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.
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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.