Saturday, January 20, 2018

~ Saint Magick - Saint Sebastian ~



FEAST DAY: January 20
DAY OF THE WEEK: Tuesday
CANDLE COLOR: Red
LEGEND: Son of a wealthy Roman family. Educated in Milan. Officer of the Imperial Roman army, and captain of the guard. Favorite of Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing supplies and comfort. Reported to have healed the wife of a brother soldier by making the Sign of the Cross over her. Converted soldiers and a governor.
Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death.
During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature's archers. In desparation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.
PETITION SAINT SEBASTIAN: for justice, court cases, to overcome rivals, remove obsticals, success, good fortune.
PATRONAGE: archers; armourers; arrow smiths; athletes; diocese of Bacolod, Philippines; bookbinders; diseased cattle; dying people; enemies of religion; fletchers; gardeners; gunsmiths; Huelva, Spain; Hünxe, Germany; iron mongers; lace makers; lace workers; lead workers; masons; plague; police; Pontifical Swiss Guards; racquet makers; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Sebastian, Puerto Rico; soldiers; Spanish police officers; stone masons; stone cutters; diocese of Tarlac, Philippines
REPRESENTATION: arrows; crown; naked youth tied to a tree and shot with arrows
PRAYERS TO SAINT SEBASTIAN
1) Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings - for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.
2) O Lord, grant us a spirit of strength. Taught by the glorious example fo Your martyr, Saint Sebastian, may we learn to obey You rather than men. Amen.
Copyright © 2002 – Present BlackWitch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 12, 2018

~ Communal Taboos In Ifa/Orisha Communities Part 2 ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato,

Continuing on about communal taboos in Ifa spiritual communities I believe that there is a clear taboo against sexism. This taboo works both ways, men are not better than women and women are not better than men. There is a concept in Ifa that I call gender equity, a concept where both men and women have the opportunity to make equal contributions to the growth and elevation of the community. Gender equity is an aspect of suuru which is the Ifa idea of inner peace. When we look at the symbolic representation of inner peace as a white bird on a white staff we have the female symbol of the bird resting on the male symbol of the staff or phallus. Together they represent the androgynous balance of Obatala as fully developed male/female Orisa.

Another symbol of gender balance is when male initiates of Sango dance with their hair tied in female braids and when they use a dance apron to represent a skirt. There is also the example of the male chief of Agemu. In Ijebu state Agemu is the Orisa worshipped by the body guards of the Oba and the Chief of the body guards has a taboo against wearing men’s cloths. The reason for this taboo is to insure that he does not use his power of incantation for inappropriate reasons. In the home of the Alaafin of Oyo there is a group of women called Iya Obara who shave their heads to represent male female balance, the elder mothers of Obara are advisors to the Oba of Oyo. In Ile Ife there is egbe Iya Irun which means bearded women and the bearded women are the advisors to the male Oni of Ile Ife. All these references suggest spiritual growth is a result of the balance of male and female elements of consciousness found in all men and women.

On a communal level the idea of gender balance is expressed in a number of ways. One of the functions of Ogboni is to make sure each male awo in a community is protected by a female Iyaami. The women of Iyaami are extremely effective guardians and warriors in the Spirit Realm and they have the responsibility of protected Igbodu or sacred space for men during male initiations.  For me on a personal level I rarely do divination without support from at least one elder mothers to make sure every problem solution is informed by a female perspective.

If we look at Ifa scripture there appears to have been a time in ancient when women controlled Ifa and Egun. The scripture suggests that this might have created an imbalance and men took control of Ifa and Egun which has since created another type of imbalance. It is clear to me that the elders in Ifa have made a historical effort to rectify this situation by re-opening Ifa and Egun to women. This has led to some controversy. In my own case my insistence on gender equity influenced my decision to switch egbe’s late in my career as an awo. In ancient times there might have been political and social equity in villages where female Iyaami was treated as equal to male Ifa. Unfortunately during the British occupation of Nigeria the British outlawed both Iyaami and Ogboni and this had a devastating effect on the reality of gender equity on Ifa related traditions in Nigeria. The point being that as a result of the British/Christian assault on our faith there are different approaches to the question of reclaiming the original idea of gender balance.

In the Diaspora I feel the important question is: do women feel as if they have equal status, power and influence as men? If the answer is no then structural changes need to be made to fix the problem of unequal treatment. At present I see a situation where a significant number of women are initiated into Ifa but they are not included by the men in Ifa ritual and they are rarely given any training. 
For me these questions are simple to resolve. First I reject out of hand the Christian ideal that women are either evil or the source of evil in the world. Absolutely nothing in traditional Ifa supports this silly notion. Second Ifa is based on nature worship, nature exists as a result of gender equity, if our Ifa families do not reflect that equity then our nature worship is based on a false view of the world. 

In simple terms Ifa never was, never is and I pray never will be based on the insane idea that men are better than women. Ifa is based on the idea that men develop male ase, women develop female ase and we come together to fuse that ase in a way that elevates the community and co-creates the world we live in.
Ire

Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 11, 2018

~ Communal Taboos In Ifa/Orisha Communities Part 1 ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato,

I have discussed the personal taboos related to the development of iwa pele, I would like to discuss what can be considered the communal taboos of traditional Ifa. They are specifically taboos against; racism, sexism and homophobia. This is a tricky topic because the scriptural references in Ifa to communal taboo are not as clearly defined as the personal taboos. It is also a bit contentious because there are segments of the Ifa/Orisa community who believe Ifa endorses racism, sexism and homophobia.   I do not share that belief.


Technically the taboo against racism is an admonition in support of multi-culturalism. In the English language the word racism refers to institutional bias based on the implementation of ethic prejudice; for example discrimination in employment, discrimination in education, discrimination in access to social institutions and discrimination in access to political power. In the United States there is a long history of European American collusion to implement racist policies and institutions including slavery. Because privileged white men control the countries resources, the history of racism in American is not taught, politicians rarely address the issue, and the media pretends the only racism in American is when people of color treat privileged white men unfairly. The depth of the cultural inability of privileged white men to deal with the reality of racism is clearly evident in the emotionally traumatic response in the media to the idea that the group Black Lives Matters is addressing real issues, and the traumatic response in the media around black athletes and the national anthem. Apparently reporters and politicians cannot imagine the idea that an athlete suggesting social injustice is real can also be patriotic.


My point is that multi-culturalism is a hot button topic and the Ifa community is not exempt from the tensions associated with this issue.  I want to discuss the history of this issue in our communities and I want to preface my remarks by saying my opinion on this issue has, does and will create passionate disagreement. Based on my understanding of Ifa, disagreements are okay. The reason for bringing this issue to the table is to consider ways in which we kind begin to heal the wounds caused by racism and begin to establish guidelines for creating healthy extended families based on support from spiritual disciplines rooted in an African world view. This effort is, I believe, a healthy alternative to the confusion that plagues the political arena.


The scriptural basis for claiming Ifa is rooted in a multi-cultural world view is based on the re-occurring theme of the idea of the significant stranger. Perhaps the most famous of these stories describes a time when Sango wandered away from his village in Oyo and reached the region of Ijebu. At the time Ijebu was plagued by a panther that was attacking children. When Sango came to Ijebu he was caring a long stick used for pounding yam as his walking stick. The people of Ijebu asked Sango if he knew how to kill a panther. Sango who had never seen a panther said he was a skilled hunter and killing a panther was not a problem. He went into the woods climbed a tree and went to sleep. While in the tree a panther walked by and roared, Sango fell out of the tree and his walking stick hit the panther in the head killing it instantly.


The point of the story is that Sango confronted the panther because he had no fear of the panther because he had never seen a panther. In simple terms the solution to the problem comes from the significant stranger who introduces a new perspective on an old issue.   In many of these types of verses in Odu Ifa the significant stranger is called a foreigner. The word foreigner in Yoruba is Oyinbo from the elision oyin ebo meaning make an offering of honey. This word is frequently translated to mean white man and it is true that when the British arrived in Nigeria they were called oyinbo. The original meaning of the word was in fact a reference to the idea of strangers bringing a new perspective to the table. In the case of the British the new perspective was anything but sweet. This raises an issue of important concern about the contrast between the social ideals of a given spiritual tradition and the challenges of implementing those ideals in real life social situations.


Case in point; when Lukumi priests first came to the United States after Castro took control of Cuba, the Lukumi community was focused on efforts to reclaim their homeland. Because of this social concern and the need for secrecy Lukumi was closed to African Americans who wanted to reclaim their spiritual roots. In the late sixties one Lukumi house in New York opened its doors to African Americans. It was Ile Alaofun Iya Odedey who moved to New York from Puerto Rico and created an multi-cultural Orisa family. She helped train Reynard Simmons, Ed James, John Mason, Aina Olomo and Iyanla Vanzant who all became pioneers in the effort to bring Lukumi to a wider cultural community of devotees. On the West Coast this door was largely opened by Luisah Teish. At the same time Oba Efuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi traveled to Africa and with the blessing of the Oni of Ile Ife started Oyotunji village in South Carolina in 1970. He was joined by Baba Medahochi who was initiated into Ifa in Benin. Oyotunji village reached out to a largely African American community and Luisah Teish who co-founded Ile Orunmila Oshun created a multi-cultural family based on an effort to integrate the Lukumi and the traditional African traditions.


In simple terms, this means there are a number of choices for being a part of an Ifa community in the diaspora that provide different types of cultural and social support. I am not making an argument that anyone of these options is better than another. I am making the suggestion that traditional Ifa as it is practiced in Yoruba culture tends to me open to everyone.


In the early nineties the late Oni of Ile Ife, ire lona, was asked to expel me from Ifa based on my ethnic origins. The late Oni responded to this request by saying; “Jesus brought Christianity to Africa and Orunmila brought Ifa to the world.” The Oni’s statement clearly suggests Ifa is a multi-cultural spiritual discipline open to everyone. As the spiritual elder of traditional Ifa/Orisa I am of the opinion that he is sanctioned by the ancestors and the culture to make this kind of proclamation and to implement it in the form of an admonition. I am grateful for his support.
Ire

Baba 
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

~ The Third Principal Of Iwa Pele ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato,

The third principle of iwa pele as it is taught in traditional Ifa spiritual discipline is speaking with integrity. The idea of speaking with integrity is the idea of speaking your truth while objectively stating the facts of the matter. This principle is incarnated in the Holy Odu Osa Tura. This Odu literally says state the facts tell your truth; sotito sodido, the only truth is the word of Olodumare. This is a fundamental expression of the idea that there is no absolute truth in the disagreements among humans. There is personal perspective related to the interpretation of facts and there is the possibility of consensus and agreement over the consequence of given events. There is no discussion of right and wrong in the Odu Osa Tura.  The Odu Osa Tura is used in Ogboni to swear oaths, it is invoked when awo come together to settle disputes and it is used during initiation when the initiate is asked to honor the idea of being honest with their elders.
 
Being honest is not the same thing as tell everyone your business all the time. It is also not blanket permission to constantly express an opinion. In conjunction with the admonition to state the facts and speak your truth there is a taboo against expressing an opinion about another person’s personal concerns unless you are asked your opinion. That means when a self-styled elder comes to you at a bembe and says you have evil ancestors and need a cleaning they are in violation of taboo. That means when a self-styled elder comes to you at a bembe and says you are being hexed by an evil woman and need warriors they are in violation of taboo. That means when a self-styled elder comes to you during bembe and says you will die if you don’t get initiated they are in violation of taboo. 

Personally I would not trust information from someone who does not understand Ifa Orisa protocol.
Sometimes Spirit will speak at a bembe and in traditional Ifa possession by Spirit usually involves Spirit answering specific questions. The protocol is that when Spirit speaks to someone the message is actually directed to that person’s elder who can then clarify the message through divination at the request of the person who receives the message. This idea carries over throughout traditional Yoruba culture. If you and I have a difference of opinion that is problematic I will ask your elder to arbitrate the settlement of our disagreement.
 
When a self-style elder says my Orisa says you need to do this and that, at best the elder is speaking to Spirit and that is not the same thing as being in possession. If an elder has a message for you they can make the statement; I have a message for you and then ask the question; do you want to hear it? That is an acceptable form of receiving permission to speak. Simply being your elder does not give the elder automatic permission to address personal matters, it does not give the elder the right to tell you what to do and it does not give the elder the right to pass judgment.
If you agree to assist an elder at a ritual you are giving your implied permission for the elder to tell you what kind of assistance they need and how to best provide that assistance.
 
The definition of truth and the taboos associated with the truth are clear indication that Ifa is not a dictatorship. It is not based on the right to control others and while in the scheme of things elders can assist us in communication with Spirit, the reality of human experience is that Spirit can speak to anyone, anytime regardless of whether or not they are initiated.   In English we call the ability of Spirit to speak to anyone, anytime Grace. In Yoruba the word for grace is rere from the elision ire ire meaning the eternal source of goodness. Initiation does not give us permission to speak with God. 

The idea that initiation or ordination gives us the right to speak with God is a Catholic idea it is not an Ifa idea. The right to speak with God is a birth right. What initiation does is give us access to tools that can potentially improve that communication, it does sanction that communication. The idea that an elder speaks for God is total nonsense. When the Immortals speak through an elder in an altered state it is the higher self of the elder in communication with external sources of information. These external sources are fragments of Olorun but they never represent Olorun in its entirety. To know God or Olorun is to be God and the idea that we can be God is called ori buruku in Yoruba meaning consciousness that brings death. In English it is called arrogance. The path of Ifa is the path of humility in Yoruba that would be ire lona ori suuru.
Ire 
Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

~ The Principal Of Ibi ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo Ato,

In my previous blog I stated that the foundation of Ifa is the development of iwa pele and the foundation of iwa pele is the taboo against judging others. The second principle to consider is a taboo against taking anything personally. There are very specific reasons for this taboo. Most odu are focused on the issue of personal development. The process of personal development involves letting go of old concepts of self and world. This process is the hardest and scariest thing we do as humans. Letting go of old ideas is often perceived as a form of personal death. The Ifa view of spiritual growth the ability to move through the cycle of life, death, transformation and rebirth is the hero’s journey and the hero’s journey is the blue print for transforming old concepts of self and world.


Resistance to spiritual elevation is called ibi in the Yoruba language. In some styles of divination ibi is confused with the Catholic idea of God being mad at you. This idea has absolutely nothing to do with the traditional metaphysical principle of ibi. The principle of ibi is rooted in the idea of resistance to change. The problem with resistance to change is that everyone sees themselves as the hero in their own story. The only way to transform resistance is the ability to engage in critical self-examination. A person who sees themselves as the hero of their own journey and who refuses to engage in critical self-examination will engage in what psychologists call transference. The idea of transference is based on blaming others as a way of avoiding looking at internal contradictions. In simple terms if a diviner identifies a problem that a person refuses to acknowledge they will typically blame the messenger. Blaming the messenger is the root cause of almost all forms of ibi. 

Transference is referred to in psychological terms as projection. In simple terms transference means a person is projecting their problem on to someone else. The process of projection can involve scapegoating, denigration, shaming, shunning, ex-communication and the creation of martyrs. None of these mechanisms are consistent with the spiritual discipline created by the prophet Orunmila. These various forms of projection are in fact the foundation for the various forms of ibi as used in traditional Ifa divination.


Here is the problem for the diviner; if the diviner reacts to the projection the door is closed to future healing. In traditional Yoruba culture there is little tolerance for projection. If a person blames an elder for anything the accusations are rarely taken seriously. Unfortunately in the Diaspora if someone projects a problem on to an elder, there are self-styled diviners who will support the projection and claim they have the magical powers needed to solve a particular problem. The support for projections is at the core of dysfunction in many of our communities in the Diaspora. When a diviner identifies a personal problem and the persons refuses to engage in critical self-evaluation and another diviner claims to have the magic formula to solve the problem and in order to generate business, the other diviner supports the denigration of the original diviner and we have a formula that makes it almost impossible to create healthy extended family.


The way I embrace this taboo against taking things personally is to say; “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” A lot of folks disagree with me about a lot of things. In the scheme of things that is normal and natural. What does not make sense is to use those differences as a basis for character assassination. Character assassination is a violation of the taboo against making judgements and responding to the character assassination is a violation of the taboo against taking anything personally. The tendency is engage in character assassination is I believe a result of the kind of character assassination that fuels reality TV and that fuels the idea that the star of a reality TV show would make a good president. If anyone doubts the efficacy of Ifa spiritual discipline simply look at the inability of our President to admit to every having made a mistake, look at the way he scapegoats others and consider the question do those actions help or hinder the quality of life in America.


The most common way this taboo is violated in our communities in the process of the endless and pointless arguments over disrespect. Ifa teaches that we respect ourselves and that if others do not honor that idea it is their problem not ours. Raising the issue of respect is the way street gangs start feuds. An elder who understands the concept of suuru or inner peace will never raise the issue of being disrespected.  Never, ever.


We can talk about disagreements, but the only a disagreement leads to the idea that a particular human deserves denigration is to assume the person who denigrates another has a directly line to God over the question of who is good and who is evil. That is question might be addressed by the Immortals in Heaven on the day of our transition. It is not a judgment that has any foundation in Ifa Spiritual discipline. Ifa teaches that everyone is born omo rere from the elision omo ire ire meaning a child of innocence or more correctly a child born in eternal good fortune.


There are those who argue; what about the verses that say some folks are born with bad heads. All right what about those verses? Do they this gives anyone the right to pass judgement? I would argue they do not. It is as always just my opinion.


Ire
Baba 
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 8, 2018

~ Interpretation Of Odu Ifa Verses ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato,

For those who study Odu Ifa in order to interpret divination as part of their participation in the Ifa prayer cycle, the question of how to interpret the verses becomes a fundamental question. Each of the verses has it’s own internal metaphysical logic. However, the metaphysics is useless unless it is viewed from the lens of the development of good character. In western culture good character is vague and rarely clearly defined. In traditional Yoruba culture the word for good character is iwa pele from the elision iwa ope ile meaning I come to greet the earth or I come to live in harmony with the earth. The Ifa guidelines for how we do this are very specific. In the Holy Odu Iwori Ogbe one of the verses symbolically refers to iwa pele as the wife of Orunmila. This is a metaphorical reference to the idea that good character is rooted in the spiritual tradition of creating right brain, left brain balance. 

This balance occurs when there is no conflict between head and heart. The balance between head and heart only occurs when we are in alignment with destiny and Odu Ifa says ayanmo ni iwa pele, iwa pele ni ayanmo meaning destiny is good character, good character is destiny.
The issue of embracing good character as a spiritual discipline can only be discussed after there is a clear understanding of what good character looks. The same thing can be said about divination. No diviner can use the verses of Ifa sacred scripture to give guidance on how to develop good character unless they understand what that looks like. I believe that if a diviner is a sexual predator, who is addicted and abusive, who cons his or her clients out of money and who creates dysfunction in the community has no ability to interpret Odu.


None, not even a little bit. Notice I am not judging specific diviners; I am presenting an opinion about what I believe to be an ineffective point of view. I not challenging anyone, I am not denigrating anyone, I am having a conversation about an idea.  So this begs the question what is iwa pele. If we look at the verse that defines iwa pele the story told in the verse says Orunmila is critical of his wife, she leaves him and he misses her. That is a fairly straight forward and simple story. The point of the story is do not make judgements. If you are an awo or a diviner it is taboo to make judgements, we are prohibited from making judgements ever, there is no exception the taboo is absolute. Think about it. Making judgements is God’s job and God does not like it when humans try and do God's job. 

This taboo does not mean we cannot express opinions and it does not mean we cannot create boundaries. The issue is semantics, meaning the issue is how we express our self. The question of how we express our self is at the core of the concept of spiritual dialogue. To make a judgement is to say you are wrong. As an awo saying this to anyone about anything is taboo. When you say to person they are wrong, you create resistance and resentment leading to an argument. There is a difference between dialogue and argument. When an awo has a disagreement they say I have a different opinion. That places responsibility for the difference on our own shoulders without blaming anyone. This many seem like an insignificant distinction. In my experience it makes all the difference in the world. 

Several years ago I experienced what could be describe as an avalanche of judgment from people who needed to tell the world that I was wrong about everything and that I was very possibly a spawn of Satan. I did not respond to any of it. Many of my friends encouraged me to respond. As difficult as it was, and I am not saying it was easy, I refused to respond in an effort to honor the taboo against making judgments. People disagree with me. That happens, it’s called life on earth. My friends disagree with me by saying here is my opinion what do you think? My enemies disagree by saying you are wrong which proves that God thinks you are an evil person. Once you condemn a person by claiming they are evil in the eyes of God, there is no ground for resolution of a conflict.

An interesting thing happened when the avalanche of criticism came my way. I ignored it and it went away. That is my point, making judgments and responding with a judgment creates endless arguments with no resolution. Taking responsibility for your own ideas does not lead to arguments.
In Ifa not arguing is called suuru or inner peace.   You could say the people who attacked me disrespected me. You could say that, it also happens to be ill relevant. Ifa says respect yourself and the question of how others feel about you is of no value. If their perception of you is incorrect that is their problem not yours. Everyone who I have ever known who justifies racism, sexism and homophobia assures me that these attitudes are an expression of God’s Will.

That may or may not be true. I don’t know. What I do know is that claiming to know God’s Will is taboo in the spiritual discipline we call Ifa.

The oral scripture of Ifa says we call God Olorun. The word olorun from the elision olo orun means owner of the unknowable realm. Olorun is not God’s name it is a description of Gods place in the Universe. Ifa scripture says specifically we do not define Olorun, we do not invoke Olorun, we do not build shrines for Olorun and we do make statements describing the Will of Olorun, nothing none of it. Olorun is transcendent, humans are finite. To understand God is to be God and Ifa scriptures says the illusion we can know Olorun is the source of arrogance in the world and arrogance is the source of ibi or illusion leading to misfortune.

Ifa diviners who claim to be the Word of God are in violation of Ifa taboo. In my opinion any Ifa diviner who claims to be the Voice of God has absolutely no understanding of the spiritual message of the Prophet Orunmila. Notice I said in my opinion.  If my interpretation of Ifa scripture is remotely accurate that means every single conversation about so and so did not do your initiation incorrectly and for $20,000 I will re initiate you and do it write, absolutely every one of those conversations is taboo. I can say that I do initiations this way. I can say that I believe the point of initiations is to put the initiate into an altered state called possession with spirit. I can say that when I do initiations sometimes the format changes based on the challenges that present themselves in the moment as it relates to resistance form the initiate to go into possession and I can tell you whether or not the initiate went into possession. I never, never, never say I do initiations correctly. There is no such thing as a correct initiation. Hear me, no such thing. There are only effective initiations based on a shared agreement regarding the purpose of initiation. 

The massive violation of the taboo against making judgments that occurs in the pointless discussions about doing initiations correctly not only threatens to destroy our faith, it is in my opinion a failure to recognize a fundamental concept in the process of spiritual development.
One I pray that elders of Ifa in the Diaspora can come together and create dialogue on how to do effective initiations. That day will bring a huge blessing of healing to our communities.
Ire

Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 7, 2018

~ Ifa Divination For The Year ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and is shared with  his permission.

Agbo ato,
Questions have been asked about the differences in timing and perspective related to the Ifa divination for the year. Let me say this about that, Ifa originated in Africa in the country we now call Nigeria. The original prophetic message that created the foundation for Ifa was the teaching of a historical prophet named Orunmila who based his teachings on his connection to the Immortals through his ability to function as a medium for the Spirit of Ela. Traditional Ifa, like most pre Christian cultures marked time based on a four day week. The reason for the four day week is the relationship between the four day cycle and natural earth rhythms related to the flow of ase through the earth portals called igbodu from the elision egbo odu meaning womb of the forest.

According to the traditions of Ifa as it is practiced among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, Ile Ifa is the sacred city of Ifa, the Oni of Ile Ife is the spiritual leader of Ifa and the Oni of Ile Ife preserves the traditions of Ifa with the support of the Awoni. The word awoni from the elision awo oni meaning owner of the mysteries is the word used to described the council of Ifa elders in Ile Ife who support the efforts of the Oni to preserve our faith. The leader of the Awoni is called the Araba of Ile Ife and he is considered the senior Ifa priest among those who practice traditional Ifa. The owner of Ile Ife has tasked the Araba of Ile Ife to cast divination on the Yoruba New Year which is on the Summer Solstice in June. The purpose of this divination is to give guidance to everyone who embraces traditional Ifa as their spiritual practice.

The civil administration of the Nigeria Government has attempted to manipulate and control traditional Ifa by setting up what they call the Ifa Council. This council receives large amounts of money from the Nigeria Government and claims sovereignty over global Ifa, not based on the blessing of the Oni of Ile Ife but based on edicts from the Nigerian civil government. This blatant effort to diminish the moral influence of traditional Ifa has created confusion, disappointment, hostility and controversy. For me the resolution of this conflict is simple, I have no interest in any spiritual discipline that denigrates an indigenous religious tradition based on political considerations. I am a traditional awo and this means I support the Oni of Ile Ife as the Spiritual leader of Ifa and I support the position of the Araba of Ile Ife as the person who is sanctioned by the Oni of Ile Ife to guide our faith.

As someone who believes in the freedom of religion I endorse the idea that people can choose any religion they want. If a person chooses to follow the council of Ifa as set up by Nigerian civil authority that is a personal choice. At the same time I do not believe it is appropriate to claim the Ifa Council has a legitimate claim to be the voice of traditional Ifa as created by the prophet Orunmila and as preserved by Yoruba ancestors. It is simply a new religion based on some of the teachings of Orunmila.

When Ifa came to the Diaspora during the Middle Crossing it merged with other similar African spiritual traditions and formed a wide range of variations from the source. Each of these variations have established their own traditions, rituals and protocols. Unfortunately in the process, some of these traditions have chosen to either ignore or deny Ile Ife as the place of origin of Ifa, to deny the leadership role of the Oni of Ile Ife and to deny the authority of the Araba of Ile Ife. Again as a believer in the freedom of religion I support the right everyone to choose their particular manifestation of a particular faith. I am not a big fan of re-writing history or denigrating the sources of a particular spiritual discipline. I feel that much of the confusion around this issue is the result of social conditioning and unresolved dysfunction. It does not always appear to be the result of considered theological dialogue and informed discussion.
Ire
Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick

All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 6, 2018

~ Ifa Prayer Circle ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and is shared with  his permission.

Agbo ato,

Lets talk about the Ifa prayer cycle. In traditional Ifa everyone is given an odu that shapes their ori at birth. This odu changes as a consequence of initiation so either your birth odu or your ita is what I call your foundational odu, it shapes everything we do and see. All divination is done as commentary on the odu that incarnates your ori. Ifa prayer cycle is designed to support the way our ori looks at the world and to inform the way we relate to others. It is not magic to give you what ever you want it is a discipline used to show you what you need.

Whether or not you choose to act on that guidance is was and always will be a question of free will. In every moment we can either move towards destiny or run away from it. The first cycle is the daily prayer. The purpose of the daily prayer is to give us an odu that gives us guidance for the day. Spiritual discipline is about the elimination of fear. It is a process that gives us the ability to be anywhere with anyone anytime doing anything and maintain our center, meaning maintaining the alignment between head and the heart. It is this alignment that connects us with iponri or our higher self and the iponri is the altar through which we communicate with the immortals. In simple terms Ifa spiritual discipline gives us full access to our potential as spiritual beings engaging in a human experience.

The daily odu identifies the lesson for the day meaning the fear we need to confront and move through. It identifies the focus for daily critical self evaluation. The four day odu gives guidance to the entire biological family, the relationship between fathers, mothers grandparents and children. Typically on the four day cycle someone will be designated as the family medium and will access information directly from the Immortals. The traditional Yoruba week is four days mimicking the traditional cycle of life death transformation and rebirth coded into odu ifa. The sixteen day cycle involves the coming together of spiritual egbe meaning the various religious groups that support a traditional Yoruba community. This would include egbe related to Ela, Orisa and Egun. The ninty one day cycle involves the entire community and is a public ritual designed to bring in the ire or good fortune for the next season. The cycle is rooted in marking the equinox and the solstice.

The determination of these dates is based on the use of land marks in relationship to the movement of the sun and the moon and other planets. This is the basis of Ifa astrology called gede from the elision ge dide meaning female power stands up. This is a reference to the unformed light of Ala or consciousness that is released through the earth portals called igbodu from the elision igbo odu meaning womb of the forrest. At the this community ritual Ifa accessing the primal substance of the world to participate in the co creation of the Universe. The last cycle is the yearly cycle on the Yoruba new year which is the 91 day cycle in June. These cycles mean that every person who embraces Ifa spiritual discipline can access their birth odu, their family odu, their egbe odu, their community odu and their global odu any time any day depending on what type of actions they are engaged in. This means the wisdom of the ancestors is easily accessible to guide all that we do. The question was asked why is there more than one reading for the year. That is a complicated question and I will answer it in my next blog

Ire
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 5, 2018

~ Ifa Divination ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and is shared with  his permission.

Agbo ato,

In the previous blog post I suggested that morning prayer is the foundation of Ifa spiritual discipline. We do oriki in the morning to place our ori in alignment with our ori inu and our iponri, meaning alignment with our conscious self, our inner self and our higher self. This alignment is sustained through guidance from divination. The process of divination has nothing to do with magic or fortune telling. Divination is a problem solving process. This process identifies the issues we need to resolve in order to maintain alignment.

When this alignment becomes a deeply embedded process we can access power that looks magical and we can use abilities inherent in ori that allow us to glimpse the future. These abilities are the result of problem solving and the development of good character, these abilities the point of specific divinations. In other divination will not necessarily give us what we want, but it will give us what we need. Morning divination is about identifying the personal internal contradictions that challenge alignment between ori ori inu and iponri. More divination is a call to courage. It is Spirit, here is your lesson for the day, here is your challenge for the day, here is the next step in the hero's journey. Resolve the contradiction experience inner peace and move on with your life or resist the contradiction and stay stuck in the same issue watching it repeat over and over again in your life. Divination is critical self evaluation.

If we learn a lesson we strengthen our iwa pele and increase our alignment with the earth. This process makes us feel better and makes us stronger and more powerful. If we pretend some all powerful diviner can fix our problems for us we do not develop iwa pele instead we develop dependency on the diviner who typically exploits that dependency by sell us something we don't need. Back in the day we used to call that a wolf ticket. For example, no ebo will break the cycle of addiction. Divination can identify the source of addiction and ebo can celebrate the decision to address the core issue but you are not going to break an addiction simply because a self styled diviner sprinkles juju dust on your head.

An awo who understands the function of divination will do prayers to support your decision but cannot will not and should not pretend to be able to make that decision for you no matter how many times they repeat the lie they are the voice of God. We are all Gods having a human experience and in that collective experience we can join hands to remember who we are, but the remembering remains an issue of personal choice.
Ire 
Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 4, 2018

~The Study Of Oriki ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and is shared with  his permission.

Agbo ato

Once we have chosen a teacher and established a good working relationship based on the integration of learning sacred technology and developing iwa pele the next question becomes how do we proceed? For me the first step is the study of oriki. The word oriki from the elision ori kiki meaning praising the head.

Ifa teaches that everything in creation has consciousness or ori. In Ifa we align ourselves with the fundamentals forces of nature meaning earth air fire and water. In order to do that we need to first invoke these forces. The purpose of invocation is internal meaning we do oriki to focus our own ori and creating a link between ourselves and forces in nature.

In the Yoruba language this link is called ro meaning descend. For example in the oriki used by awo for possession with the spirit of Ela the oriki says "Ela ro sokale" from the elision "e ala ro so ika ile" meaning the spirit of light descents to the earth with the power of prayer, In order for oriki to be effective they need to be spoken on a regular basis. This is the foundation of the Ifa prayer cycle. Which will be the topic of the next blog post.

Ire,
Baba

Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

~ The Student - Teacher Relationship in Traditional Ifa Part 3 ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato, 

The Ifa extended family is the Ifa school for learning how to embrace iwa pele or good character and for learning the sacred technology of divination, healing and initiation. When you ask someone to be your teacher their title becomes father or mother. In traditional Yoruba culture you do not call people who are older than you by their name you call them by the word that describes their position in the family baba is father iya is mother babagba is grandfather and iyagba is grandmother. I want to address the Baba omo obinrin relationship meaning father daughter relationship.

It is absolutely taboo for a teacher to have sexual relationships with their daughter. The taboo is absolute, there are no exceptions, no wiggle, no room for debate and no room for discussion. If you are a woman and an male awo tells you divination says you need to have sex with them the person who says that is lying. Part of the responsibility of being an elder and a teacher is to role model proper behavior. In English sexual relationships between fathers and daughters is called incest. In African culture and in Western culture incest is taboo. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.

There is never a circumstance where it is alright for a father to have a sexual relationship with their daughter and there is absolutely no odu that sanctions this kind of relationship, none, never it does not exist anyone who claims to quote an odu saying this is all right is both lying and making stuff up. Having said that it does on occasion happen that an omo will ask a baba to be their teacher and the baba has healthy and legitimate feelings of attraction for the student. If the baba wants to court the omo he must stop being baba. At that point the baba needs to refer the omo to another baba to be elder teacher. The number of elders who violate this taboo is epidemic and threatens to render our faith ill relevant just as the Catholic sex scandals diminished the number of Catholics around the world.

The problem is compounded by the fact that sexual predatory behavior among awo tends to focus on victims of childhood sexual abuse. The reason for this is that sexual predators know that victims of childhood sexual abuse protect the abusers in an effort to survive. Unfortunately this behavior of victims follows them into adulthood. Every awo who enters igbodu leaves igbodu with a obligation to protect the family and not prey on the family. If we do seriously address this issue our faith has no future and the wisdom of the ancestors will be lost forever.

Ire Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

~ The Student - Teacher Relationship in Traditional Ifa Part 2 ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and shared with his permission

Agbo ato,

In the previously blog post I made the observation that for various reasons we need to study Ifa/Orisa with elders others than those who initiated us. The basis of this type of relationship is always one of agreement. I agree to teach someone agrees to be my student. Because Ifa is based on the idea of developing iwa pele the agreement to teach also includes permission to guide a person through their process and discipline of spiritual growth. Confronting our internal demons and working through our internal fears is the scariest thing we do as humans. Resistance to this internal transformation is called ibi in traditional Ifa and it is commonly called osogbo in the Diaspora.

Ibi does not mean the Orisa hate us. The idea of being hated by Spirit is a Christian idea and has no basis in traditional Ifa. Anyone who says the Orisa hate you has no understanding of our faith and they are simply trying to scare you into giving them enough money to do unnecessary work so they can pay their light bill. I call this the paper tiger syndrome meaning using divination to create a non existent problem and then charge a lot of money to fix the non existent problem and when the non existent problem does not materialize the person who created the paper tiger says; see I am a powerful somebody because my ifa kung fu was very effective or some such nonsense.

Studying with a teacher who believes the Orisa hate you is a waste of time. The truth is the Orisa do not care about you or anyone. The function of fire is to be fire, the function air is to be air, the function of the earth is to be earth and the function of water is to be water. Our job as humans is to find a way to live in harmony with nature. Iwa pele does not mean good character, the word iwa pele from the elision i wa ope ile means I come to greet the earth it is a statement about the purpose of human life. In traditional Yoruba culture we greet our elders and our elders are our teachers. When I first wrote about iwa pele some people went out of their wayto say no the purpose of ifa is omo rere 
not iwa pele.

This is a reflection of the inability to understand liturgical Yoruba language. The word omo rere from the elision omo ire ire means child of eternal goodness it is the Yoruba word referring to children who are born in innocence. Ifa has no concept of original sense the words omo rere express the idea of human life being a blessing. We preserve that blessing by embracing iwa pele which is the process for developing good character. The purpose of life is to learn from nature and to ultimately co create with Orisa to make the world a better place. Part of the process of living in harmony with the earth is learning how stand in Ile ife meaning unconditional love and to use ile ife to love yourself, love your family love your community and love the world.

The only effective prayers are prayers expressed in a state of iwa pele and the purpose of prayer is to bring the ile ife of Orun to aye meaning bring unconditional love from heaven to earth, There is no ile ife where there is judgment and denigration. As a teacher of Ifa I am inspired by the prophet Orunmila to embrace a taboo against sexism racism and homophobia. In the world those who hold a belief in sexism racism and homophobia always justify their belief as an expression of Gods Will, Odu Ifa says very clearly it is taboo to believe you know Gods Will. When a teacher says you must obey them because they speak for Orisa and every word coming out of their mouth is an expression of Gods will do yourself a favor and put your shoes on, walk backwards towards the door and start the journey of looking for a teacher who knows what they are talking about.

Ire Baba

Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 1, 2018

~ The Student-Teacher Relationship in Traditional Ifa Practice Part 1 ~

The following © information is courtesy of Awo Falokun and is shared with  his permission.

Agbo ato,

I want to talk about the teacher student relationship in Ifa. In traditional Yoruba culture there is typically one or two egbe ifa in a community and you are typically initiated in the community where you family lives. Before you can change egbe for any reason there is usually lengthy discussions within Ogboni over your reasons for changing egbe and it is not a common occurrence. In the Diaspora we are faced with a number of problems when it comes to training; frequently the student does not live near the person who initiated them, most awo in the Diaspora do not teach generally based on a fear of competition, and there are very few functioning Ifa egbe where work is done in a community setting and training is a regular part of the ritual schedule.

As a alternative many initiates who want to learn the sacred technology of Ifa will generally read a few a books and then simply make stuff up, or they will watch something done and try and repeat it without any real instruction, in my opinion neither of these options is effective. The less common but perhaps more effective method is for a student to formally ask an elder to be their teacher. This is the relationship I want to talk about because as a self described teacher of Ifa I frequently get asked this question. Based on my experience here are some of the issues involved in asking someone other than the person who initiated you to be their teacher.

In traditional Ifa it is clearly understood that Ifa is not magic and it is not fortune telling it is a process of developing good character based on the idea that embracing your full potential as a human being will bring blessings in the world. When we embrace our full potential as human beings we access personal potential that looks like magic and fortune telling to those who do not engage in a spiritual discipline. Frequently potential students will come to me and ask to learn Ifa sacred technology so they can become power magicians and so they can predict the future. That completely misses the point. Ifa sacred technology is designed to support the development of iwa pele or good character. The development of good character is a consequence of constant critical self evaluation and critical self evaluation is a result of the ability to say I made a mistake.

So when a person gets initiated and claims they are all powerful and all knowing they have completely missed the point. Whatever problems you have the day before initiation you are going to have the day after initiation. The difference is this; the day after initiation you have access to Ifa sacred technology as a tool for solving your problems. There are two tools that are at the foundation of this process, guidance from an elder and daily critical self evaluation based on contemplation of your odu for the day that comes during morning divination. In order to get value from a teacher who is not the person who initiated you it is necessary to give that person permission to function as an elder. As a teacher of Ifa anything I can teach you about how we do things is useless unless we engage in some dialogue related to the students development of iwa pele. Many students of Ifa are desperately looking for a magic bullet that will solve all their problems without having to engage in the real work, the hard work and ultimately the courageous work of developing iwa pele through the use of critical self evaluation.

What frequently happens is that a student will come to me and say I want to learn Ifa. I will give them some study material and then give them guidelines on what iwa pele looks like. If I insist on developing iwa pele and the student insists they have no problems we reach an impasse. Frequently this impasse results in the student engaging in gossip to support the idea that the teacher does not know what they are talking about and then use the excuse as a reason for looking for a new teacher. This process is simply creating dysfunction in our communities and turning people away from our faith. Anyone can learn how to do divination and identify odu when they appear on the mat. The purpose of Ifa training is to translate the ancestral wisdom contained in odu to improve the inner life of yourself and your community. When Ifa is used as a money hustle based on the false premise it is a system of magic the only thing that happens is that we denigrate the wisdom of those who came before us and we fail to stand on their shoulders.
In my next blog I will discuss how we can avoid this trap.

Ire Baba
Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

~ January Magick ~


Activities and Rituals: banishing negativity, new beginnings, protection, weather divination, wish magic, works to help you achieve your goals.

Birds: Eagle, Pheasant, Egret
Colors: black, white, red and violet
Deities: Antu, Chang-O, Freya, Hera, Inanna, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Pax, Sarasvati, Zeus
Flowers: carnation, snowdrop.
Herbs: patchouli, lavender, pine, mimosa, peppermint
Incense: Lavender, Patchouli
Moon Magick: Wolf Moon
Saint Magick: Our Lady of Guadelupe, Saint Sebastian, Our Lady of Grace, Saint Agnes, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Bosco
Scents: musk, mimosa
Stones:  amber, garnet, hematite, jet and onyx
Trees: Birch.
Zodiac Signs: Capricorn and Aquarius

Copyright © 2002 - Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved

~ Saint Magick Series ~

Darkest Greetings and Happy New Year,

Starting this month I will be posting about saints and how to use and incorporate them into your daily magickal workings.  Just because they are Catholic Saints doesn't mean that we cannot use them in our magickal workings.  My personal view is that a true Witch/Warlock will use all resources available to them in order to reach their magickal goal and if it includes using a Saint or two well then why not AS LONG as proper respect is shown not just to Saints but to ALL magickal deities and spirits.
So I hope you enjoy a whole year worth of our Saint Magick Series and as always please feel free to email me  if you have any question and I will be more than happy to assist you in anyway possible or you can post a comment and I will reply as soon as possible

Darkest Blessings,
Black Witch

Copyright © 2002 – Present Black Witch Magick
All Artwork And Information Seen On This Website MAY NOT be copied, edited, published, reproduced, transmitted nor uploaded in anyway without written consent and approval. My images ARE NOT for the public domain to use. All my work is REGISTERED and PROTECTED under International Copyright Laws. All Rights Reserved