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The House of Cards in the Land of Love


Ifá is a faith that values Love over all things, because Love is that cosmic glue that appeals to the soul in such way that it desires to discover its station and destiny. The modern ideals are often Love defying, because to love is a sign of weakness in the face of ambition. Ifá teaches us that the immortal ones descended to Ile Ifé – literally ‘House of Love’ and from here kingships were established. Love is understood as a power that contracts upon the cosmic benevolence and give release to peace, tranquillity and joy – what we understand to be iwa rere, a happy or good character which final prise is abundance, the fullness of all good things.

Character/iwa is a complex concept. Ifá teaches us that iwá was born restless and curious; she had a tendency of being drawn towards the world of matter and intrigue by her passionate nature. If we look t the concept of iwa from the perspective of Plato’s Symposium and Timaeus it would appear that iwa – character – IS Love. Love can be directed to the infernal, to the stars, to others – this is a part of the complexity. Iwa takes on a given form as it moves around in the world. With good guidance it will be good because goodness will refine the natural goodness within the beauty of character. Even if we all are born good with a heart of Love the world happens - and we build, like Glaucus, shells and alien forms over our character either to blend in or to defend that flame of Love that is growing dimmer as we walk on in our life. 

In this process, where Love is forgotten, destiny is also forgotten and we make a turn inward – to that thing we call self, which are so often mistaken for the shells of the materially constructed ego wanting to scream out and position itself in the world. This can take many shades, one of them being the work of reconstructing something that appears to sustain ones wayward character.  Here we risk building houses of cards, as Ifá in one stanza of Ogbètúrá tells:

Ire gbogbo tá a ní, ta, à níwà
Ire oníre ni
Ìwà, Íwà l’a nwá o, ìwà
Omo olómo ni.
Ìwà, `iwà l’a nwá o, ìwa.
B’á a l’áso, ta à níwa,
Aso aláso ni.
Ìwà, ìwà l’a nwá o, ìwà.
Ire gbogbo ta a ní, ta à níwa,
Ire oníre ni.
Ìwà, ìwà l’a nwá o, ìwà.

Translated:

If we have money and do not have character,
The money belongs to someone else.
Character, iwa, is what we are looking for, character.
If we have children and do not have character,
The children belong to someone else.
Character, iwa, is what we are looking for, character.
If we have a house and do not have character,
The house belongs to someone else.
Character, iwa, is what we are looking for, character.
If we have a clothes and do not have character,
The clothes belong to someone else.
Character, iwa, is what we are looking for, character.
All the good things we have, if we do not have character
All the good things belong to someone else.
And so, it’s character, iwa, we are looking for,
Character.

 This verse tells us about the importance of being true to ourselves, our calling and also to the facts we are operating with. Ogbé meji tells us that we should never call red black and black red; it is a call to getting our facts right as we build our abundance in conformity with destiny. The idea of facts in Ifá theology is about truth – and truth is recognition of what pertains to you by the dictate of tradition and ancestry. This means that any lie used to build a foundation for the future will at some time break, because it is not yours – your character empowered by love will make this false foundation to break under your feet. Honesty and honour are the arrows on the compass of character – it is this that motivates Love to ascend and manifest your blessed destiny.  

To be lost on the roads of Love is one thing, but to make houses of cards in the land of love is foolish indeed. I have for some time monitored the movements of a certain ‘council of one’ that has the ambitious aim of providing a path for many. In this he is taking a public room of a self declared prophet of the arts of virtue.  This figure is aggressive and self centred, he appoints enemies so he can defend what he usurped, proclaiming his lie to be a collective. I see this as a sad event, because this council of one is clearly a demonstration of character going bad. In other words, what he builds upon lies and fantasy is not his – it belongs to somebody else. 

I do see the need for these houses of cards as we walk on in the land of love, they are stop signs, but still, as a man that embraces love I also recognize its opponent... whose name is disrespect – and to paraphrase the odu Ìkáogbe:

Are you so disrespectful that you roll dry cloth in the fire?
Are you so disrespectful that you make a living viper into a belt?
Are you so disrespectful that you snatch the crown of the king and wear it yourself?

Ifá speaks about respecting destiny and roles, because usurping territory is a sign of bad character, that you did not found your station. Ifá speaks about avoiding provocations when you are on fragile ground. It is all symptoms of a character that is wayward. The more the desperations and agitation grows the more the lost character is revealing its falsity and ultimately what it usurped will be taken away from him.

So, be a being of Love that searches what is good – in this way destiny will embrace you with abundance and you will find your rightful fold of lovers....In this way your character will meet yet again what is good and beautiful so you can be a blessing for yourself and whomever you meet.

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