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.
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