No matter how far a river flows, it cannot forget its source. When I was seven or eight years old, I used to play at the river not far from my house. It was actually more of a stream.
Either way, it was irresistible, especially during the rain. I remember the smell of the trees and the soil, the sound of the water as it flowed over the rocks and the occasional sight of a snake or a salamander. Most of all, however, I remember the freedom.
The source of the river is freedom. When my first child was born, I buried his placenta not far from the riverbank where I used to play as a boy. I prayed that he would go far, but never forget his source.
Today, as I sit down by the river, I remind myself of who I am and where I'm from. It's not enough to have a purpose; you must remember it, you must act upon it and manifest it again and again.
Like a river, you will flow through many terrains and meet many people. Some will flow with you for a long time. Others will simply watch you pass by. No matter what happens, you must continue the journey... But never forget.
Live the medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Just because they understand doesn't mean they will start to support you. It doesn't mean they'll start to like you. It does not mean they'll respect you either.
Stop making it a requirement that everybody understands everything about you. Those who wish to go, let them go. Those who wish to stay, let them stay. Your first concern is making sure you're doing your very best work.
How do you do your very best work? How do you get your most impressive results? These are the kinds of questions you ask when you're committed to excellence.
Now... Are you committed to excellence or being accepted? Do you want to be great or do you just want people to like you?
I am looking for leaders who want to improve the world through positive change. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle academy can take your life and your practice to the next level.
Learn more: ObafemiO.com
There is no substitute for authenticity. When you think, speak and behave in ways that are consistent with your prenatal choice, you enjoy a level of comfort and confidence that radiates authority and trust.
You cannot pretend to be fulfilling your destiny. You can't fake it until you make it! Either you accept your divine mission or you reject it. Too many people reject their true identities in favor of what they THINK they see other people doing. By comparing yourself to others you compromise the integrity of your prenatal choice and eliminate any chances of experiencing authentic happiness.
Today is the day!!! Quiet your mind. Still your restless heart. Open your arms and embrace the image of yourself, as you truly are. Accept yourself and give thanks for your natural gifts and talents. Know that you are exactly who you need to be in order to make a meaningful contribution to the people and causes that matter most.
I am looking for leaders who are devoted to improving the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can take your life and your practice to the next level. Learn more: ObafemiO.com.
Sometimes, you have to remind people who you are and why they love you. Sounds like vanity, I know. But there is more to it than stroking your ego.
Fundamentally, leadership is service and vice versa. That is, when you optimize your natural gifts and talents, it requires that you help your people solve real problems. Ironically, that's when the trouble often begins.
The Yoruba say, it is when the patient is cured, that he will slap his doctor. It means that people are apt to become arrogant and disrespectful as soon as they get a little relief; as soon as they learn a little, as soon as the pain subsides, as soon as they get what they want, you become obsolete. Some of them will even claim that it was they who did you the favor.
This is totally consistent with the organizing principles of Yoruba spirituality. The Holy Odu OsaOyeku literally means, You run back to me to avert death. In this particular Ifa, Orunmila teaches us how the patient refused to recognize the value of the babalawo's service. Subsequently, it was not until she had one foot in the grave that she went running back to Ifa to be rescued.
Even the Orisa have been susceptible to forgetting their benefactor. The Holy Odu IrosunOse tells us how the divinities once proclaimed that they were responsible for the universe and did not need Olodumare. It was not until the Creator withdrew his ase and the entire universe came to a screeching halt that they came to their senses and realized that they are not the SOURCE of life; they merely MANAGE and SUSTAIN the forces that Olodumare has set into motion.
The key here is that you must properly estimate the value of your contribution. Part of your service includes knowing exactly what problem you solve and being able to articulate what happens when people fail to adhere.
To be absolutely clear, I am not talking about doomsday predictions, fear mongering or making claims of having absolute truth. I am talking about how important it is for you to articulate natural consequences. For example,
In the Orisa Lifestyle Academy, I teach my students and apprentices the importance of embracing their natural gifts and talents, largely because it is through those talents that the students have gained unique insights into natural consequences. They have intimate, firsthand experience with certain practices.
I am looking for leaders who are committed to improving the world through positive influence. If that is who you are, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can help you take your practice and your life to the next level.
Learn more: ObafemiO.com
Choose growth over comfort. For some people, growth means learning to move on. For others, it means learning to settle down.
When I met Darshana, she was running her own company, parenting an adult son and enrolled in a graduate program. She was outwardly very successful and poised to do even more great things.
Internally, however, Darshana was struggling. In her heart and spirit, Darshana would have been much more fulfilled with a simpler life; gardening, cooking and hosting intimate gatherings at home.
Darshana came to me because, every time she tried to create the life she truly wanted, she only ended up with more outward success and inward conflict.
Darshana decided to work with me because she believed her problem was somehow psychological, but had something significant to do with her ancestors. Her mother, aunts and grandmother had very similar experiences as well. She was certain her predisposition was somehow hereditary.
We combined spiritual consultation with Orisa studies to create strategic lifestyle changes for Darshana. She made real progress. The most important breakthrough came when Darshana realized the fact that focus and discipline could only help her attain 70% of her desired experience.
In order for Darshana to fully embody the quality of life that best suited her, she needed a partner who would take care of her, not only by providing resources, but also by setting limitations and maintaining focus on strategic goals.
This required Darshana to practice relinquishing control and subsequently growing as a partner.
I am here for leaders who want to improve the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how
and the OrisaLifestyle Academy can help you take your life and your practice to the next level. Learn more: ObafemiO.com.
Elevation is incomplete without opposition. At times, your adversaries will even intend for you to be completely removed from the scene. They will fight you directly. When they lose, they will recruit others to fight you. When that fails, they will conspire in an attempt to turn others against you.
But the elders teach us, "If you know the beginning well, the end will not be so frightening." Even better, when you have fierce and relentless advocates by your side who also know the beginning very well, they will not be moved by scare tactics.
Ifá says that, in opposing you, your adversaries have committed a critical error. Not only that, the hole they have dug for you shall serve as their own graves. Consider the teachings of the Holy Odu OfunSa:
Ofun marked it with chalk
Ofun marked it with camwood
Ofun marked it with with palm leaves
This was Ifá's message for the land of Oba Igbimo
When planning to seize the land of Oba Akure
He was advised to offer sacrifice
He refused to comply
The kingdom of Oba Igbimo
Which intends to seize the land of Oba Akure
What I know is, that is how you kill yourself
- Holy Odu OfunSa
The king of Igbimo had sought out to take over the king of Akure but he failed to sacrifice. Consequently, the king of Akure arose, victorious. Ifa says, you are destined to conquer. Look faithfully to ori, the seat of destiny. Ori says, you are destined to conquer! Orisegun!
We grew up on hero movies. Rambo, the Terminator and Super Man showed us how one man could literally save the whole world.
But this story of the one man army has nothing to do with reality.
In reality, systems are far more powerful than individuals.
African Americans have been conditioned to distrust systems because we have been victimized by institutionalized White supremacism for 400 consecutive years.
The legal system, the medical system, the educational system and the banking system have all conspired against us with total impunity.
So African Americans have a healthy distrust of systems.
We tend to prefer the story of the underdog, who uses raw determination and sincerity to overcome impossible odds and beat the system.
Our folklore is rooted in the underdog archetype. If it's Brer Rabbit or High John the Conquerer, or even Harriet Tubman, African American heroes tend to be lone individuals who defy a corrupt system and win.
Jesus is our favorite hero. We identify strongly with his journey, from an innocent child, who rose from humble beginnings to topple a corrupt system and save the world.
So, in the most important aspects of human activity, African Americans have been conditioned to believe that the highest expression of power is to dismantle and destroy systems.
Our greatest heroes are rebels, like Nat Turner, Dr. King and Malcolm X.
Unfortunately, this perception is not altogether beneficial. More importantly, it is not based upon reality.
In reality, individuals are not as powerful as systems.
Even when Obama became President, we could not seem to grasp this inescapable truth. Some of us expected him to be a magical Negro, who could completely transform some dimension of African American life with a stroke of his pen.
But that was impossible because Obama was and still is, just one man, operating within the confines of a well-organized system.
Now, as it pertains to Orisa Lifestyle, I see the same problem. That is, our people refuse to grasp the significance of systems thinking.
Consequently, too many of us have allowed ourselves to be convinced that rituals and ceremonies will somehow allow us to defy the laws of nature.
Recently, I posed a question on Facebook, "What's more powerful, a degree from Yale or Ifa initiation?" Out of 270 comments, about 95% of the people really believe that a three day ceremony would render them more powerful than if they had a degree from Yale.
That is utter and complete madness.
POWER is not imaginary, subjective nor conceptual. There are three main elements of power:
1. SOURCE (e.g., a battery)
2. CONDUIT (e.g., a wire)
3. OUTPUT (e.g., a toaster)
Together, these elements constitute a system. Power can only be expressed through systems. If you remove or compromise any of the elements, the power will not be fully expressed.
Orisa Lifestyle is an elaborate power system.
Do you know why the electricity never fails in the USA? It's because we have a highly efficient system. It is extremely consistent everywhere you go.
Until we build efficient systems that harness and distribute our spiritual power, we cannot realistically claim that Ifa is as powerful as a degree from Yale.
THIS IS AN OPEN CHALLENGE TO THE LEADERSHIP.
Build a system that properly prepares devotees to optimize the potential power of Orisa and not people who use empty cliches like character and destiny.
Build a system that efficiently distributes knowledge, skill and wisdom across the community instead of peddling beads, pots and titles to anybody with a dollar.
Build a system that empowers the people to be the highest versions of themselves, who can actively solve their own problems and not feeble minded dependents, who never even learn how to pray properly.
I am in search of leaders who are committed to changing the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can take your practice to the next level: ObafemiO.com
There is a difference between a teacher, a mentor and a leader. Teachers provide instruction on how to learn. Mentors are guides, who show you the way inward. Leaders are the embodiment of vision; they reveal the future and your place in it.
If there is just one thing that I cherish about Yoruba culture, it's the overabundance of men who teach, mentor and lead. Nothing touchy-feely. Nothing warm and fuzzy. Just masculinity in all its glory.
Nowadays, I find myself reflecting more and more on my experience with great men, like
Babalade Olamina, Imodoye Shabazz and others. Their generosity, coupled with an astounding intellectual capacity, has made it possible for younger men, like me, to make sense of the madness that is European and African, modern and traditional, physical and metaphysical.
When it comes to his destiny, man should negotiate but he should not compromise. The endurance of OrisaLifestyle is all the evidence you need. The Yoruba remain the Yoruba, in spite of relentless incursions from Christianity, Islam and modernization, precisely because the Yoruba do not compromise. Instead, they absorb those forces that threaten to destroy them.
I call out to every Black man today. I urge you to embolden your brothers. I wish to affirm your OBLIGATIONS to uphold the tradition. I seek to remind you that the Agbole belongs to your fathers and must be handed down to your sons.
What is the Agbole? It is the original family house, where your lineage's ancestral promise was made. The Agbole represents your family's commitment to uphold certain principles and practices in an effort to help bring about the Good Condition.
There is no shame in rulership and governance. Do not hesitate to make your deepest values clear to the entire world. Like Bob Marley sang, I'm a rebel, a soul rebel! I'm a conqueror! Soul adventurer!
Live the medicine!!!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Ọ̀pọ̀ ló fẹ lápa láì lápá, béèyàn ò sì lápá, kò lè lápa. Many want to make a mark without effort, but without effort, no mark can be made. Destiny cannot be attained by wearing beads, possessing pots, nor bearing titles. It is through your efforts to manifest your truth that your destiny is expressed.
Osa take a look
And Iwori take a look
Whatever we consider together
It is bound to come up well
Ifa’s message for Imoran, Deliberation
The elder sibling of Edu, Ifa consultation
He was advised to offer ebo
Imoran I consulted you first before consulting my Ikin
Deliberation is the lord of common sense. When you give deep thought to any issue, common sense will eventually prevail over convenience. Stop asking Ifa to do for you that which you ought to do for yourself; like studying, thinking and learning!
I am looking for leaders, who are committed to changing the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can take your practice to the next level. LEARN MORE
If you do not understand White supremacism, everything else will only confuse you.
- Neely Fuller, Jr.
I taught all of children to play chess before they were in third grade. It provides endless lessons in power.
Black children need to understand their relationship to power; how to establish it, how to expand it and how to refine it.
In the United States, power has been monopolized by White supremacists. I know what you're thinking, "That's extreme." But if you think a bit more deeply, you will agree that the Skinheads and the Klan are just crude expressions of White supremacism.
The church, hospital, courthouse, bank and school are bastions of White supremacism. Make no mistake about it, ALL American institutions are incubators, proponents and defenders of White supremacism.
That is, ALL American institutions are violently hostile towards Black male rulership and governance.
The White king is absolutely certain that the Black king is his most formidable adversary. When the Black king is subdued, the game is over. Therefore, the White king must weaponize EVERY individual in every institution in an effort to neutralize the effect of the Black king.
Likewise, the Black king recognizes the White king as his most formidable foe. Once the White king has been taken down, the game is over. So, the Black king must weaponize every individual in every institution in an effort to neutralize the effects of the White king.
Most urgently, the Black king must educate and empower younger Black men. Prepare them - physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually - for the reality of life behind enemy lines.
Love them with all your heart. But do not allow anyone to compromise their warrior spirit. Train them in the way of empathy and compassion. But never let them forget we came to conquer. Show them how to be fair and equitable in their doings. But teach them to be relentless in their commitment to African liberation.
The Yoruba say, as the spring causes the river to flow, so does the wisdom of the father cause his sons to walk with pride.
The Holy Odu OgbeYonu goes on to tell us of the epic journey of three souls as they travelled from heaven to earth. When given the opportunity to consult with their fathers before selecting their destinies, two travellers refused.
It was only Afuwape who broke ranks and went to seek his father's advice about the journey. His father was none other than ORUNMILA, the lord of wisdom. Orunmila was surrounded by his fleet of priests. They advised him to sacrifice so that his son's journey would be successful. Orunmila complied.
As a result, Afuwape was given the inside track on selecting the most favorable destiny. And while his contemporaries spent most of their lives struggling to compensate for their poor choices of destiny, Afuwape thrived throughout his life.
His friends lamented, "If only I knew where Afuwape had chosen his destiny! I would have chosen mine from that same place" Afuwape replied, "We chose our destinies form the same place! But I sacrificed before I made my selection."
It was because of his father's wisdom that Afuwape became the epitome of excellence.
May we all rise to the occasion and raise our sons to become wise, Black kings! Ase!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | 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.