ESSENCE OF A TRUE AWO /BABALAWO
Updated: Jul 7
The characteristics of a real awo/ Babalawo.
One is either a true, honest and trustworthy awo, or one is not an awo. If one is not a true, honest and trustworthy awo then one cannot be called by the name awo. Awo means a sincere, honest, enlightened, truthful, compassionate and trustworthy initiate. An awo is a seer, a person of spiritual vision and virtue. An awo is a person of holy sentiments and divine feelings. An awo is an embodiment of divine power, virtue, purity, maturity and excellence. An awo is a life long student, lover, servant, representative and doer of the truth. An awo is a true friend, an inspiring example stability and holy living, and a reliable mentor a guide a truth speaker and a sage in his own right.
The way of Ifá is a path of divine straightforwardness, truthfulness and simplicity
Ifá simplifies, harmonizes and unifies. Ifá delivers us from confusion, doubt and meaninglessness. Ifá delivers us from disharmony, inner-disparity, and mental-emotional turmoil. Ifá delivers from fragmentation of integral personality.
In Ifáyelele: ifá-consciousness there is no place for feelings of fear, hatred, disgust, anxiety or discrimination. To be an awo means to be a partaker of Ifá consciousness or to share in spiritual qualities, virtues, merits and values of Ifá.
Awo is a sublime inner-state of being, awareness and perception. Awo is a superior, and refined spiritual attitude and inner-spiritual constitution. Awo is a settled upon state of heart and mind which is marked by peace, serenity, joy, contentment, confidence and optimism. To be Awo means to have a divinely sanctioned, approved, recognized privilege and authority before Olódùmarè and the irunmole-orisa.
Awo is an inner state of being, consciousness and outlook that completely fills one's life and governs all of one's interactions and relationships. Awo spirituality is marked by the integral unity of courage, sanctity, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, authority, benevolence and ase : spiritual-power
An awo delights to abide in cleanliness. An awo thrives in demonstrating love, compassion, patience, understanding and divine wisdom to all. A person who is inwardly established in this inner quality of divine sentiment is an awo. There is no such thing as a fake or false awo. If one is awo then that means that one is genuine, authentic and true. If one is not genuine, authentic, honest and truthful then one cannot lay claim to the status or name of awo. If one is not an authentic awo then one is nothing at all. Awo carries within itself the intrinsic value and meaning of being empowered, trustworthy, reliable, honest and dependable. An awo cannot be subjected to, controlled by or influenced by bribery, insincerity or flattery.
If one does not have these qualities then one is not awo and one cannot be called awo. One is either awo or not. The initiatory process is designed to impress these virtues and to activate them in the qualified spiritual candidate. This spiritual process is successfully carried out by union of ori-inu and iponri with the divine power of ayanmo or destiny [the divine power which establishes, protects, ensures and determines our glorious spiritual trajectory.
An awo has a strong sense of social responsibility and identifies himself with the sufferings of humanity and is dedicated to bringing relief to suffering ones. Awo struggle individually and collectively against social injustices. An awo stays very far away from doubt. An awo stays very far away from those things that the wise do not approve. Awo do not dwell in ogberi consciousness ogberi is state of mind of those whose understanding and intelligence is stained by ignorance, blind passions, conceit, foolishness, stubbornness, arrogance, heedlessness and selfishness. Awo do not engage in ogberi practices. Awo dwell in the divine sentiment and are rooted in and nourished by the divine.
The vocabulary of an awo or one growing in his awareness and experience of Ifáyelele has no place for defiling, provocative, hurtful and slanderous words that spread enmity, hate and strife. Such kinds of words or thoughts do not arise in an awo. Whenever you come across such divine, holy and peculiar awo, know them to be blessed by Olorun Alaaye — the one supreme God who is eternally pulsating with, and full of beginningless life, light, immeasurable wisdom and boundless power. Such awo are living holy shrines. Such awo are the true bridges, mediums and divinely constituted channels capable of connecting of us with the divine, sacred, sublime and holy. Wherever they go and whatever they touch becomes auspicious, purified, uplifted and blessed. Such awo are fields of merit. Whatever ones bestows upon them in love, affection, respect and appreciation returns back to the giver many, many, many times over. With unshakeable faith, compassion, love and reverence they are moved by human sufferings. They live for the happiness, peace and wellbeing of others and not for themselves.
Olódùmarè takes care of all their requisite needs. Olódùmarè takes full responsibility for such awo and upholds them with His grace, truth, power and love. Before such awo, even the Orisa bow in reverence, love, respect and amity.
That is why there is a sacred Ifá verse which says and reveals the following about such awo: Only such awo can say, “The blessings of the orisa is in my mouth. Because I am established in truth and rectitude. Whatever I command is what Olódùmarè will approve and grant. The blessings power, grace and authority of the orisa resides in my mouth.”
Such divine awo are well cultivated and do not like to see anyone spreading disharmony, dissension and conflict. Their way is one of friendliness, understanding, discreetness and compassion. Behind the scenes and without others knowing about it they are spiritually working on behalf of others. They are giving others practical-spiritual support and reinforcement. Their way is one of respect, dignity and seeing love within each other.
Those awo who pursue Ifáyelele the Ifá way of peace, fulfillment, satisfaction and harmony do not have any special appearance. Their character, actions and noble personality are their garments. They do not worry about themselves and are possessed of contentment. They accept life as it is without complaint, and they see understand and appreciate] the mystery and love of Eledumare in everything and everyone. Their aim is only to increase the pool of goodness in the world and to strengthen the rope of life.
Such aspirants and devotees of Ifá aspire to, and delight in remaining blameless in their undertakings and firm in their determination to live clean, honest and sympathetic lives. Such awo may once in a while get shortchanged or mistreated by others but they never cheat others and they never mistreat others. They do not pay others in the same coin. They believe in and entrust themsleves to the power of truth, loving-kindness, and the law of divine justice. Such awo are free from conceit, pride and vanity. They avoid these three things conceit, pride, and arrogance as if they were poisons or burning fires. They delight in showing respect to others and they delight in hiding their strengths, virtues, powers and wisdom from others. They seek the glory [blessings, approval and wisdom of Olódùmarè
Awo avoids contaminants of mind and body. Such awo avoid immorality, falsehood and promiscuity as these are merciless ravenous wolves or lions. They avoid deceit and lies. Awo lives a life of altruism, heroism, courage and inspiration. Such awo are not easily found or identified, but they are known to Olódùmarè and they are known to the orisa. These awo are continuously engaged in providing for the well being of others. They do not discriminate whether others are worthy or not worthy. They are impartial. They are like the light that emanates from the sun and the rain that descends from the clouds.
They pour out goodness and blessings to all without partiality. They give to each one what he needs and not always what they want. Such awo grow to have presence, power and ability like Èlà Asiwaju, who is able to bestow and effect positive changes, healings, wholesome corrections and divine realizations by his mere presence, look or touch. Even without speaking, even through silence, such divine awo can speak peace, love, assurance, confidence and meaning to those who draw near to them and to those to whom they draw near.
The way of these awo is marked by simplicity, clarity, straightforwardness and purity. Such awo have no complexes of superiority or inferiority’s Everything they say and do emanates from their pure being. They are always genuine, sincere and authentic. They abide in the life of the heart.
These awo are not in competition with anyone, nor are they comparing themselves to anyone. They are not led by the superficial intellect of anyone, they they are led by a heart full of true-understanding and insight. They notice what is worth noticing and they ignore the rest ,he non-essentials. In them, the heart and mind are a unified reality. The heart and mind of an awo remains unsullied from the contaminants of ogberi mentality.
Awo are truly free from the control of greed, anger, lust, worldliness and pride and the corrosive effects that they produce. Awo live in serenity, divine beauty, gracefulness and contentment. To such awo Olódùmarè gives the privilege and power of command, authority and leadership, because such awo do not practice deception and do not bring others down into the depths of despair, anxiety, worry, intimidation and fear. Such awo do not point people to themselves but to Olódùmarè, Ifá and the noble ways of Orisa. These are the divine qualities and characteristics of genuine aspirant and devotees.
Do not go out into the world seeking for the ones who have these qualities and characteristics, but study yourself instead and see if these traits are in you and are you. Only when you are personality established in these qualities and characteristics or awo spirituality will you then be able to truly see, know and discern who is truly awo in quality of spirit, conduct, behavior, speech and otherwise overall interactions with self and other ( the world at large).
To truly know and discern a true awo you have to be one. No one should be content with just being called “Awo” .What good will come of it? What benefit will one accrue?
Consider daily these qualities and characteristics and make them your own. Do not concern yourself with others, whether they are true or not, reliable or not. There is only one thing for you to accomplish: Make sure that you are true, authentic and accomplished, and all others things will take care of themselves.
A person who is truly awo does not have to run after the orisa because the orisa will run after him or her to confer blessings, virtues, merits, protections and powers. A person who is truly awo does not have to run after people to secure favors or what have you. People of ability and influence will seek out the true awo.
One has to be true, authentic and real from the center of ones being to the outermost extremity, through and through, all of the time. Dear followers of awo, takes these words of wisdom, encouragement and guidance and incorporate them into your lives. Do not just listen, ponder and consider them, but be motivated to practice, integrate and embody them.
Be the truth and do the truth. Do not procrastinate any longer. If you are not persuaded to follow this course then your life will always feel and be hollow, empty, lacking in substance and accomplishment. You will always feel that something is missing and lacking from your life, and you will be erroneously be led by your own thoughts or by others to think that what you are needing are more ceremonies, more initiations, more rituals, more rites and more contacts with different kinds of initiates etc etc.
You will never be stable, whole and at peace, and will always be jumping from here to there without ever developing deep roots, deep understanding and practical experience. Your search for inner satisfaction, peace and rest will never be satisfied if you do not stick with something long enough to gain mastery and to gain the true and compete benefit of it. Get practical. Get involved and take a sincere and genuine interest in your spiritual life.
Do not waste your time and do not allow others to waste your time. Get real and take the step into commitment, dedication and practicality. Be courageous and stop trying to appease people. Stop trying to maintain appearances and be your true spiritual self for yourself. Forget about what other people say or think. The people you are worrying about are not thinking about you or worrying about you, when they are making there own spiritual life choices and decisions. So why are you still hiding your true spiritual faith and affinity from other people?
Why are you still living a fragmented and divided life by attempting to maintain artificial spiritual identities [for the sake of appeasing and pleasing people] that do not reflect who you really are today and that do not reflect your honest convictions, spiritual identity, affinity and outlook? Be unified. Unify yourself. Be whole. Be consistent with yourself and be at peace with yourself. Do not fall into the self-created trap of seeking misguided, erroneous or imaginary solutions to your real problems, struggles and longings.
What you are needing and looking for, no one can instantaneously give to you. Even to receive divine benefits ones has to qualify to be able to rightly receive or be receptive to the divine light, grace and power. Stop jumping here and there. Be humble. Gain stability, foundation and balance. Follow the pattern of divine guidance. Re-initiate yourself through a clarified intelligence, firm will and holy determination. Be persuaded to ground yourself in the perennial truths and spirit of Ifá and make them your own through assiduous practice.
In the divine realm, to know the truth of iwa means to marry iwa and embody iwa in all that one thinks, says and does. In the life of an awo, comprehension and action cannot be two separate things. They are inseparably one, and form a single, indivisible complete reality.
The whole of Ifá consists of doing. Of doing what? Of doing, practicing and demonstrating the guidance, principles and counsel of Ifá. Ifá is the one who counsels us, loves us and advises us with a care, love and concern that surpasses that of our relatives, friends and well-wishers.
Become a master of the essential and do not waste your time on the non-essentials. Time is running out. The time to adjust oneself and do what is true and right is now. A blade of grass is soft and pliable yet it can cut the hand if not properly handled or improperly grasped. The way of Ifa is like this. Ifa is soft, pliable, flexible and firm but if one handles Ifá wrongly or improperly through negligence and deliberate self-deception and forgetfulness then one will ends up cutting oneself or injuring oneself.
Let Ifá be to you a healing herb of life, delightfulness and joy, and not a cutting blade. It all depends on you and how you handle the wisdom and guidance, that Ifá repeatedly sends your way. The love, power and gracefulness of Ifá is hidden within the counsel and advice that Ifa gives. Only when you take the kernel of Ifá wisdom and power, and plant it in the good soil of your heart [mind] and nurture [cultivate and practice] it, will you experience its efficacy, greatness, wonder and power.
Ifá is more interested in you receiving and applying these words of guidance for daily living than in your willingness to offer ebo, offerings, akose, ipese etc etc. Only when you do and apply the former does Ifá delight in and accepts the latter.
~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas