Ogbo ato, asure iworiwofun.
In today’s world we all at times experience moments or periods of anxiety, worry, stress and restlessness. This is a verifiable fact and natural experience of life common to all people. But when these mental and emotional states are not properly addressed and managed, and are of prolonged duration they can and will wreck havoc upon ones physical, mental and spiritual health, not to mention ones overall quality of life. If not addressed and resolved these unwholesome and injurious mental-emotional states will carry over into ones relationships causing further dissatisfaction, stress and sorrow.
Let us together consider what light Ifa sheds on this undesirable situation and what reasonable and effective measures we can take to resolve it.
Holy Odu Ogbe-di:
‘Fairy’s Leaf-Mat consulted Ifa Oracle for Orunmila who will bury Aisinmi, Esu Odara’s mother.’
Orunmila thought deeply of what he could do (to come out of his predicament) when he was TROUBLED, he lacked PEACE OF MIND and was RESTLESS.
(Have you in your own life ever experienced deep inner trouble, lack of peace of mind and restlessness? Have you ever felt like you are stuck in a rut and are not progressing or going nowhere and as a result feel dissatisfied, anxious and restless? It could very well be that at this time in your life you too are experiencing something similar to what Orunmila was enduring and agonizing over. How do we come out of our agonizing state?)
Orunmila consulted Ifa and Babalawo Fairy’s Leaf-Mat relayed the message of Ifa to Orunmila: Ifa said that Orunmila would have peace of mind, but for Orunmila to secure and have peace of mind, come out of his troubles and restlessness, he would have to make arrangements to bury Aisinmi, who was Esu Odara’s mother. He was instructed to make Etutu (propitiatory rites) for her also. Orunmila buried Aisinmi and made etutu, thereafter he enjoyed lasting peace of mind, regained serenity (clarity) and step by step came out of his troubles. Orunmila therefore thanked the Babalawo. The Babalawo thanked Ifa. And Ifa thanked Eledumare, the supreme and sole King of heaven (creation).
Today we will be considering Olodumare’s counsel, guidance and instruction for dealing and coping with stress, anxiety, worry and restlessness.
When we consider and initially survey this Odu, there seems to be no connection at all between the stress, anxiety and inner turmoil Orunmila was experiencing and the solution that Ifa bestowed upon him. What does burying Esu Odara’s mother Aisinmi, and performing Etutu for her, have anything to do with his problems and how would it help or benefit him to do this? And why did he need to perform this duty for Esu Odara’s mother and not someone else’s mother, after all, shouldn’t Esu Odara have fulfilled his filial duty and bury his own mother with all due honors and accompanying propitiatory rites? Is this Odu actually about Orunmila burying Aisinmi, the mother of Esu Odara? If it is, how would that solve his problems? What’s the connection if any and can we connect the dots in this enigmatic, cryptic and deeply substantive (mystic) Odu.
As a backdrop to prepare us to understand the answer of Ifa, let us first of all establish a fact, that not all of the stories in Ifa are historical happenings. Many stories are historical happenings but not all. Some are deep allegorical and instructive teachings which are written in a very ingenious and profound way. The ancient seers, priests and holy elders of Ifa were inspired by Ifa to teach and say great, instructive, insightful and profound things through pithy and concise pronouncements. This Holy Odu is an example of the genius of Ifa, Orunmila and of the disciplic succession of priests, seers and holy elders who had a share in the progressive development and original methodology of Ifa. Let us continue on with our consideration and let us together penetrate into the meaning and understanding of the instructions that were given to Orunmila by Ifa.
Among the most beloved and cherished persons in our lives there can be no doubt that our mother together with our father holds the most prominent place. We owe our parents a debt that we can never repay. From the moment of conception they have cherished great dreams and hopes for us. To the best of their abilities, situation and resources they have done all things possible to ensure our safety and promote our happiness, peace, education, health, overall wellbeing, recreation and success. With all due respects to Irunmole/Orisa I would personally say that there are no Orisa greater than ones parents. We can never repay them for their sacrifices, labor, care, love, teachings, example and provisions. Parents are not perfect but they attempt to the best of their ability to promote the health, safety, security, happiness and success of their children. Where would we be without the support, encouragement and love of mother and father? So surely and most reasonably it stands to be said that at the conclusion of the earthly life of our parents a dutiful and appreciative son or daughter would see to the burial of their venerable parents with all it entails. If we for some unimaginable reason or due to unfortuitous times and/or circumstances could not attend to this filial duty and let us say someone else stepped up to honorably discharge this responsibility for us, without doubt, we would be very appreciative of this person and would feel indebted to this person for their kind, loving and conscientious actions towards us and our deceased loved ones. We would surely reciprocate, uphold and compensate such a person with our own lives, affection, care, personal support and means. Having said this in preparation, let us now enter to gain an accurate understanding and deep appreciation of the Odu under consideration and of the topic of coping and resolving stress, inner troubles and lack of peace of mind (inner stability).
To begin with, we must start by appreciating the humility, transparency and straightforwardness of Orunmila. Orunmila had problems and issues in his life which were eating him up on the inside. Being reasonable Orunmila attempted to draw on his personal inner resources and experiences to solve the dilemma he was in and gain freedom for the strain, stress, worry and anxiety which were accosting him. At the end of the day Orunmila accepted the fact that he could not alone satisfactorily make an end to his troubles and inner suffering. He did what he could do on his own and realized that he needed help, he needed support and reinforcement. If we are to overcome and gain the ascendancy of our troubles we first acknowledge and admit that we have them. If these problems are overwhelming we must be humble and not stubborn, and acknowledge that we need help and be willing to seek and receive qualified assistance and relief. We must seek out true solutions to our real problems. Seeking answers to non-existent problems will not help us, neither will seeking imaginary solutions to very real problems. Real illnesses require real medicines. Good feelings, good intentions and positive thinking alone cannot be a substitute for medicine. Good feelings, good intentions and positive thoughts surely have a place and are part of the solution and healing process but many times these thing alone cannot effect the desires changes. Orunmila realized this and sought additional help. He went to consult a trusted, reliable, sympathetic and mature friend. Not only would Orunmila receive benefit and relief from the counsel of Ifa that would come from this friend who in this instance is a babalawo, but he would draw strength, courage and persevering power also through the blessing a having a true friend whom he trusted to whom he could open up and share his concerns and problems. Having someone to whom we can open up and freely share our problems is a kind of inner medicine and a definitive part of the healing and solution finding process. Having a genuine, sympathetic, caring and wise friend affords us a wonderful means to unburden ourselves and lighten our load while continuing to find the lasting solution. Orunmila acknowledged his problems and what they were doing to him. He applied himself to the best of his know-how but realized it was not enough and he was humble enough to seek help and the support of a genuine friend. These things we too must do in our efforts to cope and overcome stress, inner turmoil, anxiety and worry. In the process of acknowledging his limitations and need for support and counsel Orunmila experienced a measure of relief and in the company of a trusted friend he enjoyed greater relief, strength and hope. Now, in addition we should be mindful that we should be wise in the selection of our friend or fellow helper by considering the problem we have. If you are having medical problems I wouldn’t see a guidance counselor I would see a doctor. If I was having spiritual problems I would see a genuine spiritual practitioner (bonafide babalawo). If I were having emotional, inner traumatic or mental issues, without fear or shame I would seek out a psychologist or psychiatrist. These disciplines over lap and complement each other. I think you understand. The right job requires the specific tools and specialist. Now, Ifa told Orunmila that for him to have the full measure of blessings that he was seeking which was to find a solution to his troubles, lack of inner peace and anxiety he had to bury Aisinmi, Esu Odara’s mother. The name of Esu Odara’s mother Aisinmi means RESTLESSNESS. Ifa injunction to bury Aisinmi implies that Aisinmi was dead already but needed to be buried. This is a very profound statement: it means more than you know. Often times we are suffering from anxiety, agitation, restlessness and inner turmoil because we give ourselves over to excessive pondering over things that have already happened to us in the past but are no longer happening in the present. When we will live in this dwelling upon the thoughts of past hurts and offenses we create or generate more anger, suffering, sorrow and pain for ourselves in the present that we do not need to have. The past is dead, just like Aisinmi and it is time to bury it once and for all and put and end to the festering, contaminating infectious effects and stench of unwholesome and injurious mental-emotional states. It’s time to bury Aisinmi (restlessness). It’s time to take the heavy back pack of rocks that we have saddled ourselves with or others have somehow or other saddled us with and put it down! Let us continue on our journey of exploration. It is not accidental or meaningless that the person whom Orunmila needed to bury was the mother of Esu Odara, Aisinmi. The genius of the awo who under inspiration composed and expressed this Odu cannot be overstated! Esu Odara is the protective function in creation and within ourselves that can make us or break us. Esu Odara is the power emanating from Eledumare than can do or undue. Esu Odara is the protective function of nature within us and is a part of our constitution and consciousness which can make lead us to victory or defeat. It depends on us and how we give use to this potency within us. The Esu Odara potency that is within us and is us determines our potentials, abilities and our capacity to realize them. Esu Odara exists not only as the divine minister of justice who travels between heaven and earth; and who also discharges many sacred responsibilities and duties but also is a principle that is an intrinsic part and parcel of our being. Esu Odara exists outside of us in creation and within us as part and parcel of our being. You might find this amazing, interesting and/or hard to accept, but in this Odu all of us are represented by Orunmila, Aisinmi and Esu Odara! We are. In this inspired allegory Esu Odara who loves his mother Asinmi becomes affectionately and reverentially indebted to Orunmila for his honorable service of burial and etutu. Well, Orunmila, Aisinmi and Esu Odara are you and me, allegorically and symbolically speaking, as well as spiritually speaking on the level of divine principles. Esu Odara has great affection for you and his compassion for you knows no bounds especially when you are in a condition of Aisinmi (inner restlessness, turmoil and suffering). This is true of Irunmole Esu Odara; and Esu Odara the inner principle who is part and parcel of your being, because they are inseparable, united and one. The Esu Odara potency within yourself which is qualitatively one with and united with Esu Odara Irunmole is speaking to you with the love, affection and compassion with which a son or daughter speaks to his or her mother and saying: My beloved one whom I love as if you were my mother, it is time now to bury Aisinmi (your restlessness, turmoil and suffering). It’s time to let it go. Reverently put it in the grave but cover it over and bury it. The etutu for Aisinmi means that it is now time for you propritiate, to honor your life and bring out of yourself the inner qualities of nobility, honor, courage and resilience which have been weakened and dormant due to the destructive efforts of restlessness, worry, inner turmoil and anxiety. It’s time to cease dwelling upon and living in past sorrows and regrets. Bury Aisinmi already. Bury Aisinmi. Do with reverence, with love with feeling but bury Aisinmi (your restlessness and its causes) once and for all. When you do Etutu, when you propitiate, nurture, cultivate and bring out the honorable and positive qualities worth praising within yourself, your ability to clearly see the causes of your problems together with the solutions and the courage to apply the solutions will manifest in your life. We have to bury the past and honor it (learn from it). Only in this way will we be able to grow and develop in our lives. Ifa imparts wisdom, power and divine manifestations for our benefit and encouragement but Ifa does not relieve us from the responsibility to take control of our own lives, our decisions and the things we choose to pursue. This includes our mental and emotional habits. We have to own our lives. We have to develop and cultivate real and honorable friendships. We have to apply real solutions to our real problems. Make believe solutions cannot fix your problems. You cannot wish your difficulties and sufferings away. You have to face them honestly and head on without compromise or excuses. Life’s problems seldom can be fixed with the snap of a finger. There are no instantaneous solutions. Peace, stability, happiness, smoothness and sound mental, emotional, physical and emotional health in our life is a product of our continual choices, decisions, attitudes and life style. While we cannot completely avoid a measure of stress and turmoil in life altogether, but we can remove the avoidable excessive, overbearing stress, turmoil and restlessness by applying the sound, profound and instructive teachings of Ifa revealed in this Odu. Life is an art and it requires dedication, perseverence and effort. What you pursue you become. Whom you choose to associate with will determine who you are and where you will go in life. The ase of Ifa will manifest itself in our lives to the degree that we are engaged in a responsible and active participation in our unfoldment and development. Walking with Ifa is like a team sport. One person cannot do it all and be it all. Ifa complements us with guidance, divine manifestation, auspicious occasions, opportunities and ass but we must do our portion of the work. It’s time to bury Aisinmi! This is the answer. It’s time to do Etutu of Aisinmi. Let us learn from the past and honor it, and through it let us elevate our life condition. So, it’s time to get the shovel and go to work…with reverence, respect and honor…but it’s time to take charge, take responsibity for our lives and choices and go to work. This Odu, like giving a final stoke and polish with a gold brush, reminds us also that while seeking to resolve and find solutions to our own problems that are causing us to experience inner turmoil, restlessness and anxiety we should not forget to help and assist others in finding solution to their own problems. You will miraculously discover that, more often than not, in the process of giving relief, assistance and support to others in the midst of our own challenges, somehow or others are own deliverance manifests and bears it joyful and peace conferring harvest of divine blessings, goodness and harmony.
Oh Ifa, it is you we praise. Only you Ifa are able to speak to each person in the specific language of their hearts and according to their needs. To each person according to their level, capacity, temperament, personality, character and stage of development are you able to speak light, wisdom, love and encouragement into their lives. Ifa continue always to enlighten us further. Ifa, imbue humility, appreciativeness, courage and loving-kindness. May through your teachings and ase Ifa, may we gain freedom from haughtiness, stubbornness, indifference and pride. Ifa bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. Ase. Ase. Ase Ooo.
Ela Sode, spirit of purity, truth, authority and nobility, guide our steps, enlighten our minds and purify our hearts. Ela may we grow, mature and experience inner transformation and increasing godliness through your intercession and divine prayers on our behalf before Olodumare. May we grow, mature and experience divine transformation by virtue of our continual honest efforts, honesty, dedicated actions and disciplined lives. May the sacrifices of our effort be accepted and bear fruit. Ela may we sacrifice our pride, childishness, immaturity, insincerity and indifference so that all we might find acceptance and approval before Ifa Olodumare. Ase. Ase. Ase Ooo.
Ogbo ato, asure iworiwofun.
God Bless You,
Olayinka Babatunde Ogunsina Adewuyi