Adesina's legacy lives on. It was my esteemed honor to confer with the man affectionately known is Pancho OkanranOfun. He is an elder babalawo of the Pogolotti area in Havana. As some of you already know, this is an area rich in Yoruba tradition. Mariwo entrances, abamoda on porches and orisa altars dominating doorways all reveal the extent to which Yoruba heritage thrives amongst many Cuban families. One of the resident elders of the orisa community in Pogolotti is babalawo Pancho OkanranOfun. He is an easygoing man who is both accepting and confident. My fondest memory of our conversations centered around a particular charm I had in my possession. We had just performed a simple ritual, during which it was necessary for me to make use of the charm in question. In the spirit of sharing, I volunteered to tell him and the other awos present what it was and how I use it. I handed it to him and almost instantly he remembered having seen his father use this type of charm. "My father used to have this. Every morning, very early he would touch it to his head like you did. Then he would pray. He was the last person I ever saw with this." We shared a smile and chatted a bit more but with a sense of shared identity and understanding. As a fourth generation babalawo and direct descendant of Adesina's Ifa lineage, Pancho is steeped in "Ifa criollo" and knows its validity as a spiritual discipline. At the same time, our little exchange over a very simple charm also reaffirmed the close bonds between West African Ifa and its New World manifestations. Ours is a brotherhood that respects the unique contributions of every productive member. This is what enables us to live the medicine and empower others to do the same. As Ifa says, the right hand washes the left and together they wash the face.
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.