Protective charms, amulets and powders are important parts of Orisa Lifestyle. There is a spiritual remedy for everything, from impotence to incarceration. And while some of these medicines will take effect, no matter what, the vast majority come with certain behavioral requirements. These are commonly referred to as taboos. But I like to call them observances because taboos only point to the things you CANNOT do, which is a bit misleading when it comes to these charms. That is, in addition to the things you cannot do, there are other things that you MUST do in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the medicine. Sometimes, you have to tell the truth. Other times, you have to perform certain rituals at specific hours of the day or night.
This is why the elders will say, Invoke it exactly as the maker of the charm instructed. It might not make any sense to you. But it doesn't really have to appeal to YOUR sense of reason. You have gone to the healer in search of his specialized knowledge and skill. Why should you question his expertise? By extension, the same thing is true of Orisa Lifestyle as a whole. We see countless generations of tradition across West Africa and we want to participate in it, but we insist upon doing it according to what we WANT to do, as opposed to what we're SUPPOSED to do. Everything, from learning Yoruba language to seniority to gender roles, is subject to interpretation and renegotiation in this day and age. But the tradition is a complex prescription, which was written with the intention to HEAL. How do you expect to ignore the prescription and live the medicine at the same time?
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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.