A received a knock on the door from someone who wanted to share their religion with me... I ended up sharing my spiritual tradition with them. They had never heard of Ifa and wondered what it meant to be an initiated priestess. I reflected on how Ifa is often spoken about in a religious context..... and how so many seemed to have lost the natural spirit of what Ifa really mean. The politics and superstitions can be a real distraction. At the end of the day, what is most important is your relationship with your Ori... plain and simple. I don't pretend to think I know what it is for others.. but I have decided what it means to me.. and after some meditation and inner listening, this is what I determined:
Ifa is the wisdom or laws of Nature- To be initiated into Ifa is to initiate the process of becoming whole. The process of becoming whole involves the awakening latent areas of ones consciousness, developing deficient areas, and decrease the areas of excess in ones consciousness. Becoming whole brings us into balance with nature and harmony with all life. Doing so produces as state of inner peace and thus a state of spiritual perfection.
This doesn't means our life become immediately easier. In fact, it can take on a troublesome pattern as the inner elements of your nature come into view. It can produce an alchemical effect of internal emotional combustion as the excessive elements magnify even more before they are neutralized. It is through inner cultivation that we are able to mutate that internal combustion, then neutralize it producing a pressurized release and restoration of balance.
Ifa encourages sacrifice and offerings.. The nature of sacrifice is to make sacred. To sacrifice that which is common for that which sacred. This involves the sacrifice of one's mundane nature for ones spiritual nature. Or offering up our negative ego to Spirit to allow spirit to transmute it into spiritual essence. Each animal represents a quality of character that must be either sacrificed or embodied to produce balance. So Ifa allows us to discover what is out of balance and restore balance.. which is interpreted as good fortune or good life. It enables spiritual transformation that creates peace of mind, healing in the body and alignment with Spirit. On a plane of greater awareness, it produces the release of our human limitations in order to manifest our immortal self.
Esu is the individualization of that process helping us to identify that which is hampering our progress. Esu stands at the center of our consciousness making us aware of the truth of our reality or being vs that which is an illusion or false. This increased awareness brings us the understanding necessary to create an inner bridge between heaven and earth, our heart and mind, and our physical being and spiritual being. Within our physical being Esu is the motor cortex in the center of the brain which is responsible for the planning, control, and execution of any movement in our lives. It receives the message from Spirit, translates it into neuro impulses that are then sent out to the body through the spinal cord. In Ifa this is the Ori meta or junction. Essentially, we are helpless and immobilized without this central component in our being. Its function is closely related to thought. Thought is associated with Thoth or Tehuti in ancient Kemet and is our intelligence faculty.
Oru-n mi la - Heru mi ela or Heru, my light. or My heavenly light. -- It is the inner light that is able to see through the darkness. In our consciousness Orunmila is our witness of creation. Our inner sage, or guru on our path of consciousness. The witness is the Self that is the detached observer of its creation or experience. That wisdom part of us that is able to differentiate the difference between the experience and the person who is having the experience.
Odu- is our conscience. That which tells us right from wrong. The seat of feminine consciousness that grows and raises us into spiritual maturity. Odu is the womb of spirit that gives birth to our dual selves. Our light and shadow.. the sun and moon. Our conscience gives us the ability to compare and contrast that which is for our highest good. She is the unseen self that creates and gives birth to our reality. Odu gives our life direction and guidance. Odu is the seat or lap that is the throne of God. O tutu wa- The wisdom of the womb. She is the great mother. The calabash of existence that supports the four corners of the world. The egg of creation , the axis mundi and tree of life. The matrix through which the world becomes manifest.
Orisa- is a state of illuminated consciousness. That illuminated conscious can be found in the consciousness of nature itself and also a state of consciousness attained in our own inner nature. When that inner nature has been cultivated through virtuous living, the consciousness reaches a magnified or illuminated state and we realize immortality. We are able to transcend our limited perceptions and attachments and become an ascended master.
Ifa is a dance between matter and spirit or the rat and the fish. The rat representing earth plane and matter as it is able to navigate any place and anything with its burrowing holes and sharp teeth, and keen awareness. The fish represents water and spirit and the ability navigate the waters of life and spiritual consciousness. Together they represent the harmony of life Asians call the Tao and Africans call Fa.
Then there is our Ori. The Higher self... Our Ori is the master of our destiny and who we must depend on to support us in our life. No Orisa, person, or opinion is higher. That is the hardest part sometimes... People will try to project their stuff on you.. society, dogmas, and group... but at the end of the day.. We must ultimately follow our Ori..
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.