Awo Ifasola Sangobolade
Homosexuality TABOO? within IFA.
Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Homosexuality has always been sort of a hot topic of discussion within African traditional earth based practices IFA is no different. Although , in the diaspora it has been way more widely accepted. In my personal experience of being in the tradition and community for the last almost 15 years now.
Fact is we possibly have millions of homosexual or bi- sexual initiates in all branches of IFA and orisa practice world wide . Not only adherents but actual priest and priestess . Although again nothing! new , it still seems to always spark a bit of controversy from time to time .Specially with it comes to IFA .
The content below minus the 4 Ifa verses towards the end . The 1 verse form Ofun Irete and 2 verses form Iwori odi 1 verse from ODI meji . Was a posting form someone on a forum . Where a person had asked how is being transgender seen within ifa. The following post below . Was a response given by someone within that forum . I wish I could have given him credit unfortunatley i never saved his name .
The reply to the question asked asked about how IFA felt about transgender is here below.
I feel that it was well written and makes sound sense to me atleast.
( although iam not some authority in IFA so my opinion really doesn't matter.) I know there is A LOT! Of controversy around these topics within IFA even STILL! today ( maybe always will be ).
I will present the following information . And let you , make or draw your own conclusion on the matter. Fact is many will read these verses can see what they want to see has interpretation of ODU is a bit subjective i suppose.
My own view not that anyone cares nor does it matter nor should it , is there is already tons and tons and tons of homosexuals within IFA and Orisa lifestyle. It’s defiantly in the millions. This isn’t something new by any means. Both in the ranks of olorisas and Babalawos and "iyanifas"(gay lesbian women IFA priestess ).
In initiates in all traditions, across the board. I know of entire iles ( spiritual houses) that are made up of all or mainly If not all homosexuals . I know of many that pretend not to be gay. And are married and hide it because they want to avoid criticism. Or backlash or whatever it is they are trying to avoid by hiding.
Not that Anyone needs to announce there sexuality to the world. But my own opinion is , you don’t need to hide it ether. But to each his or her own as they say.
Fact of the matter is everyday , gay people and transgender even . Are coming closer to IFA and Orisa. It is what it is, rather you like it or not. Rather your for it or against it. It happening and it's been happening and it will continue to HAPPEN! And NO ONE! is stopping that train.
For me , as long as they are good moral , and ethical human beings . That respect and carry the orisas in a honorable manner. I say great and come on board. We have million of heterosexuals doing all sorts of atrocities of all types as is. So… as long as you’re here to improve the name orisa culture and carry it in an honorable way. Iam all for it !
My personal view is that IFA and Orisa is for everyone. And as long as you’re a human being for me! That qualifies you , as someone that can come to the feet of orisa and be in the ranks. Because once again !Fact of the matter is .
Like I said , its already happening! So since initiating gay people isnt going to stop or slow down and there is absolutely nothing ! Anyone is goin gto be able to do about it !i say well... lets all get along and act acordinly as IFA advises us to do . We often spend so much time on these topics . That we tend to miss the point of what this practice is even really all about in the first place. Development of good character and the journey to alignment of GOD SELF WITHIN!
Here below is the posting which i spoke of up top . Which was an answer to a question asked on how IFA. See’s transgender and the place of transgender in IFA.It mainly touches on homosexuality more than anything else . In any case let your ORI decide wht IFA is transmitting within these very verses.
What modern western culture fails to understand about the mindset of Ancient African cultures is how they viewed sex. Prior to colonialism and the introduction of western religion, sex in general was not an "identity point" merely something humans did. Hetero sex was emphasized because hetero sex was EXTREMELY important to the survival of hunter gatherer cultures.
It was needed to start a family and grow the tribe to remain a strong community and protect themselves from enemy tribes. Hetero was also emphasized because of the spiritual and symbolic nature of the interaction between opposites and the observable dichotomy of nature. Duality, balance, and the transformation of things from one state to another are major themes in Ifa and this is reflected in the Odu marks.
But I say all this to explain that sex was viewed more pragmatically and spiritually back then and was not seen as something you identified as. Meaning, you were not a "straight" or "gay" man/woman you were simply a human that could have sex with either.
Now, homosexuality in Ifa was viewed as pointless indulgence (because it did not produce children and grow the community) this is stated in a couple verses, but it is really not mentioned to much in the Odu’s and it takes no hard fast positions about what type of sex is "wrong".
Now, I'd say the topic of transgender is actually all throughout Ifa! You'll find many instances of male Oriṣa becoming female and vice versa. For example Obatala becoming the female Oriṣanla and getting pregnant. Orunmila was also a woman in some Odu. Women initiated to Ṣango in Nigeria are addressed as males. Males dressed in dresses . All initiated to Orisa are considered "wives" "iyawo.
Male Oṣun priests at times take on "feminine" roles. Really gender roles were more flexible prior to the introduction of Christianity and Islam to west Africa so the word "cisgender" is not the appropriate word to describe it. Some of the intolerant attitudes have indeed leaked into some Ifa/Oriṣa houses, but that is not from Ifa.
It is purely from outside influences. Biological sex was emphasized yes, but not so much hard fast gender constructs. In short the place of LGBTQ people in Ifa is the same as everyone else, that’s human.
We have to leave western political issues at the door when dealing with an ancient spiritual system. The problems now did not exist then. For one, physical sex change was impossible and unheard of, so of course they have little to say about transgender people as we know it today, as an identity directly. However it is very apparent that males could do traditionally female things and vice versa without issues.
Below are some odu ifa that touch on the aspect of homosexuality within IFA .
epo se e je'su isu se e j'epo akaso dun-un g'aka obinrin se e ba sun j'okunrin lo okunrin se e sun ti j'obinrin lo b'okunrin ba n b'okunrin sun bii koko, bii oowo bi iku bi agbaaarin b'obunrin ba n obinrin sun bi epete bi oorun bi erofo bi eeri b'okunrin ba n b'obinrin sun b'obinrin ba nsun t'okunrin bi enf'ola yun'pun bi enf'ola yun'ra igi Ofun-O-Rete lo ro gangan-olele dia fun Apon-Ako ti nlo ree fi Olele omo Olofa saya Apon p'Olele o je o ko ju ohun ti'fa n se lo o Apon p'Olele o je o ko ju ohun t'Ebora n se lo o
Palm oil is good to complement yam for consumption and yam is good as complement for eating palm-oil the ladder is good for climbing the rafter a woman is better for a man to make love to than his fellow man a man is better for a woman to sleep with than her fellow woman. if a man sleeps with a man it will result into lumps, boils, and yaws if a woman makes love to a fellow woman it will result into murk, stinking odor, dirt and irritation if a man makes love to a woman and a woman sleeps with a man the result is feeling like being on top of the world the feeling is like having unlimited and unequaled enjoyment Ofun-Rete's organ is strong and turgid This was the Ifa cast for a Chronic Bachelor When going to marry Olele the offspring of Olofa The Chronic Bachelor called upon Olele but she responded not The problem is not more than what Ifa can solve
Iwori Odi Iwori wodi o se bi nnkan ire loun nse Awo rere niwori to nwodi na? Dia fun Panla Apo To ko roko fe To yoo maa febinrin egbe e re Ebo ni won ni ko wa se Obinrin ti nfebinrin egbe e re Eyin o mo pe o nloo woku idi ni?
Translation: Iwori took a fanciful look at the genital and considered it a proper practice Do you consider Iwori who looks at the genitals as a good Awo ? This was Ifa's declarations to Panla-Apo Who failed to secure a husband to marry But chose to be in love with a fellow woman She was advised to offer ebo A woman who makes love to a fellow woman Don't you know that she is just looking at a Non-productive lifeless genital ?
Iwori Odi :
Bayii laa selu Ilu i ba dun Dia fun won niluu Iwori-Wodin Nibi won ni ki won le Omo-Osu ilee won jade Eyi to loko tan To loun o lokoo fe mo To yoo maa ledi mo obinrin egbe e re Ebo ni won ni ko waa senje to ba se bayii laa selu Ilu i ba dun na?
Translation: If this is the way we administer the community The community would have been very desirous (to live in) This was Ifa message to the citizens of Iwori-Wodi Who were advised by Ifa to send all Omo-Osu * away Those, who after getting married once, Chose to perform ejaculation with fellow women They were advised to offer ebo If this is the way we administer the community Would the community have been this desirous to live in ?
IFA speaks on procreation in
IDI MEJI :
Koko aso gurukan
Eyin , eyin la j ij o Orisa si
Difa fun won nidii kunrin
A bu fun won ni dii Binrin
Igba idi ti j e okan
A o rom o bi
Igba idi meji i
La to nbimo
Ero ipo , Ero Ofa
Ewa ba ni ni wowo omo
The knot of gurukan fabric
Ogedegede nigede: ( sound of an orisa drum)
The dance of Orisa reaches its climax at the end of the music
This as the ifa cast for male reproduction organ
Also cast same for female reproductive organ
When the reproductive organ was single (without its opposite partner)
There was no reproduction of offspring
But when the two organs copulate
We became blessed with offspring
Travelers to ipo and offa towns
Come and meet us in the mist of plenty children.