I've been exploring the Ori complex lately to deepen my own understanding and relationship to it. As a dreamer, I've always been able to ask Spirit to respond to my questions in dreams, and I pretty much get clear, if not metaphorical answers. So my request for more information about Ori lead me to experience a vision first of a woman nursing a child. Then, next to her was a tube of light with three bulbs along it from bottom to top. Inside the tube was swirling light that began at the bottom that moved upward in a serpentine fashion to through the tube to the top.
When it reached the top, it burst through to what I can only describe as a massive light....Being.... Or..maybe a star being.. In any case, there was an iridescent light that was so bright but didn't hurt my eyes. Having remembered such being described in books about death, it became apparent this is what I was seeing... And...it..she..was talking to me. Or maybe I was talking to it first but we were in communication. It was an unmistakable link between us. We were separate and one at the same time and the communication was telepathic. Or maybe more like a transmission of ideas. In fact, while I tried to "talk" through words and ask questions, I was interrupted by a communication that she wasn't used to talking to me that way. It was relayed, telepathically in that there were no words... Just thoughts between us.
It was also apparent that in that state, all of the mundane things I thought was important such as my money, my relationships, my religious beliefs.... was just not so much a concern. In fact, in that presence, I couldn't even think of one mundane thought. I felt almost childlike to a parent. What was more important ....to my Ori..was what I was learning.. Relaying that I was learning a lot, she was satisfied with my progress... A few more private suggestions and communications were made and I was back in my body fully awake and aware with a full memory of what transpired.
Being a long time student of esoteric philosophy and studying various traditions around the world, I can honestly say that it wasn't till I embraced Ifa that I had such an experience in such fullness. I've been through the Kemetian and Kabalistic meditations and experienced the peaceful state of Ausar or Kether. I've done the Hermetic initiations with the Middle Pillar attained the knowledge and conversation with my Holy Guardian Angel ...or so I thought till now. I've done years of chakra meditations.... And while the experience had remnants of all of those traditions, the one most close to what I experienced with my Ori this time was one that comes from another binary divinatory spiritual system.. Using the Chinese I Ching... That system maps the energetic body as the Tan Tian or Dantian.
As a massage therapy instructor for 15 years, I was quite familiar with the Tan tian in terms of healing, but not so much it's spiritual applications. The tan tian is translated as the sea of chi and is expressed through 3 "pots" or energy centers along the vertical axis of the body. Chi can be likened to Ase in Ifa. They are known as the triple burners and they express how we process and refine chi which is used for energy, healing, and power.
What makes it so similar to what I experienced is that it is mapped out like the Spiritual body in Ifa Philosophy that make up the Ori. The Ori has numerous components and sub components. For the purpose of this article, I'll focus on the triune nature of the spiritual body described in Ifa. While I've seen it described differently by different people, the three that stand out are Ori inu, the Emi, and the Iponri. Ori Inu is found in the naval area...just as the lower tan tien is found. The Emi is Spirit or breath and found in the Okan or Heart area. The Iponri is the Ori of our Destiny and found in the crown or head. In all fairness, I've seen the Okan or Heart described as separate from the Emi but that's a subject for another day. What is important is the triune area of the body.
The tan tian is described as residing in the navel, the belly, and the chest in some areas and the navel, chest, and the head in other areas. They align it with the reproductive, digestive, and respiratory processes. Other sources say the upper burner relates to thought and higher consciousness, the middle to emotions, spirit, and breath, and the lower with regeneration and centering. What I see in Ifa's application of this triune complex is through the Ori's association with Obatala.
Obatala, in Ifa is the "shaper of the body" whose color is white. In Ifa philosophy, before we incarnate on earth, we receive a body. This logically is aligned with the skeleton and bones of the body giving structure. When a baby is being shaped in the womb, the first thing built is the cranium and skeletal system. Not so coincidentally, the oldest expression of Obatala is female... Anyway, the skeletal system has three cages that protect the inner organs of the body. The pelvis acts as a cage that protects the reproductive organs. The rib cage protects the heart and lungs. And the cranium protects the brain. These fit perfectly with where we place the components of Ori.
Of course, I'm still flushing this experience out. It's a process to innerstand Ori on a universal level from the inside out. Ori is primary to Isese, another name for our tradition, and it's essential to grasp how it supersedes everything else. It's our personal Orisa...divine self..and connection to Olodumare. Ifa scriptures make it clear over and over that nothing happens without Ori and our success in life depends on our alignment with it. In the west, this concept was lost in the middle massage until the early nineties. Awo Falokun Fatunmbi wrote the book, Iwa Pele: Search for the Source of Santeria and Lukumi in 1991 which described his initiation into Ifa in Africa and shared the importance of Ori. While the idea feeding and cleaning the head and crowning Orisha was present, the idea of Ori, as a whole and as above all Orisa was not mentioned or spoken of in mass in the diasporic traditions. Come to think of it, neither was Iwa Pele. But, that too... Is another story for another day.
This is a meditation and reflection journal on Ifa and African Spiritual Traditions. This is not intended to reflect popular or conventional beliefs so much as it is intended to explore the sacred wisdom of Africa beyond religious dogma. Like all traditions, there is a religious component practiced by the lay person, and then there is the esoteric tradition practiced by seekers of spiritual truth. The difference is in the approach. My approach is through understanding the laws of nature itself we can understand Ifa... and vice versa. Through understanding these laws, we gain insight into our very nature and can use these sacred tools and wisdom for our evolution and advancement as souls on the planet. They ultimately allow us to live in harmony on the planet and in alignment with our divine destinies and with nature itself.