Aboru Aboye Abosise!
I greet you all in the traditional Ifa initiate greeting.
Today I want to share with you a story. This story is from the sacred “scriptures” of Ifa; specifically from the Odu Ifa nicknamed Ogbe/Sa or otherwise called Ogbe (ug-beh) Osa (Oh-Sah).
What is an Odu?
An odu is a live energy. Everyone on earth has an odu they were born with. That live energy tells your life destiny on this earth. I suppose it can be likened to the Astrologers way of determining someone’s chart based on how the planets are aligned at the time of your birth. But the difference with an Odu is that it is not determined when you are born, but instead it comes with you from “heaven” (or the realm from where you came). So it is something that the soul spirit chooses before it comes to earth. Your odu (your destiny) can be discovered only through Ifa initiations.
Now, in Ifa there are 256 Odus, of which there are 16 majors. These 16 are the “Mejis” (Meji means two in Yoruba) or the sixteen Kings (although the 16 major Odu’s are feminine energies) and 240 permutations (born from the 16), equaling 256. Odu can also be likened to the womb, here the reference is to life. The explanation on this is much.
An Odu references all situations, circumstances, actions and consequences in life based on the uncountable Ese (poetic tutorials) relative to the 256 Odu coding.
This may sound like Chinese to most of you, but put simply, Odus are simply your life path; and every single thing along that journey – there is an odu for it.
Each Odu has over 4000 interpretations/verses/stories which pertains to the human being for whom it appears when consulted by a competent Babalawo. There is no one Babalawo who knows all the verses to each Odu, but the more a Babalawo learns of each Odu, the more competent he is. This is why an Awo will study Ifa for at least twenty years before he becomes independent of his Oluwo, and also a Babalawo if he is wise will continue to study Ifa until the day he makes his transition.
The scriptures/chapters and verses from our Odu Ifa are too vast to be contained into any book so it is handed down orally.
Here today I will tell one of my favorite stories from the odu Ogbe/Osa. It is a story with a lesson (as with all Odu’s) I’d like to share with you all.
Know that with all Odus when it comes down for a person, whether in Igbodu (Initiation grove) or during consultations, the story is a proverb pertaining to that persons life and what they will experience in life or what they are currently going through. It is an excerpt of their life plan.
The Story of Olore and Ika
Olore and Ika were good friends. Ika always had a complicated character, nothing ever pleased him and he always sulked and complained. Olore on the other hand was patient and kind. He was forgiving and trusting, having no malice for anyone. Olore had a cool and gentle nature, so although Ika was a terrible person, Olore did not let his character upset him and kept friends with him when another person would have shunned him.
Olore was such a good person and he had money. He never neglected tradition and so he always consulted with his Babalawos and did his recommended sacrifices; and because of this, his ways would always open and so he assisted Ika all the time with money and his needs.
One day Ika said to Olore, “Olore, ah ah, how come you are always ok, you are never in need of money, your business is thriving everytime, instead of giving me money every, every time why don’t you show me the way, point me in the direction so I can make money for myself also, let me do business with you.”
Olore, who was always giving and generous told Ika that he always do his sacrifices and check his Ifa, but before he can let him into his business he has to consult Ifa. So Olore told Ika to let him take him to his Babalawo to check Ifa and see what can be done, and how they can work together so that Ika could be alright as Olore.
The Babalawo told them after consulting with Ifa that they both needed to initiate to Ifa, If they wanted to do business together and for the business to be successful. They were told the cost of the initiation, to which Ika complained that it was too much. Olore, knowing the benefits of Ifa, told him not to worry he would pay the money for both of them which he did. They both had the same Odu come down for them during the initiation which was Ogbe/Osa or Ogbe/Sa.
They were both given there Ifa pots with which to take home with them. Ika complained on the way home. “We came for money and this Babalawo gives us a pot instead, what can this pot do for me, what is this??… Olore, calm as usual told Ika to calm down, he would soon see the benefits of receiving Ifa, all his things will soon go up. Ifa guides the way said Olore trying to assure his friend. Ika still complained but Olore assured him.
Now remember the reason for the initiation was because Ika complained about just getting money every time to care for his wife and family from Olore and he wanted Olore to make him apart of his business, but the Babalawo said before they can do business together they must receive Ifa, and they both came out with the same life path which is the Odu Ifa Ogbe Osa. One of their taboos was not to argue with each other. (remember this part,because it is important to the story).
The time came for them to do the business of course Ika complained that he did not have money to start the business, so Olore as usual fronted him the money. Ika’s money was not as much as Olore’s money in the business, so anytime they went to market, Olore’s items were far more than Ika’s.
Badmind and grudgeful ketch de duttie Ika (mi ah get ignorant as mi write enuh caws de Ika remind mi ah de bruk leg sista). Ika began to watch all the goods Olore would get when they came from market and compare it to his own, (although it was Olore who fronted him the money and on top of that Olore had been doing this business for years) it made him so upset that he could not reach where Olore was in wealth, so Ika began to plan against Olore.
Ika went to “Agbede” (ag-beh-deh) which means Black smith or Iron worker for him to make a iron contraption so he would use it to pluck out Olore’s eyes. One day soon after he got it, he asked Olore if he remembered that their taboo was that they must not argue, Olore said yes he remembered, Ika then produced the Iron contraption and gave it to Olore and told him to remove his eyes. Olore protested strongly and asked Ika what kind of suggestion was this, why must he remove his eyes? Ika told him”You see, we must not argue according to our taboo and here you are arguing, Olore thought about it and said it is true and so Olore removed his eyes and immediately fell into darkness amid terrible pain. He fell on the ground screaming and crying from the pain he suffered.
Ika then packed all of Olore’s good and left him to die. Night came and Olore was outside still in pain and shivering from suffering, he felt his way to a tree not far from where Ika had tricked him, which was a huge tree where witch people from all over would gather every night and pass the time talking and exchanging information. Olore did not know this, and so he leaned back against the tree trunk not knowing what to do, and wondering to himself what will happen to him. He thought he would die.
Night came and poor Olore was hungry, fearful and tired and in pain, he cried at his plight, and then he heard the flapping of birds flying toward the tree and perching on the branches. Olore realized that these were witches and he feared that they would see him, so he quieted down his cry and hunched down behind the tree trunk fearful for his life as he listened to them speak.
They spoke of many things one of which was a particular town and its people called Hausa’s. One bird asked the other about them and he responded that they were suffering, because all in the town were blind, sick and lame. They were rich but they also were riddled with illness, but God had a cure and none in the town knew about it, and only if they sacrificed to the witches would they be well, they laughed at this..
He said this very tree here is so powerful, from the leaf to the branches to the roots, that if they take one leaf and crush it into water or crush it until the pulp is released and use it on any aliment they would be better, If they were blind then they would see, lame, then hey would walk or have the use of their limbs, barren they would get baby. Then they would sacrifice a goat along with the medicine. They all laughed at the fact that the Hausa people did not know the cure even while they suffered, but who would tell them? They laughed and flew away, as they flew away, the leaves from the tree fell and Olore upon hearing it, searched for the leaves, crushed them and rubbed his eyes, immediately his eyes returned into its socket and he could see again.
Olore prayed and thanked Orunmila/Ifa, he thanked his IFA Ogbe/Sa. He gathered all the leaves he could when morning came and set out for the town of the Hausa people. Upon arrival, he saw the devastation the witches spoke about and asked to speak to the King. The Town people were curious of this fellow, a stranger coming into the town demanding to see the King so they questioned him, and he told them that he was there to save the town and cure the people. The King came, he had two sons who were sick and Olore asked for a goat, and some water, he did the sacrifice and used the leaves and cured the Kings children, all the people cheered him, and also the King and so all of them lined up to be cured and Olore cured everyone.
He spent months in that town and the King built him a house and gave him all he needed. There came a time when Olore informed the King that he wanted to leave for his own town. The King and the towns people protested and offered Olore anything he wanted, but Olore said he missed his family, and so they relented. The king gave Olore gold, so much Gold that he had to have hundreds of horses to carry them, he gave him servants who would travel with him, he gave him so much things that would equal to Olore being a billionaire here in our modern times. Olore set out for home amid the tears of all the Hausa people who were grateful to this kind and humble man who had cured them from disease.
All this time Ika was enjoying life in their town, he was rich, and people respected him. He had told the towns people that Olore had died on their last buying trip and the town had mourned the loss of a good, kind and generous man.
Olore arrived into town with hundreds of horses (in those times if you had one donkey much less horse yuh rich), servants, gold, spices and all things which said wealth. He was dressed in the finest of cloth and he looked good. The towns people were shocked and celebrated his return.
Germz buckit duttie (sorry yuh hear hask pardon, but mi feel fi fight de dead dawg Ika him, mi hignorant feem ei si) Ika heard the celebration and ran out to see what was happening, only to see the friend he betrayed Olore. He immediately feared Olore would expose him, but when Olore saw him he hailed him with a good heart. Ika asked him,”Olore how did you come into this wealth”, Olore responded, “you see the tree where you left me to die, that was what cured me, witch people came and spilled some secret there and I heard and so I did as I heard and it brought me into wealth”.
Ika said ok, that means half of your wealth is my own because of what I did to you, if not this fortune would not have reached you, Olore agreed and offered to give Ika half his wealth (cho man Olore, if yuh neva suh good ah ooda fight yuh tuh, yuh too rass nice man), but Ika had another thought and told Olore no keep your wealth, I have my own plans.
Ika went to the same tree he had left Olore beside and used the same contraption and plucked out his own eyes, and waited until night fall for the birds to come, he did not matter the pain and darkness, he was sure he would fins the secret Olore did..
Night came and the witches came, they began to do as they normally would which is catch up on the latest news. One said how are the Hausa people, the other said they all have been cured, which is impossible because the only people I told of the cure were you my fellow witches. They were all asked to swear that they did not reveal the secret to anyone, all of them swore.
One said “You know I bet that it was a human being who overheard our conversation and took the knowledge. Meanwhile de duttie Olore was keenly listening dung ah battam. The witches said it was their fault for not checking all the time that there were no intruders eavesdropping on them and so unbeknownst to Ika they made hand signal to fly down and check to see if there were any humans listening, they found Ika who was frightened as they pounced upon him and accused him of stealing their secret, they beat him to death.
Anyone who Ogbe/Osa (the odu) comes out for during initiation, will have someone who will be a friend/enemy to them and they will take that person to do initiation and that person will betray them. Even if a person is just doing consultation and Ogbe /Osa comes out, the person should be mindful of a friend who is wicked and jealous of them. Ogbe/Osa points to wealth, extreme wealth which will come to the person suddenly, and also that one day in that persons life they will do spiritual work. Ogbe/Osa is a great Odu, it is the head of the Witches and also of Egbe our heavenly mates.
If we were to be like the Bible of other doctrines, then the holy scripture of Ogbe/Osa or Ogbe/Sa would be a book within the book, much like Genesis or Exodus and this story would be a chapter. Orunmila is a benevolent deity and he is the Owner of the sacred Ifa Oracle.
Initiation into Ifa is life changing to say the least. I thank Osun, my Ori, I thank Olodumare (God), my ancestors, Ifa/Orunmila and all for leading me to this wonderful tradition, the oldest traditional practice in the world.
De same knife whey jook Sheep ah it same one jook Goat…..Jamaican Proverb!
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…Obara Meji!
There are no disappointments in life only lessons learned!