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.