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

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