Blessings of long life and prosperity to you by the unfailing and efficacious blessings of Iworiwofun. Ase.
Today I would like us to briefly consider the interesting subject of Ifa in its aspect as a divinely authorized system imbued with divine life and intelligence and through which we can obtain clear, precise, specific, personal, insightful and pragmatic instructions from Olodumare which has a verifiable and significant bearing upon our lives in such a revelatory (personal) manner that there is no doubt that the Divine Olodumare is revealing things to us in a personal, astounding and lofty way through Ifa.
In common usage today the word ‘divination’, is the word used to describe the process of consulting Ifa-Olodumare. Is this word correct? Is Ifa a ‘divination’ system? Well, it all depends on your personal understanding of the exact meaning of the word divination. Personally I do not agree that Ifa is a ‘divinatory system’ and that the word ‘divination’ is the right, correct and/or accurate word to use when referring to consulting the guidance, wisdom and power of Olodumare through Orunmila (IFA). I will share my views and thoughts with you as to why I uphold my perspective and I’ll leave it up to you to make up your own mind whether ‘divination’ is the right word to use when we are referring to consulting Ifa.
That the mechanics by which we obtain Odu Ifa and that other procedural processes of Ifa consultation are orderly and systematic no one can doubt. Something being orderly and systematic is one thing and something being ‘divinatory’ is another thing altogether.
The word divination in the English language implies a process by which to arrive at answers via a method or system based mostly on probability, relative and limited capacity of intuition and/or guesswork. In others words, in ‘divination’ there is an element of uncertainty, possibility of error and incompleteness. Personally I would not want to make any real life decisions and choices based on any kind of ‘divination’ or ‘divination system’ because those systems operate on the principle of probability, relative and untrained limited intuition, and/or guesswork. Something can be probable but that doesn’t mean that it is true. Someone can make a very good, educated and intelligent guess and still be very wrong about something. A person can intuit something and discover that his or her intuition was wrong, unreliable and inconsistent.
It is truth, reality, actuality that we want; clear, realistic, accurate and verifiable truth is what we are seeking. This desired level of knowledge, understanding and wisdom or truth can only come from a Perfect Divine Source and cannot be the handiwork of probability, guesswork, and/or incomplete and narrow personal experiences nor the product of finite human intelligence and relative intuitional ability. Divination is not a sure and reliable thing. Divination guarantees nothing. At best it is a refined way of guessing, affirming what one already knows or hoping something is so. To make choices and decisions that are going to have real consequences and repercussions based on ‘divination’ i.e. hopeful guesswork, mere probability and an uninformed, untrained and unguided intuition does not seem to me to be an intelligent option, at least not for me.
Ifa does not operate like this and therefore the word ‘divination’ or ‘divination system’ is not the accurate terminology to capture and express Ifa and its sacred methodology of divine procedence. This use of the word ‘divination’ or ‘divination system’ in relation to consulting Ifa and Orunmila has become so entrenched that only with great patience and accurate explanations can this misnomer be corrected and a more accurate and more becoming term be utilized.
If I am a Medical Doctor of Cardiology and you came to me to ascertain the nature of your particular and serious heart ailment, I am sure that you would run away as fast as your legs could carry you if I told you that I am going to ‘divinate’ to see what your heart problem is and whether heart surgery is the best option! You do not want me to ‘divinate’ i.e. guess anything. You came to consult with me so that I can tell you what I cent per cent ‘KNOW’ about your ailment and what real and effective treatments we could apply to treat and cure you. Well, when we come to Orunmila, we are coming to consult the expert doctor who knows. Orunmila will not be getting me to do anything if he is ‘divinating’ i.e. giving me his best guess. No way. Not ever. Orunmila is an educated, highly trained, superbly endowed expert in all matters relating to our lives by virtue of the blessings, guidance, preparation and training he received from OLODUMARE’S DIVINE UNIVERSITY OF UNIVERSAL WISDOM, DIVINE HEALING MEDICINE, COMPASSIONATE COUNSELING AND REAL PRACTICAL DIVINE TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS LEADING TO IMMEDIATE BENEFICIAL AND PERSONALLY VERIFIABLE RESULTS. ORUNMILA got his many PH.D.’s and DIVINE MEDICINE, DIVINE SCIENCE and PSYCHOLOGY High Degrees in Olodumare’s divine school of divine instruction and training for Irunmole. When you consult Divine Professor Ifa and Dr. Orunmila you can be sure you will be getting the precise diagnosis and most reliable, effective and beneficial treatment plan. No guesswork but true knowledge, understanding and wisdom, having its source and center in Olodumare and not the finite, unreliable and imperfect human intelligence. So, when you see your doctor, and he performs tests and then gives you the treatment plan with prescription medications, you do not say the Doctor ‘divinated’ these things for you, neither do you say that you ‘divined’ with your Doctor. You say you consulted your doctor who is competent and trustworthy due to his many years of study, training, understanding, experience and application. Am I correct? In like manner we consult Ifa through Orunmila.
Ifa is a Living Oracle and Oracular system which is not the same as saying ‘divination’ or ‘divination system’. It is not a game of symantics or word play. If words are going to hold a value and meaning for us that meaning must be clear, precise and accurate. Words are sound symbols for meanings and values. An Oracle on the other hand is a living intelligent divine agent that is immediately and directly communicating to us through some divinely authorized and established means. Ifa Priests are skilled, intelligent, well studied, well trained and divinely inspired (empowered) INTERPRETERS (Doctors) of the Divine Message which has been chosen and sent by Olodumare specifically to you, to bring remedy, solution and correction to your problem, situation and/or ailment. To call a Babalawo a ‘diviner’ is beneath his dignity and station as a servant of Olodumare, as a disciple of Orunmila and as an embodiment and living sanctuary of the Spirit of Limitless Light and Life i.e. Ifa.
When we approach an expert awo, we are not interested in his personal human opinions neither have we come to consult him per se. We have come to consult Olodumare (Ifa and Orunmila) through the mediatorship qualifications, divine grace and training of the bonafide awo.
Ancient awo who trained, learned and walked with Ifa and followed the teachings, example and instructions of Orunmila were seers, sages, saviours, visionaries, divine priests and prophets not mere ‘diviners’. There have been in recent past times and there are at present devotee’s of Ifa whose lives are so in keeping with the principles and divine pattern established by Ifa and Orunmila that without even casting Opele, Odu or utilizing Ikin they can speak with the clarity, specificity, depth, uncovering-revealing power, insightfulness and truthfulness of Ifa. These men were and are Ifa divine seers vested with power. In ancient times these divine, rare and spiritually cultured men were proudly known as oso. These divine men were held in great regard and esteem. This word ‘oso’ is also used today to refer to wizards or sorcerers but this valid word ‘oso’ is not just limited to these contemporary meanings of wizards or sorcerers. Divine men filled with the power and wisdom of Ifa were also called Oso (divine seers, sages- men of divine knowledge, power, charisma and influence). Over time many charlatans, miscreants, practioners of ignorant superstition, pseudo spirituality and pretenders corrupted the dignity, prestige and true meaning of the sacred word oso and the sacred order of oso which also referred to initiated men (awo) who were so in tune with and in harmony with Ifa and the manner of character and life of Orunmila that they could perceive, experience and relate things with a remarkable resemblance to the ways of the Irunmole. These men displayed gracefulness, power, respect inspiring character, charisma and deep wisdom in all they did. They were empowered to inspire and transform hearts and minds. But without going to far from the main topic perhaps at a later time we can consider that most interesting and important topic of divine oso (empowered divine seers) on another occasion.
To resume, Ifa is a divine, holy and omniscient guiding power which expresses and reveals itself, it’s wisdom, guidance, power and inspiration through the instrumentality of Awo, Sacred Methodology, Opele, Memorized Ifa Scripture, Ikin, Opon and Ibo. And especially through Irunmole Orunmila the divine prophet, seer and revelator who is one with the Ifa spirit of limitless light and life who guides all awo whether they are babalawo or not. Orunmila is able to appear and reveal himself and his mysteries to his devoted followers in many ways, when he deems it prudent and necessary to do so. I pray this message meets you well and encourages you to understand and appreciate Ifa on a more sublime and elevated level which Ifa and Orunmila deserve.