
to establish the foundation of the earth plane
They were advised about the earth plane where they were going
They should offer sacrifice of harmony , peaceful coexistence
- Holy Odu IrosunOse
In this instance, Orunmila and his wife, Osun came to the world as a team to help bring about the Good Condition, which is characterized by harmony, peaceful coexistence and victory over the forces of evil. Unfortunately, however, what is good for one is bad for another. And so, when people start to experience the the blessings of harmony, peaceful coexistence and victory over evil, that means sickness, death, conflict, litigation and curses are suddenly threatened with nonexistence. It turns out that they don't take that prospect lightly... The dark forces do not hesitate to defend themselves! And so, as Orunmila and his Apetebii began to shine a positive light into the world, the darkness stood up and fought back! The Holy Odu IrosunOse continues:
They should offer sacrifice of harmony , peaceful coexistence
and victory because of the witches
They would be angry with them because of the beautiful things
[Orunmila and Osun] would to do to better the lives of humanity
They would heal the sick
The lame or the cripple would walk
Those who were afflicted with ajogun
Will see the light of Olodumare and absolute victory
The negative work of the great magician would have no evil effect on the lives of men
The sacrifice prescribed by Ifa to Orunmila and his wife would deter evil dreams
Those who intend to spoil their business or work and cooperation would be nailed to ground by the sacrifice...
- Holy Odu IrosunOse
To be certain, the battlefield is INTERNAL; We are engaged in spiritual and psychological warfare with forces that dwell inside of our heats and minds. Once, I treated a young lady who came to me with an elaborate tale of conspiracy that included just about all of the neighbors in her apartment complex. I listened intently to her convoluted story and elicit details of every sort of abuse. And when I felt she was ready to trace the symptoms to their true root, I suggested, "Let's ask Ifa what is the cause of all this conflict and strife." she agreed.
The Holy Odu that emerged went straight to the source. I said to her, "Ifa says that your problem is not your neighbors at all. It's much deeper than that. You have been cursed by your mother. Not only that, you have been cursed by your father as well. THIS is what has caused your situation." For the first time in our hour-long conversation, she stopped talking. After I explained what must be done, she went on to verify what Ifa had said. Her parents had disowned her years ago under very painful circumstances. "They hate me," she said, finally. The sacrifices were extensive. But she agreed to complete them. We worked for almost three days straight. When we were in the final stages, with just one ritual remaining, it seemed like the spirit of fear awakened in order to make one last attempt to stay alive within her. Suddenly, I became this woman's worst enemy. She accused me of avery kind of abuse. She dragged me before the elders and attempted to slander my name. I consulted my teachers and they advised me to simply return any money she had given me and continue to pray for her. One of my teachers was particularly attuned to the situation. He advised me that there is only so much you can do. The patient MUST be willing to accept the healing. Here, let us consider the teachings of the Holy Odu IworiMeji which says:
The arms of the child are too short to reach the altar top
The hands of the elder are too big to enter into the medicine gourd
What the elder asks the child to do, let him comply
The assignment a child gives an elder, let him refuse not
For there are things that a father must do for his child
This was the message of Ifa to the Akapo (disciple of Orunmila)
When he went to complain against Orunmila in the presence of Olodumare
He was advised to offer sacrifice
- Holy Odu IworiMeji
In this instance, Akapo had been serving Orunmila faithfully. He made Orunmila's concerns his top priority. In addition, he was a disciplined and faithful devotee who consulted Ifa, performed sacrifices and kept his taboos quite religiously. Yet and still, Akapo had nothing to show for his diligence. Finally, he became impatient and took his story on the road, telling it to anyone who would listen. The people listened to Akapo and unanimously condemned Orunmila. This kind of spiritual abuse must be stopped! They urged Akapo to escalate the situation to the highest level and take it to Olodumare for final judgement. And so, Akapo marched right through the gates of heaven and presented himself before Olodumare. "Baba, I have been a devout disciple but my life is not improving. Orunmila is not completing my sacrifices!" It was then that Olodumare summoned Orunmila.
When Orunmila received the summons, he went to consult Ifa. The Holy Odu IworiMeji appeared:
He who judges after listening to only one side
He is the prince of the wicked ones
This was Ifa's declaration to Orunmila
When going to defend himself against the allegations
leveled against him by Akapo in the presence of Olodumare
He was advised to offer sacrifice
- Holy Odu IworiMeji
After Orunmila heard the allegations made by Akapo, he told his side of the story. Orunmila explained to Olodumare that he had been making every sacrifice for Akapo as instructed by Ifa. But when the time came for the sacrifice to be accepted, the Akapo's ori never showed up and thus, he was never blessed. It was revealed that Akapo was not making the sacrifices with his own materials, but with those left over from other people. In psychological terms, we might say that Akapo was not doing the work. That is, while Akapo was superficially going through the motions, he was not engaging himself in the process of excavating his limiting thoughts and doing those things necessary to facilitate meaningful change. When Olodumare heard Orunmila's testimony, he queried Akapo, who confirmed what Orunmila had said. Consequently, Olodumare decreed that people cannot pronounce judgement without hearing both sides of a story.
In those times when I have been held to an unreasonable standard of personal responsibility for being in - and fixing - a toxic relationship I experienced a kind of spiritual abuse that is seldom recognized and almost never addressed. When we, as priests, find ourselves in toxic relationships of any sort, we are usually told that as the spiritual leader it is our duty to continue to serve the abusive or toxic spouse, student or patient. And while I agree that this is the only response befitting of a priest, I must also make note of the fact that it seems to have become the norm for us to downplay the impact that various kinds of abuse can have on the priest. The hurtful, stinging words of toxic patients and loved ones harm the priest just as much as they do the laity. The only difference is what the priest does with his pain. High religious standards are sometimes placed on the awo to keep peace in his home and in the community at all cost. He is routinely admonished to be as patient with his abusive spouse, students and patients as Orunmila demonstrated with his Akapo in the verse mentioned above. And while that is a tremendous religious burden to place on someone, my experience has showed me that it is worth the personal and material sacrifice. Again, the Holy Odu IrosunOse is instructive:
Orunmila quickly offered the sacrifice
The witches returned quickly to the middle way between heaven and the earth
That is how Orunmila and Osun achieved victory and overcame all misfortune
Then Orunmila spoke of his priest thusly;
All the paths I tread will give way to success
This was Ifa's message to Orunmila and Osun
When they were coming from the spiritual plane to the world
They intended to extend goodness to the lord of Ife and all men throughout the world
Now, witches of the universe, I give you obeisance
Oh! Yes, the witches of the world
Let my sacrifice be auspicious, and my ritual be accepted
Let my sacrifice go to the place of acceptance without hindrance
Oh ye the witches
I give obeisance to you, and salute you
Oh ye the witches
Let my hand work and the work of my wife be successful and fulfilled
Oh ye witches of the universe
Oh ye witches
- Holy Odu IrosunOse
Ultimately, the journey of life has shown me that toxicity in my relationships should never be taken personally. When people allow themselves to become vessels of negativity, experience has shown over and over that it is their fear that makes them susceptible. Consequently, it is only through invoking the true spirit of destiny that intense adversity - in the form of pain, aggression and conflict - can be greeted placated and subdued.
Live the medicine.
Ifá teaches us that there are three categories of people; the doers, the supporters and the bystanders. In my estimation, there seem to be four different types of doers. Firstly, there are the visionary designers. They are like architects, who draw up plans according to the laws and principles of design. Secondly, there are the knowledgeable scientists. They are like engineers, who define the materials necessary to carry out plans. They are able to examine information and define and manage the dynamic effects upon the structure over time. Thirdly, there are the builders and technicians. These people are like carpenters, electricians and plumbers, who implemnent the plans according to the sequences defined by the engineers. Fourthly, there are the maintenance people. They are like the laborers and even end users, who manage daily upkeep and functional condition.
"Agara kì í dá oníṣẹ́ Ọlọ́run." God's messenger never grows weary. On one level, this means that those who are designated to deliver the divine message of Olodumare must be driven by more than what the eye can see, more than what the heart can feel and more than what the mind can perceive. You must instead be driven by the very will of Olodumare, as expressed by the direction of Ifá. This is so because Olodumare can't be overwhelmed with man's needs.
What is the importance of having a committed, skillful and passionate teacher? What are some ways in which good instruction - through books, videos or classes - has improved your life? If you're like most people, you value high quality education.
For almost 20 years, I have been serving my community in the areas of Arts & Education and Spirituality & Sustainable Culture. In the capacity of a teacher, counselor, author and priest, I have successfully taken Orisa Lifestyle into realms that many had considered impossible. From Fortune 100 board rooms to inner city play grounds, the Ancestors have directed me in the use use of Ifa as a means to help tens of thousands of people to live the medicine.
When I met Jaime, for example, he was in his fifties. A father of seven with lots of grandchildren, Jaime was pleasant to be around. But he was worried because he had been smoking heavily for decades. He had tried a dozen times to quit - even tried the patch - but nothing worked for more than a couple of weeks. Jaime confided in me that he feared he would die before getting to know all of his grandchildren. As a father many myself, I identified with his feeling. In a short time, we made a meaningful connection. We worked together on small changes that would have a big impact on his health, and ensure he would be around long enough to enjoy his greatest joy in life; his grandchildren! I saw Jaime three years later, BEAMING WITH LIGHT. He told me that he had not smoked a single cigarette since our work together. He told me all about his growing family and how much he loved them. Jaime is living the medicine!
Jaime is one of many thousands of people who I have been blessed to serve through teaching, motivation and care. But, as the need for healing continues to grow, I recognize the increasing need for greater support. I need to train more people, write more books and upgrade my practice as well. Most importantly, I realize the fact that I cannot do it on my own. I need your support.
Please make an offering of at least $5 to support my non-profit organization, the Agbole Foundation of America (AFA). As an election year, many of us will go to the polls to express our political values. Supporting the AGBOLE with a $5 donation is a powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to the future of Orisa Lifestyle.
Live the Medicine: www.obafemio.com/offering
"Bí ẹ̀mí bá wà, ìrètí ńbẹ " As long as there is life, there is hope With life, there is no impossibility; keep holding on.
Òrúnmìlà is distinguished by his wisdom. But he is effective, in large part, because of his hopefulness, his certainty in destiny as an ultimate reality that transcends all circumstances. Because Òrúnmìlà never loses hope, he never abandons a mission or leaves things half done.
How many times have you wanted to toss in the towel, pack up your toys and walk away? Whereas others will content themselves with quitting when circumstances suggest that cutting your losses is the only viable option, Òrúnmìlà never accepts that his problems are greater than one's destiny.
Which is greater, in your experience? Your problems or your destiny? Live the medicine.
"Ọgbọ́n tí a fi ńkọ́lé ò tó èyí tí a fi ńgbée." The wisdom required to acquire a house, is nothing to that required to live in it.
When a man is great, people are drawn to him, like moth to flame, and the energy generated is enough to build a proverbial house. This is the wisdom of productivity. Beyond that point, however, there is a call for another kind of wisdom, which is the wisdom of sustainability.
The wisdom of sustainability activates your internal gravity and draws you deeper inward. It requires that you discover yourself and show up, in spite of your fears, in spite of your weaknesses and in spite of your failures.
It is your commitment to serve the spirit that dwells within you that will enable you to match the greatness you experience in the presence of men of consequence. In this regard, the wisdom of sustainability transcends it all.
Live the medicine.
Palm tree swelling in the middle of the road
Is responsible when it is cut down
Cast divination for Orunmila
Venturing to a disastrous town
But ran back home
But ran back home
But returned home quickly
But returned home quickly
All Irunmole ventured
But turned around quickly
We asked: What made them afraid?
Death made an impressive fire
Disease made an expensive blaze
Loss made a sorrowful flame
Orunmila was asked to offer a calabash of honey
Orunmila reached the gate of heaven
The gatekeeper sought to scare him back
Orunmila poured honey for him to taste
He tasted it and realized it was sweet
He gave some to death, sickness and loss
They permitted someone who owned honey to enter the gate
Orunmila went into a disastrous town
He returned with many good things
- Holy Odu IreteIrosun
When disaster strikes, even the mighty will run for cover. And that fact can be more troubling than the actual calamity. Imagine how the disciples of each òrìsà must have felt upon seeing their leader overcome by fear at the moment of their greatest need. If you've ever seen fear in the eyes of someone you admire and respect, then you know what I'm talking about. Hopelessness creeps in. Doubt permeates the atmosphere. Surrender seems to be the only solution.
It is precisely at those times, when fear reaches its apex, that you will benefit from seeking wisdom. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, results are gained by taking advantage of opportunities, not by solving problems. In the verse above, Orunmila's sacrifice allowed him to turn a problem into an opportunity. By doing so, he was able to move beyond fear and become increasingly prosperous.
Cast divination for Otu
When he was suffering, possessionless and wearing rags
Otu was asked to offer the wood that he sells
So that wealth will be obtained through trade one day
Otu heard about the offering and performed it
As Otu went to find some wood
Otu saw two turtles and brought them home
Meanwhile, Olofin was sick
Ifa was consulted and Otua Meji appeared
The awo asked for two turtles for the offering
But Esu blocked the forest
They looked for turtles and could not find any
Esu then suggested that they go ask Otu
Esu also told Otu that some people would come to ask for turtles
Esu said: you should tell them that you only have one
Sell it for 400,000 cowries
Otu did so and the money was given to him
In short time, they came back to Otu to buy the second turtle
Otu asked them for 1.2 million cowries
The money was given to Otu
Otu was swimming in wealth
The world observed: Don't you see offering to Esu, appealing to Esu
Otu's Ori has seen two turtles that will make him wealthy
- Holy Odu OturaMeji
Your income does not define your value. Your credit score is not your worth. What you add to our lives is far greater than any material gain. You awaken in us the realization of who we are and why we are here. You remind us of our reason for being.
And so, please do not hesitate to ask for the things you need in order to serve. If it is money you need, we are glad to give it. If you need labor, we are honored to offer it. If you need connections, information or even a little more time to perfect the project, we will happily give you those things.
Whatever we have is to help improve your service and enhance your performance. Just ask.
Live the Medicine.
"Tí òjò bá kọ̀ tí ò rọ̀, ìyẹn ò ní ká sọ pé kí omi òkun ya wọ̀lu " That the rain didn't fall is no reason to wish the sea would flood the city.
Sometimes, you don't get what you want so you decide to have a fit. You get carried away and run to extremes without thinking things through. Maybe you seek revenge. Perhaps you go out of your way to prove your point. Suddenly, you go to great lengths to get attention.
Compensation will never replace transformation. The adoration of one million suitors will never replace a single glance from your beloved. Being "right" in the eyes of ten thousand "supporters" is nothing compared to being ACCEPTED by your destined mate. To cause a lifetime of suffering in retaliation for being offended is insignificant compared to a moment of forgiveness.
Live the medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
"Ibi tí à ńlọ là ńwò, a kìí wo ibi tí a ti ṣubú " We ought to be focused on where we are going, not where we have fallen.
Learn from the past, live in the present and create your future. You are the captain of your ship and engineer of your destiny. It takes great courage and tremendous faith because doing so means that you rediscover yourself everyday.
The hardship and the blessings are gifts of equal value when you give EVERYTHING you have to the journey and the people you're destined to serve along the way.
Live the medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com
Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.