Often times people in general sees a Traditional Practitioner or Healer and immediately believe them to be an Obeah or Juju worker or even or a Witch. This absolutely is not so. It is true, people fear what they do not know. They view the World of Occult or anything which deals with Metaphysics, Divination, Herbal Healing, Rituals and Sacrifices as Dark and Evil. How many times have I heard People say “I don’t believe in those things”, or “Jesus sacrificed his blood to save the world already, there needs to be no other sacrifice,” overlooking the fact that Jesus was a Jew, a Hebrew, where Blood Sacrifice is a integral part of their religion . How easy it is, in the name of Religion to cast Judgement on people here on Earth who may be doing the work the Christ and his disciples did, which by the way the Pastors claims to do. Think about it, if Jesus was around in our present time now he would be called the same, by Pastors and Bishops, Imams alike, Obeah Man, JuJu man, an Occultist. He, in his time did things people did not understand, though he was a benevolent being. I am an initiate of the Ifa/Orisha Tradition, a Tradition which is said to be over ten thousand years old. This Tradition is the Practice of the Yoruba People of South Western Nigeria. It is the first and oldest Religion of mankind, I do not like to refer to it as a Religion, but rather a way of life.
In Ayo Salami’s Book Yoruba Theology and Tradition he says, Ifa was handed down by Olodumare (the Supreme Being, God) to Orunmila, the first Messiah of mankind and secondly, because the Black man is presently cocooned in a disoriented state of anomie, totally oblivious of his past, ignorant of his present and unmindful of his future, He goes about with an air of subservience and prides himself with mouthing and preaching the religious world view of Arabs and Jews, purporting them to be any more universal than Ifa. He is Fatally unmindful of the fact that Ifa had existed thousands of Years before Abraham (patriarch of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed)and that Ifa is the Primordial religion from which all others developed
It is not for me to convert the world and change their religious views, no, that is a task which I could never undertake. What is disturbing however is how people cast disdain and turn their noses up, vilify, debase, curse, at anything which does not involve the Bible or the Koran, or any doctrine or practice which they do not understand. In the Traditional Practice of Ifa/Orisha the Devotees participates in rites and rituals of the Orishas who are apart of Nature. Babalawos who are Highly trained Priests in the Tradition, spend all their lives, as early as age five studying and must study for at least fifteen to twenty years before becoming independent, able to act on their own as Priests for their community, no longer under the watchful eyes of their Oluwo/Teacher. The Tradition is very vast and cannot be cannot be contained in a single book, so it is taught through Oral Translation. Babalawos are well trained in the use of Plants and Herbs to treat any ailments, remove negative situations, and solve life’s issues. He sits before his divining tray and uses his Ifa (e-fah) to divine for the purpose of guiding you to make the correct decisions according to your own life’s plan (Odu). Ifa is an Oracle, Ifa is the message and it is through Ifa that man is guided from the cradle to the grave. Ifa is the Oracle and Orunmila is the owner of the sacred Ifa Oracle and the Interpreter of God’s message. It is said that Orunmila who is also referred to as witness of fate knows the secret of mans being. Orunmila knows how creation begun and how it was completed, he is God’s right hand man. Orunmila knows the beginning and the end to all things, and Babalawos are priest to Orunmila who stands for righteousness. Babalawos are Orunmila’s emissaries/representatives here on earth therefore they must be mindful of their character., and always keep true to the teachings of Ifa.
There are however those, whose character is at fault, regarding their training and what they were taught, who will engage in wrong doings, and who will harbor evil intentions and even practice them not caring of the repercussions which will certainly follow. This however is not only found among Traditionalist, but among Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist and more. Human beings are imperfect and are subject to fall at different times in their lives. Remember Jimmy Swaggart?..However, it is prudent to leave all judgement to God. The stigma, which is cast on Voudon practitioners and Orisha worshipers, People who jump Poco or dance Kumina as workers of Evil and iniquity is unjustified. The very word Voodoo, provokes fear into the hearts of many. I remember walking down the street with my mother as a little girl in Jamaica and we would see Zion/Revival people with their head wrapped and their pencils stuck up in the side of the turban, and my mother would pull me closer to her as she walked wide of them, again the stigma of Obeah/Juju which is attached to what is unknown. If a person even mention that they are Haitian, all eyes slide in his or her direction and immediately they are, in the minds of most, involved with evil, same with the African. While Voudon is a religion where they pay special attention to what they call Loas which are deities also connected to nature but also mixed with the ancestors. Parties are kept in honor of the Loas, and sacrifices to the Loas are done for whatever reasons. Not everyone who is involved with this Religion is bad, working Evil or practice Witchcraft, again it has to do with the Character of the Person. Hollywood and media propaganda has really done a number on the minds, not to mention Religions like Christianity and Islam.
I started out this morning wanting to write about the difference between JuJu and Traditional Practice. I wanted to tell you that JuJu work and how we Practice tradition is not the same. I wanted to make you all realize that we who are involved with our Traditional practice, have the ability through rituals and sacrifices, verses and incantations to manipulate energy thus creating harmony and balance, that Our work is of light and when we sacrifice whether we use an animal or just plain water it is to give something to the deities in order to gain that which is needed here on Earth and to Human beings, to offset chaos and to bring about good change and peace. I wanted to let you all know that the Babalawos, and the Oloorishas (Orisha worshipers), and the Iyanifas, all practiced their tradition under a clean order and under the watchful eyes of the Orishas and God, and that Juju work was work done by knowledgeable people who used what they were taught by their ancestors to do whatever they needed to do to accomplish a certain desire, their work, called no particular deity, they answered to no particular Orisha or Loas. If they burned a candle or candles for a man to leave his woman, it up to any spirit to take the job and give good results. If they buried anything in the cemetery it was, in hopes of using some force to give them their desire, but as I began to write, I realized that I too have done Juju work. Work that was not meant to harm anyone, but to assist people in their predicament. I too have lit many candles to help someone falsely accused and had to clear their name, I too have helped in bringing back a run away child, I too have gone out in the midnight, to a fork in the road to pray against enemies who maybe terrorizing some people, in hopes that they would back off. Have I ever done anything to hurt anyone?, no I have never! Anything I did was to aid a person in whatever dilemma they found themselves in. So when I began this post, as I typed on, it came back to something I have always said, It is the human that is bad, not the religion or the Tradition practice which they may be apart of. It is the character of Human Beings. Be careful of Judging others without knowing what they are apart of or who they are. We should all try to learn and understand what we do not know. Christians are the biggest thief and liars, this is something that is said often by far too many people, While Muslims are Killers and Terrorists, Jews are Cheap, Wicked (they killed Jesus) people who do not bathe. These are not nice things to say about these People and their Religion and I am sure they hurt when they hear this, but Humans are Humans and this is what they do. It is the individual who is responsible for their own actions, not their religion. Knowledge is Knowledge, it is what you choose to do with it.
The Babalawo will divine for you and perform sacrifice to solve your problem, he is doing what he came here to do, you be responsible and do not request of him to do any money ritual or tie your husband or wife, while he is not suppose to do any of these things, because his religion cautions him so, he is however a human being and may be flawed as we all are, where money can be a temptation. Most will drive you away with your petition and your money, but one may say, yes! It is not his practice, it is HIM! The same with the Obeah man, and the Voudon practitioner. It is the nature of man!
Ẹja tí ńda ibú rú ò ju apá lọ. /
The fish that travels the deep is not more than the human arm in length.,,,Yoruba Proverb!
[Typically, the cause/source of an issue is really not as significant as it appears; a corollary of the 80-20 rule]
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.