WHO SHOULD YOU TRUST?

Who should you trust? Be selective in whom you confide in. Appearances can be deceiving. It is best to trust in Ifá.

If a person comes to you to reveal to you the secrets and private matters of others, you must be aware and mindful of the fact that such a person will also reveal your secrets and private matters to others.

It is better to not entrust one secrets and private matters to others, but if one feels the need to entrust and reveal ones private and confidential matters to another person, make sure that the person that you are sharing it with is a person of honor, self-discipline and good-reputation. Make sure that that person has your best interest at heart and really cares about your wellbeing, peace and happiness.

The way things are today, in my estimation, it is best to share ones inner concerns, challenges and troubles with Ifá because only Ifá can completely sympathize with us, and only Ifá can give us the counsel, impartial-practical solution, and strength that will lead us to freedom, clarity, peace and happiness. Only Ifá truly understands in complete and full detail what we are experiencing, feeling and what we are going through. Ones own Ifá is ones own best friend, confidant and helper.

Whatever we entrust to Ifá we can be absolutely sure that Ifá will keep in strict confidence. Ifá will not divulge to others what we have confided to Ifá. If you do not have a proven and trusted friend to share you heart and mind with then say nothing to no one. Speak to Ifá. Ifá will hear you, sympathize with you, and better yet Ifá will help you. There is no selfishness or calculating motive in Ifá. Ones own Ifá is ones best friend, confident and helper.

One more thing: If you are fortunate enough to be the kind of person that others open up to, please make sure that you keep in strict confidence what others in trust are sharing with you. As you act towards others so will they act towards you. Do not betray the trust that others have conferred upon you.

~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas

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TWO INDISPENSABLE REALITIES [NEEDS] IN THE LIFE OF AN IFÁ-ORISA DEVOTEE

The importance of self-effort and the importance of having the guidance, blessing and support of a genuine spiritual-master. We must honor, value and support those who have upheld, taught, helped, empowered and sustained us.
[***If you take the time and make the effort to read this message that will take you 5-10 minutes to carefully and slowly consider then you will be greatly benefited and spiritually enriched. If you cannot invest 5-10 minutes of your time to take in good information that will help, encourage and benefit you, then this means that you are not a sincere and determined seeker, student and practitioner. If you cannot invest 5-10 minutes of your time to apply yourself to qualitative effort, study, reflection and practice then how do you expect to acquire, correctly-direct and retain genuine spiritual power? Who will give and entrust spiritual power, influence, responsibility and authority to a person lacking in motivation, determination and commitment? If you cannot muster the determination to read, think, study and internalize a brief 5-10 minute module of instruction then I am afraid that you will not be able to make genuine forward spiritual progress in anything that you set out to do or hope to accomplish. This lesson is for the sincere and determined who want more from their Ifá-Orisa experience and who want spiritual substance for their lives. This lesson is for those who want to rise above the nonsense and are determined to enter into what is real, satisfying and fulfilling. Those who listen to their ori and who enjoy a genuine connection with Ifá and irunmole-orisa will joyfully read, ponder, study and apply this information. Remember that a true-student will one day become a true-master with students of his or her own. If you are not a good student how then will you be able to teach others to be good students. You cannot really encourage others to become what you never were.  You can never become a true-master if you were never a true and respectful student. Spiritual rewards, powers, supramundane abilities and intuitive-perceptivity are the products of ones spiritual exertions. Exert yourself spiritually for at least 5-10 minutes and your effort will be amply rewarded.***]
[1] There are two indispensable needs in the life of a spiritual aspirant-devotee. For us to be able to realize, recognize, actualize and manifest our individual orisa nature, our divine self-nature or iponri [true-self] we need the blessings of (1) consecrated, continual, steady and progressive self-effort [self-renewing initiative] and spiritual study; and (2) we need the àse [grace, power, support and power] of our spiritual-mentor, teacher, initiator and/or guide. The àse, blessing, support and grace of our spiritual mentor will infuse us with inspiration, authority, divine understanding [direct experience], confidence and a powerful self-sustaining motivation of divine origin that will hold us up and see us through our spiritual path and journey until we arrive at fullness of achievement, deep-understanding and well-rounded [fully developed] maturity.
[2] In my previous writings I have amply highlighted the need for a devotee to be persevering, industrious, self-reliant, practical and studious in regard to Ifá-Orisa spirituality and Ifá-Orisa practice. But while we must be self-reliant we cannot be entirely independent. We need the experience, help, benefit, guidance and training that an expert and mature mentor, teacher and/or empowered [graceful, accessible and àse filled] spiritual preceptor or master can afford us. Please do not let the word spiritual master throw you off. Let me explain and/or define what is meant by a spiritual master and/or preceptor. The word master simply means an experienced, knowledgeable, empowered and graceful teacher. A spiritual master is the one who lives the truth of Ifá-Orisa and is able to communicate the confidential teachings of Ifá-Orisa together with the living presence of Ifá-Orisa to others. By spiritual we mean a person whose wisdom, àse and conduct are one inseparable and indivisible whole. What he teaches he consistently and reliably lives, demonstrates and exhibits. A spiritual master or preceptor is not the owner of your life. A spiritual master is the one who will, with your consent, dedication and commitment, train you up, build you up, encourage you and will open your eyes to the true depth, ways and mysteries of Ifá and the irunmole-orisa. In other words a true master, mentor or preceptor is simply a mature, experienced, reliable, trustworthy and highly developed practitioner and fellow companion who is much further along the path of attainment than you and who has already attained much, and thereby is able and qualified to assist you, and is able to impart his spiritual strength, virtue and power to the sincere, teachable, intelligent and receptive student.
[3] This teacher, mentor and guide may not be popular or greatly known because true and capable guides [spiritual masters] do not go about announcing themselves or publishing themselves. A genuine preceptor and master cannot be known or identified by his external attire or appearance. One has to draw near to the teacher, spend time with the teacher and serve the teacher so as to receive the grace or àse of this teacher and the blessing of discerning the great mystic virtue and treasure of knowledge and gracefulness that this teacher has. This master will be simple and unpretentious. Many rub shoulders with him or her everyday and they don’t know or see the greatness of the person that they are frequently coming in contact with. A spiritual preceptor will not ‘lord it’ over you. A spiritual preceptor does not want and will not accept your ‘worship’ but will accept your willingness to learn and apply the truth, and will also accept your respectful attitude and your diligence.
[4] A spiritual preceptor builds up his students upon and around the foundational mysteries of Ifá and not on his person or personality. A SPIRITUAL master will not ask you for money and does not make money [your money] a requisite for acceptance and training. A genuine preceptor will impart to you a living awareness of the character, personality and presence of Ifá, Òrúnmìlà and of the irunmole-orisa. A spiritual master will treat you as a friend and will not make you feel inferior to his or her person, but a spiritual master or preceptor is still a spiritual master or preceptor, and one should recognize this reality, accord him or her due reverence and act respectfully. The spiritual preceptor will reveal and make known his greatness without having and displaying arrogance and conceit to the sincere, persevering and disciplined student. The revelation of the masters greatness is not for the purpose of making himself or herself appear great to the student, to show-off or to impress the student but to establish faith, respect, confidence and trust in the student towards his or her spiritual teacher, guide and mentor, so that this serves as a spiritual bridge or channel through which spiritual energy, divine-vision [experience], knowledge and enlightenment can be successfully imparted and communicated.
[5] The function and aim of a spiritual master, mentor and teacher is to establish you in a living, indissoluble and unbreakable connection with Ifá, Òrúnmìlà and the irunmole-orisa. The spiritual master, oluwo or ojugbona will reveal to you the path that is best suited to your affinity. He will successfully guide you along the path, and he will spiritually nourish you, bringing healing [correction] to your life. You will experience, discern and see the reality of Ifá in the character, personality and ways of your spiritual master and teacher. The teacher will come alongside you in the spirit of Òrúnmìlà, to forewarn you about the pitfalls and to safeguard you from fruitless and sorrowful paths. He or she will assist you to overcome hindrances and obstacles and will impart spiritual power to you, to enable you to persevere and prevail during trying and difficult times. The grace, àse and power that the spiritual master imparts to you in no way absolves you of the need to put in your effort, your study, your practice and your toil. The grace and blessing of your preceptor will add sweetness and joy to your efforts and labors no matter how arduous or challenging they are or may seem. A genuine spiritual preceptor will continually earn your trust and confidence.  Trust and confidence are not on demand and they are not ready made. They must be consistently, perseveringly and continuously earned and merited. A ‘teacher’ who does not and cannot inspire trust, confidence, awe and respect in you should not be accepted as your spiritual preceptor or teacher. A true teacher is never fake or pretend and thereby has nothing to hide. A genuine spiritual master is afraid of nothing and no one and always enjoys the respect of his community and the full support of a pure and clean conscience. A genuine teacher is not hiding or doing things in secret. A genuine teacher and preceptor can stand up to the scrutiny of anyone because he or she is more transparent than glass and lives a clean, respectful and blameless life. A true teacher does not try to hoard his students and does not restrict his students from meeting with and learning from other legitimate spiritual preceptors, mentors and teachers. No single teacher or spiritual preceptor is a one stop center who has it all, and/or who knows it all. A true spiritual master, oluwo or ojugbona does not treat or consider his students as if they were his personal property to do as he pleases with them. A true spiritual master considers his students as the children and personal friends of Òrúnmìlà and thereby accords them the corresponding respect and relates to them with an attitude of non-attachment.
[6] The àse of your oluwo, ojugbona or spiritual master and teacher, or masters and teachers will ensure that your toil, effort, study and practice will bear abundant and satisfying fruit. There is a great power, virtue and grace that is imparted by the spiritual master to the student as a result of the student frequently associating with the teacher, learning from the teacher and patiently applying the instructions of the mentor.  Once the spiritual master enlightens you, leads you to spiritual maturity and empowers you through the face-to-face transmission [by frequent and direct personal contact, and spiritual association] then he will then remove himself and you will now be led by the grace, knowledge and àse that the teacher trained you up in. The master will entrust you to the workings of the àse, grace and power that he or she communicated to you and trained you in. You are not to be a follower and worshipper of the personality of the  master, but of the truth, science, àse and power that you were established in by the spiritual preceptor. The master loves and cares for his pupils, and just like a loving father and mother behaves towards their child, a genuine preceptor will apply corrective discipline and stern correction when necessary and if necessary so that immaturity, superficiality, foolishness and ignorance are pruned away from the student. Just like a good father or mother does not let their children do whatever their undeveloped, immature and untrained minds suggest or lead them to do, in like manner will a caring and true spiritual preceptor discipline, correct and train up his or her spiritual children. A spiritual master and preceptor may or may not outwardly be a highly educated person according to mundane standards, but they are masters in matters of the spirit, practical living and true divine gracefulness or àse. They will undoubtedly possess and have an unquestionable spiritual intelligence, truth, presence, self-authenticating authority and power. A legitimate spiritual master, mentor and guide may or may not be an intellectual person according to everyday standards, but they will have and possess divine genius and an uplifting spiritual peculiarity uniquely their own that all can personally experience, perceive and attest to, and that no one can deny.
[7] When you meet, find or discover such a spiritual teacher or master you will have a feeling or sense like if you were associating with an irunmole-orisa in person. You will feel peace, wonder and contentment simply by being with this person and spending time with him. A spiritual master imparts a special grace that causes many of the problems or doubts that one had had to simply correct themselves and/or disappear. A spiritual master reveals your true dignity, value and purpose. A spiritual master makes you dependent on Ifá and not on his person or personality. When we come in contact with a genuine teacher and mentor a renewed and elevated faith and confidence arises in us towards Ifá and the irunmole-orisa in a natural, unforced, marvelous and spontaneous way. We begin to value and appreciate ourselves in new ways and we begin to understand and appreciate the true depth, beauty, sweetness and power of Ifá. This is the kind of effect that Òrúnmìlà produced in others. Akoda and Aseda were also able to inspire, empower, heal and elevate others simply by the power of their divine presence, personality and character alone, not to mention their teachings and spiritual works. Just to behold Òrúnmìlà, all fear, worry, anxiety and doubts would melt away and disappear. This is why Òrúnmìlà is called the one who miraculously transforms our sorrow into joy. This is said of Òrúnmìlà because the worries, fears, anxiety and doubts of people would literally disappear at the sight of Òrúnmìlà or merely by them hearing about Òrúnmìlà. This grace, virtue and power is also had, enjoyed and shared by Òrúnmìlà’s true followers. This is a special boon granted by Òrúnmìlà to those who tread his path with sincerity, straightforwardness, courage and honesty.
[8] If you have a good oluwo, a good ojugbona or spiritual guide and instructor that loves you, that rightly instructs and trains you, that cares for you and who discliplines you for your own good, wellbeing and benefit, thank Olódùmarè for such a gift and treasure. If you see or notice that your teacher is in need of some basic necessity or life-essential, then help him or her to the best of your means and ability without causing injury, loss or strain to yourself. A true master will not demand or ask from you this kind of service, but if you have a human heart and your teacher and preceptor has been selflessly caring for you and helping you, then how can you withhold your relief and assistance when you discern a need in his or her life, and it is within your means to confer a good measure of aid and assistance? Do not embarrass your teacher by asking him if he needs something, when you can clearly see a need for something relating to basic necessities in his life. If you teacher is in need of food, clothing, medicine, shelter or some other basic need, and you have the means to help and contribute to his uplift, then do so without making a big deal about it. Just give what help you can in a simple, unpretentious and natural way. It could be that the teacher is just testing you. Do not underestimate the greatness, virtue and power of your spiritual master just because your teacher is humble, unassuming and perhaps because he or she jokes around with you in wholesome humor just like if he or she were just an ordinary everyday person. A true spiritual master, oluwo and ojugbona is far from being an ordinary or common person. Express gratitude, appreciation and love towards your teacher in Ifá, in Orisa and in Isese by your actions, support and reliable heartfelt appreciative words. Do not embarass your teacher. Make others to be proud of Ifá and of your teacher by your conduct, demeanor and wisdom. If you do not have a teacher or guide yet then begin to search for one under the guidance of Òrúnmìlà and the irunmole-orisa. A true teacher and guide is indispensable to a devotee, just like self-reliance, effort, dedication and practicality are indispensable to a devotee. Your ori will guide you but your ori cannot be a substitute for a spiritual teacher, and a spiritual teacher cannot be a substitute for your ori. They will work in union and harmony with each other. Remember: A legitimate teacher or preceptor is not arrogant or conceited. An arrogant and conceited ‘teacher’ has nothing to give you or offer you. A legitimate teacher will not ‘lord it’ over you. A legitimate teacher will not attempt to control your life or manage your life for you. A spiritual master is not a crutch. A spiritual master is not there to pamper you, baby you and flatter you. A spiritual master is not there to extract money or personality worship from you. Divine knowledge, practical understanding, spiritual power and true spiritual satisfaction cannot be had in isolation. It can only be had and enjoyed in the company or constant association of devoted and spiritually mature and knowledgeable persons. Any devoted, spiritually-mature, honorable, consistent, caring, intelligent, sympathetic and knowledgeable person can serve as ones spiritual master, mentor or teacher.
[9] A qualified and genuine spiritual master or preceptor does not think himself or herself as such, and they will not be posting adds online promoting themselves as such. Qualified students simply gravitate to a natural, unpretentious and sincere teacher, and this is how spiritual mentors becomes mentors and not because they are intentionally promoting themselves as mentors, spiritual preceptors or spiritual masters. One more thing: To be able to find and secure a genuine, dedicated and empowered preceptor one must as an aspirant be genuine, dedicated, wholehearted, teachable, receptive, practical and motivated. A genuine aspirant must be able and willing to call a spade a spade. A genuine seeker must have an attitude that refuses to put up with any nonsense and foolishness in himself/herself and/or others.
[10] May Ifá bless all who have taken the time and exercised the patience to carefully read, consider and think about the above teaching. May you all be benefitted, encouraged and motivated by what has been shared in sincerity, love and good-will. May these guidelines and considerations serve to adjust and correct misunderstanding and may they serve to establish correct perception and clear-seeing awareness. May these teachings sweep away superficiality, make-believe, fantasy, ignorance, stinginess, insensitivity and deception in all its forms. Àse.
~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas
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IFÁ IS THE ONE WHO SAVES HUMANITY

 The Concept of Saving and Salvation in Ifá.
Aboru Aboye. Ogbo ato asure iworiwofun. Àse.
Holy Odu-Ifá Iwori-Osa teaches us the grand truth that:
IFÁ IS THE ONE WHO SAVES HUMANITY.
How does Ifá save us? What are the ways in which Ifá saves us? What does saving and salvation mean within the context of the Ifá-Orisa tradition?
Today I would like to share with you the four main ways in which Ifá saves us, but before speaking on the four ways in which Ifá saves us I want to first of all define and make clear what is meant by saving and salvation within the context of Ifá understanding and experience.
The reason I want to explain this matter on saving and salvation is because I am aware that there will be many people of different spiritual cultures and faiths who will be reading these words who have their own peculiar understanding of what saving and salvation is or means. I will speak on saving and salvation from the Ifá perspective and then I will continue with today’s consideration.
The Ifá conception of life is based on the principles of fundamental goodness, personal-dignity, celebration of life, wholesome self-esteem, harmony, gratitude, optimism and the inherent sacredness [goodness] of humanity. The Creator [Eledumare] has created mankind in goodness, innocence, purity and nobility. The things we choose to think and believe about ourselves can and will have a constructive or destructive effect upon our lives. How we perceive ourselves and how we perceive our relation to the Creator and creation is all important. Ifá reveals that human beings enter this world in dignity, innocence, without guilt and with a wholesome and wonderful nature.
Consider what Ifá teaches us in Holy Odu-Ifá Ejiogbe:
***The honorable and good way Olodumare created me in, in that way of honor and goodness I am walking. I do what is good and right. I refrain from evil and I don’t practicing lying [I practice honesty], so that I won’t die a wretched person, because the things we practice [cultivate] in our youth will catch up to us in later years. This is the revelation of Olodumare for those who practice [who have chosen to practice] truthfulness and for those who [have chosen to] indulge in wickedness. Only the truthful and upright will succeed and triumph.***
Ifá does not teach us that human beings are born ‘sinful’ or disconnected from their Creator. Such an idea or belief would dishonor our Creator and it would stain and poison our awareness of the Creator’s wisdom, tenderness, goodness, love and perfection. Such an idea or belief would psychologically sabotage our ability to take full responsibility for our lives and it would put us in an awkward, contradictory and confusing dysfunctional relationship with our Eleda [our Creator]. Such an idea or belief is also incompatible with the power, principle, ability and gift of free moral agency. In other words, how can someone be held responsible for an unwholesome nature that he or she did not choose nor was able to avoid?! Let me put it in a humorous way: How can we blame chocolate for not tasting like vanilla? How can someone live their life with confidence and joy if he or she has persuaded themselves or has been persuaded by someone else that they are sure to ‘fall’ at any moment or at some point?!
Ifá does not suscribe to such contradictory, counterproductive, psychologically damaging, toxic and hurtful ideas or beliefs. To put such ideas and beliefs in the mind of an innocent and defenseless child, adolescent, or an adult human being is to hurt, destabilize and sabotage him psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. There are many variants of these kind of negative, self-defeating, damaging and pessimistic thoughts and/or beliefs in various spiritual cultures and belief systems.
I am happy to say that Ifá is not one of these pessimistic belief systems. Western Culture has been heavily influenced by some of these beliefs which have been ascribed to ‘Christianity’. How Christianity came to adopt such ideas is a topic for another day, but the person of Jesus of Nazareth never taught such things and never weighed down the minds and hearts of people with such contradictory, pessimistic and arbitrary beliefs. The words of the great master Jesus of Nazareth also coincides with the above revelations of Ifá. Jesus said and taught that A GOOD MAN FROM THE DEPTHS OF HIS HEART BRINGS OUT GOOD THINGS AND THAT A WICKED MAN FROM THE DEPTHS OF HIS HEART BRINGS OUT WICKED THINGS. These words of the great master and teacher Jesus would be meaningless and untrue if human beings were born ‘sinful, evil or inclined to malice’. Human beings are not inclined to malice, they are inclined to happiness, dignity and peace. I don’t know about you but I have never woken up in the morning desiring and intending to be the worst human being I can be. I have always desired and intended to be the best that I can be. Jesus taught, BLESSED ARE THE PURE AT HEART BECAUSE THEY WILL SEE GOD. How could anyone be pure at heart if they were born intrinsically ‘sinful, evil or inclined to malice’? Jesus taught that, THOSE WHO ARE COMPASSIONATE AND FORGIVING WOULD BE FORGIVEN AND THAT THOSE WHO ARE INDIFFERENT AND UNFORGIVING WOULD BE TRAPPED BY THEIR OWN INDIFFERENCE AND UNFORGIVENESS. How can someone be forgiving if they were born intrinsically ‘sinful, evil or inclined to malice? So you see Jesus never taught such contradictory, confusing, sabotaging and backward teachings. He taught that people choose their character and that people determine the quality of their heart. We make ourselves good or bad.
Human beings have only ONE CREATOR and ONE ORIGINATOR of everything they are as human beings: Eledumare. Eledumare has not made any mistakes nor can anyone frustrate His perfectly laid out plans. Everything is moving perfectly according to His divine dispensation. There is a perfect and flawless plan and perfect chain of events running throughout creation. What we are experiencing as human beings is a part of that perfect plan.
When we objectively look at other Abrahamic belief systems like Judaism or Islam they also have their own variant of belief in regard to humans beings having something intrinsically negative or harmful within them.
When we consider the grand majority of Eastern Religions and/or Eastern Philosophies we will clearly see that they also are heavily laden with pessimistic ideas about life and human nature. According to Eastern Philosophy human beings are born in ‘maya’ in illusion, and to them life is something dreary, bleak, depressing and something to deny and run away from. The grand majority of eastern religions and philosophies are escapist in nature. Life and existence according to them is called ‘samsara’. Samsara means wearisome, tiring, aimless and pointless. To these systems life is not an intrinsically good thing. According to them it is better to deny life and escape! The more positive philosophies among them will at least acknowledge the goodness of the human soul but for some strange reason they account the human body as something negative. So they divide their own hearts and minds by all of these silly, foolish and self-defeating hair-splitting arguments, categorizations and conclusions! Ifá teaches us that all of the human being is one indivisible bundle of goodness, as befits the Sublime Creator Eledumare who created us. The whole of the human being is sacred, good and wonderful.
Ifá is a 100% optimistic, positive, holistic, and uplifting religion, philosophy and manner of life. Ifá explains things with such depth, clarity and reality that Ifá bestows immediate emotional, psychological and spiritual healing and correction to anyone who takes the time and makes the effort to consider and study Ifá. Ifá explains the positives and negatives of life within a context of positivity, optimism, dignity, divine achievement and satisfying meaning.
Contrary to pessimistic belief systems, pessimistic religions and pessimistic ideologies, Ifá teaches us that beyond all appearances humanity is fundamentally good, noble and divine but this goodness, nobility and divine nature has to be cultivated, practiced, developed and perfected [matured]. Our intrinsic goodness does not develop by itself or on automatic, we have to apply our will and effort because it is the maturing of our will, thoughts, intelligence and emotions that Ifá is gently encouraging and developing in us. Ifá reveals that we enter this world in innocence, but in an initial beginning state of immaturity, or we have our beginning in an undeveloped state or condition. Our sole constitution is of the nature of ogbe [light, life, increase, fluidity, progress and movement] but in his infinite wisdom Olodumare adds to us the training element of oyeku [darkness, death, decrease, solidity, resistence and inertia]. To what end does Olodumare do this? To create the basis of choice, achievement, fulfillment and satisfaction. To create the basis for free moral agency. To create the basis and criteria that enables us to know and determine what is good and bad, proper and improper and what is correct or incorrect.
We are divine seeds of pure goodness which have been planted in the soil of adversity, challenges, negative-resistance and difficulties so that we can discover our innate divine nature and develop our intellectual, moral, emotional, reflective and spiritual muscles. The provisional and [temporary] negative aspects of life are the necessary and needed contrast that will enable us to grow, develop and flourish as children of Eledumare. The provisional and [temporary] negative aspects of life are the sparring partners and spiritual weights that we train with to develop our innate but yet undeveloped and uncultivated noble qualities, powers and abilities that are yet to be matured [perfected]. And it is in this sense of maturing that the words saving and salvation apply in the Ifá conception of life.
Salvation in Ifá is not about switching out one nature for another. Salvation in Ifá is not about running away from life or trying to escape from life. Salvation in Ifá is not about fearfully trying the gain the love and favor of God because God already loves us and favors us. We relate to Eledumare in a spirit of love, gratitude, trust and awe. Eledumare can and will disclipline and chasten us when needed, even with severity [intensity] when the occasion calls for it, but he can never do us any harm. Even the apparent ‘hardness’ of Eledumare is pure love, goodness and good-will. Eledumare created us for Himself and He will see us ALL through [in His own way and time] to PERFECTION AND EXCELLENCE.
Salvation in Ifá is about immersing ourselves in the reality of life as it is, and embracing life to make a better life for ourselves and others. Salvation in Ifá is about discovering and nurturing our singular noble true-self and our singular noble-nature which we refer to as IPONRI. Ifá is about walking and relating to Eledumare as our best friend, companion and wellwisher. If we practice the good we will experience the good. If we practice what is bad then our own unwholesome actions will reprove and punish us.
Everything exists to help us in our development, unfoldment and growth. We are now individually and collective exactly as Eledumare intended. We begin in weakness and we end in strength. We begin in ignorance and we end in complete and well-rounded understanding. We begin as earth bound ‘caterpillars’ but we end up as sky bound ‘butterflies’.
Yes, there is some pain, sorrow and sadness on the journey but everything is not pain, sorrow or sadness. There is also joy, enthusiasm, excitement, friendship, love, inspiration and satisfying effort and achievement. The negativite aspects of life that we see and experience outside of ourselves and within ourselves are for our benefit, enhancement and growth. Saving and salvation in Ifá refers to all of that which we experience in the process of realizing the purpose and meaning of our existence: Ifáyelele.
Having explained the basic Ifá conception of life I will now proceed to the main topic under consideration. While I could go on to elaborate on more related topics but I think I will leave it here since I do not want to make this message too long and I do not want to lose the focus, patience and interest of the kind readers.
I will briefly share with you now the four main ways in which Ifá saves.
[1]: Ifá saves us [enlightens, assists and helps us] by making known to us in clear, experiential and reasonable ways the principles, understandings and ways of conduct by which we are to live our lives. How much pain, emotional strain and psychological stress could have been avoided in our lives if we lived honest, quiet and productive lives? How many troubles, mishaps and headaches could we have been saved from if we followed Ifá’s advice to not involve ourselves in things that do not pertain to us and in things that are none of our business? How many unsavory things would we be saved from if our conduct, behavior, manners and demeanor were according to the good teachings and example of Ifá?
[2]: Ifá saves us by exercising the power of divine manifestation in our lives to deflect hurtful, useless and dangerous things, people, situations, circumstances and antagonistic energies from our lives. Ifá saves us by exercising the power of divine manifestation in our lives by attracting to us positive, success bestowing and opportunity granting situations and circumstances. Ifá saves us by attracting good, wise and useful people to our lives. Ifá saves us by leading and guiding us to render relief, aid, help and benefit [or salvation] to others. When we take care of others, others will take care of us. When we save others, others will save us. Through mutual collaboration, benevolence and effort we advance and gain.
[3]: Ifá saves us by giving us a sound, healthy, profound and truthful outlook, perspective and understanding of life, and our place in it. Ifá saves us by correcting and removing erroneous, untruthful, immature and injurious views and beliefs from our minds and lives. Ifá saves us by removing the negative imprints of past unwholesome conditionings, traumas and impressions. Ifá implants within us through accurate knowledge and through the bestowal of àse, an understanding, experience and comprehension of our true nature, our lives in relation to one another, and our lives in relation to Eledumare that is so inspiring, empowering and uplifting that once we have this we are fixed in our course of forward progress and attainment. Ifá is so sweet, clear and satisfying that the heart and mind naturally and with cheer responds to the wholesome and uplifting attracting and drawing power of Ifá.
[4]: Ifá saves us from disillusionment by giving us a true hope, by giving us an understanding of what we should actually be expecting in life and from life. Ifá does not give us false hopes, neither does Ifá give us a vision of unrealistic and/or unrealizable expectations. Ifá teaches us in truth what our expectations of ourselves and others should be. Ifá saves us by making it clear and without sugar coating it that in life we will not be able to avoid all undesirable and painful things. Ifá saves us by communicating to us that there are certain experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, which have been programmed into our lives that we will not be able to avoid. These occurrences fall within the category of that which we call destiny. In Ifá destiny does not mean that everything in our lives has been pre-determined. Ifá does not teach us fatalism. Our lives are our own and we are always free to choose a positive, useful and productive life, and we are also free to choose the way we respond to life’s challenges, sufferings  and difficulties when they appear. Destiny in Ifá means specific things that Eledumare has chosen for us to experience that we cannot avoid. Ifá saves us by deflecting calamity, illness and mishap from our lives, but Ifá also saves us by explaining to us that some negative experiences cannot and will not be defected, but what Ifá will do during these periods of challenge and adversity is to infuse and empower us with àse, so that we are made strong and resilient so that our mind, emotions and spirit will be fortified so that we can endure the challenge and adversity with calm, courage, serenity, composure and a contented mind. Ifá can extinguish a dangerous and out of control fire and/or Ifá can give us the power, strength and protection to walk through that fire without getting scorched [by the difficulties, problems, conflicts and challenges of life]! When we come out on the other side of the fire we will not even have the smell of smoke on us!!!
So, Ifá saves us by deflecting difficult, painful and challenging things from our lives, and Ifá saves us by giving us empowerment to calmly endure the difficulty, pain and challenge with composure, patience and a joyful attitude until it passes.
Only by undergoing this process of growth and development which is marked with moments of pain but which is also permeated with joy, happiness and satisfaction will we be able to enter into, enjoy and be established in Ifáyelele [the perfected or matured state].
Ifá gbe wa ooo!
Aboru Aboye. Ogbo ato asure iworiwofun. Àse.
super_power

THE DIVINE SUPER-POWER. THE UNFAILING SACRED TALISMAN OF THE WISE

Aboru Aboye

In devotion to Ifá and the irunmole-orisa iwure [prayer] holds the place of greatest importance. Nothing in Ifá and irunmole-orisa devotion can work and/or be successful without iwure. Without iwure no ebo will be received, accepted and approved. In the absence of iwure no connection can be made with the irunmole-orisa. Ifá recitation is an expression of iwure. Our traditional songs of praise are also expressions of iwure. Our personal requests and petitions before Ifá and the irunmole-orisa are an expression of iwure. Our sacred rites and rituals are expressions and extensions of our iwure. Iwure is that which sustains you and gives foundation, stability and rootedness to your life. Iwure is that which attracts the blessings of goodness from the unseen realm and causes them to become manifest in our realm of action.

In our wonderful Ifá tradition the experience, quality and concept of iwure is very different from that of other traditions or faiths. Iwure is not begging the divine to help us out or do us a favor. Iwure is not attempting to bribe, barter and negotiate with the divine. In Ifá and esin orisa ibile we do not practice iwure from a position of fear, worry, guilt, coercion or anxiety. We begin our iwure by understanding and knowing that we are greatly cherished and loved by the divine, and that we are fully accepted by the divine as we presently are. We begin in a state of fundamental goodness, dignity, innocence and worthiness.

Iwure is an invisible, unassailable and very real meeting place between two or more friends who love, respect, understand, appreciate and accept each other as they truly and honestly are. No guilt. No fear. No worry. No anxiety. No pretense and no pretending. Just genuine friendship, acceptance, love and trust. Iwure is our longing for and affinity with the divine. Iwure is the manifestation of our response to the attracting power of the divine realm. Iwure is our sensitivity, responsiveness and receptivity to the divine àse. Iwure is the opening up of our hearts and our desire [willingness] to entrust ourselves to the irunmole-orisa who in turn are the expressions of Olódùmarè. Iwure is the vessel that is able to receive unto itself and retain the energy, love and strength of the irunmole-orisa. Iwure is also the sentiment of awe, love, attraction and respect that we have for the divine.

Olódùmarè and his emanations the irunmole-orisa only desire our friendship, nearness and confidence. Once the love of the divine pierces and enters our hearts our trajectory to assured success, happiness and victory is set, and nothing can obstruct or hinder us any longer. Many people ask me from where do I get my understanding, knowledge, wisdom, strength, inspiration and sublime feeling for things. My answer to this question is iwure as explained above. Everything is included in iwure. Everything needful and good flows from and comes from iwure. In iwure there is power. In iwure there is comfort and wisdom. In iwure there is sweet communion and empowerment. In iwure their is clarity. In iwure there is unassailable protection and safety. Iwure is not only the spoken words but the intense feeling, longing and attraction to the sacred, awe-inspiring, holy and divine. Iwure is the intense desire to clearly understand and apprehend the divine reality and to pattern one’s life according to that understanding. If you carefully observe and analyze all the things that we practice in Ifá and in esin orisa ibile you will discover that all we do exists as a support to iwure or as an expression of iwure. Without iwure there is no Ifá, no isese and no esin orisa ibile. Iwure is the sincere, honest and pure heart that is reaching out in hope to make contact with the sublime, beautiful and joy conferring energies of creation. Iwure is our intention and effort to take hold of the rope of life that has been extended to us. Iwure is our response and reaction to the great and wonderful love, comfort, strength and encouragement that we receive from the orisa. In iwure immediate and direct contact is made with the sublime energies, powers and intelligences of nature.

This is a deep, wonderful and glorious mystery. [***In our Ifá tradition the word mystery does not mean something unknown or unknowable. The word MYSTERY in Ifá and esin orisa ibile means something that can definitely be known by us but only through our own direct and personal experience of it.***] This direct or personally known [directly experienced] reality is what we call mystical experience or mystical knowledge. The knowledge here refered to means experiential awareness [direct perception] and not intellectual information. This knowing is the knowing of the heart. This mystical experience and mystical knowledge [understanding] is what people are really looking for and needing when they initiate. This mystical experience and mystical knowledge [understanding] is what sincere students want to receive [and need to receive] from their study and practice of the secret [confidential] teachings of Ifá and esin orisa ibile [the noble way of the orisa]. This mystical experience and divine knowledge [direct experiential comprehension] is what sincere students and initiates are expecting to receive, looking to receive and experience as a result of their personal association and interaction with their mentors [initiators]. When the mentor and initiator is mature and experienced in this mystical knowledge he or she can communicate this experience successfully to his or her students with understanding, depth, inspiration and clarity. If the mentor [initiator] has not had or experienced this mystical knowledge or has not matured in his appreciation, understanding and comprehension of this knowledge assuming that he or she has had the experience, then he or she will not be able to communicate satisfying truth, strength, hope and spiritual meaning [reality] to sincere students. He or she will not be able to satisfy the spiritual needs and the legitimate expectations of the student in any measure.

This truth explains why many initiates quickly lose their spiritual respect for their initiators and elders. Over time many lose much of their fervor for the tradition because they find that there are in fact relatively few people who have and share the sincere fervor and lofty goals [thoughts] that they had when beginning their journey. They discover very early and very quickly that they made many assumptions that proved to be false and disheartening. Many good hearted people come to Ifá and to Orisa with great expectancy and hope as they should. They come with great trust, enthusiasm and faith in their mentors, elders or initiators but soon after initiation many discover that their chosen or recommended mentor is himself or herself in need of mentoring. They discover that their chosen or recommended mentor or initiator is not spiritual at all and has no spirituality and no divine knowledge to impart!! This happens more often than not! These sincere people came looking for people whom they took to be wise people, who might be able to answer their questions and help them resolve their life problem only to discover the people that they took to be wise elders know nothing of true spirituality, that they have no answer for themselves much less for others, and that instead of helping them to find relief from their troubles they only added to their problems, troubles and worries!!! This is why one must take ones time in seeking out a mentor and initiator. One must first get to know people well over an extended period of time before making any type of spiritual decision in regard to accepting someone as a mentor and/or initiator. Let us continue with our topic of iwure.

The true understanding and purpose of things can only by apprehended by this direct experience. This direct experience can only be had by constant association with the divine and divine people. The connecting link between us and the divine and divine people is iwure or divine conversation, communion and fellowship. Love blended with iwure equals true-faith and authentic spirituality. Iwure is the bonding of the spiritual and invisible hearts of two or more persons.

Cultivate your iwure. Recite your Ifá prayers with feeling and clarity of understanding. Speak frequently, honestly and truthfuly with your chosen Orisa and trust fully what you receive from that contact. The Orisa will enlighten, guide and instruct you with gracefulness, sweetness and comfort. Eliminate the middle man. Go straight to the source. Perfect yourself in iwure and you will know and experience wonderful and extraordinary blessings and divine manifestations. Strengthen your bond with the Orisa and with genuine devotees and your life will be filled with satisfaction, contentment and understanding. Be the kind of devotee that you wish others would be or should be. Do not allow others or what you see around you to set the standard of spirituality, excellence and acceptability. Set a higher standard than the mediocre one which you see in most places and abide by that higher standard by the strength of iwure and noble conduct and you will become a true leader eligible to assist, guide and empower others.

Orisha-Conscience - AncestralPrideTemple

THE ORISHA CONSCIENCE & THE CIVILIZATION OF THE MODERN WORLD

ENGLISH VERSION

The ORISHA Consciousness can be better explained as the Awakening of an individual to its destined essence (the destiny for which it was born). Many live in this physical world, but they have no idea why they were conceived in this world by their mothers.

There are three parts in each individual body that can explain why we were born in this world: the Head, the Palm and the Leg. Our “Head” represents both our “ethereal fate and our earthly destiny,” while our “Palms” represent “the divine compendium and the manuscript of our destiny.” Finally, our “Leg” represents “the spiritual and physical realization and realization of the essence of our destiny”. We must all awaken to the fact that if we do not know or understand the reason we were created, we can not know what to do to make this world a better place to live. Our physical awareness can awaken us to the idea of ​​going to school, learning some kind of profession or becoming our desired professional image … doctor, engineer, teacher, etc. However, there is more to life than simply awakening to what we can do to sustain our physical self. The most important thing for us is to be aware of the life that we can DESIGN to balance the equation of creation. Many face difficulties and calamities on a daily basis because they can not discover themselves, and all they know how to do is live life in the way they are able to face it. The ORISHA Consciousness frees you from the physical / material bondage in which the “Civilization of the Modern World” has enslaved all humanity, including itself. We must all know that we have our ‘HEAD’ and that each head represents a DIFFERENT DESTINY. This is what really allows us to know that the ORISHA energies are numerous and that the heads of all humanity are also innumerable. Thus, each Head has its own ORISHA to which it must resort at all times to understand its essence and true nature in life.

KNOW YOUR “ORISHA” TODAY: Not all Initiates or Devotees of the IFA / ORISHA tradition are destined to become BABALAWOS or IYANIFAS. Each Initiate / Devotee may be better called “AWO” or “OLORISHA”. Becoming an Awo / Olorisha means that the Applicant has actually gone through the Traditional and Ancestral Initiation and Consecration Continue reading

ASCENDING TRUTHS TO IFÁ REALIZATION (IFÁ CONSCIOUSNESS)

To serve the Great Powers [irunmole-orisa] we must first cleanse and purify our lives. This cleansing and purification is not a one time thing. This cleansing and purification is a continual process which must be daily renewed and undertaken. Ritual cleansings and ceremonial purification’s [like spiritual washing’s with omiero, propitiation of ori and spiritual reinforcement through Ifá incantation science etc.] are one part, a necessary part and a very important one in this process, but ritual cleansings and ceremonial purifications alone are not sufficient to cleanse and purify us to the innermost core of our being. We cannot achieve an understanding of our lives purpose and the power to realize it by the above means alone. Neither can we reach our fullest potential by the above means alone.

We have to cleanse and purify ourselves daily from doubt, selfishness, arrogance, self-pity, impatience, self-deception, dishonest attitudes and less than honest practices.

When we are served drinking water we like to be served clean water in a clean drinking glass. In the same manner the asé of the irunmole-orisa is like a cleansing and purifying water which should be poured into a clean vessel. This vessel is us.

In life we experience basically two kinds of inner impurities, hindrances and obstructions. There are impurities that we just pick up, just like pick we pick up and collect dust on ourselves without intending to. And there are impurities that we pick up because we intentionally accumulate and cultivate them. So we see that that there are intentional and unintentional impurities, hindrances and obstructions that accumulate on us (within us) and impinge upon our lives.

We should do our honest best to remove deliberate and intentional impurity and wrongdoing from our lives. In other words we should regulate our words and conduct so that our words and conduct are in harmony with iwa. Iwa is the representative of the irunmole-orisa and it is iwa who conveys to the irunmole-orisa our desires, needs and wants in such a way that the irunmole-orisa will grant us their support and relief. Iwa is also the representative, witness and authenticator of our inner state and condition before the irunmole-orisa. Iwa is a catalyzing power and energy whose aim is to bond our inner energetic life with that of the irunmole-orisa.

When we remove the impurities, disorderliness, clutter and soil from our lives that are within our power and ability to do so, then the asé of the irunmole-orisa will remove those inner impurities, disorders, clutters, hindrances and obstructions that are beyond our personal ability to remove.

When we experience this dual cleansing then are we in an optimal position to render aid, relief and assistance to others. When we are poised in balance by the salutary effects of these two complementary means of cleansing and purification then are we in a condition known as holiness, cleanliness, harmony, wellbeing, clarity, optimism (enthusiasm) and purified happiness.

Inner-cleanliness and purification are achieved when we by our personal effort, spontaneous determination and intentional inner-work apply ourselves to remove and correct what we see (discern) in our own lives that needs to be removed, adjusted and corrected. When we are doing our honest and consistent part then the asé of the irunmole-orisa becomes bonded, fused and blended to our inner work and labors, so that we achieve a transcendental state of purity, clarity, understanding and strength. This asé that we receive from the irunmole-orisa is like food and medicine to our inner being. This asé heals, purifies and strengthens us and then it flows out from our being towards others to bless, comfort, heal, purify and strengthen them.

This asé enters our lives to assist us in becoming the great and wonderful being we should and can be, according to Iponri or the divine blueprint. This divine asé is mediated to us by Iwa. By this union of iwa and asé, our lives then become one with the activities, powers, energies and workings of the irunmole-orisa. We become emerging living orisa of the earth, to serve, benefit, comfort and uplift others. We become whole and we become agents of healing and divine power. This sublime state and condition is known as Ifá consciousness, Ifá realization or Ifáyelele. By following the above ascending truths of Ifá with dedication and commitment we will surely be established in Ifáyelele and thereby fulfill our lives mission, purpose and destiny.

~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas