I am a child of Ifá so let me rejoice in Ifá! I would not exchange the intimacy, friendship and kinship I have and enjoy with Ifá for anything in the world. Before I was born into this world, in a specific land and among a particular people and family, I already existed. Many lives have I known, and of many families have I been a member of. Having lived so many lives upon this earth and in the spiritual sky, I ask myself, who am I? I am a child of Ifá!
Who is Ifá? Ifá is the spirit of limitless light, life, love and power. Ifá is the supreme divine power and intelligence that Òrúnmìlà and all irunmole-orisa serve. What is it that Ifá wants mostly of us? And how can we best comply with Ifá?
Ifá wants us to have a genuine, simple, trusting and direct faith in him. To walk with Ifá it is not necessary for us to be infallible or perfect human beings. In fact there are no infallible or perfect human beings to be seen. We are all ordinary and fallible human beings, each with our own set of unique flaws, defects, conditionings and imperfections. But there is one thing that makes us or can make us extraordinary, awe-inspiring, spiritually irresistible, divinely attractive and possessors of the divine mystery or secret: a genuine and simple wholehearted faith, trust and confidence in Ifá just as we presently are. Ifá does not want us to approach him pretending to be whom we are not. Ifá does not want us to berate ourselves or inflate ourselves. Ifá wants us to be us. Ifá wants us to be who we really are and as we are.
When we come to Ifá like this we are immediately received, accepted and approved by Ifá, and the power, grace and wisdom of Ifá begins to flow in the deep inner recesses of our heart, mind and spirit producing gradual, progressive, holistic and healthy qualitative changes, corrections, improvements and transformations in us. When we change in this manner it is not something forced, superficial or contrived. It is something natural, deep, genuine, true and lasting.
Ifá is the way of divine wisdom and virtue. What Ifá expects from us is that we make continual, gradual and consistent forward progress: little-by-little and step-by-step. We should not expect to achieve elevated spiritual heights in just one day, or in a single bound. The way of Ifá is gradual, progressive and cumulative. The path of life and the path of Ifá is a path of patience, determination, optimism, commitment, dedication, repetitive learning [practice] and self-renewing effort. We get up and try again and again, without ever giving up. There is great joy [and advancement] to be had in overcoming the challenges, vicissitudes and adversities of life by applying the wisdom and power of Ifá. This is the way to acquire true spiritual power, illumination and penetrative insight. Ifá knowledge is meant for practice, for implementation, for application, it is meant for everyday life, and not for theorizing about. Practice comes before power acquisition, and practice comes before deep spiritual comprehension. Virtue comes from practice.
Too much knowledge can be just as bad as not enough knowledge. Too much knowledge can fill us with pride. Too much knowledge can give us an inflated and unrealistic view of ourselves, the world and our place in it. Too much knowledge can ruin, damage and block the flow of the power that is born of simplicity of faith that Ifá asks of us. Ifá never asks of us for things that are hard and difficult and full of complexity. To walk successfully with Ifá it is not necessary to have encyclopedic knowledge. The way of Ifá is known by the seal of simplicity, directness, clarity and straightforwardness. The foundational root principles of Ifá which are simple and direct are all we really need. Of course we can add to our knowledge and to our faith and we should, but we need not know a great deal to walk successfully, satisfactorily and joyfully with Ifá.
We best comply with Ifá when we approach Ifá with a simple and direct faith that is permeated with humility and guilelessness. No matter how much Ifá we know and no matter how much isese we know, we should approach Ifá with the heart and mind of a novice, without pretense, pride and narrow views. Ifá is not impressed with our level of knowledge no matter what it is. Were you born with this knowledge? Didn’t you learn and acquire your Ifá knowledge because you were fortunate enough to have someone with patience, skill, care and knowledge to teach you? And if you learned it due to the training, teachings and kindness of another, then where is the place for pride and boasting? Ifá is impressed only by our humility, simple faith, love, reverence and devotion. When Òrúnmìlà received divine knowledge and power from Olodumare to guide and teach the irunmole-orisa and humanity there was no boasting or pride in him. Òrúnmìlà never asked for this blessing. Olodumare gave it to him without Òrúnmìlà asking, because of the humility, guilelessness, fearless, courageous, straightforward and truthful nature of Òrúnmìlà.
In fact it was because of his humility, unpretentious, guileless and straightforward honest ways that Olodumare set Òrúnmìlà apart to be blessed with supernal knowledge, wisdom, understanding and power! Òrúnmìlà has since remained humble, straightforward, meek, teachable and guileless. Òrúnmìlà received the unequaled gift of Ifá from Olodumare because of his transparent and uncomplicated ways. Surely you don’t think that you are more than Òrúnmìlà and therefore you have more to boast of than Òrúnmìlà? Òrúnmìlà never boasted of his position, knowledge, authority or privileges that Olodumare gave him. He never thought himself better than anyone not even his omo awo! This is why Òrúnmìlà achieved the many things he did and he is acknowledged and worshiped by millions of people the world over because he is a worshipable and worthy master (teacher). He received the blessings of power and knowledge from Olodumare because of his humility, truthfulness and genuine desire to serve and benefit others.
Òrúnmìlà approached Ifá-Olodumare as he was, without pride, without conceit, without pretending to be other than whom he was and how he was, without berating, inflating himself etc. etc. Òrúnmìlà was simply his own honest and genuine self. He became even more wonderful and humble when the gift of the knowledge and power of Ifá was bestowed upon him! This is what Ifá wants from us. This is the way to obtain true blessings and lasting divine power: humility, truthfulness, meekness and freedom from hypocrisy.
With such qualities bound together in a simple, direct and straightforward faith in Ifá we can live with deep satisfaction, peace, dignity, awe and honor, notwithstanding our human foibles, flaws and shortcomings. Ifá will cover and hide our shortcomings and he will unveil and reveal our sterling qualities and strong points.
Humility and simple faith in Ifá are greater and more important than the mere accumulation of unpracticed and unrealized knowledge. Humility and faith in the Ifá spirit of limitless light, life, love and power are the core essence of all true knowledge and the root seed of power.
Aboru Aboye Abosise to all sincere devotees and to all lovers of Ifá.
Your friend and well-wisher Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas.