We are born and with our birth a gathering of souls take hold of our body and watch the world through the senses. We feel alive, because we are born into a world of mystery. Curious we rise up and we walk, exploring the worlds of body and soul. As we walk the world, explore it – the question of ‘who am I” and “why am I here” tend to surface as the mind starts to provoke the soul with a particular spirit – it is the spirit of the hunter and the hero. It is a call to find our Self and our purpose. It is a call to Fate and Fortune. In our curiosity we ask then to show themselves – but it is not so easy, because they are cosmic oils and scents – a compass of rewards and lessons, that guides us in mysterious ways towards our happy destiny.
As we walk the world, some of us get lost in various ways and some mistake their true station for specters and phantasms in alien deserts. Yet others believe that we all can, by the power of ambition, stretch out and be like our fellow beings in so far as social statues and prominence is concerned. The democratic lie wants us to be the same – and not blessed uniquely as we are.
The social order seeks to establish – order – if there is too much variety of nature and aspiration between its actors it will be hopeless to restrain by law and punitive action the natural inclination of people. We turn conformed and our many beautiful birds are quenched in the machine of conformity. The spirit of the hunter dies in the alleys of ambition and greed as heroes cease to believe in themselves and accept any unhappy fate as their lot.
Restrictive democracies - that dress the clothes of socialism and common good - works like pesticides, it makes what it wants poisonous and kills of the rest…
This makes it difficult for the hero, the hunter and the saint to rise, grow and discover it self, and in place of self discovery we are graciously gifted with mental illness and afflictions of the soul – and we turn to the labyrinths of our sick psyche to find affirmations of our worth and our debilities turns into labels of identity as we move on and try to find exactly what we aspire towards.
How different is it not in traditional societies, where an infant is subject for divination to establish what Fate holds and to give recommendations of how a given individual should act and not act, in order to gain fullness and happiness in life? Because, life is a journey – but why should we walk it without waymarks of any sort? This is not determinism, because any Fate is a happy one – it is just the route towards it that is different – because we are different. Unfortunately in our modern world these waymarks are not available, nor accepted - because they are a part of an arcane superstition.
To enjoy life as a journey is important, because this approach leads to growth and maturity – and in this we find the particular constant reconstruction of self that makes us find our oasis. Ifá teaches that when we are born, we are born as curious and immature souls, sensitive bodies taken in with the human condition. Ifá also says this is just the beginning and through initiation and avoidance of èèwò - what is forbidden and harmful - renewal is constantly occurring. Life is a dance between destruction of self and its recreation. Life and becoming is about constant transformation and metamorphosis towards excellence. In Ifá this is called iwá pèlè, good character and for Plato this was arête, seen as good character being constructed by accumulating virtue. Because if no other waymarks are available, building good character is bound to show the way towards goodness and true Self.
Life is a journey and its blessings and lessons provide constant food for contemplation so we can constantly recreate ourselves, as the following verse from the èsè Ifá Ogbèatè says:
Njé bí a bá tè mi
N ó tún’ra mi te
Èèwò ti a ba ka fún mi
N ó gbó
Titè l’a te mi
N yòó tún’ra mi te
In Karenga’s translation:
Now, if I have been made,
I should reconstruct myself
The forbidden things which are
Enumerated for me
I will comply with
For I have been made
And I must also remake myself
So, there is no such thing as fatalism, there is no doom, there is no such thing as accepting an unhappy Fate as true. It is only opportunity upon opportunity to recreate ourselves… Ire O!