ifa

FINDING MEANING, SATISFACTION, STRENGTH AND FULFILLMENT IN OUR IFÁ-ORISA FAITH AND PRACTICE

[Ifá-orisa] Finding meaning, satisfaction, strength and fulfillment in our Ifá-Orisa faith and practice.

 

[***The secret of the power, happiness, wellbeing and fulfillment of the venerable elders, priests and seers of yore.***]

[1] Having meaningful spiritual-religious dialogue or discourse with others is useful, beneficial and should be encouraged. It is a necessary and good beginning. It needs to be said at the outset that dialogue and discourse, in and of themselves, are not enough to bring another person to the platform of fullness of awakening, understanding, deep qualitative change and personal transformation. To truly be able to deeply and permanently elevate and change the immature and incomplete beliefs and undeveloped inner state of others something more than just words, dialogue and reasoning are needed. Words, dialogue and reasoning can change others superficially or for a short period of time but not at the core of their being.  We can reason, dialogue and debate without end and yet experience no true fundamental change and transformation in our lives, our thinking, our experience, our inner quality of life and our perception of reality.

[2] The fact of the matter is that we can challenge, repudiate, deny and refute certain ideas or beliefs but we cannot challenge, repudiate, deny and refute a true life changing spiritual contact and uplifting personal spiritual experience! As devotees of Ifá we will need more than just the limited power of words, logic and reasoning to convey to others the beauty, depth and power of Ifá. We need to be able to communicate meaning, power, value and understanding by a means greater than speech. We need to be able to communicate inner-spiritual reality and power directly from spirit to spirit and mind to mind. To be able to reach the heart, mind and life of others with Ifá, we have to first of all have personally experienced, must presently be experiencing, and must be established in a vital union with Ifá in our own thoughts, words and actions! Only when our own thoughts, words and actions are thoroughly permeated with direct inner-realization of the heart, mind, beauty and power of Ifá are we then able to communicate to others the fragrance, grace, light and power of Ifá beyond words. This inward union, fusion and deliberate collaboration with Ifá is what we call integrity or ìwà-tító. What is the heart and essence of ìwà-tító or integrity? Ìwà-tító is the inward, personal, deliberate and spontaneous desire to do and pursue that which is good, beautiful and pure. Ìwà-tító transcends the current ‘social morality’ which is solely motivated by fear of public disapproval or the desire for rewards.

[3] Ìwà-tító or integrity is a divine quality and power which lifts the life above blind obedience to man-made laws and man-made traditions and establishes all our thoughts, words, actions and behavior on the divine platform of truth or otito. Ìwà-tító or integrity implies perfect consistency between ones inner life and ones outer actions. When one has attained to and realized ìwà-tító ones outer life is dominated by sublime and eternal inner convictions, and there is no interval of difference between the beauty of the inner qualities of the soul in the state of ìwà-tító and the nobility of the outward deed. Ìwà-tító is the living truth, essence and actuality of a person. Ìwà-tító is the truth of Ifá internalized, realized, fully expressed and thoroughly lived. Ìwà-tító which is born of Ifá consciousness transcends mere theories and platitudes. Ìwà-tító is always being in unity with, in harmony with, in complete conformity with Ifá truth, light, understanding, conduct and behavior. The life in ìwà-tító is not artificial, neither is it something imposed upon ones life from without. It is not something contrived and it is not something that one enters into by compulsion, force, sense of obligation or coercion. Ìwà-tító is the flowering, awakening and maturing of a soul that is determined to live by truth only and who has completely abandoned all falsity, hypocrisy, superficiality and shallowness. When one is completely fed up with the foolishness, hypocrisy, deception and lies that one has seen in others, and more importantly when one is fed up with the foolishness, hypocrisy, deception and lies in one’s own life and one wants nothing more to do with it, this is the evidence that the seed of ìwà-tító has awakened in us and that the life of Ifá is being integrated into our being. The free, deliberate and intentional union and collaboration of ones inner being and essence with Ifá, this is integrity or iwa-tito. This is why true Ifá realization, spirituality and religion cannot be professionalized and commercialized.

[4] There is a great danger and loss involved in professionalizing Ifá. Ifá is not profession, Ifá is devotion and vocation. Ifá is personal consecration. Ifa is a path of self-mastery, empowerment and service to others. Ifá means delighting in living a life of order, consistency, transparency and discipline. There is a great danger and loss in attempting to commercialize Ifá, because when we undertake the commercialization of Ifá wisdom, power, spirituality and lifestyle, we inadvertently kill the very spirit, grace, virtue and power of Ifá in our own lives. Through commercializing and professionalizing Ifá lifestyle, religion and spirituality we inadvertently sever ourselves from the nourishing, sustaining, enlightening and life-giving power of Ifá.

[5] Ifá is continual remembrance and experience of the divine. Ifá is the continual nourishing of our spirit, strengthening of our souls and enlightening of our minds. Ifá is the spirit of selfless service to our fellow man, our family and community. Ifá intends to build up wholesome, vibrant and healthy spiritual people and communities. Ifá is never in need, Ifá is never in want and Ifá will never cease to be. This is an eternal fact, but we as individuals can find ourselves outside the provision bestowing power of Ifá and outside the life giving and protective potency of Ifá when we refuse to allow Ifá to penetrate deeply into the core of our being and life to do his spiritual work there! We have Ifá verses and knowledge in our minds and/or memory but not in our heart, spirit, intentions, will and actions. We might know Ifá protocol and procedures and yet be lacking divine asé (grace, power and virtue)! To have Ifá partially is to have nothing! For Ifá to have only a part of us is also undesirable and regrettable. We have to embrace Ifáyelele (Ifá understanding, faith and practice) in its entirety. Only by embracing Ifáyelele can we personally know and understand what it really means to fulfill our destiny and who and what we really are. Ifá has to have the totality of our being.

[6] Our spiritual ancestors enjoyed greater inner peace, charismatic spiritual powers, simplicity, longevity and greater harmony than we do today. Our spiritual ancestors lived straightforward, meaningful and satisfying lives even though they lacked many of the modern conveniences, amenities and technological blessings that we have today.

[7] Why did the ancients experience the quick acting and quick manifesting power of Ifá regularly, whereas today we see few people actually having and enjoying true spiritual inner changes, improvements and uplifting lasting transformations in their lives? Why do we not see the great virtue of Ifá manifested on a regular basis in the lives of individual Ifá devotees and Ifá communities? This is happening because worldwide a spirit of selfishness, self-preoccupation, artificiality, blind faith (unexamined faith), superstitious beliefs, fantasy (delusion) and superficiality has been accepted and adopted by a great majority of humanity, which they then carry with them to their respective religious beliefs, communities and spiritual traditions. The spirit of vanity, superficiality, conceit, arrogance, artificiality, rudeness, materialism, commercialism and faithlessness has penetrated into what was once a vibrant and satisfying spiritual life. Yes. Many in the Ifá community and the various Orisa traditions are living diseased moral-spiritual lives by their own choice, and others by willful heedlessness and ignorance. Many do not really love Ifá or intend to live a wholesome Ifá lifestyle. What they want to attempt to do is to use Ifá and the Irunmole-Orisa to promote their own unspiritual and hypocritical interests. This is why Ifá conceals himself, withholds and hides his true meaning, virtue and power from the lives of such people. Such disingenuous ones can never know, understand and experience the true reality, mystery, sweetness, meaning and power of Ifá.

[8] Many are quick to point their fingers at others and many are quick to highlight the flaws and blemishes which they see or think they see in others, but they are slow and reluctant to look deeply and objectively at themselves to acknowledge that they too are at fault for contributing to the degradation, demoralization, corruption and materialization (commercialization) of our great and spiritual tradition. Many are slow to acknowledge the superficiality, hypocrisy, double-dealing, insincerity and dishonesty in their own lives. Such ones are responsible from taking and stripping away from others their initial sense, appreciation and perception of the beauty, power, sufficiency and gracefulness of Ifá. Many feel justified in pursuing less than honest practices because according to them others are also doing it! This is the so-called spiritual strength, outlook, virtue  and practice of many so-called leaders and so-called pillars of the Ifá-Orisa community! My face becomes reddened with embarrassment just to think about it. Only with the light, truth and power of Ifá that we personally have and carry within us, and daily express outwardly via our attitude, demeanor, conduct and behavior can we deeply change others, correct (heal) others and impart power filled saving knowledge that will penetrate to the core the lives of those who approach us for divine comfort, understanding, solutions, hope and meaning. You cannot live and base your life on the light and power of Ifá that is in another. You can surely warm yourself, be encouraged by, be illuminated and strengthened by the light of Ifá that is in another person in whose heart the life, power and light of Ifá dwells, but if you do not learn from this person how to fill your own life with the light, power and life of Ifá, then you will always be at the mercy of circumstances, situations and other people and you will not know true strength, stability, self-sustaining power and confidence. If the light, truth, compassion and power of Ifá does not live in you, does not burn brightly in you, and does not freely flow through your thoughts, actions, will and words then nothing you do will be beneficial, lasting, remarkable, authentic and life changing.

[9] Serve Ifá with love, by love and for love. Give yourself the opportunity to experience true change, uplifting and lasting transformation through your wholehearted and loved filled devotion to Ifá. Ifá is love manifested in the beginning. Ifá is love manifested in the middle. Ifá is love manifested in the end. You cannot commercialize and professionalize love. You cannot take ownership of the divine power and activity Ifá. You cannot take credit for the divine action, the wisdom, the intelligence, the kindness and the power of Ifá. You can only respectfully love, serve and rightly represent Ifá. You can choose to collaborate with Ifá or you can choose to not collaborate with Ifá. Ifá can dwell in your heart, life and mind, or you can choose to live without the indwelling presence, light and power of Ifá. For those who want to enjoy this intimate union with Ifá and who want to know for themselves the greatness, efficacy, depth and power of Ifá, there is only one path to pursue: Ìwà-tító or divine (sublime) integrity.

[10] How can you have faith in what you have not personally seen or experienced? How can someone highly recommend to others something that they have not personally known, benefitted by or enjoyed for themselves? Our faith and confidence in Ifá has to be progressive and it must be based on real and not imagined personal experiences and not pious fabrications. Real faith, confidence and assurance are born from, and can only be had from real experiences and benefits received from Ifá. Until we have seen Ifá face-to-face we will not be able to truly love, trust and confide in Ifá. Ifá faith is based solely on the evidence of personal experience and the real quantifiable benefits we have received and that others can perceive we have received.

[11] Begin by initiating yourself into ìwà-tító and continue re-initiating yourself in ìwà-tító or integrity. Just like one pours fine oil out of a container without breaking the continuity of the thread of the flowing oil, in like manner we should continue without breaking the continuity of the thread of the sacred holy oil of ìwà-tító or integrity.

[12] What a beautiful, intelligent, faithful, kind, honest, hardworking and graceful woman is to a respectable and deserving man, so is the person of ìwà-tító to Ifá.

[13] What a handsome, intelligent, faithful, kind, honest, hardworking and charismatic man is to a respectable and deserving woman, so is the person of ìwà-tító to Ifá.

[14] Just like our soul joins and holds our spirit and body together, in like manner does ìwà-tító or integrity join and hold together our life with the Life of Ifá.

[15] If we follow the path of ìwà-tító, Ifá will heal our conscience, Ifá will cleanse our heart and Ifá will fill us with abiding peace, health and power [spiritual-vitality]. If we follow the courageous path of ìwà-tító or the Ifá path of integrity, then Ela and Òrúnmìlà will reveal and manifest themselves and their power personally to us.

[16] The heart, essence, foundation and core mystery of Ifá can be captured, understood and expressed in the following esoteric secret:

 

***Without sacrifice there is no reward.***

Please think deeply about the significance, importance and practicality of the above esoteric secret and relate and apply it to your life:

***Without sacrifice [effort, toil, continual work, personal commitment, personal initiative, perseverance and determination] there is no reward [there can be no reward, fulfillment, satisfaction and true happiness].

This is the essence, core, central and foundational spiritual root of Ifá. If one understands this one singular truth, embraces it, internalizes it and practices it, one will break through to unanticipated victory, triumph, success, fulfillment and prosperity.

Do you want to know the secret to success, achievement, prosperity and success? Do you want to know the key to guaranteed self-mastery? Do you want to know the remedy to your challenges, difficulties and dissatisfaction?

No sacrifice no reward.

No sacrifice no reward.

No sacrifice no reward.

According to your sacrifice so is your reward. Look at your life as it is at the present and reflect  [recall and look] to the past to see what sacrifice or sacrifices have you made or what sacrifice or sacrifices have you not made. Our present life condition is directly correlated with the degree, frequency and quality of our past and recent sacrifices or our lack of genuine sacrifices.

No sacrifice. No reward.

No sacrifice. No reward.

No sacrifice. No reward.

This is the heart, core, essence and foundational mystery of Ifá and of your essential being. Please think about this deeply and let it penetrate into the depths of your spirit.  Let it nourish the root of your being. This is the teaching, mystery, empowerment and lesson that will resolve your life problems and will undo the knots of doubt, uncertainty, unclarity and confusion and remove them from your life. This is a message for people of resolve and self-initiative. This is where the true magic is. This is the spiritual work that will set you free and make your self-reliant, confident, successful and strong. Apply this message and you will succeed in breaking through the fetters that have been holding you down, restricting you and limiting you.

Come what may continue to make the sacrifice and your rewards will be immeasurably great, fulfilling and satisfying.

Èlà takun wa gureh!

Èlà takun wa gureh!

Èlà takun wa gureh!

 

Èlà-Òrúnmìlà mo yin Aboru!

Èlà-Òrúnmìlà mo yin Aboye!

Èlà-Òrúnmìlà mo yin Abosise!

 

~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas /!!!\ A.O.M.C. /!!!\

spiritualMaturity

PRESSING FORWARD WITH A MATURE UNDERSTANDING OF SPIRITUAL REALITIES:

Having a Spiritual Comprehension and Appreciation of the Orisa. The relation of Olódùmarè with the Orisa.

Aboru Aboye. Ogbo ato asure iworiwofun. Àse.
The law of creation is one of progress, development, expansion and unfoldment. We cannot remain stagnant in our spiritual unfoldment neither can we be satisfied with an undeveloped and immature understanding of spiritual realities. We have to grow. We have to progress. We need a fresh vision for our times just like the ancients had a corresponding vision for their own times. We cannot live by the vision of the ancients because their vision was intended for them and not for us. We need to have a vision of our own that meets our needs in the today and now.
By vision I mean a clear, satisfying, harmonious and accurate understanding of things. We must acquire a satisfying, inspiring, healthy and lofty comprehension of spiritual matters. We cannot remain locked in the past understanding of the ancients because as wonderful, knowledgeable and venerable as the ancients were they did not know it all. They expressed divine realities according to the historical reality of their times, according to their needs and according to their particular individual and collective level of intellectual and spiritual development and capacity. They understood divine realties according to their individual and collective capacity which were at different and various levels of development and understanding. The ancients opened the door for us to enter the spiritual realities. They left it to us to enter and to continue to grow, to develop the tradition, to make new discoveries and to acquire a better understanding of things. They had a glimpse of divine realities and took in as much as they were able and needed according to their circumstances, needs and aspirations. The ancients had exceptional understanding of many things in part and in part they held views that quite honestly were just superstitious or based on misunderstanding, fear of the unknown and/or lack of clarity.  They were at the beginning of making an effort to understand the things they had perceived and experienced. They did not have an accurate or complete understanding of things in regard to all the things they spiritually perceived and experienced.
We cannot fault them because they simply were where they were in their individual and collective capacities. They were learning, and each individual according to his personal interest and effort was going through the stages of spiritual growth beginning from spiritual infancy and working their way to spiritual adulthood or maturity. The life of the ancients was not as comfortable as our lives are today. They had to struggle to make a living and survive in ways that perhaps we could never be able to relate to. They faced many challenges, difficulties and problems greater than the ones we experience in modern times. So we have to value the efforts of the ancients in preserving the heritage of orisa spirituality and we must value the compendium of spiritual data that they compiled and communicated via oral transmission and via the method of spiritual rites of empowerment. We are also indebted to the ancients for preserving the diverse àse of the orisa so that we might derive benefit, power, healing, illumination and uplift by receiving these àse orisa to complement our ori through the divinely sanctioned initiatory processes. The ancients made their initial spiritual discoveries and communicated to us their understanding of these realities per the individual and collective capacities of the times and per the stage of spiritual unfoldment that they had until then acquired.
Tradition is a living reality based on discovery, experience and observation. Tradition must grow, evolve and renew [refresh] itself to accommodate itself to the present times. We must continue our spiritual work and investigations where the ancients left off. The ancients did not intend for us to receive their outlook and to etch them in stone as something not subject to subsequent investigation, study, development and adjustment. What they gave us was simply a starting point that they intended us to continue to develop and bring to maturity, greater efficiency and clarity.
There has been research, study, practice, new discoveries, new applications, development of more accurate understandings and progress in all areas of knowledge like math, art, science, medicine, physiology, neurology, anthropology, archeology, carpentry, architecture, agriculture, technology, psychology etc. etc.
The only area of knowledge that has not kept pace with the other sciences or fields of knowledge is spiritual science. Spiritual science has lagged behind the other sciences. But why? Simply because there is little interest in studying, developing and practicing divine spirituality which is the supreme or perfecting science. Divine spirituality is about self-improvement, and to be painfully honest people are reluctant to pursue the path of self-improvement, self-correction and spiritual refinement. Isese or divine tradition is a sacred science that is subject to study, development and the acquiring of clearer understanding of spiritual realities and practical applications like all other sciences, but there has to be a personal interest in this special field of knowledge. No field of knowledge develops by itself. They are developed by interested, observative, studious, clear-headed and practical people. Theory and practice must be one in regards to Ifá-Orisa spirituality or Ifá spiritual science.

IFÁ: BEWARE OF SPIRITUAL-DECEPTION

Ifá teaches and reveals to us that sincere and good hearted people are rare, and that truthful and authentic people are rarer still. Ifá also teaches us that the majority of people prefer lies, make-believe and fantasy over truth, authencity and reality. Ifá teaches and reveals that for every thousand people maybe twenty people out of the thousand are true, genuine, authentic and complete humans beings and devotees. Are you among this rare group of ‘twenty’ or are you among the majority? To which group do you belong? Do you like, pursue and live truth, authenticity and reality, or do you thrive and delight in lies, make-believe and fantasy?
It is hard to find genuine devotees and priests who are free from pretense, arrogance and ostentation. Few ‘spiritual’ people are actually spiritual in any meaningful and true sense. All love to speak about the truth but very very few are interested in living it, practicing it and embodying it. Many have a great appearance of spiritual knowledge, authority and piety but the truth of the matter is that it is all a sham, a fake-appearance, an illusion and a deception. They have the appearance of a great fruit bearing tree, but in fact their spiritual roots rotted away a long time ago. My dear Ifá friends and family look around and what do you see in the so-called spiritual arena. Be honest. Everything has become about pride, conceit, money and unmerited [undeserved and unearned] recognition. The blind leading the blind. The blind following the blind. The power hungry following the power hungry. The liar following other liars. The deluded pursuing deeper delusions!
Who really cares about Ifá? Who really cares about irunmole-orisa? Who really cares about iwa [wholesole character], otito [truthfulness] and iwa-tito [integrity]? How many are really aware of the reality and power of Ifá and the irunmole-orisa? I would say few. Sometimes I really wonder why some people initiate into Ifá, into irunmole-orisa and ogboni? If someone really believes in the reality, power and authority of Ifá, of irunmole-orisa and Edan [Onile Ogboduora] how can they practice and pursue deception, cheating and lying? Don’t these people know that it is only a matter of time before Ifá, the irunmole-orisa and Edan [Onile Ogboduora] call them to account to receive a stern and unpalatable discipline and punishment? Do they really think that they can keep playing with Ifá, with irunmole-orisa, with Edan [Onile Ogboduora] and not receive their just punishment and correction? Do they really think that they can keep cheating, lying and taking advantage of sincere, good-hearted and innocent people and not be punished and corrected for their injustice? Do they really think that they can keep playing around with the hearts, minds and lives of sincere, suffering and needy people and not get their just rewards? Do these people really think that they can bribe and cover over the eyes of Ifá and the irunmole-orisa with their unacceptable and offensive offerings and sacrifices? Do these people think that just because Ifá and the irunmole-orisa are loving and kind that Ifá and the irunmole-orisa will not discipline, correct and punish them accordingly and in just measure to their doings? Ifá and the irunmole-orisa are just and the upholders of order, uprightness, fairness and justice. Do these people know this and believe this?!
A honest, sincere and good hearted devotee has peace of mind and has nothing to fear. But how can a lying, cheating, scheming, duping and manipulative ‘devotee’ have peace of mind and a smile on his face? Doesn’t he know that his own lying, cheating, scheming, duping and manipulating is coming back his way with ten-fold intensity. Where are the real devotees and priests? They are few in number and far between. The religion and spirituality of many in our Ifá-Orisa community is nothing more than pride, conceit and arrogance. Behind the high sounding names, titles, regalias, religious garments and beads there is only corruption, deception, lies, hollowness, hypocrisy and falsity. Imagine that, a tree with rotted roots promising others fruit!!! Everywhere one looks, with few exceptions, one sees only pretend, fake, simulated and superficial pseudo-spirituality!! Even the ones who consider themselves spiritual seekers have no idea of what spirituality really is! Such ones are always talking about and seeking what they have no intention in actually living!! How strange, confusing and sad this is.
It is hard, in fact, almost impossible to find real and authentic devotees and priests today. Many are happy and full of pride by just wearing a cheap veneer [superficial, fake and imitation appearance] of true and genuine spiritual knowledge and legitimate authority. Òrúnmìlà says out of 1000 people who consider themselves devotees only 20 are genuine devotees, or for every 100 people only two people are true devotees and priests! This is what Òrúnmìlà says. Today deception, lies and make-believe are promoted as spirituality!! And not only do many believe these foolish deceptions, fantasies and lies but they also pay for them [buy them]  with much enthusiasm with their hard earned money!! One oftentimes does not even get a glimpse of honesty and integrity. Selfishness, robbery and chicanery reigns supreme practically everywhere. Instead of saying that they are devotees of Ifá and irunmole-orisa these people should be honest for at least once in their lives and say that they don’t really believe in anything, or they should say that they are devotees of conceit, arrogance, pretense and deception. By so doing they would at least be speaking the truth for once according to who and what they really are on the inside.
My Ifá friends and family, those of you who really love Ifá, the irunmole-orisa and the isese, we cannot change the ways of these deceptive and fake people but let us not encourage them by following and imitating their ways. Ifá has always counted with few true followers. Be among this few. Be a true, shining and priceless diamond among the heaps of black coal that we see today. Let us live our truth and devotion with 100% sincerity and purity. If only 100 initiates genuinely live and practice the truth of Ifá with consistency, integrity and courage then the entire community would be spiritually regenerated and renewed. Be a 100% truthful and honest devotee. Truth and lies cannot be mixed. Anyone attempting to do this will injure and destroy themselves. Be a true devotee and a true priest or be nothing at all. Be a follower and devotee of the truth. The truth rewards and compensates its devotee with immeasurable blessings and benefits. The lie does not reward or compensate its follower with anything good, beneficial or satisfying. In the end the lie consumes, destroys and eats the life of its devotee. Please think these things over with a sober, realistic and sincere mind. Be mindful of the fact that as you read these words that Ifá and the irunmole-orisa are also present with you as witnesses of your reception of this instruction, admonition and teaching.
Ifá and the irunmole-orisa seek your wellbeing, peace and happiness and the wellbeing, peace and happiness of others. What you do with this instruction is up to you. What quality and kind of consequences and repercussions you experience is up to you. If you follow the good counsel of Ifá then be prepared to receive blessings upon blessings. If you neglect, ignore and go contrary to the good counsel of Ifá then be prepared to receive your own self-inflicted wounds, pain and misery. Please desist from all that is hurtful and injurious to yourself and others. Do not cheat, deceive and manipulate others. If your path is not right then this is the perfect time to set things right and make a full correction. According to your deliberate and intentional actions so will Ifá and the irunmole-orisa impartially reward you. The good will reap the fruit of his goodness. The shameless and liars will receive and be fully rewarded with the fruit of their deception and evil. What you put out is what you will unfailingly receive many times over. Everything has a limit. You’ve been admonished and warned in good time. While you have the time and opportunity please correct yourself and your ways, for the sake of your own happiness, peace and wellbeing, if your life and ways are not right before it is too late for you. If your deception, falsity and hypocrisy are severe, and you refuse to abandon them then be prepared to receive a severe and unpalatable discipline, punishment and correction. Be afraid of your evil actions because evil consequences are attached to them. Your own evil, deception and malice will reprove and punish you.
Oruko Odumare ni ka fi iyin fun.
~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas.
spiritual_world - ancestral-pride-temple

THE SPIRITUAL WORLD AND SACRIFICIAL RITES

The spiritual world can be described as the permanent abode of all living creatures. Therefore the spiritual world consists of the dwelling place of Olodumare (The Supreme Being -God), divinities (Irunmole), diverse kinds and races of spirits, the pre-mortal spirits of unborn human beings, ancestral spirits and malevolent forces. The spirit world is not empty, featureless and formless. In fact our world is a small reflection of the vivid visual beauty and wonder of the spirit world. In the spirit world there are spiritual natural landscapes like a special  sacred places, homes, roads, mountains, rivers and market places and many other things. All of these things actually exist in the spiritual world. The things that exist in our world (physical universe) of physical creation also exist in the spiritual realm of creation. Besides these things there are inconceivable, awe-inspiring and and mysterious worlds, classes and races of spiritual beings, potencies, powers and energies. There are countless realms of existence in the spiritual realm. There are countless spiritual worlds and planets.



Olodumare is the beneficient ruler of the spiritual and physical worlds. All other beings without exception are subject to Olodumare (God).
The unique and diverse spirit beings, spiritual intelligences and powers, the pre-mortal spirits of  unborn human beings, divinities, ancestral spirits and other wonderful creatures display the same varied range of emotions, feelings, thoughts and actions in the same manner in heaven as it is displayed and expressed on earth.
Consultation of Ifá played a large role in determining harmonization in the spiritual world. Ifá is consulted not only on earth but also in the divine spirit world. There are many spiritual worlds and spiritual planets where Ifá is consulted. Yes, there are divine priests and divine priestesses of Ifá in the divine spiritual world. The priests and priestess consult Ifá at their temples, holy shrines, homes and market places for those who seek the guidance of the Ifá oracle to follow the advice of the oracle thus increasing their good fortune and avoiding misfortune.
Yoruba spirituality consist of a series of original and incorporated concepts that evolved over the millennia . Olodumare, Irunmole and Ancestors were integrally woven together in the social order of things. Edumare (God Almighty) granted the requests of living creatures in heaven to visit the physical world.



Sacrifice is necessary to enlist the aid of benevolent forces and to avoid malevolent forces. Through sacrifice undesirable outcomes are avoided, deflected and transcended. Sacrifice empowers and enables the desired prayer, incantation or invocation to become effective. Prayer or invocation and sacrifice are. inseparable. Thus to only pray for a desired outcome without accompanying sacrifice is recocognized as an unbalanced and incomplete spiritual practice. The receiving aspect of prayer can only be balanced by the giving or offering of sacrifice.
Ifá says:
‘‘Asefin awo won lode Ibaigbo.
Adifa fun won lode Ibaigbo
Ebbo won ni ki won se
Nje, asefin o de o
Awo ode Ibaigbo
Eni to ba pe asefin ni ebbo re yio da.’’
Translation:
‘‘Asefin the priest of Ibaigbo
Cast divination for people the of Ibaigbo kingdom.
They were asked to make sacrifice so that their prayer will be answer. Thus, Asefin has become the priest of Ibaigbo. He who called upon Asefin
that the sacrifice/prayer be accepted.’’
Sacrifice is the enabling (activating) component that makes prayer or invocation to be accepted and to manifest. Sacrifice and propitiatory rites (ebbo) are made to Olodumare, ancestors, deities, malevolent spirit forces and other spiritual forces to receive the requested wish.



Sacrifice is performed after consultation of Ifá Oracle or other means of divine inquiry like cowry-shells called Erindilogun which are frequently used by Orisa priestesses and priests. The Oracle would reveal what sacrifice was required to be done to tackle the present situation, either bad or good. Sacrifice corrects, adjusts, modifies and heals the situation so that what was not ideal or good becomes ideal, good and better.
The sacrifice can be performed with animate or inanimate objects or materials. An example of some  of the inanimate objects that could be used would be cloth, cowries, water, plants, and so forth. While the animate ranges from small creatures such as different forms of birds and larger creatures like four legged-animals (goat, sheep, dog, and so forth).
It is only when a prayer has been answered that happiness and praises can be seen as it’s result.
Ifá says in Okanran Yeku:
“Wara wara orun ope adifa fun yeye olomo metadilogun won ni korubo nitori aiku omo re,
Ikan yi ko ku ara mi, ire wa wo orun a yo se se.”
Commentary:
“It was sacrifice that made the prayer of yeye olomo metadilogun to manifest, and she was joyous because she never loses any of her children.
Conclusively, sacrifice is most important in our day to day activities.’’
The only way that we can live a better and fulfilling life and/or lifestyle is to develop a habit of making sacrifice. Sacrifice could be spiritual or physical as Yoruba Elders will always say “ara gbe ni ile aiye”. meaning to live a fulfilling live ,it has a price to be paid.
Spiritual sacrifices are the one that involve the deities and ancestors. They serve as intermediaries between humankind and Olodumare.



While physical sacrifice can be generous material (temporal) giving or serviceable gifts of medicine,
food, clothing and money given out in the form of humanitarian services without been conceited, hypocritical or boastful about it. As a matter of fact it is obvious that to live a fulfilled life both forms of sacrifice must be put into practice and both must be taken into consideration. Both forms must be engaged in and not just one. Both forms complement and complete the earth. We have to bring it to the forefront our minds that spiritual living and understanding,  supercedes the physical or materialistic or non-spiritual living and understanding. One more thing needs to be said. No kind of ebo will be effective, accepted or approved if our lives are far removed from good character (iwa Pele)
Iwa Pele : good character, integrity, truthfulness, gentleness and honesty, all of these together are the activating power of all ebo. Without iwa as a permanent feature of our thoughts, words and actions no spiritual activities will find acceptance before Olodumare and Irunmole-Orisa and no spiritual activities will yield positive results.
May Olodumare accept all our sincere spiritual and physical (temporal) sacrifices which have been blended, bound and mixed with iwa. Asé.



By: Oluwo Fasola Faniyi
Priest @ Ancestral Pride Temple, Ota.
divine truth - ancestralpride

THE DIVINE TRUTH OF MORAL-SPIRITUAL PROGRESSION

The authentic devotee of Ifá is easily identified by his or her moral-spiritual transformation. Ifá comes into our lives to bestow divine grace, peace, resolve, meaning, intelligence, inner-strength, purity and love.
These divine blessings and powerful endowments are given to us to enable and embolden us in our effort to pursue and gain Ifáyelele (divine awakening, harmony, fulfillment and moral-spiritual-emotional-intellectual maturity). The [true] follower of Ifá can be discerned by the efforts he or she makes to uproot unwholesome tendencies and habits and replace them with divine and wholesome habits.
The enlightened Ifá devotee is never content or satisfied with his or her present moral-spiritual level but is always laboring, pressing forward and exerting himself or herself to acquire new moral-spiritual terrain (continual inner growth, virtue, understanding and purer love). An Ifá devotee delights to strive to attain ever increasing and higher levels of divine grace, sanctity, purity, character, wisdom and power.
To remain stagnant or stationary in ones moral-spiritual unfoldment is to retrogress and lose spiritual ground. A river that somehow or other becomes stationary or stagnant soon becomes the breeding ground of disease, weakness, illness, stench and death, but a dynamic and ever flowing river maintains tenacity, health, sweetness, life and vitality.  Continual advancement and unceasing joyous effort is the clarion call of Ifá to its initiates.




Until we reach the state or condition of non-retrogression (firm, solid, stable, unwavering, abiding and consistent moral-spiritual maturity) there will always be the risk, chance or possibility of losing what level of moral-spiritual advancement we have made due to negligence, complacency, lack of perseverence and lack of strong determination. Only when we run the race legitimately and cross the finish line can we be considered true (spiritual) athletes, winners, champions, warriors and masters (masters of our own self, not other people).
The mature and illuminated devotee understands that to continually grow morally and spiritually is the root, foundation and aim of all Ifá studies and practices. This spiritual process of growth and development cannot be had by proxy. Inner growth and development is obtained by personal determined effort, continual engagement, honest self-analysis and consistent exercise.
No one can give you their well and hard earned intellectual-spiritual divine capacities, intelligence, character, gracefulness and inner spiritual-powers. These things cannot be bought, sold or simply given. They must be earned and acquired through personal consistent study, continual reflection and patient practice. One must qualify to obtain them. Each one must do his or her own work.
Moral-Spiritual progress is the continual fruit of diligence, hard work, self determination and personal conviction. Divine grace empowers us and Divine Wisdom informs us but we must do the work. There are no short cuts and no possibility of skipping steps or side stepping divinely arranged lessons.


Ifá shows us the path to follow and walk upon. Ifá gives us the just measure of instruction and provides us with provisions (diverse kinds of asé) for the journey, but we ourselves must perseveringly, patiently and determinedly walk the path from its beginning to its ends by the strength and power of continual self-initiative.Ifá   will walk with you but Ifá will not carry you on his shoulders and do your necessary work for you.
Ifá has one part and you have the other. You work together. Your personal effort, consecration, sustained enthusiasm, self-renewing initiative, thoughtfulness and participation is essential. This is why there is no need and no point to be made in comparing oneself to others. You do not know and cannot know the inner life, spiritual history and trajectory of anyone. You can only truly know and discern your own. We are all on our own unique and individual path.You alone are responsible for your moral-spiritual progress. You alone are responsible for your lack of moral-spiritual progress. You alone carry the responsibility to promote your own spiritual well being, health and happiness.
Other qualifed, empowered and mature people can help and assist you but the responsibility rests upon you. It is your choice whether you will progress or not. It is your practiced determination which will advance you forward. It is your choice and action that determines  what kind of person you are and will become. Yours alone.
Imitating others on their personal spiritual path will not help you. You have to find, discover  and discern your own authentic, original and correct personal spiritual path and you must follow it wholeheartedly irrespective of whether others approve of it or not, and irrespective of whether you will be accompanied by others or not.  No person can limit you except yourself.
The greater your personal aspiration, inspiration, ideal and insight, the more you can and will attain, if you so choose to actively pursue YOUR DIVINE IDEAL. One of the greatest secrets or greatest spiritual discoveries that all sincere aspirants eventually make is:
‘That all times, situations and/or circumstances are ideal, just right and perfect to make genuine progress and to acquire purity (singularity of purpose), understanding, virtue, divine power and deep wisdom. It is not our environment or circumstances that determines who we are and what we can and will become. It is our attitude, disposition, personal chosen outlook, determination and quality of personal self-confidence that determines our inner and outer achievements and success.’



Olodumare created us with the power of will and the ability to think and choose the path we will follow. Our will, choices and actions determine whether we are living our lives with a progressive mentality or a retarding (retrograde) mentality.
Olodumare has given us the power of self-dominance if we choose to exert it or we can relegate ourselves to the self imposed status of victims of circumstance. Do not victimize yourself and subject yourself to self-pity which is nothing more than a subtle manifestation of selfishness and laxity. Be strong. Be resilient. Know and honor your true divine pedigree and identity! We are not strong or weak by artifice. We are strong or weak by our own will and choice. By our own will we decide if we are going to be determined, successful, persevering and enthusiastic or not.
Through self dominance we have grace, wisdom, freedom and power to master the negative and destructive emotions that arise within us. These negative, destructive potentialities and defilements that arise within us are represented by Oyeku.
We must know that we are able to receive the light, love, power and life of Olodumare within us as represented by Ogbe.
This principle of moral agency, choice and self-determination is seen in Holy Odu Ifá Ogunda Meji:
‘The Core Of The Tree Does Not Call For Water (was the name of the awo) who consulted Ifá for, When All Men Will Give Account In Heaven (before Olodumare).’
‘If it is good you do then continue to do good. If you engage in evil deeds immediately desist from them because the hand will speak (reveal your actions) and the leg will give account (will reveal your activities).’
‘You will account (before Olodumare) for ALL YOUR DEEDS which you practiced on earth.’
Holy Odu Ifa Otua Aira:
‘It is what Ifa expects of us that we should say. Let us speak (and practice) the truth.’
‘It is he that speaks (and practices) the truth that Olodumare will uphold. Let us speak (and do) the truth.’
‘It is he that speaks (and practices) the truth that Irunmole will uphold.’
‘It is he that speaks (practices) the truth that the Earth will uphold.’



Holy Odu Ogunda-Bede:
‘Falsehood will cause the death of a liar.’
‘Treachery will cause the death of the deceitful one.’
‘Whatever we choose to do, even if it is beneath the earths surface (hidden from people) the (limitless) eyes of Olodumare will see them all.’
‘These were Ifá’s declaration to, ‘He who stole at midnight and said the kings of the earth would not see him.’
‘Even if earthly kings (human authorities and agencies) do not see you, the eyes of Olodumare are surely watching you.
Holy Odu Oyeku Ofun:
‘Honest people are rare. Good people are rarer still. Ifá sees the intentions of the heart. Those who practice what is good, Olodumare knows who they are.’
We have been endowed by Olodumare to a remarkable degree with the ability to choose our course in this world and the quality and kind of person we will be. The essential and fundamental  nature of human beings is Ogbe (light, clarity, increase, progress, fluidity and life). But in His wisdom Olodumare has provisionally introduced the training element of Oyeku (darkness, unclarity, decrease, decline, resistance and death) as a sort of spiritual weight or sparring (training) partner so that we can exercise, develop and strengthen our moral-spiritual muscles and our intellectual-intuitive faculties.
Through the interaction and interplay of Ogbe and Oyeku; moral agency, choice, satisfying selection, achievement and intelligent effort is made possible. Through the interaction and interplay of the Ogbe and Oyeku principles the arena is set for the will to be able to exercise, develop and realize itself.
So, who are you? You are what you pursue, practice and associate with inwardly and outwardly. You are your cultivated and nurtured affinities. Our fundamental nature or essence by creation is Ogbe. This means that the root, core and foundation of our being is of the essence of actual fundamental and potential goodness. While our inner essence is goodness itself this goodness means nothing if it is not challenged, cultivated, tested or proved and intentionally appreciated and desired.
You have to want to be and actually be, by your own decisions, thoughts, choices and actions, demonstrably good. It is a fact that from apple seeds new apple trees are born and from the trees new apple fruits are obtained. But if this seed is not cared for, protected, watered and nourished it will not even become a young creeper much less a fruit bearing tree.
Not only the seed but the soil upon which it grows must be prepared. Weeds, stones, fungus and harmful insects must be continuously removed. Even when the tree grows and matures it has to be pruned so as to ensure future productivity. The apples you eat do not reach you by chance or accident. Someone intentionally took care of the soil, of the seed, of the tree, nurtured and cultivated it.
In like manner you have to intentionally and responsibly nurture and cultivate your innate fundamental Ogbe nature. It needs to be said the Oyeku is not our enemy but a veiled friend. Oyeku can seem like a harsh and hard taskmaster but this is not the case. The heart of Oyeku is pure compassion. Oyeku holds out noble prospects for us but these must be worked for and earned. Oyeku comes along aside us and within us to challenge us and to offer us countless opportunities and occasions for moral-spiritual growth.
When we at times feel the sting of Oyeku is only because we are looking and drifting away from Ogbe. Oyeku is the strict and unwavering disciplinarian who trains us up and leads us to true freedom, the freedom of being mature, enlightened, disciplined and responsible people. Without enlisting the support of Oyeku, Ogbe cannot fulfil its task in regard to our moral-spiritual and emotional-intellectual training, development and education.
The manifestations of Oyeku like adversity, challenges, stressful situations and difficulties are for our ultimate good. It is not the fact of adversity, challenges, stressful situations and difficulties which injures us but it is our attitude, outlook and response to these that determines whether we gain benefit and advancement or experience loss and decline in our moral-spiritual development. These moments of challenge, difficulty and endurance reveal to us who we presently are and where we are in our spiritual unfoldment. They don’t make us who we are. We choose who and how we are by our attitudes and responses towards life challenges as well as by our developing perception of our own selves.
Moral-spiritual unfoldment is not glamorous or flashy. In fact one will experience many dry seasons and seemingly unfruitful seasons in ones spiritual career of divine ascent. To achieve deep inner transformation, divine gracefulness and god-like character is a work in progress which requires steady commitment, patience and perseverance especially during the dry and seamingly uneventful seasons. Steer away from superficiality and superficial (morally-spiritually uncultivated) people. Steer away from attitudes of laxity, complacency and laziness. Don’t try to jump steps or side step necessary lessons. Don’t fall into the contemporary practice of being a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Honor your life and calling. Resist the urge to be impulsive and the habit of being a people pleaser. Stop jumping here and there and develop strong, firm and deep spiritual roots. You lament and wish there were more real and genuine spiritual devotee’s. Well become one. Be one.
Achieve this for your own advancement and for the benefit of those who are seeking for the truth and its genuine representatives. Do not complain, bicker or lament, instead take steps to elevate your life condition above that which is mediocre, superficial (fake), insubstantial and unsatisfactory.
No one can give you a superior and sublime status and inner condition. You have to develop it, work it in and cultivate it in the laboratory of your own life over many days, weeks and years. You will experience and have many highs and lows, ups and downs, and many moments of ecstasy and tears in relation to your moral-spiritual progress and development.
This is a normal occurence but you have to be persevering and look to the finality of your struggles and challenges. You have to recall what it is that you are working towards. A divine quality of life has to be cultivated, divinely appropriated and earned otherwise it would hold no true meaning or value. You have to earn it, work for it, to have a right to it.
Don’t look at others but instead look at yourself and what you are or are not doing with your life, privileges and opportunities. Don’t spend your time and energy assessing and criticizing others, instead fairly assess yourself and honestly criticize yourself constructively. Ifá puts before you two choices. You can choose the way of the genuine, honest and diligent aspirant (awo) or you can choose the path of the hypocrite (double minded), zig-zagging (unstable) and willfully uninformed (ogberi). The choice is yours alone to make.
Do not blame others or find fault with others for your own choices and decisions. Allow no one to take advantage of you but also ensure that you do not take advantage of anyone. Do not ask or expect from others what you do not ask or expect from yourself. Do not make demands on others to practice and do. what you yourself neglect to practice and do.
You can only give what you have. You can only suggest and ask others to do and practice the principles of truth and noble character only if you have been firmly established in them yourself for some considerable and observable time. Your words will lack moral-spiritual power, authority, healing gracefulness and uplifting potency if you are not a well cultivated embodiment of those moral-spiritual principles you espouse.
Minimize the need for excessive verbosity, instead convince and win others over by the power of your actions, behavior, attitude and conduct. How can you teach others if you have not taught yourself? How can you offer others a hope and standard that you do not have for yourself? This is the teaching and standard of Ifá.
Ela ‘boru. Ela ‘boye. Ela ‘bosise.
Your friend and well-wisher Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas.
ORI - ancestral pride temple

WHO AND WHAT IS ORISA? THE GREAT SECRET: ORI

Who and what is an orisa?
An orisha is a person, power, intelligence and energy who is with you during your time of need, struggle, melancholy and difficulty to uplift you. An orisa is a person who remains with you to comfort you until your situation improves. An orisa is a person who brings light, direction, order and clarity to your life when you are experiencing confusion, uncertainty and doubt. An orisa is a person who assists and strengthens you during your moment of need and helps you to come out of your troubles.





An orisa is a person who takes your suffering upon himself and gives you joy, peace and happiness. An orisa is a person who draws near to you in earnestness and friendship to let you know that you are not alone and who will be with you through thick and thin until he sees you through and out your problems. An orisa is a person who feels your despair, loneliness and need as if it were his own. An orisa is a person who brings sweetness, joy and hope to your life when life seems sour, sorrowful and purposeless. An orisa is a person who sympathizes with the plight of others and is able to relate and understand with what you are going through. An orisa is a person who brings compassion, brightness, cheer, hope and optimism to all he does and to all who cross his path. An orisa is a person of courage, reliability, dependability and perseverance. An orisa is a person who can be relied upon to fulfill his words, commitments and promises. An orisa is a person who is deserving of trust and confidence. An orisa is a person who carries themselves with dignity, self-respect and honor. An orisa is a person who brings out the best in you and helps you discover the goodness, value and beauty of your life.

Be an orisa…and people will always remember you, love you, support you, defend you and revere you. When you are orisa you cause others to become orisa and our world will then become a veritable realm of delightfulness, pleasantness, happiness and beauty.




THE GREAT SECRET: ORI
We may not always know what is right, correct and good for others but we may always know what is true, right, correct and good for ourselves. In addition to our basic human mind, intellect and intelligence, we have all have been gifted with and endowed with a divine monitor, guide, companion, supramundane intelligence and presence…we call it ori. This ori has been primarily given to us so that we can understand, discern and know what we personally should and must do. Our ori is our individual, unique and personal compass, map and blueprint which can and will lead us to fulfillment of divine destiny…Ifáyelele if we listen to and abide by our divine ori…holy conscience and divine intelligence. There is strength, assurance, security and stability only in being aware of our own ori and in faithfully working in harmony with our own ori. Our ori has not been given to us so that we can decide and choose for others what they should and must do. Our ori is not qualified to tell others what path they should and must walk on because our ori has been given to guide and lead us personally. Our ori has been give to us so that we might know how to direct ourselves and not necessarily to direct others. What is good and needful for you may prove to be neither good nor needful for another. Others must learn to discern and discover their own ori and must learn how to order their steps accordingly. Each one must listen to, consider, respond to and obey the truth, light and guidance of his own ori. Ori is part and parcel of Olodumare. Ori is a fragment of Olodumare which has been deposited, installed and activated within our own human mind to nourish us, guide us and develop us according to the individual and unique blueprint that Olodumare has mapped out for us. Ori dwells within our mind. Ori is the mind of our mind. Ori is the spirit of our spirit. Our divine ori monitors our mind, will, feelings, thoughts, intentions and emotions. Ori guides, shapes, adjusts, modifies and informs our awareness, consciousness and understanding. Ori gradually, progressively and by stages transforms, sublimates and elevates our spiritual state and nature. Ori helps and assists us to make forward progress and advancement. Ori is personally, intimately involved and active in our spiritual unfoldment  and our moral-ethical-intellectual-emotional evolution. We can undoubtedly benefit from and be enriched and empowered by the light, grace, power and understanding emanating from someone else’s ori, but ultimately it is through our own ori that we must live by. When we discover our own inner root and foundation i.e. our ori; and we wholeheartedly and courageously live in harmony with the dictates of our ori we become ori-sha. We become divine beings whose consciousness has been selected by and permeated with the divine energy and intelligence in a conscious and experiential way. Ori is a powerhouse of inexhaustible strength and limitless wisdom. Ori is a pure fountain of refreshing and life giving divine water. We become divinized or divine human beings who are led exclusively and totally by the divine consciousness and divine sentiment alone when we are awakened to the awareness and living experience of ori consciousness. When we follow our ori and are unified with our ori we become one-minded, unified, singular in intent and effort, and we enjoy unitive awareness and power. We become free from inner divisiveness, fragmentation, bewilderment and confusion. We are led by our true self and our higher mind, which in-fact is our true identity and self. Do not take it upon yourself to tell others what they should and should do or what they should and should not pursue. You can offer others your friendly suggestions, experienced based opinions, expert advice and considerations of wisdom but leave it to them to decide for themselves. They have ori to lead and guide them. Do not attempt to be a substitute for their own ori. But do offer them guidance and support that will enable them to be established in confidence, and that will help them establish contact with their own ori. Above all else ensure that you listen to and abide by your own ori, and all will be well. Also remember that your own ori has a way to directly communicate truth, strength, light, information, well-being and encouragement to the ori of others without you even having to say or speak a single word.




A maturing, morally-spiritually evolved and awakened human being who wisely awakens to the reality of the presence of ori, and chooses and selects to live his life in complete and full harmony with his ori, ceases to be an ordinary human being and becomes:
ORI-SHA. One who chooses, selects and determines to walk in unity, harmony and conformity with his own divinely bestowed ori. This is the secret which explains and reveals how human beings become orisa.
Ogbo ato asure iworiwofun.