AFRICANITY

musiolithicsociety.com/ORISHA.htm

"Èsù, Bàbá Alàsé,

Ki nnkan má se omo mi"
Protect my children from evil forces

"Ki nnkan má se aya mi"
Protect my wife from evil forces

"Àti èmi nàá"
And protect me too

"Má se mi lu éniyàn, má se énìyàn lu mi"
Èsù, do not tempt me against people, do not tempt people against me

"Lànà owó, lànà omo kàn mi o"
Let me have money and children

"Èsù má se mí, omo elòmíràn ni o se"
Èsù, do not tempt me or others to commit crimes

"Asóro lògo akétèpe lògbó"
The one who has strong cudgels, the one who has heavy clubs

"Òlòrùn máà jé ki arì ìjà Èsù o"
God, protect me from the anger of Èsu

 

 

Èsù is a very important divinity in the "Irunmole" order. Esù is the brain behind all things in ones life. It was this Deity that was given the Ase of Manifestation, nothing can happen in your life without the consent of Èsù.This is one of the reasons that all sacrifices are given to Èsù first. Èsù is not just the guardian of vital life force, he is IT.

Èsù's emblem is sometimes made of clay or can be a rock which is called yangi. The story goes that Orúnmìlà borrowed Ori from Èsù and this helped Orúnmìlà to become famous. When Èsù asked that Ori be returned, Orúnmìlà gave him yangi. Esu then made Orunmila put it outside to be worshipped.

Esu will be found in many confrontations with other Irunmole and Òrìsà. Sango for example once stated that he could defeat any Irunmole or Òrìsà in battle. Èsù confronted Sango about this and so they fought, but everytime Sango hit Esu, Èsù broke apart into more pieces and eventually overcame the blows. Èsù allowed the Irunmole and Orisas to become aware of the choices in their lives as he continues to do for us.

Èsù has been working in conjunction with Orúnmìlà since the beginning, (Orunmila) who as we understand is witness to creation. Èsù is responsible for "Ase" or the ability to make things happen. He was one of the forces at creation that gave Existence or Being.

Many today feel that this is the energy that creates confusion and stumbling blocks in our efforts. This is not so! Èsù has many manifestations and we are all accountable for our choices through another divinity that walks with us, called Ori. Ori gives us the free will/ability to choose what to do in life. Èsù is the essence of "choice". Esu comes into our lives to present us with choices so that we can choose the way to achieve our destinies.

BARA SÚWÀ YO, OMO YÀLÀWÁ(Ò)NÀ
Vital force who far and wide appears;
Child that separates splits and divides the road

KÓ MÁMÀ KÉNÍ IRAWO E
Do not cut the initiated mat of goodensss

O BARA WÁ YO EKE E ÈSÙ ÒDÀRÀ OMO YÀLÀWÉNA
Vital force who comes to deliever us, Forked sticks
Esu, performer of wonders, child tht separates

KÓ MÁMÀ KÉNÍ IRAWO E
Dont cut the initiates mat of goodness

ÀGO ELEGBÁ BUKÉNKÉ
Make way for the owner of the vital force. The hunchbck server.

ÀGO LÁROYÉ BUKÉNKÉ
Make way for the owner of talkativeness.

As mentioned earlier, Èsù works with Orúnmìlà and is known to Awos in the Odu Ose-tura, the wonder-maker. When sacrifices are given to Orúnmìlà , Èsù must be given Its share. Esu is the first to watch those who give sacrifice and the first to witness those who don't. Many people recognize Èsù by the dialectics of the colors within red and black.

There is a story/Oriki that tells of two friends who became enemies due to their perspective of Esu's character. Eventually, they came to understand that it was within each' understanding to recognize Èsù's role. Both individuals were right.

Èsù is "Olopa Orun" or the policeman of the heavens and reports all to Orúnmìlà, everything. Esu views Orunmila as his father so he respects him very much but sometimes he does cause his father trouble. Èsù is a force to be reckoned with and respected by all the Irunmole and Òrìsàs . Èsù is Onisegun, Baba Elenini, the captain of the Ajòóguns/Obstacles in this world. These entities make one choose ones' direction in life. Ajòóguns are placed in the universe to strengthen the character of all that come into this world and in order to achieve ones destiny, sacrifice has to be made to appease Èsù, that which makes things happen. Again these Ajòóguns, also misunderstood, are satisfied with sacrifices.

"Èsù, do not tempt me or others to do evil"
"It was you who tempted an Oba who later was deposed of"
"It was you who tempted a wife who divorced her husband and later hanged herself in the bush"
"It was you who tempted the tree in the jungle who later was destroyed by fire"
"It was you who tempted a human being who later had others using charms against him that turned him mad"
"Èsù, please do not tempt me or others"
"You tempted a human being and he committed suicide by hanging himself"
"You tempted a human being and he committed suicide by drowning himself"
"You tempted a human being and he committed suicide by slashing his stomach"
"Èsù, do not tempt me"

There are many places and ways to give sacrifices to Èsù and I would like to share a few.

1. IDI ESU: That which is given directly to the shrine of Èsù.
2.ORITA META: The crossroads, consumed by Oro or the spirit of Èsù.
3.EGBA ONA: The side of roads, taken by the spirit of the roads (Esu).
4.INU OKE: On a farm, again taken by Oro.
5.ETI ODE: At the riverbank.
6.EHINKUNLE: In the backyard.
7.ETTINBODE: Outside, at the main entrance of a town by the gate.
8.ESU IGBO: Various trees: Ide Ireye, Iroko, Oriro, Apa, Ope, Ahun, etc.
9.ETI OKUN: At the ocean, taken by Oro Okun.
10.INU OKUN: In the ocean, taken by Oro Okun Inu.
11.OKE: The top of hills, taken by Ajalaiye

Oriki Èsù

OSE-TURA is recognized by Babalawos as the force of existence, the wonder maker.
ESU EBITA, the force of creation, that which was at creation.
ESU ODARA, the wonder worker, that which manifests wealth and corrective choice. Irunmoles' blessing, that all things give fruition in the universe.
ESU ELEGBA, the so-called mischievous one.
ABIMO-TUNMOBE, one who pushes and pushes man.
ESU BELEKE,Gatherer of a great multitude who sets one up for joy or sorrow.
SONSO ABE-The pointed knife
O BU KENKE-Owner of the vital force
ALAGBANA-Respected elder of the road.
ALAROYE-Owner of chieftancy titles
LATOPA-Provoker who joins things together.
OLONA-Owner of the roads
AYANDA-The one chosen to be created.
ONIBODE-The gatekeeper

All praises to Olódùmarè for the wisdom and counsel of the ancestors!

Esu's sacrifices are:
Fowls, pigeons, fish, rats, sometimes pig, and male goats.
Groundnuts, sugarcane and honey are also offered to Èsù.

Esu's day is Saturday. On that day special sacrifices are:
His favorites on that day: Hot spices, chocolate, alhohol (gin), tabac and red palm oil.

Asking for protection from evil forces and to not be tempted to do evil are prominent themes in the ceremonies for Èsù.Those possessed by Èsù do not shake and tremble, but become stronger than usual and may have to be held down by other worshippers. As such, the mounted person, may suck the blood of a cock and then foretell the future for those in the ceremony. Bata is the main drum used in ceremonies along with the talking drum (Dun Dun) and the gangan. The sekere is also used sometimes. Divination to Èsù can be done with the Orugbo or yam cut into 2 pieces. We use the Agbon or coconut to communicate with Him through the Egun.

 

IFA CHANT TO GREET AND TO APPEASE ESU:

"Ogunda Lawo alagba"
Ogunda is the diviner for Agba (barrel drummer

"Iwori Lawo alupese"
Iwori is the diviner for Ipese drummer

"Ogun ti a Lagba Lu'pese si"
An imminent war that is announced with a barrel and Ipese drumming

"Ogun kuro ni ogun ayoda"
Its no longer a secret war

"Ogun d'ogun Lówo oba"
The war has become the kings war

"A d'Ifa fun omokunrin dudu ita"
Divine for the black man of the outside

"E duro e ki Esu"
Stop and greet Esu {pay respect to Esu)

"Eni duro ki Esu"
They that stop to greet Esu

"Esu ni yo tun tiwon se"
Esu will reward them

"E DURO, E KI ESU"
Stop and greet Esogunda iwori

 

SONGS TO THE IRUNMOLE ELEGBA (ESU):

Leader:

(1)Iba Orisa iba la de o, ase mojuba

I give praise to the crowning of the Orisa, Ase I give praise

(repeat)

(2)Iba Orisa iba la de o, ase mojuba

I give praise to the crowning of the Orisa, Ase I give praise

(repeat)

(1)Ibarago mojuba, Ibarago ago mojuba,

Homage to the relative of the club. Give way I pay homage.

Omode ko nikosi bara ago, ago mojuba, Elegba Esulona

Child that teachs the way of paying homage,

Make way, I pay homage to the Owner of the Vital force

(repeat)

(1)Esu O Elegbara E

Esu is the onwer of the vital force

(1) Esu O Elegbara E

Esu is the onwer of the vital force

Elegba ni moforibale, Elegba Ago

Owner of the force I touch my head to the ground, Owner of the force come forth.

(repeat)

(1) Ago Elegba, bukenke

Make way for the owner of the force. Who is abusive and small.

Ago Laroye bukenke

Make way for the owner of talketiveness. Who is abusive and small.

(repeat)

(2)Ago Elegba, bukenke

Make way for the owner of the force. The hunchback severer

Ago Laroye bukenke

Make way for the owner of talketiveness.

(repeat)

(1)Iba Orisa iba la de o, ase mojuba

I give praise to the crowning of the Orisa, Ase I give praise

(repeat)

(2)Iba Orisa iba la de o, ase mojuba

I give praise to the crowning of the Orisa, Ase I give praise

(repeat)

(3)Iba Orisa iba la de o, ase mojuba

I give praise to the crowning of the Orisa, Ase I give praise

(repeat)

stop new song.

Eeehh-means to call attention to the next song

(1)Elegba o, Elegba nso nyanga

Owner if the vital force, Talking boastfully

Elegba o, Elegba nso nyanga

Owner if the vital force, Talking boastfully

Alaroye mo da ki o

Owner of communications, I alone am saluting you

(r)Elegba nso nyanga

Owner of the vital forces, boasting

Esu lawana mo da ki o

Owner of talkativeness, I alone am saluting you

(r)Elegba nso nyanga

Alaroye mo da ki o

Owner of communications, I alone am saluting you

(r)Elegba nso nyanga

Owner of the vital forces, boasting

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Asé - Power, Energy, Love, Life, Creation... DATE: 01/19/2009 21:18:41 19 Jan 2009

Thank you thank you thank you Esu,
I am grateful for all your assistance
and all the things you granted
for me and my loved one recently. ----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts DATE: 01/13/2009 22:10:17 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Àjé is a Yoruba word that signifies a spiritual power of vast potential, as well as the human beings who exercise that power. Although both men and women can have Àjé, its owners and controllers are women, the literal and cosmic Mothers who are revered as the gods of society. Because of its association withfemale power, its invisibility and profundity, Àjé is often misconstrued as witchcraft. However, as Teresa N. Washington points out in Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts, Àjé is central to the Yoruba ethos and cosmology. Not only does it underpin the concepts of creation and creativity, but as a force of justiceand retribution, Àjé is essential to social harmony and balance. As Africans were forced into exile and enslavement, they took Àjé with them and continued its work of creating, destroying, harming, and healing in the New World.Washington seeks out Àjé's subversive power of creation and re-creation in a diverse range of Africana texts, from both men and women, from both oral and contemporary literature, and across space and time. She guides readers to an understanding of the symbolic, methodological, and spiritual issues that arecentral to important works by Africana writers but are rarely elucidated by Western criticism. She begins with an examination of the ancient forms of Àjé in Yoruba culture, which creates a framework for innovative readings of important works by Africana writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Ben Okri, Wole Soyinka, Jamaica Kincaid, and Ntozake Shange.This rich analysis will appeal to readers of Africana literature, African religion and philosophy, feminist studies, and comparative literature.Teresa N. Washington is Assistant Professor of English at Kent State University and lives in Stowe, Ohio.

 

More details

Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts:
Manifestations of Ajé in Africana Literature

By Teresa N. Washington

Published by Indiana University Press, 2005

ISBN 0253345456, 9780253345455

332 pages

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: MY PRAYER TO ELLEGBA/ESU! DATE: 01/13/2009 21:49:28 STATUS: publish BODY:


Ase! Ase! Ase!

ELLEGBA/ESU,
I HAVE CHOSEN THE PATH OF MY ANCESTORS,GUIDE ME ON MY PATH OF THIS LIFE.
I HAVE CHOSEN THE PATH OF MY ANCESTORS, GUIDE ME ON MY PATH OF STRENGTH.
I HAVE CHOSEN THE PATH OF MY ANCESTORS, GUIDE ME ON MY PATH OF FREEDOM.
FORGIVE MY WEAKNESSES, APPLAUD MY STRENGTHS.
FORGIVE MY WEAKNESSES,APPLAUD MY STRENGTHS.
FORGIVE MY WEAKNESSES,APPLAUD MY STRENGTHS.
I GIVE PRAISE TO YOU IN ALL YOUR PERSONIFICATIONS AND ALL YOUR PATHS,
HELP ME TO MAKE THE CHOICES RIGHT FOR ME.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Esu, guerreros and the nature of "caminos" of the Orisa DATE: 01/13/2009 21:47:57 STATUS: publish BODY:


I was recently asked a question regarding the differences between Esu and Elegba, why one might receive more then one Esu/Elegbara, and what is the difference between Ifa Guerreros and Olorisa Guerreros in the lucumi system. I take a moment to answer the question, but it leads us to a larger and more interesting question about the nature of “caminos” or “roads” of the Orisa.

From the Traditional Yoruba perspective, Elegbara – “Owner of Vital Force” in Yoruba (translation by John Mason), or Elegua in lucumi, is simply a praise name for Esu. They are one and the same. From a Lucumi perspective, Esu is the entity that is given by Babalawos, and is the primordial force that lives with Ifa and is the one who can block or aid in any offering/ebo/request. Elegba/Elegua/Elegbara is only given by Olorisa (santero/a) and is not, as far as I recall, known to have as much of the destructive tendencies as Esu. The Elegba of the Olorisa has fewer "roads" (I've heard 12 or 21) whereas the "roads" or avatars of the Esu of babalawo are at least 121.

The split in the way these are given may have been the result of politics or power struggles when the lucumi changed to a standardized and joint system of initiations (ie, any priest of any Orisa, can initiate virtually any other priest of any other Orisa as long as they have received the secrets of that Orisa and do not have ewoo (taboo) against initiating that Orisa). It's not that traditional Yoruba priests can't initiate into other Orisa mysteries, they can, and sometimes do, but when you joined a priesthood and were initiated to that Orisa, it was done by other priests whose teutelary Orisa were the same (so if Elegba was initiated, it was done only by Elegba priests, Yemoja by Yemoja priests, etc).

It seems that somewhere down the line, some felt it important to distinguish between Olorisa/Santero and Babalawo, which by extension gets into the whole question of the lucumi "guerreros". There is also controversy as to who is authorized to "give" these out, and depending on the Ile (house) you come from, it's either babalawos or olorisa (santeros). In truth, the only two Orisa in the “guerreros” that are given in traditional Yoruba Ifa practice are Esu and Osun, and further, Osun in Yorubaland is only given to Babalawos and no one else. This it not say other Orisa are not in Ese Ifa, but that typically they would not be given by a Babalawo who was only initiated to Ifa.

So where does this leave the question? Well, it's lucumi tradition that Esu is the province of the Babalawo, and Elegba the province of the Olorisa/santero. How this evolved, I don't think anyone will truly know.

With respect to “Caminos” or “roads”

Receiving multiple Esu or Elegba, is a practice that comes from the idea that there are multiple caminos/roads/avatars of the Orisa. This practice extends to many other Orisa other then Esu, such as Oshun, Yemoja and Obatala. What is important to clarify from the beginning is just because you may have multiple Orisa, or multiple roads, the Orisa is still only one thing in spiritual essence. What happens is that the sacred objects of an Orisa (which are the Orisa manifest on earth literally) manifest in different ways, drawing upon a particular energy. The Otan of Esu (or any Orisa for that matter) is in essence a focal point for calling on certain energies of the Orisa. Through a blend of specific ingredients, incantations and rituals, the Otan (rock) becomes a portal for the specific energy of the Orisa to come through. The name acts as an incantation that begins the process of calling down that specific energy (see my article on prayer) and the fact that you have a particular road of a particular Orisa is because the Orisa themselves (through divination) determined that that particular energy is what is most suitable for you/will be there to help you when needed. Typically, these roads can come from three sources: Oriki (praise names), Objects/places in nature (as in Oshun Ibu apuaro (Oshun river of quail), Olokun (owner of Ocean) or Esu Alaketu (Esu from Ketu)), or manifestations of deified people/royalty (as in Sango, Obatala Ajagunnla, or Ogun Onile (Ogun, king of Ile).

Therefore, you may want to have an Esu Laroye (Esu owner of titles of honor) is known to protect Obatala’s door, and therefor is good for protecting your door, or perhaps Esu Bi (Esu is born) is known to cause accidents, so he is called on because you are prone to accidents in hope of avoiding them, Esu Alaalubanshe (Esu owner of medicines that help me to be fulfilled) because you will require medical help or will be someone involved in the medical field, etc etc etc. Esu is prescribed to people based on Odu that come out in their Ita or a reading, those Odu indicating the predominance of a particular type of energy, and an Esu is prescribed for that Odu based on that energy, either to balance it out, or to combat it. A special note, Esu is the only Orisa that you might recive multiple times, this is because upon Esu there are no limits, and he does as he pleases and manifests everywhere at all times in multiple ways.

The same regarding roads can be said in the Ita of Dosu/Kariosha, the particular Odu that comes out for that Orisa may indicate to the Oriate a particular road/avatar that he might ask about when it comes time to divine and find out the Orisa’s camino. And likewise, the names of the roads indicate the energies of the Orisa via oriki, place or deified ancestor. For instance there is, Obatala Orisanla (owner of white cloth, highest of Orisa, an Oriki for Obatala), or Obatala Ajagunnla (ayaguna-lucumi) who was the son of Princess Adetinrin, the daughter of Oduduwa (a male in this story). She gave birth to a son, ajagunnla, who was known as a great fighter and used the “ada ogbo” or curved cutlass his Oriki is

Omo Alada koromodo
Ada aramanda
To fi nko omo re mona
Tifi o fi de le Ila Ajo
Nibi ti o ti njoba tori

Possessor of the curved cutlass that brings wealth
Strange and wonderful cutlass
The cutlass used to clear the way for his people
Until he reached Ajo
Where he sits in state
(see “Yoruba Sacred Kingship”-John Pemberton p. 31).

Though this is a Yoruba story, this aligns perfectly with the qualities/emblems of Obatala Ayaguna of the Lucumi.

I believe this is an often misunderstood and understudied studied area of Orisa theology. But if we see the caminos/roads/avatars as a particular energy of the Orisa, we can understand how to better work with them, and how to understand what they mean in a theological context.

The Odu Okanran Oturupon reminds us of our need to study in saying:

It is through constantly studying Ifa that we come to understand Ifa
It is through missing the way that we come to know the way
It is the road we have not traveled before that causes us to wander here and there

Ifa ki ko nii mu ni mo Ifa
Ona sisi nii mu ni mo ona
Ona ti a ko rin ri
Nii se ni sibasibo

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Who Will Empathize With The Children Of Gaza? DATE: 01/13/2009 21:41:46 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” - Illinois Senator Barack Obama

With that simple statement President-elect Barack Obama expresses his compassion and sympathy for the government of Israel in their perpetual conflict with the Palestinians. However, I do wonder how Mr. Obama would feel if his two daughters were going to sleep every night hungry because of a blockade that kept him from obtaining food. How would Mr. Obama respond if somebody was preventing his daughters from getting medication they needs to control allergies or for other ailments? How would Mr. Obama react if there was somebody who kept his family in the dark refusing access to electricity or fuel? Would these conditions be more acceptable or more tolerable for him and his family?

While Mr. Obama wears his compassion for Israel proudly on his sleeves, his compassion and empathy for the people of Palestine and in the Gaza strip competes with the chirping of crickets for silence. The idea that the Palestinians are the only ones responsible for triggering this conflict is about as unfair as the racially generic but predominantly white community of America’s claim that the black community is more prone to criminal behavior based solely on one sided statistics and per capita numbers instead of an all encompassing understanding of cause and affect.

For the past six months there was a cease fire in this part of the world. There were no rockets falling in the northern part of Israel. There were no bombs falling in Gaza. But while people enjoyed life free from falling bombs and suicide bombers, Israel maintained its blockade on the Palestinian people unhappy with the fact that these people exercised their democratic rights and voted for Hamas to run its government. The people of Israel see Hamas as little more than a terrorist organization and decided to put the thumbscrews to the Palestinian people in order to influence them to select a different form of government.

It is true that Israel withdrew from Gaza. But it’s also true that Israel refuses to let the Palestinian people control their own destiny or to exist as equals. If Gaza does not comply it is subject to a punishing embargo designed to make the people regret their collective choice. Israel may feign surprise and innocence to the rocket attacks, which is meant as a retaliatory action for a people who have to see their children doing without the basics other people take for granted with no end in sight. The cease fire was honored, and yet no progress made on the blockade front. Who is the real aggressor in this conflict? Is Israel as innocent as they would like the world to believe?

It is a rather ridiculous notion that the Palestinian people want to erase Israel off the face of the planet is going to do it with the rather low technology rockets that would have difficulty hitting the ground if it weren’t for gravity compared to the United States military contractor sourced smart bomb technology of Israel’s arsenal. While a constant rocket attack is nothing to be tolerated, neither is the systemic starvation and subjugation of an entire community of people.

At last count, well over three hundred fifty Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s four day bombing of Gaza and three times that many have been injured compared to five Israelis. Dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the past four days from Israel’s massive retaliation and the Israeli government has made no signal that the escalation of violence will be halted any time soon. The message is that if anyone thought the people of Gaza was living in hell before, they ain’t seen nothing yet. Those people can deal with their affliction and feel the wrath of the Israeli military at the same time now. They will be bombed back into submission.

And if all that doesn’t work, judging by the public support of Israel by the American president and the president to be, a low yield nuclear device would probably be acceptable. We can’t have other people in the Middle East thinking that they are entitled to the same existence as the people of Israel. The Israeli people have a right to expect to be able to go to bed at night without rockets coming into their home. Whether or not the people of Gaza can have the same expectations, as well as the expectation to food, medication, utilities and the other essentials to meet a civilized standard of life is a matter of opinion.

In the news this morning I saw a member of the Israeli legislature discussing Israel’s options as well as the potential for the American response. Recognizing the fact that the United States is about to go through a presidential transition, one official dismissed the idea of angering the coming Obama administration. The legislator quoted Mr. Obama’s statement at the beginning of this article. Why would Israel worry about Mr. Obama when Mr. Obama made it clear that the United States is fully behind Israel?

The president-elect has never uttered a single word criticizing Israel’s actions against its neighbors in the Middle East. Mr. Obama has never uttered a single word supporting Gaza. Unfortunately, before he can even assume the presidency, Mr. Obama has again demonstrated his bias against any changes in the status quo. All the slogans about a time for change are quickly evaporating into a political vapor of the same old same old. People who continue to hope for a genuine peace in the Middle East brokered by an impartial Untied States government led be Mr. Obama are better off hoping Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny will visit their homes.

So the children of Israel can sleep well at night knowing Mr. Obama looks at them and sees them as he sees his own two daughters. Such empathy and compassion sends a strong message of support. Too bad the other children in the Middle East don’t have an American president who is willing to vocalize a similar compassion and a similar support. What world leader stands ready to empathize with the children of the Gaza strip?

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: About Ile Emi Ifa DATE: 01/13/2009 21:31:00 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Ile Emi Ifa is a collective whose primary purpose is the development of specific spiritual and moral thought processes that will directly lead to certain kinds of ethical and principled choices intended to motivate us as a group and as individuals to bring integrity back into the belief system of Ifa. Orisas and ancestors are no longer willing to simply sit back and tolerate the monstrous, the scandalous, and the traumatic behaviors that are too often contemptuously committed and yet poorly concealed by far too many of the priest, priestesses, the initiated, and the elders of the Orisa worshipping community.

Members of Ile Emi Ifa are intrinsically concerned about the exploitation of the uninitiated or adolescent Orisa initiates by their more experienced Ifa teachers. Our members are concerned about the disdain for equality for all in the community in favor of traditional, institutionalized support of disparity, entitlement, and privilege for a few at the expense of the majority. We are people exercising our collective intellectual, social, and cultural resources in the fight against the social injustice performed in the name of the Orisas.

Like virtually every other religions or organization based on beliefs, greed for personal benefit, status, and wealth runs amok in the midst of our deep and profound spirituality. Like most people who choose to live in a western culture heavily entrenched in an economic system of capitalism the source of this greed is deeply rooted in a sense of insecurity and lack of trust for what the future may hold. There is an inherent fear for most citizens and not just for the elitist that at any moment the plug will be pulled on this whole gig and most people want to make damn sure they have not just enough to survive, but an excessive amount to assure luxurious survival at the top of the social structure.

In a western culture that is so driven by personal greed, an organization must be able to communicate in a way that will stir people from their complacency and bring attention to bring attention to issues of the community’s right to truthful and accurate information regarding their spiritual path and overall wellbeing. The indifference of people who can help but refuse without being paid windfall sums of money is sad. But the number of people who actually prey on people’s superstitious beliefs and ignorance is truly tragic.

Ile Emi Ifa offers people an alternative to the traditional practices and methods of practicing Orisa worship and ancestor veneration. Instead of pandering to stereotypical expectations of praying or chanting in an African tongue while performing African dance in a room filled with typical African paraphernalia made in Taiwan, we offer a no nonsense, honest approach to assist you in developing your own spirituality and establishing your own personal connection to Orisa and ancestors.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: No Reading For 2009... Yet DATE: 01/13/2009 21:17:20 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Getting Baba Orunmila to do anything he’s not ready to do is like teaching bricks how to jump through hoops. It’s not going to happen, at least no time soon. So it amazes me that some people can get Baba to give them the reading for the year like clockwork for release on the first of January. I remember back in early December of 2007, I started asking Orunmila for the word for 2008. Baba responded asking me why I wanted the reading for the following year when the year wasn’t even close to being over yet. I responded that I was anxious and ready to demonstrate my special connection with the spirituality of Ifa. Baba responded, demonstrate it to whom and for what purpose? I responded, never mind!

Come New Years Eve, the last day of 2007, I was back with pen and paper ready to get that reading from Orunmila. Again, what’s the rush? Well, in the Orisa houses I experienced as an early practitioner, I was taught that people received a reading for the year at the beginning of the year. And Baba responded that I was also taught that people who were initiated into Ifa were more significant than people who were not initiated. I was taught that people had to shave their heads when they were initiated. I was also taught that people who wanted to practice Ifa had to spend tremendous amounts of money and must adhere to traditional Yoruba culture. Okay, Baba I give up! But when will I get the reading for the year? In classic Baba mode he responded, you will get the reading of the year when you are ready to get the reading for the year.

For weeks I had to put up with this circular, yoyo, Master Yoda logic. I didn’t get the reading for 2008 until sometime in March. So when I see people in the Ifa community post the reading for the year according to Orunmila right on the dot come the first of January, or even the first week of January, or even the month of January, I have to wonder what’s up?

Last year there were a variety of readings for the year from a lot of people. Not a single one of these readings matched what anyone else had to say about the coming year. Again I went to Baba for an understanding of what’s happening. Baba asked when did I ever hear him say that all of these people were speaking for him? Why would anyone simply take these people’s word that they were speaking for him? You see, a lot of people feel like they are speaking on behalf of Orunmila. They get out their divination tools and use them according to the user manual that comes with them. They will say a few prayers, throw the ipwele chain or ikin or whatever divination tool being used, do a little math to figure out which odu holds the answer, look up the result in a book of odu verses, and there you have the reading for the year.

But spiritual readings should be much more involved than a lucky throw to lookup an odu in a reference book. Imagine trying to convey a message about how someone should live their life using nothing but an odu verse that has a rather convoluted story about praising a babalawo and the babalawo praising Ifa with ten thousand cowry shells as payment. Now the odu has to be interpreted and the interpretation is only as good as the practitioner and there are so many ways a very important communication can be misinterpreted. And that’s only part of the problem of an Ifa practitioner whose relationship with Orunmila is in good standing.

People whose standing with Baba Orunmila is troubled have zero chance of even pulling up the correct odu. These people might think they are communicating with Orunmila by going through all the motions associated with divination. Indeed, any body watching them would see a very spiritually dramatic demonstration of stereotypical Orisa worship. But in actuality these diviners are doing nothing but making random stabs at luck. A divination tool in the hands of a practitioner of poor character or on the outs with Orunmila for some other reason would be better used as a doorstop. Baba doesn’t work with people who manipulate readings intended for others to their own benefit, and it is a guarantee that the benefit to the diviner will be lead to more money.

So I asked Baba, how are people supposed to believe what you are telling them through me when there is so much spiritual clutter out there? What distinguishes me from the others? Well, the fact that I don’t publish a reading for the year right on schedule like everyone else should give people a hint that something here might be different. I would rather do without a reading than just put anything up as Baba’s word.

When people read the word of Orunmila here, they can rest assured it is straight from the Orisa and not out of a book of odu verses. Baba and I will sit down and we will discuss the word so that I can get it from him without spin and without interpretation and without having to do some ciphering to get a number so I can pull an odu out of a reference book. Baba will explain exactly what he means. And if form some reason a question comes up about the reading that I didn’t think to answer before, I can always go back and start a new conversation with Orunmila instead of just throwing the equivalent of divination dice around. Integrity and accuracy are key. I might not be the first with a reading for the year. But trust that when I am ready for the reading, it will come straight from the Baba’s mouth.

I find this very interesting. I have asked some of those same questions to myself before seeking a reading of any sort. I believe God(s) speaks to everyone on different levels and at varying times. I know that I hear/see signs and wonders from my daily course of life. I have a clean heart and I want to believe that I am of good character.

The power to think objectively is a skill.

Daring to be different.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: TRUTH DATE: 01/13/2009 21:13:05 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Let us not engage the world hurriedly. Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently. Do not rush to decide that which should be treated with mature judgment. Let us not deal within a state of anger. When we arrive at a cool place, let us rest fully. Let us give continuous attention to the future and let us give deep consideration to the consequences of things. Eventually the time for rest will pass.

Remember, good deeds never go unrewarded, evil deeds never remain unsanctioned. Constant good deeds without visible results may appear as a loss. Be truthful and do good deeds for it is the truthful that the divinities support.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: About 2008 DATE: 01/13/2009 20:58:00 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

2008 was going to be a year of great change. This was for good, better, and yet also worse. Oya was blowing and the landscape of life began this beautiful metamorphosis that is change. Do not be confused as change is wonderful. But always ugly things can, and do, happen during the process.

For many people life became grim. Yet remember, this is change, so do not fret over these situations as many people had a great need for a new start. Learned to live with less as the life filled with material clutter was blown clean this year.

Many have overreached and were looking for Orisa to come to the rescue. This is human. Life is messy and even those living the most simple of lives can’t escape the mess. It was all about to use this time to make the necessary adjustments to how you choose to live your life. Theres no need to fear change as it will happen whether you want it to or not. Just balance your life as much as possible.

Families needed to pull together and protect every member. I pulled people close that I had shunned. The potential for loss was great. So I refreshed, reconnected, and rejoiced with loved ones. If you were alone, now was the time to pair up. As the change tightened its grip I knew it would be wise to have at least one true ally, and that is Conci.

It was time to get your health in order. I do not fear or shun Babalu Aye. He is the ultimate healer. Gave an ebo of popcorn. The burden of illness was great this year.

I have not mentioned an Orisa for the year. This is Olodumare’s time as he has taken notice.


----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: About Baba Orunmila DATE: 01/13/2009 20:55:03 STATUS: publish BODY:


This Blog entry is dedicated to the words of the Orisa Orunmila, the assistant to Olodumare, the Allmighty in Ifa. People will do well to engage Baba Orunmila often to assure that they get on path and stay on path. A true and accurate reading from Orunmila is a rare and precious thing. It is an opportunity for the devotee to receive advice and direction regarding his/her life path and the proper steps that should be taken to traverse it. It is not to be taken lightly. Modern life is filled with far too many intrusions, interruptions, illusions, and other distractions that can keep us from remaining focused on what is truly important. Our spirituality is our own personal responsibility and not the responsibility of any diviner we may purchase a reading from. Many people view a reading from Orunmila as if it is an opportunity to have their fortunes told. But, the glimpses Baba Orunmila grants us into his infinite wisdom and knowledge shouldn’t be taken for granted so grossly. His time is precious and should be respected as such. Orunmila knows what guidance you will need. ----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Balancing Truth? DATE: 01/13/2009 20:48:54 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

How do you balance truth? What do you balance truth with, a lie? Do you balance the truth by selectively revealing certain truths or certain parts of the whole truth to make sure that both sides of an issue are evenly represented? I thought about these questions in a couple of recent instances. I was listening to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin reflect on her bid as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee for the white house. It is Ms. Palin’s opinion that she didn’t get as much favorable review from the press as President-elect Barack Obama. When asked whose fault was that she quickly pointed to the liberally biased media with a subsequent point of the finger to her handlers in Arizona Senator John McCain’s campaign for the white house. If coverage was fairer she contends there may have been a totally different outcome to the presidential elections in November.

Now, I feel I paid more attention to the run up to the election than the American voters. While I may not have seen Ms. Palin’s interviews live I saw them in their entirety on the internet or as a recording on YouTube or some other website. I did see her appearance in the vice presidential running mates debate. I saw Ms. Palin duck a debate question by saying she didn’t feel the need to answer to the satisfaction of the debate moderator or to her political opponent Delaware Senator Joe Biden. She spoke directly to the camera with a wink of her eye and a shout out to some grade school class back in Wasilla, Alaska promising the students a gold star and extra credit. I saw Ms. Palin answer she reads a variety of periodicals that come her way and yet couldn’t recall the name of a single one. I saw Ms. Palin dismiss community organizers because they don’t have any real responsibilities. And I must’ve seen Ms. Palin do her lipstick speech a thousand times, so often it has now become a cliché. Thanks, but no thanks.

Which one of these truths was unfair to Ms. Palin? It is Ms. Palin’s contention that although these stories may have been true they were not favorable and therefore that was unfair. The gaffs and the rambling answers to the most basic of questions were not favorable and should have been balanced with more images of Ms. Palin saying nothing and simply waving from the top of the stairs of the jet plane that shuttled her and her entourage from one location to another. And when the public requested more information from Ms. Palin and wanted her to answer specific questions, she preferred to be more favorable than informative and give shout outs and eye winks to kids in an obscure classroom at the very corner of the nation.

But then I was reading through somebody’s end of the year list of criminals when at the top of the list was O.J. Simpson. What makes Mr. Simpson criminal of the year? He used the threat of violence to retrieve property that he insisted was stolen from him. Why did he use the threat of violence? Mr. Simpson tried to get the local authorities to help him recover his stolen property but they blew him off. Mr. Simpson decided to take matters into his own hands and got a couple of gun wielding goons to pose as his posse. Smooth move for a man hated by the majority of the people in the racially generic dominant community predominantly white. However, this is the community that Mr. Simpson made his living off of so in his eyes it was probably a wash. He thought he could get away with it if he was careful. But then again, Mr. Simpson isn’t the shiniest oar in the elevator that doesn’t quite go to the top floor with a bag of marbles.

Despite all the murderers like Robert Hawkins who took his shotgun into a busy mall, went to the top level, and started playing Doom’s department store edition. Despite swindlers like Bernard Madoff who may have squandered as much as fifty billion dollars from his investors. Despite Joe Horn who killed two men by shooting them in the back after they allegedly burglarized his neighbor’s house. Casey Anthony was so criminally callous it appears she helped cover the murder of her own child. It is highly likely that this woeful excuse for a mother is culpable in the little girl’s murder. And the biggest criminal in all of last year was O.J. Simpson because he threatened to use violence against someone.

Nevertheless, Mr. Simpson is a despised man. Would anyone think that Mr. Simpson was treated unfairly? Who would step forward to say that the venom of coverage that Mr. Simpson received should have been balanced with more favorable coverage of what he does? In order to be completely fair the coverage of his deeds should have included him talking to kids about whatever has been retired football stars talk to kids about that makes them look good. During the trial, maybe Mr. Simpson could have told the prosecutor that he decided not to answer the questions the way the court wanted and then turn to the jury to give a wink and a shout out to some elementary school in his hometown. I’m sure that would’ve made Mr. Simpson look more favorable. Don’t know if it would’ve kept him out of jail though.

In the final analysis, balancing truth by balancing favorable coverage is not any indication of fairness. The only fairness for truth is accurate and complete information. Favorable coverage can be damned. If you want favorable coverage do something favorable and let it come forth honestly. Otherwise, it may have as much authenticity as a wink of an eye and a shout out to some Alaskan peeps in elementary school.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Bernard Madoff would have made an excellent Orisa priest DATE: 01/13/2009 20:43:25 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Starting to work for some business consultants specializing in M & A recently I started thinking...

Bernard Madoff is accused of perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in history by losing somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty billion dollars of investors’ money. Like just about anyone who works as an executive on Wall Street or simply wants to be one of the big money pushers and shakers, he was an intensely competitive person with a need to prove to the world that he was somebody who was powerful, intelligent, and clever. Mr. Madoff began legitimately enough by building a securities trading firm that by the mid nineties had become the envy of many in his business. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities was an innovative and imaginative, technically cutting edge operation that matched small buy and sell orders from retail investors.

Mr. Madoff’s business model was actually winning a good share of the volume from the New York Stock Exchange by trading many of its listed stocks. Mr. Madoff had anticipated that the buying and selling of stocks would become computerized, and his systems provided better prices and services and eventually attracted big name clientele. When so called trading experts visited Mr. Madoff’s high tech office at Manhattan’s Lipstick Building, they were impressed. He sold people on the idea that here was a very intelligent man who knew his business really well and was very driven to succeed. He had managed to sell himself as a major player and a force to be reckoned with on the frontline.

Mr. Madoff’s success had come through a lot of hard work in the trenches of Wall Street. Matching buy and sell orders has never been glamorous work, not like managing other people’s money. He had earned Wall Street credibility.

He bolstered his reputation through activism in industry organizations. He eventually became a non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ. At that point, Mr. Madoff was earning tens of millions of dollars. Here was a man who didn’t need to start a scam to become a multimillionaire many times over. Yet, there was some flaw in his personality that led him into the mess he made and to dig himself deeper and deeper until the fraud that started out a relatively paltry tens of million ballooned into a fifty billion dollar fraud.

He created an aura of exclusivity by selectively choosing whose money he would manage. In wealthy circles Bernard Madoff’s reputation as a financial wizard grew. And no one could touch him. He was an emperor in fancy duds that only those pure of heart who trusted him completely could reap the benefits of profit from. That’s how he suckered people in and it was an excellent job of image marketing. People had to write personal letters to do business with Mr. Madoff. It wasn’t meant as something for everyone. The image was that you were very fortunate to be part of Madoff’s circle. In all honesty, like many things exclusive, the fortunate were the ones who were kept on the outside.

Under the weight of the collapsing stock market where more and more investors began to demand withdraw their money, Mr. Madoff had to admit to that his investment management setup was nothing but a fraud. It was nothing but a giant Ponzi scheme where profitability was nothing but fiction and any cash paid to older investors was nothing but the cash received from newer investors. What began as an honest investment business had mutated into an ugly financial fraud of epic proportions.

Mr. Madoff managed to create a religion around himself. He sold people an idea about what he could do for them and used it for his personal benefit. While people around the nation and potentially around the globe are discovering the impact to their financial portfolios, Mr. Madoff made like a bandit, pun intended. He lived in a posh Manhattan apartment and a Hampton estate that dwarfed the homes of many of his investors.

I look at what happened between Mr. Madoff and his investors and I cannot help but see a parallel between people and their spiritual leadership. I think of my experiences with my early Ifa teachers and communities and see some harsh resemblances. The leadership of the Orisa houses I’ve visited as a young practitioner always kept an air of exclusivity that made you feel special just to be accepted. Not just anyone can walk off the street and participate in Orisa ceremonies. It was a privilege to have an Orisa priest do a reading and be told that a way must be cleared so that you could join their Orisa house. And the fees you paid to have spiritual work done on your behalf were an investment in your spiritual development.

As individuals developed their credibility within the house, through the development of superficial manifestations such as reciting prayers, memorizing songs of praise, dancing and contorting in traditionally African techniques or other talents that will impress peers but in all honesty do little in the development of a true sense of spirituality. But the investment of time and money in the development of spiritual credibility with our peers will allow up and coming priest to develop a similar investment pyramid that will allow them to exploit even younger practitioners.

No where is this violation of trust more evident than when an Orisa priest makes a conscious decision to use the ritual of divination to manipulate others for their own personal benefit. Unfortunately, for most practitioners, there is no spiritual stock market to come crashing down to expose the charlatans. There is no commission of holiness ready to pounce on those that have traded their spiritual integrity for personal benefit. While Mr. Madoff is simply stealing people’s money, other people are actually blocking people’s spiritual development and taking their money in the process.

And that’s a true tragedy.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: Crossroads & Choices DATE: 01/13/2009 20:37:33 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

In the 1987 movie “The Believers” staring Martin Sheen as police psychiatrist Cal Jamison, there is scene that is probably one of the most violent scenes of destruction I’ve ever witnessed. Cal Jamison is a new bachelor whose wife recently passed. He hires a Spanish speaking housekeeper to help him look after his son Chris, played by Harley Cross. The woman is neck deep into the Santeria form of the ancient Yoruba practice. The housekeeper starts to pick up on some of the evil vibes in the house and starts to leave spiritual tokens around the house. Mr. Jamison is furious. He tells the housekeeper to keep her voodoo crap out of his house and away from his son.

But the woman has more compassion than she has sense. She sticks an Esu statue under the boy’s bed. Mr. Jamison finds it and takes it to the housekeeper. He’s furious. He physically grabs the woman and starts to throw her out of his house. He then takes the Esu, raises him high over his head, and throws him to the floor with all his furious might. I literally screamed when I saw it. I was watching the movie off of a DVD at some friends house when I had to tell them to stop it. I had to take a second to actually comprehend what I just saw. The Esu broke into pieces. It was not a pretty sight for any Ifa or Santeria devotee.

That movie helped me to come to terms with the reality of the Orisa we call Esu or Elegba. Esu is often referred to the trickster or in many respects, some people refer to him as the Lucifer that all of us with any experience in Christianity have been warned about. In fact, in the movie Crossroads featuring Ralph Macchio as Eugene Martone, Willie Brown, played by Joe Seneca, stood at the crossroads and demanded to see ‘Legba. The next thing he knew he was transported into a world of varying shades of black and bright reds, Esu’s colors. Eugene was about to go head to head with ‘Legba’s best guitarist in a contest where the winner takes all the souls on the table. Crossroads is a modern interpretation of the story of Robert Johnson who sold his soul to the devil in order to become the best blues guitarist in the world. Robert Johnson became the best. But in classic irony he was the best at the blues because he suffered so much pain in his life. A classic example of being careful of what you wish for. But the point I wanted to make is that this story is just propaganda. Baba Esu, Elegba, or ‘Legba, doesn’t collect souls.

In the Ifa spiritual tradition, Esu is the Orisa that opens the door to our spiritual path. He is the first step for spiritual enlightenment. Why would such an entity charged with such a responsibility work to lure us off our path to make us fall short of our spiritual goal? Like many aspects of spirituality that are handed down through the traditional processes of Ifa, it doesn’t make much sense.

While it is true that he is the first Orisa on our path he is far from being some trickster or some devil. Like all Orisas Baba Esu takes his job very seriously. He isn’t about to lead someone through the doorway that leads to their spiritual development only to lure people off that path later on. All he would be doing is making more work for himself. And trust me, Baba doesn’t need more work. There are so many people who are in so much desperate need to find their spirituality it’s ridiculous. All of the Orisas are here to help us in this struggle for enlightenment in this physical world. How Baba developed this reputation is beyond me. It might be beyond Baba himself.

Most Orisas are aspects of nature. Baba Sango is associated with thunder and lightening. Iya Oya is the Orisa of wind. Baba Olokun is the Orisa of the ocean depths while Iya Yemonja is the Orisa of the upper ocean. But Baba Esu is one of the Orisas that isn’t so easy to recognize in our natural environment. For lack of a better way of putting it, he’s more flexible in his physical manifestations in our level of existence. Baba has the ability to make an appearance in more ways than we can count. I seriously doubt if he’ll lead you off path. But Baba can surely make you regret going the wrong way if you do cross him. What will he do? The better question is what wouldn’t he do? Those minor accidents people suffer that cause really big headaches are a pretty good example of the mischief he could cause if he so desired. Good thing Baba isn’t here to cause mischief for mischief’s sake.

Baba Esu has a wonderful sense of humor. But it isn’t exactly devilish. He likes a good joke and can appreciate a good laugh just as much as anyone else. And Baba is the quintessential chocoholic. That part of his character that the tradition teaches is very true. He likes a variety in his chocolate. And things with caramel are a favorite. Snickers are cool, but he can appreciate a Twix and an Almond Joy every now and then. I’ve discovered what works best for Baba is to invest in one of those big bags with a variety of little chocolate bars. And Baba loves cigars as well. And it’s always cool to give Baba an ebo with rum.

You can never have too many Esu/Elegba statues. I have about a dozen in our house. One for each room, the car, and everybody coats pocket has its own Esu. Baba likes to get around. Baba is playful but he is also very respectful of others. He is not to be feared. I suggest you open your own dialog with Esu and learn for yourself what he is like. But do yourself a favor and leave all the baggage you may have already learned about him at the door. Baba doesn’t have time to sit around and make plans to lure the unsuspecting. People are more than capable of falling off their path without any interference from anyone else, especially an Orisa. If we fall off of our path it is only because when we were presented with an option of what path to take, most of us are more than willing to stray off path. Staying on path takes hard work and many of us don’t have the fortitude to do what’s right. No one has to be tricked into straying.

People blaming Baba for their own bad choices is just one of the ways we stray off path. When we take responsibility for our spirituality, the good and the bad, Baba, like all Orisas, will be there to help us. He doesn’t have time for tricks. Tricks are for kids.

----- -------- AUTHOR: orisha_169@ymail.com TITLE: God's Child? DATE: 01/13/2009 20:17:53 STATUS: publish BODY:

 

Yes I'm one of God's children
I'm blessed with a gift, yeah
I "Walk This Way"
Cant help to talk this way
Yeah, I'm on a 35 year spread
Retire from the game when I'm dead
For now I'm livin, I'ma keep givin
For those who wonderin, it's no other
Jah said somethin like you have to grow
Can't stagnate the flow, cause you said so
I walk this way, cause I've paid dues
I'm a giant, and you need platform shoes
to talk to me

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At a young age I discovered the gift of writing and love for music.

With my poems and lyrics I’m trying to entertain,
but also fight to end oppression, injustice, racism, poverty
and evil principalities in both high and low places.


And work on perfecting my talent, the gift of gap... ----- --------

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