In Africa, especially Nigeria where I live half the year and where I initiated into the tradition of Ifa/Orisha, women who marry there often times convert to the religion of their husbands. Most often a Nigerian would refer to someone as his wife or she would say this is her husband, but they go by the concept of “take a woman and call her your wife” and in most cases it is when a woman has a child for the man, she is automatically his wife or referred to as such. So de ooman just haffi breed and braps she have husband ,sans paper fi sign or parson wid him black frock an collar. If the husband is Muslim or the woman was brought up christian, then upon them getting together and becoming a family (she breed and him get sudden wife) the woman then begins to practice Islam, you will not see the man converting to hers, it will be she that does it. It is the same if he were Christian and also if he is traditional worker. With tradition however, she does not have to initiate, unless he is a Babalawo and Ifa specifies this, but she no longer visits the Church or the Mosque, although I have seen some women still observe Christian and Muslim holidays or special days.
At first I criticized this, until I realized that most women in Nigeria (I specify Nigeria, because it is my second home and I know the culture there, but this may go for all of Africa, I am not sure), base their lives, how they live it, on their economic conditions. So the Husband is their God, their provider, the one who they completely depend upon. This is not to say that they are lazy, or that they do not work or even try, but in Africa, men are supposed to look after the family, care and provide for their children,perform his duty toward his wife and children, nu run whey like de wicked baby fadda read here. He, the African, was brought up like that, and in return he expects a dutiful wife, a submissive and complacent one, who will run the household and take care of him and the children, one who will not complain and who will stick with him through thick and thin. Most African men are responsible fathers, unlike de dead beat dranco dem in this part of the world.
We, in this part of the world may look at this life of the African (submissive, tolerant, subservient, compliant etc) woman as being foolish, but if you think about it, the economic conditions of any country is what conditions the mindset of its people. Often times, she will want to partner with her mate and try life, I think this is the same all over isn’t it?
I have seen many people become members of a church because the Pastor cute, or the Sister who lead off the first part of the church have a big butt (in the case of the men who go church go look woman) or because this is what their significant other wants of them, it is either they go to church or no relationship. Some people attending spiritual churches, mosques, becoming a part of an ashram because “man deh deh” or they will find wives or girlfriends there.
My husband’s sister who told me that she never even heard of Jesus until she was twenty five years old. She, like my husband and all his family members were brought up in a family who only worshiped Orishas. So Ifa and Orisha the traditional practice, was all she ever knew. It took her a very long time for her to find a husband, get married and have children, (In Africa these things are important, girls are urged to find husbands quickly, probably the parents wanting to heave over the responsibility to the new man……or not). It was determined that she needed to receive “Egbe”, which is a spiritual initiation done to separate her from her astral mates, which in this case was her spirit husband who was responsible for her not finding her earthly partner and having children, read here. She did her initiation and it was not long after that she met her now husband, a christian man for whom she had three children with.
Of course she converted to Christianity, as explained above in how they do it in Nigeria, taking on the husbands religion. For a while all was well, but later the husband moved to another state. He left to search for work according to the story, because Lagos was not providing any jobs for him. She got heavily involved with the church (she go church everyday, so till mi secretly wonder if she deh wid parson, joking, jokes, I am not serious oooooo!), so much that she attends every day of the week, but what is missing from her and the children’s lives is the husband who now lives 8 hours by drive away.
When I became apart of the family, and heard her story (a lovely woman, by the way) I immediately assessed her misery, although she tried not to show it (most African women will not tell their business so easily to another, even if they are being abuse they will keep quiet). I realized that she had turned her back on her religious beliefs, had abandoned her Egbe, the initiation she did so that she would be able to find her earth husband and have family. In truth this is not what Egbe is so please click on the link above so that you may understand a little about this.
The minute this came, she abandoned all for his beliefs and religious practice. Now she was paying the price, by being unhappy, and even though they were still together in the sense of him calling her his wife and she referring to him as her husband, they lived apart and she was wife in name only, until once or twice per year when they would meet up.
I asked my husband to help her, and he insisted that she pay attention to her Egbe by visiting it (her Egbe lives on their grandfather’s compound, he is an Araba which is the High priest of the town, so he has an Orisha village) and taking care of it, serving it with whatever it requires, which really is not much. I have Egbe and so does my children. He, my husband, took it up in hand and went to serve it on her behalf, and low and behold her husband called suddenly and told her to look for a new apartment he was coming home, he even sent the money to rent the apartment, as they do yearly rentals in Nigeria. I was in Africa at the time and she called me, excited that he was finally going to come home. He didn’t. He kept putting it off, and even though she found and paid for the new apartment for the year as required, she never moved in because he never came home. Yet she patiently waits for him, while her Egbe waits for her. The church is however happy, because she is there everyday attending to its needs.
I asked myself, why after my husband served Egbe for her and immediately her husband called and promised to come home, if the offerring was accepted and it was, did he, the husband not come back home?
I answered myself with this, which I am certain is the correct answer.
Her Egbe, which is her spiritual mates, her spiritual family, the ones she left in the realm from where she came from, knew that she would not keep up what my husband did for her, (spirits can see tomorrow). Initiating Egbe as she did, meant that she was spiritually obligated to care for her Egbe and in turn it would guide, protect and support her in this life. Her Egbe would work as her guide through this life. This was a contract she made before she came into being and one she reconfirmed when she arrived here on earth. By neglecting her spiritual contract after initiation meant that she reneged on her promise and so this was the consequence she had to bare.
We all have to follow our path. Some people get involve with religion some people cannot stand the restrictions that religions come with. It all has to do with the person and their beliefs. Regardless of whatever a person feels however, they must follow where they are led. I have often times come to realize however that many people embrace whether religion or tradition because of the wrong reasons. Some of the reasons are Money (the collection plate fi de Christians dem), for the opportunity to develop their gifts, (joining the choir and singing in the church, lol), meeting their spouse, gaining power and more, the terrorists perform jihads fi de 72 virgins dem sey ah wait fi dem inna heaven.
A woman once got involved a man who was a traditional practitioner, a Babalawo from Africa, ( I am not convinced that he was a Babalawo, a worshiper perhaps). She met him when he visited her country. They had an affair, to where she said she fell in love with him (women easily fall in love, more so than men), he did not feel the same way she later found out. Before she found this out however, she, who practiced Christianity, began to research the Ifa tradition, wanting to become an initiate, calling herslf Oya’s child, (Oya is an Orisha, she is the deity of the wind). He had told her, ( I think he did this to stave her off, she was pouncing like the cougar she was, nutten wrong with cougars, big up oonuh self) that he had to marry only an initiate, and so she wanted to head out on that direction. She was ready to abandon Jesus and his blood which she had plead on for all her life, all for the possibility of having a husband. Needless to say the man ran away, and by this I mean, he truly did not want the relationship, so he barred her from his life. It took her sometime to come to terms with it, and I can imagine that it was painful, rejection of any kind can never be nice. She then went back to Christianity, and began to bash African spirituality and tradition, even Oya, who neva do har nutten. When she called me, (she is a friend of a friend), complaining and subliminally throwing words, I had to be truthful to her in telling her why she was now hating and being disrespectful to the tradition, was due to her own folly, and stupidity and her need for a man to be in her life, which if it had worked out, she wold now be an initiate dancing and singing alongside the husband in praising Orisha.
We all have our reasons why certain things attract us. For me, Spirituality, becoming who I am as Obara Meji was not a choice, I was groomed for this from an early age, except I had no idea of the path I was being led on. Christianity stood in front of me all the way, until I was brave enough to challenge it and even then it took years to let go off Jesus’s frock tail. Being Jamaican, I am expected to plea the blood, help put on him slippers ah morning time after making him tea and a lovely breakfast of Ackee and salt fish (Jesus is Jamaican you see). Jamaicans are more Christians than the nowadays Africans (remember Jesus wasn’t Christian, but instead a Jew), I do not know which one is worse, there may have to be a battle on who can shout Jesus the loudest. I pity Jesus up there in heaven, not getting any rest, because of the two, (Jamaicans and Africans) who keeps shouting out his name and most often in vain.
It is shocking to many of my country folks when they realize that I no longer practice Christianity, in fact, at time mi even waan bun it out,……. ah wha mi ah sey? Get thee behind me Satan, mi bun it out! The indoctrination that is, there are some wisdom in its books however.
Ok all jokes aside, we should look deep within ourselves for our spirituality, for what connects with us and for what we connect with and embrace it, regardless of any sort of pressure or foolish idea. We do ourselves a great disservice when we conform to the ideas, religion or even spirituality of others, and disregard or quell our own beliefs or what we may want to search and investigate for our better understanding and for what is pleasing to our spirit.
Many want to become Babalawo’s or Iyanifa’s because they seek Power, and the Pastor may just want a flock to lead and the chance to bawl out “escape hell” or buy a 65 million dollar private plane, donated by the congregation, and some may just want to wear the Hijab or the Muslim frock and Long beard, Some just want to say ” Buddhas name be praised” like the monks of 36 Chambers of Shaolin…(one ah mi favorite karate movie), or have ah bag ah people ah follow dem like Sai Baba, lol….and truth be told he really was just following Jesus. Oh what a world we live in! People be wise.
Ogún ọmọdé kì í ṣeré gba ogún ọdún; ọgbọ̀n àgbà kì í ṣàṣàrò fún ọgbọ̀n oṣù. / Twenty youngsters can’t play together for twenty years as thirty elders can’t hold discussions for thirty months…. Yoruba Proverb
[Change is inevitable]
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
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.