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I LOVE YORUBA CULTURE

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Good day to you all. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I woke up this morning not feeling to write a post, as I am still exhausted from all the festivities of the initiation I just did along with my children. It had its intense moments and it also had its fun moments. Intense, because when the oloorishas are divining to the Egbes to ask about each step that is taken, you never know what will come out, what they will say, or what sacrifices will be asked for and why. Each step takes you closer to the memory of who you really are and from which realm out within time and space you came from. What were you when you lived there and your importance to your society there. The first night my oldest child came to Africa for the Egbe initiation, in the evening while someone was sleeping in my house, and the children and I watched chopped on the food network in the parlour, my daughters egbe husband went into the room to the person and tapped him slightly on his leg and introduced himself while pointing out toward the parlour where we were and told him that HE was my childs husband. Can we say brazen? Not Amen, ei nuh, Brazen! He was to make an appearance some more times.

My children worried a little of what to expect of the initiations and although I was receiving Egbe also for the first time, I knew what it entailed but I could not tell them. Initiation is never something to fear, there is nothing spooky or weird going on there, nothing to be frightened of. However it is active, as it is in fact celebratory and requires a lot of dancing and singing, mostly by the attendees when it comes to Itefa/receiving Ifa, but with Osun, the dancing tun up, as she is a happy orisha and loves to see people have fun and enjoy themselves. Then there is the music and the singing, and no where in the world can people party and celebrate like Africa and most particularly the Yorubas. The energy which is invoked, (because not all who are in attendance can be seen with the naked eyes) is high and intense. The drummers seemed to be zoned out somewhere, naturally high on the vibrations from the music. The old men and women dance and sing like the young people there, there is no difference in age when it comes to the activities of all. Simply remarkable. Who said we (Africans) were Barbarians? Who said we were a set of wild cannibals? Who, who?? If only the moment could last, Jamaican people oonuh listen to me, Stone Love (which I love, and for who do not know what it is it is one of the greatest dancehall sound systems in Jamaica) would shut down if it came to play close to our festivities. The initiation was well done, as Africans love to say.

I am used to initiations, I have gotten a few in my lifetime, (and still have some more to go) and have always felt as if it is the first time I am going through it. What I love about it however or rather I should say what I love about initiations done in Yorubaland by these competent and extremely awesome people is that they know “something”, knowledgable beyond words, wiser than Solomon who is a baby compared to these people. When they move energy, you can almost see it with your physical eyes, you feel it.

The Babalawo did a sacrifice for my oldest child, which her Ifa prescribed, and when he was finished the sky darkened like midnight for exactly fifteen minutes, and it was high noon. We stood at Oguns shrine serving him and rained drizzled in the exact spot where we all were. The rest of the compound, the environment and town was extremely dry. Osun passed through and blessed us. When my sacrifice was done, it seemed like a tornado whirled itself in, dry winds kicked up its heel and swept through the community and the compound, people were running for cover, the roof of one man’s house blew away, it lasted for a moment then all was normal again, the sacrifice was accepted.

The first day when some sacrifices were being done as a prelude to the egbe initiations, the Babalawo along with his awo’s (students), performed some lengthy sacrifices to our (my children and my own) Ifas and more. While the sacrifices were being performed the whole compound was filled with babalalwos, Oloorishas and Iyanifas and other people. The atmosphere was light but intense, if you can imagine that, and the air filled with masculine voices as the Babalawo chanted Ifa in a call and response way, he called the students responded. As I listened, I became fascinated (this happens every time, it has been years since I have been involved with this tradition and an active practitioner, but I am awed every time I witness such greatness even if I am performing myself,the wealth of knowledge these people have cannot be matched). The call and response is ode to the Babalawo who cast his oracle the opele, see figure 1 below. The oracle brings down a particular Odu, or life path, which appears in a coded language which is marked by a series of strokes from right to left, see figure 2. The Odu appears such as in figure 1, which reads as Eji Obe, loosely translated as two (Eji) Light (Ogbe), NEVER to be called (Ogbe Meji).

Figure 1                                                                                               Figure 2

s127502765946811384_p2_i1_w500       yoruba_odu_ifa

 

As the Babalawo chants Yoruba words, verses, poetry if you will, the Odu, who has graced our presence (it is live energy, invoked and there among us, unseen to the natural eyes however) and it has brought with it the orientation of Ire (E-reh or positive) or Ibi (E-be, negative) which the babalawo has to ascertain when it falls upon the mat, by casting the opele again twice, after the first time which brought down the Odu. I close my eyes to the babalawo’s voice which sounds as if he is almost singing, and the other Babalawos and awos responding, and in my head it all sounds like a beautiful symphony with heightened vibrations which seems to echo in my mind and lift me up, almost like an out of body experience, of which I am used to.

He is performing a sacrifice here, they sing or chant the praise which is the eulogy of this particular Odu Ifa. Each Odu has its own verses, chants, stories. When they appear the Babalawo must know how to chant to it, appease it, they must know the story which gave birth to the Odu and recite it appropriately. If you look at the Babalawo  while he chants and performs, he does a series of expressions which are all coded languages to the Odu presented for appeasement, and even when he knocks the tray with the Iroke, he is invoking as he performs. He is not only praising the Odu which is present, he is honoring other Odu’s and thanking them for their support, and also Orumila the owner/deity of the Ifa divination system, the keeper of the records (0du’s) of life. The whole system of praise and worship within this remarkable tradition is like no other in its respect, veneration and reverence. Everything he does here has a meaning and has to be done for this particular Odu to be fully appeased and therefore accepted. It takes years of training and practice, repetitively to be able to learn this in the correct way it is to be performed.

The room is hot and is getting hotter by the minute, Africa is hot, but most especially when these performances/sacrifices are happening, because the unseen forces which are there with us are not of this world so their vibrations are a force to handle. My small daughter, whispers to me and tells me that all her teeth hurt, so does her head, and her eyes, I smile, and pat her hands reassuringly. She has no cavities and no problem with her mouth, but she is feeling the effects of the forces that are there and to whom the Babalawos are appeasing and sacrificing to, she is an initiate and she is awake. She trusts me, and so she relaxes as I pat her hands, knowing that all is well and I will soon explain to her what she is feeling.

There are animals to be sacrificed, a goat to be exact, and a couple of chickens (these are cooked afterwards and the whole community is fed, and all who is supposed to be there and could not make it, theirs will be taken to their homes), but the chanting and prayers must be done first before the animals can be brought in and presented. It takes almost an hour for the chanting to be completed, perhaps more. The Babalawos and others seemed unbothered by the stifling heat and even though we feel the intensity of it, we are grateful to be present for this amazing ritual/ this initiation. The feeling of just being there is like no other, it is as if we are in another world, witnessing something that is so sacred and true. There on the compound, time stands still. There is no bills, no crime, no hatred, no discrimination, no racism, no war, no problems, no wicked baby father, or evil family, no enemies, for if there are, today is the day they will lose their fight against us………. Perhaps I am overly dramatic or just very attuned, because for me, I can feel and see what others cannot, I am comforted by all the happenings and I fear nothing!  This is the feeling I have every time, it marvels me, that I can never get tired of it (initiations/sacrifices and then some), Jamaican’s would say “never see, come see”, which is not me at all, but perhaps it is, and maybe because of the deep respect that I have for the tradition, the people and the culture.

There is so many layers to the Yoruba tradition, so many layers to their marvelous culture. I can see why so many are fighting (non Africans and outside of Africa) to make the tradition of Ifa Orisha their own, practicing their own form of Ifa, and I am weary of those who are searching or looking in the wrong direction, I feel sorry for them, but people have to make their own mistakes in life, I cannot save everyone. I was speaking to my good friend blogger Caroline British, (whom I have never met, but she is a darling  I just love her) the other day and she mentioned that some people say that Ifa does not belong to the Yoruba people. On the other end of the phone line where I was, I held a sigh, and thought to myself, “here we go again”, (meaning I was so tired of this from foolish people seeking power) and it seemed that my friend Caroline believed her own words, or perhaps she only wanted to hear my opinion or hear mi cuss, she is cheeky like this I must say lol. So many people are so disrespectful of Africans and of what belongs to us. Is it because we pay no mind to all who are falsely claiming what Orunmila has given us? Why should we, they can never “steal” what Orunmila gave us, it is our legacy and we hold it sacred. We have no need to brag and boast of our way of life, and Ifa is our way of life, not a religion. I had a conversation with the Babalawo  about it and he laughed and said to me;

“Ask them, what language do they use when they speak to Ifa or when they say their prayers (orikis) to Ifa or Orisha or when they do their ebos?”

He also said this;

ok, ask them to call at least four verses of Otura/amosun, which language will you call it in, if you can?

Call Eji/Ogbe and tell the meaning of Eji/Ogbe

Oyeku/meji-what is the meaning of all the rest below? Call their verses!

Iwori/Meji

Odi/Meji

Where did Orunmila build his house, is is not in Oke Itase, Ile Ife, Yoruba Land, Africa?

What is the meaning of Meji? Is it Spanish/Lucumi language or English or another language of whomever is claiming that Ifas does not belong to the Yorubas? What is the meaning of Meji in Spanish or Lucimi, or in the English language, is there a word in Spanish such as Meji?

Give Spanish, English or whatever names to all the Odu’s, since Spanish or whatever is your language, Leave Yoruba language for the Yoruba’s, because Orunmila is Yoruba.

If Orunmila is your own then call the Ifa in your language so that all people will know that Orunmila is now Spanish and have migrated to Cuba or wherever you all claim it belongs to!”

He is so correct, if Ifa/Orisha does not belong to the Yorubas then they should refrain from worshipping or calling the names of the deities in Yoruba names. But we do not want to be like Christians or like Muslims, fighting about who should be what, Ifa will not be pleased of this.

When others, who seek power try to demonize the Africans, as the whole world tries to do to us, we stay silent and humble, because no one can ever remove the King from his throne, if the throne rightfully belongs to him. He can never be unseated!

I will write a post soon on the Yoruba people of south western Nigeria and this beautiful legacy of which they have, Ifa, Orisha. It is very sacred to them, in the villages of Africa, and even in some cities, there sits some very wise almost God like, mysterious people, some who have never seen a computer, much less to press one, some who have never even heard of facebook or have no interest in advertising themselves or their knowledge. They sit all day every day chanting Ifa, foraging the bushes for medicines to make to heal people, and doing their work, not looking for fame or popularity or praise, not grabbing for power or hungry for it or recognition. There was a time when I asked the Babalawo  if he ever practiced Christianity or Islam, he paused (we were on the phone) and said, “I am a confirmed Babalawo, that is all I know, that is all I want to know”. I was ever so slightly ticked by this. 

There is nothing wrong with the internet, I use it everyday to reach out to you all, but there are vile people who take advantage of the sacredness of this tradition, some who spits hate and creates discord, who are sinister and have no real feelings for others, who hunger for power and who are lost, perhaps even mad. I am an initiate of Ifa and of Orisha, all done in Africa. I practice the way of my ancestors who have gone on before me and my head/ori is what led me back home to Africa, I was born in beautiful Jamaica. I shared a little of what I feel about my tradition today, because I had the mind to, but it is the most important thing to me and I thank God that I and my children have found it.

The narrator says in the video below that there are around 800 ese (verses/chants), per Odu, this is not so, there are over 3000, verses or ese to each Odu, perhaps more.

Oò ṣá’gi lọ́gbẹ́, oò ta ògùrọ̀ lọ́fà, o dé ìdí ọ̀pẹ o ńgbẹnu s’ókè, ṣé ọfẹ ló máa ńro ni?

You neither cut an oil palm, nor punctured a raffia, yet you opened up your mouth under a palm for wine. Does it drip freely?

[Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

Everything comes when it must, and everything happens for a reason, do not hurry your life, what is destined for you, cannot escape you, just keep the faith, be patient and be prayerful, filled with compassion, kindness and respect for all, let these qualities be among your name, God will fill in the rest…..Obara Meji!

All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love….Obara Meji

There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned!….Obara Meji

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Obara Meji

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.

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Jan
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Jan

This information is great

Dee Jaylin
Blogger

Good morning Obara and my fellow spiritual travellers.Thank you all for your wonderful feedback and words of encouragement.

Obara, in response to your questions, Although I do have an inkling has to who my omo Orisha may be, I know it would be unwise for me to get too attached to any Orisha before going through proper channel. ..

If you’re in Nigeria at the beginning of August, it would be a pleasure to have your presence at my initiation. Obara, I do have a request, I would love to have a private conversation with you. If your spirit moves you to, I would happy. If it doesn’t, I will feel no way and look at it as some kind of teachable moment. .

I hope you all have a blessed day.

CarolineBritish
Blogger
CarolineBritish

Ase Ty, thank you for the lovely prayer. As negative as it was, it also had it’s positives – it got peepers to become bloggers lol. Peace, love, and blessings!!

Ty
Blogger
Ty

Good morning ESP crew….today let the love and light of God that is within us shine through…May all that is negative be removed…May love reign ….May peace be within our thoughts, words, and prayers….

I pray that this week brings forth for all good revelations that are so sweet they resonate within your core….

Peace, love and blessings to all…ASE!!!

SeaQueen
Blogger
SeaQueen

Good morning ES FAMILY! I feel I had to write the word family in all caps for anyone who feels they can come on here and antagonize the the members of said family without others getting upset. I have to honestly say that left a bad taste in my mouth as the actions of one blogger (mi not even wah say di name to how mi disgusted) took such a positive and lovely post and tried to derail it. For some reason O, this brings me back to the post you wrote on getting your spiritual information from so many different places. It really leads to confusion and that person tried to bring that confusion to your forum and you weren’t having it. Janet c seh she ago old and and name weh she name (I will not type that name lol) dwllllll (now that was funny). Big thanks to dee for bringing me back to a lovely place with your wonderful story. Also good luck with your initiation. Love and light my family….love and light!

CarolineBritish
Blogger
CarolineBritish

Greetings Obara Meji and ESP family!

Obara Meji, I feel compelled to apologise for any role I indirectly played that led to what unfolded last night/early this morning. You were right to delete Kreyoldoll’s personal information.  Most online forums have the same rule and it’s to protect their members. Furthermore, you are an elder in the tradition and your Ase must always be respected.

Dee Jaylin
Blogger

Good evening Mama Obera and fellow travellers. I hope you all don’t mind my sharing……..

About 12 years ago, I had an opportunity to visit Ibadan, Nigeria. I was a little apprehensive to go because of all the negative things I’d heard about Africa and Africans growing up. I love travelling and wanted my feet to experience the feel of touching the soil of mama Africa, so I ignored the naysayers, (chief among them, my mother) and booked my ticket. My sister was just coming out of a personal crisis, so I invited her along too and she accepted my invitation.

Whilst I was there, I saw a Babalowo for a consultation. I had no prior knowledge of the Yoruba peoples’ spiritual practices, or ever recall hearing the word IFA before. I was however, very familiar with the Jamaican spiritual reading practices and was expecting to receive the same style of reading in Africa.

I was shocked by the marked differences in their practices and could not fully comprehend what an Odu was or the message it was conveying to me at the time. The Babalowa told me that my ancestors chose me to heal the wounds of my family, and no matter what I did, I would always encounter the same type of spiritual problems because I was not heeding the call of my ancestors. This was not what I wanted to hear, and concluded, in my ignorance that this man did not know what he was talking about.

When it came to my sister’s reading, the Babalowa told my sister that she would meet and marry a Nigerian guy and have two boys. At the time, we said no way because my sister only dated white guys.

Fast forward, two years later, my sister met an international Nigerian student and married him after 6 months of courtship. My mother was up in arms, saying ,” he only wants you for his UK papers, and African ppl are no good, etc etc”. Let me tell you all something, he is the best thing that has ever happen to my sister. He is a good provider and take great care of her and their two boys.

In the intervening years that followed, I continue to see other spiritualist( not Babalowas) and was told that I needed to develop my spiritual gifts. No amount of spiritual baths could fix my problems, they could only alleviate some of the symptoms.

I thought a change in environment would be the solution to most of my problems, so I left England and emigrated to Canada. At the begin things were fine, but as usual the same things kept on happening again and again. (hard ears pickney feels the most pain…lol)

My friend who is from St Thomas, said to me one day, “something is very wrong with you, I’m going to take you to see two people that I knew”. The first lady that I went to, told me things that my friend didn’t even know about me and said that she could only give me a bath to relieve some things but she couldn’t help me further than that! The next person who read me, more or less told me the same thing. No matter if I was England, Jamaica or Canada, I was receiving the same message.

I took my spiritual baths, burn out my home and read my psalms, but my life was still spinning out of control and I was experiencing one major setback after another. Somehow by the grace of the almighty I struggled on through.

One night, I dreamt my grandfather. In the dream, he was sat in front of a computer and was showing me a man with a drum and said,” look good, this man is going to help you find your way”. I jumped out of my dream and recorded what my grandfather said in my dream journal.

At the time I was thinking, my grandad has never seen a computer in his life time so how comes he’s showing me one in my dream?.

To cut the story short, a year after I received this dream, I got interested in drumming and was looking for a local drumming circle on line. As I was searching the net, I saw someone, who seem familiar but I knew that I did not know this person in real life. For days I was baffled and one mind told me to pick up my dream journals. As I was combing through my journal , I found the recordings of my grandfather’s dream, and the details became vivid once again. I thought to myself, I’m onto something here.

I went back on line and search this person out again. This person did not live in Canada, He lived in Nigeria so I did not do not see how any real connections could be made.

A couple of months went by and buddy at a drumming circle that I begun to attend, invited me to go to a seminar about the Orishas and IFA at York university.

To say I was shocked to see the very same man that my grand father showed me in my dream, the very same man on line with the drum, lecturing on the Orishas is an understatement. I was in a state of utter disbelief. I was frighten, …. piss up pantie scared .

All through the lecture, I was thinking how am I going to approached this
man, what do I say or what if he leaves straight away and I don’t get an opportunity to talk him?

I need not have worried because when spirit want you to have ,see or hear something it finds a way to get its message to you. We ended up connecting in the parking lot. I simply introduce myself and requested an appointment for a consultation. He simply smiled and granted me my request and scheduled an appointment for the following week.

My consultation with the Babalowa lasted for nearly an hour. He told me things that no other spiritual persons have ever told me before. He went way beyond the surface, relaying the issues surrounding my conception and all the drama that had unfolded during that time. He told me the reasons why I was manifested to be born at that time , and within that particular family line ( eg…I’m not my mother’s first child but I’m an outside child, my mother did not know she was pregnant with me until she was nearly 6 months gone, during this time she was still having her period, she had no weight grain or usual symptoms). I was well verse with the stories about my conception and my bad breed, no good father,, so I knew this man was not lying. Other personal things were also disclosed during the reading, which were all true. As the reading was coming to an end he repeated what the first Babolowa had said to me all those years ago in Nigeria. IFA was calling me and it was up to me whether, I heeded the call or not.. He did some work for me which included performing a sacrifice with some pigeons and a rooster.

Things started to improve for me, doors that were once closed to me, begun to open. My energy felt different and my heart was a little lighter. I knew that I had to initiate but was still unsure if I could live up to the commitment.

In the intervening years he taught me how to take care of my ori and how to attend to my personal altar, now three years after meeting this Babalowa, I am ready to initiate into IFA and will be making my way over to African in the coming weeks.

Obera reading your account of your initiation provides me with some measure of comfort.
BTW…. I was going through some older post and notice thats there’s a lot of peeps who have connection to Linstead and Ewarton. My mother was born in Ewarton and my grandma has her home in Linstead across from Dentil Technical . Did any of your parents ever spoke of the infamous, Teacher Leslie?

CarolineBritish
Blogger
CarolineBritish

Hi Dee!
What a fascinating journey you have been on. I am excited for you because initiation takes things up to a whole new level. All the very best!

I hope you’ll invite Obara Meji (and I will tell you why. The presence of certain types of people at a ceremony draws the attention of spirits. I think it’s something to do with their high vibration. Obara Meji if I am wrong please correct me) but she is also great fun!

CB

Ty
Blogger
Ty

Dee Jaylin, what a beautiful story of your journey so far….I am confident that what lies ahead will be even better….I pray that you continue on your chosen path and that the forces of the universe continue to be with you…

Iba your wonderful, loving and powerful grandfather! He is with you and your bond is so awesome….

I too have family from that area, one of my grandmother is from gibrator, not sure how it spell, it is a small hill before linstead….she is buried there too…

Nelle
Blogger
Nelle

Thank you for sharing.

I almost didn’t reach your comment amidst the back and forth but I needed it, so glad I did!

Cami
Member
Cami

hehemm, Obara, I have turned my head forward, so this entity no longer exist…all the noise dem mek going forward.

Cami
Member
Cami

Ase! and like ashes she too shall pass in the wind.

SeaQueen
Blogger
SeaQueen

Good night es family, teach, caroline, nuns mi girl, and the lovely ty. That was a beautiful video. Even though you can’t understand the language ur hubby is speaking, you can tell by the body language, movements and tone that it is something wonderful going on. A couple questions: was the money he had money from the person he was doing the sacrifice for? What does it symbolize when the babalawo continuously throws the chain object down? To be honest the heat reach MI all the way in the west to how that session was intense lol.

Ty
Blogger
Ty

I am young on my spiritual path and journey towards my higher self….I wish to be the best version of me…

It was a dream that led me to Hindi stories that then lead me to Esu laroye and and baba Ogun…

I know very little of the Yoruba culture and always butcher the words…but I LOVE the odus and orikis of ifa…

I pray the god will allow my feet to touch Africa one day during this lifetime…

Ty
Blogger
Ty

Obara, what a wonderful experience to share with your husband and children…

Iba all babalowas and iyanifas that continue the ifa tradition …

Iba ile Ifa!!!

CarolineBritish
Blogger
CarolineBritish

Hi Obara Meji!
Thank you for the response.

You wrote “It is my belief however that Ifa is the top of the pyramid” does this mean the Yoruba people are the oldest humans on this planet?

Obara meji
Blogger
Obara meji

No one knows who is Caroline, absolutely no one, and I did not say that. I SAY THAT their cosmology, teachings, tradition is on top of all in My Obara Meji opinion, not saying that they are better, I do not believe in competitors but where rits, rituals and sacrid ice and structure is concern, they have it 100 percent

NuNu
Blogger
NuNu

Good afternoon folks! Obara thank you for the insight on initiation and yoruba culture. I hope to experience something so amazing one of these days. Lol Mi love how egbe guh introduce himself then sekkle dung inna di mix

CarolineBritish
Blogger
CarolineBritish

Hi Obara Meji and ESP family!

What a beautifully recounted Egbe initiation. It makes me want to have mine done even more now because my Egbe are causing chaos my life!

[email protected] “she likes to hear me curse”. Yes it’s funny when you do, but I tell you these things for correction and clarification purposes only (not because I believe them. I am sure by now you know how much I love to learn and would hate to have false information in my possession). You are very knowledgeable and this is why I call you Prof (that and you are like Professor X who felt so deeply for young mutants and opened a school to nurture and protect them. And that you can also read minds lol. If anyone has not experienced this with Obara Meji, please know I have – all the way in the UK and it’s fascinating).

The funny part is what I told you about the Yoruba religion is not even the most shocking thing I have ever heard (you would turn the entire town’s air blue with cussing if I told you lol). However this one was interesting only because I have heard it said by Iyanifas and Babalawos!! Not by your local fish wife gossiping as she pedals her wares but people who actually practise at high levels. The context was not to cause discord but ironically to neutralise it. It was during one of those “Can gays/Onyimbos initiate” type of discussions and they were told they have no right to bar anyone from coming into a religion which they inherited and never created.

The only criticism I have is this expectation that all Africans must practise the Yoruba religion by default (I am sure you read my post on this).  I resent that. We are thousands of nations coexisting in one landmass and not one homogeneous group. The Yoruba religion calls to some people and once they accept their call, their lives are transformed (you are a perfect example and that is why I love you and this blog so much). Others are called to other types of African religions (Kongo etc) and till they accept this particular call, their lives will never be smooth. Their ancestors will place obstacle after obstacle in their path. You said it perfectly here “I practice the way of my ancestors who have gone on before me and my head/ori is what led me back home.”  However, if I am wrong, please tell me so.

Wonderful post as always and I eagerly await to read about these mystical Amish like Nigerians.

CarolineBritish

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