Destiny cannot be reduced to a single thing: Not a place, not an object, not a task. Destiny, like identity, is a composite that comprises multiple layers of existence, consciousness, awareness, manifestation and restoration. For this reason, we cannot separate destiny from ijo l'aiye [the journey of life]. Consider what Ifa says in the Holy Odu IkaOfun:
Akun ‘le yan eda
Oun l’ada ‘ye ba
A d’aye tan oju ukan gbogbo wa
Sugbon eda na ko see pada lo yan omiran
A fi etutu lo ku
- Odu Mimo IkaOfun
What was chosen kneeling down
Is what we find on arrival in this world
On arrival in this world, we became too impatient
(We are in too much of a hurry to achieve our potentials).
But it is impossible to go back and choose another,
To prevent the deterioration of things is the only course of action left.
- Holy Odu IkaOfun
Here, I want you to make note of a profound teaching that is embedded in this particular verse: "...It is impossible to go back and choose another. To prevent the deterioration of things is the only course of action left." While Ifa is referring to one's personal destiny, the teaching has powerful implications for our entire planet. That is, we only have one Earth. We cannot go back and choose another. The amount of water on our planet neither increases nor decreases. We cannot go back and choose to create more. Even energy, which transforms everything it touches, remains essentially unchanged. It is not possible to CREATE energy!!!
Quality cannot be added. It is what it is. You only have one destiny. Beads, pots and titles will not change it. Stop running from yourself. Instead, establish a practice of self discovery, self discipline and sacred service. Self acceptance is the greatest investment in your fulfillment that you could ever make.
Orisa do not govern your destiny. They support it. Every day, you should re-enact the ritual of choosing your destiny by kneeling down to practice devotion to your destiny. Give sincere thanks and offer heart-felt gratitude for your prenatal choice. Learn to LISTEN to your destiny, and let it guide you along the path of protection and empowerment. This is a sure way to activate the spirit of ORI, the Supreme Divinity, in your life. In the Holy Odu Ogundatatura, Ifa affirms the power of ORI:
Ori rere nii segun ota
Ori aisan l’ota di ni adipa
It is a good head that overcomes the enemy
It is the defective head that the enemy renders
The wisdom of ORI permeates every dimension of Orisa Lifestyle. Consider, for example, this selection of IJALA, which is recited by the hunters:
Bi ori ba nda rokoroko l’aamu
Yio da bii pe ko le roko t’egbe re
Ika kii fe k’a r’eru k’a so
Bi ori ba nda sodesode l’aamu
Yio da bii pe ko lee p’eran t’egbe re
Atari l’alayanmo, ori l’elejo
Ko s’oosa tii –ba ‘nii –ja l’ehin ori eni
Ori eni nii wipe k’o ye ‘ni,
Akande omo o see fi ‘ja gba.
If a farmer’s head is against him
It will appear as if he cannot work like his colleagues
The wicked don’t want one to unburden his burden
If a hunter’s head is against him
It will appear as if he cannot fish like his colleagues
A man’s head is his most intimate deity
There is no orisa working against one except ones head
It is a man’s head that decrees success for him
Akande is a difficult child to earn by quarrel.
Resist the temptation to compromise your spiritual development by minimizing the power of your destiny. Beads, pots and titles are effective tools. However, they become harmful when mistaken as the goal of spiritual discipline. Likewise, charms are meant to serve. Never allow them to usurp the throne of destiny. It is a mistake to allow yourself to become carried away by spiritual materialism. Orisa Lifestyle is plagued by an ever-increasing number of pitiful imitators, who have willingly abandoned their natural gifts and talents in favor of merely looking and sounding like true adepts.
If your tradition is Haitian, Cuban, Brazilian, Trinidadian or West African, please remember that the method is simply a path on the ijo l'aiye [journey of life]. Your objective is not to merely imitate the rituals and ceremonies of your tradition. Your true objective is to cultivate your destiny, with all of its imperfections, flaws and contradictions. Turn inward and intensify your devotion to your destiny. Live the Medicine!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
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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.