Kindness Begets Evil
Kindness turns into evil
- Holy Odu OgundaMeji
It is a shocking experience when people do not value your efforts in the way that you expect them to. Stated another way, you will be disappointed when you make love to a person in the way you wish that they would make love to you, but somehow, they never figure it out. And so, you have a dilemma; either you withhold your kindness or you change your perspective and expectations. Either way, the choice is yours. Living the medicine means acceptance; accept the fact that you want to express kindness in a particular fashion. It also means you have to accept the fact that not everyone will repay your kindness in the way that you would like. In fact, some will even repay your kindness with evil.
The Beginning & The End Of All Things
" Kò sí ohun tó n'íbẹ̀rẹ̀ tí kò ní lópin." There is nothing with a beginning that won't have an ending. The only question is WHEN, when will the end come? We hope that, by knowing when we will reach our final destination, we will be prepared to transition. Sometimes, however, things don't resolve according to plan and the journey is abruptly but short. We are shocked and hurt by the loss. We search our minds and hearts for understanding. Ultimately, we are humbled by our inability to anticipate, plan and predict the most important aspects of our lives. All we can do is accept the inevitable truth, as taught in the Holy Odu EjiOgbe, that It is only Òrúnmìlà who knows the beginning and the end of all things. Live the medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com
Sitting With Elders
"Ọmọ tó bá mọwọ́ wẹ̀ yóò bà'gbà jẹun " A child who knows how to wash his hands will eat with the elders. It means good manners will earn you privilege and opportunity. Americans are allergic to good manners. We tend to think that they are either empty formalities or an encroachment upon our ever-so-important "rights". In order to appreciate the importance of manners and decorum in Yoruba culture, however, just consider the greetings system. People greet one another extensively and tailor the greetings to fit every situation. There are greetings for awakening, greetings for working, greetings for eating, greetings for sitting and so on. Then there are greetings for the time of day, greetings for emotional condition and time of year. Every òrìsà priest has his own greeting, like Aboru aboye, which is reserved for the Babalawo. Failure to greet someone properly is a show of disrespect and raises considerable suspicion. When you consider the fact the impact of first impressions, you can appreciate how vital greetings are to building rapport with respected elders. And so, manners can be the deciding factor in measuring your ability to learn from the elders. Live the medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com
Good People With Bad Habits
Once a calabash holds palm oil
It has no other use
A good-hearted person gifts more akara (bean cakes) than have been purchased
Cast divination for a wicked person
Who travels at night to kidnap other people's children
The wicked person was asked to offer rope to prevent arrest
She responded that her own child was a sickly person
Soon after, her child matured into a responsible adult and was made king
The king said he would not favor any group
He said he would be a king of fairness to all and not favor the wicked
- Holy Odu OwonrinIwori
Sometimes, when our people have been converted to Christianity and Islam, or when they have been indoctrinated by Western education, they lose the ability to see themselves with indigenous eyes. They can only maintain their new reality by insisting that their indigenous practices, they ancestral ways, the traditional religion are simply demonic.
The truth is, however, that there are very few people who are purely good or evil. In most instances, when you examine a so-called wicked person's life, you find out that she is actually a good person with bad habits. Furthermore, habits don;t crop up over night. They are developed over time, in direct response to one's environment, which means that other people are usually complicit in the formation of an individual's good or bad habits. None of this, however, is an excuse for wickedness. It merely serves to help you to condition those mental activities associated with compassion and fairness.
In all fairness, we must critically examine the wicked ways of our forefathers, who used their esoteric knowledge to achieve evil gains. We must not stop there, however. It is only correct that we use the same scrutinizing eye to examine the evil devices used by the invaders, as well as our contemporaries, who have used economic and military force to commit atrocities against their kith and kin, in the name of Jesus or in the name or progress.
Let is remember what Ifa says in the holy Odu OgundaMeji: Your good deeds will not be forgotten. Your evil ways will never slip from memory. And so, it is noble and therapeutic to remain committed to fairness; do not practice selective amnesia when it comes to the ways in which good people sometimes develop bad habits. Learn to correct mistakes with compassion and without anger. This is essential to being able to truly live the medicine.
Numbers, Community & Identity
In English, and “Western” epistemology more generally, things, objects and numbers in the world are conceived as “spatiotemporal particulars,” individual entities that form collections of specific kinds and types—in more formal terms, as members of an abstract set. The number six is a collection of six objects forming a group or set, or more abstractly, six units of “one” in an extended series on a number line; a family of four is comprised of four individually related persons; a collection of residents living in houses within a spatiotemporal area combine to form a neighborhood.
In Yoruba language and culture... things, objects and numbers in the world are conceived as “sortal particulars,” qualitative sorts of “thinghood” that infuse the universe and which manifest themselves in different modes at particular times and places. Sortal particulars can manifest themselves within a plurality of objects that form what “we” would see as members of a set, but the “objects” themselves are secondary to the sortal particular which they instantiate.
“Number, in Yoruba language talk, is a degree of dividedness”. Things, objects, and numbers in the world are modes of manifesting sortal particulars in a given situation, time, or place. Five oranges are not five individual oranges forming a group, but “orangeness” divided into a plurality of five. Set membership is not additive; rather it is differentiating or decompositional—it starts with the whole and breaks it up into parts. A family of four is the sortal particular of familyhood broken into four related persons; a neighborhood is a sortal particular of neighborhoodness broken down into residents and their homes, according to its mode of manifestation at a particular time and place.
- Andrew Apter. Yoruba Ethnogenesis
Nana Buruku, the Obstinate Wife of Ogun
The dialect of the Eegun people is distinct
The dialect of the Eyo people is distinct
Nonetheless, all people cry the same way
This was Ifa's message to Buuku, Omolu
When going to select Ogun as her husband in Saki land
She was advised to offer sacrifice
- Holy Odu OgbeOyeku
Nana Buruku (also known as Buuku, Nana Buukuu or Omolu) was an extremely successful woman, who had made herself ver wealthy. She was especially known and revered as an advocate for women's rights and a protector of children. She defended them against aggression from men, be it fathers, husbands or otherwise. As such, among the men it was known that having a healthy fear of Nana Buruku was the beginning of wisdom. Not only that, Nana also protected women against unscrupulous in-laws, who would attempt to cheat widows out of their deceased husbands' estates. And so it was, that people would make any required sacrifice because Nana Buruku was more than capable of delivering positive outcomes.
At the same time, however, Nana was able to support other women's marital needs but she was not able to find a husband for herself. First of all, the majority of men were simply intimidated by her reputation. More significantly, Nana Buruku was proud to a fault. Her experience made her arrogant and dismissive of men. In reality, she saw to real need for men in her life, accept to keep them in their place. Consequently, she never missed the opportunity to shout men down and talk over them in conversation. The few men who might have been attracted to her were soon turned off and kept a safe distance from Nana Buruku.
Nana Buruku faced a dilemma. Even though she was not interested in male companionship, she did desperately want to give birth to a child of her own. Because she had no affection for men in general, she only had two criteria for the man whose children she would bear: Firstly, he must be strong and vigorous. Secondly, he must be a leader of many. As such, Nana Buruku narrowed her search down to Ogun who was living in the kingdom of Saki at the time. He was known for his strength and charisma, which had drawn multitudes of followers and supporters to him.
When she decided that Ogun was the ideal candidate for the task at hand, Nana went to consult Ifa. The Holy Odu OgbeOyeku emerged and the babalawo advised Nana Buruku that she would soon marry a mighty man. She should sacrifice to Orisa Ogun and demonstrate a high level of respect to her husband. Failure to do so would result in regrettable outcomes. Nana listened to the awo's advice. And after some thought, she decided that it was enough to know that she would be successful at securing Ogun as a husband and had no need for the sacrifice and observances. And so, without even a word, she stood up and walked out of the consultation, to the amazement of the babalawo present.
The wedding of Nana Buruku and Ogun was a sensation. Everyone from miles around came to participate and enjoy. And for her part, Nana went out of her way to let everybody know that she was in charge and calling all the shots. They say that love is blind and so, Ogun was oblivious to the position his wife had taken, much to his detriment. Even after the ceremony, Ogun continued to serve his wife with true devotion. When he noticed her clients coming to the house in great numbers, Ogun made sure his people were there to help conduct any rituals. He even gifted her a sharp steel blade to perform sacrifices and skin animals.
Nothing that Ogun did impressed Nana Buruku. In her estimation, he was merely doing what he was obliged to do as a husband. By her standard, any man who failed to do any and everything to please his wife really had no business her life in the first place. According to Nana, it was a man's pleasure to serve a woman. And so, she felt no need to cook him food or bring water for his bath or perform any other wifely duties for Ogun. Whenever Ogun would advise her on how to do things, Nana would shout him down.
In less than three months, Ogun became the laughing stock of Saki. His other wives were astonished by the way their husband had been laid low. Eventually, he went to have a conversation with Nana Buruku about his dissatisfaction with the quality of their relationship. She agreed, but as soon as he began to speak, Nana lost interest. She completely ignored her husband. It was then that Ogun became visibly angry. When Nana saw his response she quickly shouted him down, telling Ogun that if he was so unhappy with her, he should just hang himself or drown himself in the lagoon. Nana cursed and abused Ogun in a way that nobody had ever done before. Then, she even went so far as to spit in Ogun's face. By that time, the entire family had come out of their rooms to find out what was all the commotion about. Nana continued on her tirade with greater enthusiasm, much to the amazement of everybody present. In the end, she started to push Ogun, telling him to get out of her room.
That was the last straw. Ogun became livid. He was shaking with rage. When he finally spoke, fear was awakened Nana Buruku. "I will not allow you to disrespect me in my own home any longer! Who are you? What do you represent? Who do you think you are? Where is your decency?" By the time Ogun had finished speaking, he had shaken his humanly garments and appeared as an Irunmole. He continued, "I will spare you my wrath today. But leave my home at once and take nothing I have given you, including the steel blade. From this moment forward, you shall be forbidden to use any metal tools. Now, leave my sight before I change my mind about you!"
And so it is, that Nana Buruku must never use Ogun's implements. Instead, she only uses a bamboo knife for making sacrifices and skinning animals.*
*Popoola, Solagbade. Ifa Dida vol 2. page 57
Igba Iwa, the Calabash of Destiny
You can really sleep
You can snore loudly
That was Ifa's message to ori
When going to take the calabash of destiny from Olodumare
Ori was advised to sacrifice
Before long, not too far off
Join us in the midst of all blessings
I have chosen the blessing of wealth
I have chosen the blessing of spouse
After choosing the blessing of spouse
I chose that of children
I then chose the blessing of longevity
As an addition to all my blessings
- Holy Odù OsaIrosun
Ori is an owner of the calabash of creation. It is a microcosm of Olodumare that manifests according to your personal priesthood. Living the medicine means optimizing your creative abilities in an effort to bring about the Good Condition.
The person who taught with words of advice
Wants one to be wise
The farmer who gives one farmland
Does not want one to die
The person who gave one his own daughter in marriage
Does not want us to leave this world without a trace
- Holy Odu IreteOdi
Ijimere, the ape and Ekun, the leopard, were friends. Ijimere brought his daughter to Ekun for marriage. Ijimere's daughter was advised to never disrespect her husband. One day, Ekun sent his wife on a series of errands. The third time, however, she did not comply. Instead, she began to complain incessantly. One day, Ekun called his wife to bring him something for his bath. When she arrived, she laughed out loud. "I thought you were much bigger than this!" Ekun laughed along with her and replied, "You're right! I am nothing more than this... But, as small as I am, not even your father can disregard me. Once I have taken my bath, I will show you what a small one can do."
Ekun later returned to the home of Ijimere, where he found his wife's junior sister. He pounced upon her and ripped her body to shreds, then carried her remains home. Ekun placed the remains in the bathroom and then called his wife to bring him something else for his bath. When she arrived, the sight of her sister's remains sent Ekun's wife into a fit of horrid screaming. Ekun then said to her, "Now I have showed you how small and powerless I really am."
This is what prompts the elders to say: If we do not kill ijimere and show other ijimere, ijimere will not know fear. It means, If we fail to punish our own members, outsiders will never respect us.*
*Bogunmbe, Awogbemiga, Fashina. Awon Idi Abajo Lati Inu Odu Ifa. pg 62
Does Owonrin check on Ofun at all?
- Holy Odu OwonrinOfun
Competition is healthy, within limits. When it isolates us, however, competition becomes destructive; we compromise our humanity. Instead, the spirit of competition is most helpful when used to inspire you to make the best contribution you can. High performance teams are the result of groups who are consumed with personal and collective excellence.
The OLA16 Retreat is an ideal opportunity to learn best practices across the country. Come out and learn from the brightest minds and the most committed hearts in the Orisa community. Live the medicine. www.OrisaLifestyle.com/ola16retreat
Ma yun oko,
Do not go to the farm
Ma yun odo,
Do not go to the river
Ifa's message to Elesiye Owo
Elesiye Owo was asked to use a ram to appease his father
If a ram cannot be found,
Elesiye Owo should use emo, brown rat
But Elesiye Owo should not go to the farm or river for seven days
The older sibling of Elesiye Owo was not patient in chasing the rat
But Elesiye Owo managed to chase the rat patiently
He soon fell into a pit where their father keeps his riches
- Holy Odu OturaOgbe
May you stumble upon ancestral treasures in your quest for personal greatness. Àse.
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.