One of the most empowering things you can do for yourself is not take anyone's word for it... Take the time to go find out for yourself. The greatest way people are manipulated is from lack of knowledge. People will hold you hostage due to a lack of knowledge. In the Ifa tradition, the core of knowledge is found in the Ifa Odu literary corpus. It is the core of everything Ifa Orisha etc. Yet, a good number of people have little to no knowledge of actual odus. They allow others to interpret for them. They rely on what they were told but not what Odu actually says....and does not say. This is to the detriment of the whole tradition, because it means that people can hold you hostage by a lie. Women thought , for years, they didn't have the right to become Awos....because they weren't allowed to see the actual verses and they allowed a man to do the interpretations of an Odu. They didn't have access to the actual history of the tradition or were threatened with alienation and being put out if they dared seek that knowledge. I believe slave masters did that too... kept Africans from reading the scriptures to justify slavery, keep them enslaved, and convinced them it was God's will. Now, there is a whole group of women who have been in the tradition many years who have never really read any Odus in their original form.
We all have a divine source of wisdom inside of us. Our Ori. It is connected to the divine source of the universe. No one has all of the answers or owns truth. No matter how long you have done a thing, it doesn't mean you know everything. Even a child can teach us something new if we are open. Some children are ancestors returned who remember and are here to restore what was forgotten. We must never make the mistake of judging people by our limited perceptions of who we think they are or are not.
We can only experience the divine according to our level of consciousness...not just our number of years. How many people spent their whole life thinking the earth was flat before it was demonstrated that it was otherwise? How many thought slavery was ok until they were taught otherwise? While experience does count, sometimes there can be stagnation because you can get to a point where you think thats all there is....or should be. This happens all of the time ...and usually just when the universe is on the verge of breaking through a new awareness. It's a part of the process of transformational change and evolution...
When we are going through an awakening process, it means that you begin to question everything. Not as an affront to what came before, but to deepen our understanding of what came before. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Take the time to actually read the sacred teachings of the tradition you say you love. Study the history and how things came to be... Ask why... And if the answer doesn't make sense... Continue asking till you determine if it's valid or needs to be discarded. Put up a red light when someone tries to stop you from critical thinking. Doubt those who doubt you and your capacity for self realization. We can't grow if we don't know. Information is power and knowledge leads to wisdom.
Ifa verse Okanran Odi says:
Okanran first, and then Odi
Ifa says of those that this is the vessel
Wherein the soul is kept and protected.
Ifa says that a blessing is coming
from the Ipori of thr client.
Every answer is waiting inside ourselves
Waiting till we let them out.
Ifa says we should not curse the unborn.
Ifa says we should not curse the dead.
Ifa says we should avoid
Egoism and selfishness, because
We are not the center of the universe;
It only seems that way, and everybody else
Sees these things quite differently.
The remedy against whats bothering you is in honoring the living and the dead.
Ifa says that ones nerves are kind of shaky,
That something inside makes one insecure.
We have a fear that returns and returns,
Ifa tells us to sacrifice, in order
Not to become utterly paranoid, sacrifice so that our existance becomes pleasurable.
Another ese in Iwori Osa speaks about the importance of going within and discovering truth for yourself
Atkaresete, awo orun
A difa fun Olodumare at aiye
Nigbati awon omo-araye nsare to Olodumare nitori ohun gbogbo
Nke baba, baba, mo de
Gba mi; jowo gba mi
Olodumare nI; eetiri?
Eniti mo fun l'agbara, ko lo agbara
Eniti mo fun l'ogbon, ko lo ogbon
Won ni awon omo ti ko ri awon obi won
Won maa sa ipa inu won
Atkaresete (the self adjuster) priest of heaven
Divined for Olodumare and the world
When the people of the world were running to Olodumare for everything
Crying out baba, baba, I have come
Save me; please save me
Olodumare said, what is the matter?
Those whom I have given ability do not use their ability
And those I have given wisdom do not use the wisdom I have given them.
It is said; children who do not see their parents
Will strive for their own inner strength
this is why we no longer no longer see Olodumare. It forces us to use the wisdom we were born with.
from Iwe Fun Odu Ifa by Agelo Fawesagu Agbovi
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.