To Approach with Interest

The foundation of Ifá philosophy is that we are all born good and blessed and that we are divine beings making a human journey. The human journey is symbolized by the market place and the travel itself.  The market is a place where the good and bad trade can be done, where thieves and truth mingle.  The journey itself signifies a travel from one place to another where in the in-between the unexpected can occur. Ifá tells that at the end of any journey well made lies a bed of tranquility and peace for those who used iwá rere (good character) as their compass in this journey.

Ifá teaches that creation was caused by the dream of light that was made visible in the odu Eji Ogbè, which  signify the elevation of both hands towards heaven – because with the birth of light came also its contrast, Òyèkú méjì, that signify darkness, end of cycles and the inhalation that makes the exhalation of Ogbè active. The idea of raising both hands to heaven implies to accept beginnings and ends, light and darkness with equal reverence and gratitude.

The omo odu Ogbè’wori speaks of the need for transformation in the world, how we cannot recognize the sweetness of the honey unless we also know the bitterness of orogbo (the bitter kola nut). One of the verses tells us:

B’áye wón ba ndùn
B’áye wón bá ndàra
Ìwá ibàjé wón nhú

When life is sweet for them
When life is good for them
That is when they start to misbehave

Misfortune and complications are not necessary the same thing, a complication can become a misfortune if we approach with resistance and negativity.  When we do this we feed the complication in our life with prayers asking to bring us more complications. If we however approach with interest and tranquility we will feed the complications with light and goodness.

Ifá is adamant in its importance of ancestry; actually, the entire corpus of Odu Ifá is the wisdom of ancestors. By becoming aware of situations in the past and their solutions we can effectively turn undesired situations into prosperity and complications into abundance. Another verse in the book of Ogbé speaks of how Orunmila himself went out on a travel but met misfortune and not the abundance he was searching for. The verse tells how he went out in the waters, his emotional confusion, and petitioned the ‘sixteen owners of the market’ as he called upon in lament for the aid of the bird called Agbe (Touraco Musophagidae). The blue Agbe bird is a harbinger of good fortune and is said to expose the hidden treasures of Olokun, the owner of Ocean, when petitioned. The verse tells how Orunmila made the appropriate sacrifice, in this case a change of attitude, where his erratic consciousness was calmed down and in this calm state of mind he was able to remember the long chain of victorious conquest leading up to this difficult moment.

The teaching is that the complications in our journey towards abundance also invite a unique opportunity for yet other forms of victory - as long as we approach with interest and not resistance. Because in every struggles lies the promise of victory. In a way, we can say that Ifá sees complications and difficulties just as a situation – the coloration is given by the way we approach the situation. Ogbé’rosún has the following to say:   

A dífá fún Òrúnmìlà
Ifá nsawo lo àpá òkun
T’òun ìlà méjì òsà
Nílé olójà mérìndínlógún
Wón ní Baba ò nìí padà dele
Baba wá m’ekún s’ekún ìgbe
Ó fi ìyèrè se ìyèrè aro
Ó nÍ: Agbe gbé mi dele o ò Agbe
A kìí rajo k’á má dele o
Agbe gbé mi dele o
Kò pé kò jìnnà
E wá bá ni bá àrúsé ogun
Àjàse ogun l’á wá wá

The teaching of Ifá were interpreted
For Orunmila
When he was going on a spiritual mission
On the shore of the ocean
When he was in the middle of the lagoon
At the home of the sixteen owners of
The market
They said Baba Orunmila would never
Return home
But it came to pass that Baba Orunmila began
To cry out in a powerful way, turning
His cry into a shout
And he turned his lamentation into a song
Of sorrow
He called out saying: Agbe bird, carry me home
O’ Agbe
We do not go on a journey so that we may not
Return home
So, Agbe bird, please carry me home
Then, before long and in the not distant future
Come and join us in victory achieved
Through sacrifice
Victorious in struggle as we have come to be