“Odù is the word of the Ifa oracle, the voice of the Supreme Being, as it pertains to the identity of each person who comes into existence. ‘Odù to bi enikan’ literally means the Odù which gives birth to someone. Each of us is born under the protection of particular Odù, which indicates our natural gifts and talents, as well as our prohibitions and liabilities. As the voice of Olodumare, Odù is the way that spiritual identity is traced and used to indicate the path of one’s spiritual journey. Odù is the ‘word of life’ given and entrusted – first to one’s parents, and later to one’s babalawo – as a measure of guidance for the one who has just made her entry into the world. In this regard, Odù represents one’s personal governance system, which is based upon an historical precedent or archetype. The Odù governance system enables birth parents and priests to anticipate varying degrees of personal experience, as well as the most appropriate response, relative to Ifa’s mandate that all human beings strive to bring about the Good Condition, both personally and collectively.
In this regard, one’s personal Odù is akin to a spiritual hypothesis. It is neither a guarantee of success nor a condemnation to failure. An Odù is a framework of possibilities, a trajectory of human experience. No two individuals are identical. And so, the true meaning of one’s Odù is derived from APPLICATION. In other words, two people may be born – biologically or spiritually – under the same Odù but the significance of that particular set of rules has no meaning independent from the lifelong series of decisions, actions and developmental stages of the individual. Ultimately, Odù is merely potential. You must CREATE meaning by actively pursuing opportunities to make a contribution to the lives of those you serve. This is what it means to 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.