My own personal take on IFA
Updated: Jun 4, 2019
After several years of studying IFA I have come to some small but very profound conclusions. Conclusions that I would like to share with whomever wish to read this . What I have come to feel and acknowledge as my own inner truths .My only goal here , is to give some a better understanding of what IFA and Odu are respectively. Some or maybe many may or may not agree with what I have to say here. That's also fine with me, as I am not the final authority on anything IFA.
I'm just an awo and servant/ worshiper of IFA. Truly just a worshipper of my destiny through the vehicle or medium better known as IFA. Not sure how this will end up resonating with each who come to read it . But never the less here below is my own interpretation/perspective on IFA and ODU. I will do my best to keep it short , simple and precise as possible. I hope you walk away with a boarder perspective on what IFA is or at least, agree to disagree , if nothing more.
As my understanding currently stands today of both IFA and ODU. I will add here that , I don't believe any attempt, is ever fully encompassing. Of the absolute truth of what IFA truly is. As for in the eyes of others, it maybe seen totally different for many of reasons. We have to keep in mind that everyone is a world on to themselves. With that being said lets remind ourselves just for a moment, that all the orisa's, are essentially divine cosmic forces of nature. Forces that exist outside of us as well as inside of us . And are truly beyond any human comprehension in there respective totality as divine forces of nature. Hell we don't even understand are own nature . Let alone that of the universal and cosmic forces that surround us. So with this being said .
IFA is the knower of all of the how's, when's , and why's, of everything that has been created. Which for human beings, specifically can be furthered explained as each ones innate or personal destiny. IFA in truth is the keeper of all destinies, rather of animate or inanimate beings/ etc. As everything has a destiny and a purpose for being here . Each destiny is imbedded with a celestial coded messages, known to us as ODU IFA! These fore mentioned destinies have attached to it. What is maybe better known. In some modern spiritual circles today a" higher self". IFA is in essence the universal consciousness of the cosmos. The "Something" which was before anything as we know it, ever came about . This is why it is said that it was IFA that was used to by GOD to create everything in the universe and the cosmos at large . It is also why by default , that which we call IFA .Is that divine celestial spirit/entity and knower of all the beginnings of all things in existence.
Although we do have a higher self back in heaven we have one right here with us or better said within us . Always willing and able to assist us at any moment . Most the time its trying to do just that but more often than not we miss all the signals it gives us . And is why we end up in regretful situations . We more than likely would have probably easily avoided . If we would have been paying attention , in the first place lol. Probably sounds familiar to some of you reading this. Usually one of the many ways of your higher- self manifesting and trying to aid you is for example. That gut feeling you get and ignore and end up regretting it later on . For not listing to it to begin with lol.
IFA reveals itself through odu ifa via his priest diviners named Babalawos. Through which the oracle would come to know if one is in alignment or dis-alignment with whom you really are and have chose to be or express here while on the earth plane. Which are all things that encompass what we would call your destiny! It doesn't even matter if you believe in destiny or not ! your on the destiny train rather you like it or not . For example, the sun doesn't need anyone to believe in it for it shine or light up the world . It does what it is destined to do regardless of belief form anyone.
Similarly you don't need to also believe you have a destiny and yet, its there manifesting all the time for you . Through the actions and choices you make on a daily basis. I wont get to much into destiny here but. Know that you all have one and you can ether be living your highest destiny or your not so highest destiny. But you will and are living one of the many tracks of destiny, your particular train of destiny is currently taking you on. Only you can determine if the track your on is a good one or not. But even if its not a 'good one" you are in luck for IFA is also known the mender of bad destines.
It is through IFA and what the ancestors have left us through the ages . That we can now upon there shoulders move IFA to a new level of expanded consciousness for generations to follow . We have attained enough from our ancestors , thank GOD to be able to use IFA . In ways you would have to experience for yourself to truly believe. And why so many people come to IFA in the first place for the seemly miraculous ways IFA is able to help each person . In a very tangible ways that can not be quantified or measured but surely felt and experienced . To all those who come and explore what IFA has to offer them. As well as digest the teachings and preform the prescribed sacrifices, That IFA gives each who come to solve one of life's multitude of possible issues. Or that which for whatever reason one has come to consult the oracle for.
Now the IFA system as we know it through the Yoruba path or practice also known as isese( the great tradition) on a larger scale . Works with what we call ODU IFA. ODU'S are what can be described as two dimensional representations of a more spiritual and interdimensional cosmic universal living energy . These two dimensional representations or odu ifa are what make up the corpus of the IFA literature . Which is the book that holds all of what is known to a certain extent as IFA as practice by the Yoruba's. As well as other sub groups that have migrated from Yoruba land over the eons. Now keep in mind that IFA has always been an oral tradition. So although much has been written down. Now more so in modern times, much of it is still passed down in the same manner it has been passed down since time and memorial which is orally. Also do to this very fact a lot has been lost . Or held onto by those who aren't so easily willing to let it go. For it took them a lot of blood sweat and tears to attain every crumb of knowledge they posses . But we still have a very extensive foundation to work on and with.
Each odu IFA which they are 256 in total, have attached to them metaphysical observations with concise summaries of what the ODU ifa or encoded message stands for or mean. These messages are interpreted by a Babalawo or priest diviner . Which cast IFA for the inquirer and or client . Each odu ifa has its own subsection of verses up to 1,800 or so verses ( as they grow in number all the time) . It might be obvious by the shear number of texts or verses no one person can know all, of what we call IFA's esoteric wisdom iit totality atleast no Human being anyways. . It is the job of the Babalawo or diviner priest to know as much as he or she possibly can on what are commonly called or known as ese odu ifa. Or verses of IFA which expound on all type of issues or situations and or occurrences or circumstances that touch on the topic for which the client has come to visit the diviner or oracle for. There are many times that IFA in its wisdom will talk about something. Even more important than that which the person has come inquiring about.
It is though the texts of the IFA corpus and the ability of the diviner or Babalawo. Coupled with the willingness of the client . That seemly like miracles can take place in the lives of those who truly put forth the effort to not only make the prescribed sacrifices . But truly apply and implement them in there day to day lives . By doing so changing there out look and perspective entirely . For if IFA is anything for each individual it surely is a crash course in self development . The cultivating of that which ifa categories as iwa pele ( good gentle character). For this very reason is why millions seek shade under the BIG tree we call IFA and ODU. A ancient living text that Transends even the Yoruba people by far . Even that of our own existence as a race . For IFA as we have come to know it is only one branch ,on a much larger universal cosmic tree which has been around since before anything truly was . When the bible says and there was light.The spirit of IFA had been roaming the cosmos for a substantial amount of time.