I received a phone call from my daughter today. She was excited because she told me she had discovered the secret to everything and all life. She is a mathematics major at Claflin University and is a senior taking classes I can't even conceive of.. But... being a dutiful parent, I asked her to go ahead and share the secret of life with her mama. She began to explain that her class, Topology is the study of how things are organized into groups and something about time and space.. How everything in any group or set of thing is either opened or closed and that determines its abilities. Whether it is opened or closed is determined upon the conditions it's placed in. Conditions determine opportunity..
Now I don't know much about Topology. In fact, it was the first time I had ever heard of the word... But I do know about opening and closing and it struck me how Ifa is based on this very science. I shared that with my daughter and she began to explain that the human brain is made up of circuits. These circuits have positive and negative polarities that are either zero or ones. Essentially, our brain is hard wired for binary language. As infants, our understanding is simplified into basic zeros and ones. Each learned behavior creates a group or complex set of zeros and ones. These learned behaviors are determined by the conditions we are placed in and become our programs that we run in our lives by. They determine character, talents and challenges and our opportunities based on how many circuits are opened or closed in a set of behaviors. Not only that, those opened and closed sets of binary frequencies tell us what is or is not possible in our lives.
If we want to do a thing, and we have too many closed circuits, it ain't gonna happen. The conditions that created those closed circuits prevent it. However, if we understand how to open a circuit... By changing our the conditions upon which we operate... Our behavior, character, attitude, we then have access to the ability to do that thing. It's about turning your negatives into positives. I said, "well I'll be damned!" "My baby girl done dropped some science about Ifa and she didn't know it! She is Igbo, so maybe it was her Afa ancestors coming through...
Anyway we went on to have a conversation about how traditional African science expresses those same concepts through its oracles. That the ancient technology of the ancestors understood the path to greatness was in the ability to change your mind, your conditions, and maximize your potentials... By doing so creates the ability to tap the world of infinite possibilities by changing the circuits in our world. Our oracles, whether Obi, Dinlogun, or Ifa all express fundamental binary principles through open and closed sets of objects..... cowries, opele, ikin, and are written as zeros and ones, ones and twos, or single or double lines. Ifa is a binary language Is used to communicate with the divine, our Ori, the ancestors, and Orisha to determine whether our way is open or closed and also what has to be modified to open or close the way to whatever we are contemplating.
Ifa specializes in character cultivation and espouses that character determines real success. Our Ori, our head is what we are consulting when we consult the oracle and it tells us what is open and closed and how to open those that are closed. By cultivating our character, we change the conditions for our success.
Esu is the one who opens or closes the way. We always give reverence to Esu first. The master communicator between that which is seen and unseen. In that way Esu is like the motor cortex in the brain that gives us the power (Ase) to do, move, act, etc. Since the motor cortex is run on these binary programs in the brain it literally determines whether we will be successful in what we are doing. If the motor cortex says no, the way is closed to your moving your arm, it won't work... No matter how strong you are....no matter how you feel about it...or desire it. This is why Esu holds the key and allows us to interpret the oracle properly. Esu literally allows for a open or closed mind. We can't see a thing if we have a closed mind about it. We can't visualize and dream a thing into being if we have too many negatives or closed perceptions about what is doable, right, or achievable. So herein lay the key to life. Open your mind... And the rest will follow. Close it, and you short circuit your potential for greatness.
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.