Chief Oluwo Obafemi Fayemi – The Maiyegun Awo of Ode Remo, Ogun State will be in Atlanta from August 28th until September 3rd.
He will also be speaking on Sept 1st at Sister Song
OISI GLOBAL WELCOMES YOU TO THE STUDY OF IFA
Chief Oluwo Obafemi Fayemi – The Maiyegun Awo of Ode Remo, Ogun State will be in Atlanta from August 28th until September 3rd.
He will also be speaking on Sept 1st at Sister Song
Born and raised in the Tre, Stephen Mackey, aka Baba Femi is an Ifa Priest.
Talking Drum Ministries sat down and talked with Baba about Ifa.
You grew up in the Church. How did you get started in Ifa?
In the short term…its where being a Sunday school teacher crossed with being a student of African and African American history…that intersection.
So you were a Sunday school teacher. Then what happened?
My studies of the Bible from its historical & linguistic foundation helped me to understand its non-literal translation. And as I began to study the esoterical and anthropomorphic meaning, I began to realize that most of it [the Bible] was just that. When I began to teach that [in church], I was asked to leave the church because the church did not want that particular meaning to be taught.
What is the origin of Ifa? How did Ifa make its way to the Americas?
Its origin comes out of the East, the Nile Valley. However it is basically expressed and understood through the Yoruba people in Southwest Nigeria. And at the time of this interview, it is not longer the predominate spiritual practice. It is estimated that 5 – 10% of the Nigerian population practices Ifa.
During the [transatlantic] slave trade Ifa found its way into Brazil and the Caribbean. It later migrated into areas such as the Carolinas and most notably Louisiana.
What are some of the basic tenets/practices of Ifa?
The tenets include a system of divination; the study of the signs and symbols of nature; ancestral reverence and good character. Its major object is the understanding and fulfilling of one’s purpose.
What is ‘divination’?
Divination is a process to interpret how one’s understanding of their god, along with their spirit guide and ancestors bring in a message to them.
Finish these two sentences:”Ifa is….” and “Ifa is not…”. What is the biggest misconception of Ifa by both practitioners and non-practitioners?
Ifa is the wisdom of nature. Ifa is not – by design- a religion. The biggest misconception is that Ifa is a form of witchcraft and devilry…and evil.
How do you normally combat that misconception?
By getting people to understand that it is no different than following the tenants of major religion. We still have a cosmology of a “god”.
So what is the “one god’ in Ifa?
The true god in Ifa is called “Olodumare” which means “owner of the everlasting Odus” or the energy and the mystery of how consciousness continuously goes forward to know itself.
You’ve made the distinction between “religion” and “spirituality”. What is the difference between “spirituality” and “religion”? Are they connected?
‘Religion” by its definition means to “reconnect or bind back”. Meaning one is disconnected from something. “Spirituality” – abbreviated with the word “spiral” – means “to go forward”. Often the two can be looked upon as having nothing in common.
They can be connected in that one can reconnect back to go forward properly. But to stay in the teachings of the thing that is defined of reconnecting back, when do you get the message?
Ifa practitioners study many “Orisas”. Is Ifa polytheistic?
In its antiquity and in its present state, no one has ever made an image of “god”. But god expresses itself in many things. The Orisas are like angels yet we call them forces of nature which is how god expresses itself. So I guess you could call it polytheistic. But then, too, I guess you could call all religions and spiritual systems “polytheistic” which means there are many ways to understand and get to the one god.
According to your website, you have both “clients” and “god children”? What is the difference? Do you have any “religious” clients?
God children are those who are initiated or initiated as practitioners to Ifa. Clients are often those who just attend classes and/or receive private readings and consultations.
As far as my clientele, yes, I have many religious clients come to me…actually over the last few years a little over half of my clientele have Christian-affiliation.
So Ifa and other major western religions like Christianity and Islam, etc. are not mutually exclusive?
Not at all. Because one is a religion and one is basically spiritual or sacred science. You can be a practitioner of religion within sacred science. It has nothing to do with religion i.e. one can still go to the church, mosque or synagogue and practice Ifa.
One of your titles is that of a “Babalawo”. What is a “Babalawo”?
“Baba” means “father”. “Awo” means “keeper of mystery”. Therefore, Babalawo means “the father of the secret”. The “secret” being to “know or have a sense of one’s destiny”.
I’ve often heard you say, “Doing what I do.” What do you do exactly?
The thing that the creator sent me here to get done.
You often refer to Ifa as a tool. “Tools” are -according to the dictionary definition – “designed or used for a particular purpose…used for assisting the work”. How is Ifa a “tool”?
It is a tool. All systems – whether religious or spiritual – are simply a tool to help you to understand who you are, what you’re here to do, how to get it done and fulfill this purpose. A good tool will help you achieve that. If one is still looking for “self” after a certain period of their life, obviously they don’t have a good tool. A good tool will help build, shape, mold and create who and what you are.
How can someone learn more about you and your work in Ifa?
They can visit my web site at http://www.oisiglobal.com
First person that gave me insight…never would have gotten insight if I had remained in the church.
First “teacher” was the minister who asked me to leave the church…He said we are not about knowledge, we are about the faith. I thank him for that.
“Elders of church unable to answer certain questions”. What types of questions? How did Ifa answer those questions?
Who were/are some of your mentors on this journey? what role do they play?
There are people who consider themselves “conscious” and/or part of a “conscious community”..define consciousness?
Some consider it be more Afro-centric. wherBy its definition a person who more
Ibi: Owonrin S’ogbe
2013 is a year of transformation, wisdom and growth. Transformation that comes from truly accepting our gifts and responsibilities by putting our powers to work for ourselves. Wisdom that comes from having truly examined the past lessons and gaining the knowledge of experience. Growth that comes from learning how to truly live as a new person. Looking toward the future and letting go of the old habits that no longer serve us, building community from within first, maintaining the culture of our ancestors and ensuring its continued growth through our children; these are the lessons and the blessings for OISI in 2013.
Ifa speaks Owonrin’rosu for OISI in 2013. Ifa says that this odu comes in misfortunes (ibi) marked by Owonrin S’ogbe, for financial difficulties (Iwori Bogbe). We will need to make ebo to shift the energy.
This Odu speaks of the importance of dreams. Pay attention to dreams. Keep a dream/log book next to the bed and record dreams as you remember them. The Ancestors speak very heavily this year, in providing help in all areas of life. Tend to the Ancestors/Egun. Fortify Egun altars by renewing and rewashing, giving trinkets, and offer foods. Not just flowers, fresh water, coffee, and fruits but a sampling from meals that you cook. Feed the ancestors and feed the ground.
Ifa predicts the reading of 2013 in misfortune (ibi). This misfortune comes in the Odu of Esu. It is very important to feed Esu often. Feed Esu a lot of palm oil this year. Owonrin’ rosu signifies magic and the opening and closing of portals, all of which are the mysteries of Esu. This is to ensure that we are opening and closing the doors that will lead us onward towards our destiny. Other foods to feed Esu include palm wine, yam, rat, fish, kola, plantain, and beans. Appease and pray to Esu often!
Ifa says Ori needs to be propitiated not only to help interpret dreams but also in the importance of decisions and choices that one must make. Ori will also help those who need to get out of their heads. Ifa warns of financial difficulties that come because of the pondering, anxiety and fear of how to make, and sustain money. The money is there to be made but the confidence is lacking. That is why one must stay with his/her Egun and pray for financial help. Ifa warns of temporal difficulties. Temporal difficulties are not about what IS happening but rather about what HAS happened; and because of what has happened, we cannot create what we want to happen. The key here is to clear the Ori. Ifa says to be very patient this year. A lot of changes are on the way. For some, changes have already begun to happen. Ifa warns that these changes can bring misfortune and irrational thinking. Ifa warns of emotional and financial difficulties. One must make sacrifices and propitiate Ori often to keep a focused and clear head, and to avoid becoming temperamental. Ifa warns that impatience and irritability will keep prosperity away.
Ifa says we have the insight, the great inspiration. We will know things before they happen. Take care of the Ori daily with prayer and offerings of water, gin, honey, etc. Our intuition is keen. However, we also can get trapped in emotional internal dialogue that can seem never-ending. To avoid this pitfall, we will feed Obatala for clarity and wisdom and patience, and Egbe for support. Our suffering will only come from our own lack of confidence.
Ifa says that positive reflections, meditations and dreams that are in alignment with One’s highest destiny will manifest. Any impediments to realizing One’s dreams can be sorted through Ancestors. The amelioration of impediments can be achieved through Ori rogations (head cleansings), meditation on the Oneness of being, and being conscious of one’s thoughts, words and deeds. One should also be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices in order to make manifest your destiny, via your dreams.
Ifa speaks misfortunes in Owonrin S’ogbe which speaks of witchcraft and negative vibrations interfering with the client’s peace of mind. This suggests that the harnessing and hanging onto lower-vibrational energy creates negative energy. Collectively, it seems that we are holding onto a lot of energy that is not conducive for our paths and it is that holding on that will impede the manifestations of the “good dreams” that Owonrin’rosu promises. This lower-vibrational energy is impacting our thought process and overall well being, thus the need for a lot of attention to the Ori. Meditation and contemplation on the oneness of all things may be beneficial in countering the tendency to hang on to this negative energy, which actually produces a witchcraft state.
Ifa speaks of children, the blessings of obedient children, and help from the ancestors. Ifa says we should continue to develop the children’s spiritual life. We must also learn to have childlike fun ourselves, as being too focused on business could cause emotional-related diseases, like hypertension and diabetes. That is why Egbe comes to remind us to have childlike fun. Although we do have fun, the problem is when we go back to our own homes and places, we start thinking, wishing, hoping, and contemplating to the point that we create our own blockages. To balance this, we will throw parties for Children, Ibeji and Egbe throughout 2013.
Ifa says that when an ebo is prescribed during divination, to do your ebo quickly. Do not put off on doing your ebos.
Ifa warns us not to rely heavily on the advice of friends. Friends will give you the wrong advice, whether it is intentionally or not, does not matter. Do not forsake the gifts and tools (Ori prayers and working your Ogun pot) that Ogun and Ori have given you. It will be these tools to help you through this challenging year. It will be Ogun and Ori who will restore all that Olodumare has given. Ifa says to work very closely with an Ogun priest and do not discard any gifts that are received in mysterious circumstances. Ifa says to feed Ogun often as you pray for blockages to be removed from emotional and financial difficulties. We will feed Ogun, who will clear the way for all of the newness that comes with this auspicious odu.
Ifa warns against making jest of elderly people so that the elderly person does not put a curse on them. The Ase of the elderly is very strong. Ifa says we will not take a position that ‘someone is crazy’ (mostly street people/homeless people). We will eliminate that word from our vocabulary this year. If someone is ‘acting crazy’ allow them to do them. Many times they are not ‘crazy’ and are receiving messages. We do not want to offend. Mentally disturbed people are not to be questioned this year. If we know them personally, they should be brought to Ifa for help.
Ifa says that someone is afraid and anxious about something. Maybe money, sickness or enemies? Ifa says to make sacrifice to Orunmila (your ikin). Those that do not have One Hand of Ifa, must secure it. Orunmila will take away all fears and worries and lead the devoted ones to a life of eternal happiness and peace.
Ifa says there will be a lot of opportunities for travel in business and for pleasure. This will be a good year for building business, community and family. Give offerings to Ogun before traveling, and business and family opportunities.
Ifa says that those in the musical profession, and those who seek to do music, should make sacrifice because the music is where prosperity lies. This is a good time for the artists and musicians to work hard to promote their art.
Ifa warns men to move cautiously with women who they are currently befriending and vice versa, women should move cautiously with men they are currently befriending. These ‘new friends’ can bring serious difficulties. These friends may cause trouble for those already in relationships or are married. Ifa warns against extramarital affairs. Divination should be considered for new mates. This is a MUST for all priests. In our relationships, we must take care not to repeat old patterns that brought us no good in the past. We must build honesty and trust in all of our relationships, whether business or personal. Marriage and partnerships could be very prosperous this year with the appropriate sacrifices.
Ifa says that we should not be in a hurry this year. Slow down. Plan accordingly so that you do no have to rush to work, meetings or other events. We must be patient, as time will be moving rather quickly this year. We should not be in a hurry for wealth, as all good things are at our hand now. We must be grateful for all the blessings.
Ifa warns of stomach problems. Anyone who suffers from stomach ailments should seek consultation and/or medical attention.
Ifa warns of abiku children (children born with a hard-luck destiny and may return to Heaven shortly after birth) and difficult pregnancies. Women who are pregnant should make sacrifice to keep their babies safe. Ifa encourages barren women to make sacrifice for children. There are ancestors returning who have important work to do in the coming years.
Ifa says that we must watch the words that we speak. A lot of the changes and energy surrounding us in 2013 deals with family and community business. We must be honest with each other and we must be honest with ourselves. We must not conspire against each other and we must speak our truths. If we must have a difficult conversation with someone, Ifa says to use honey with all of our ebos, therefore we must keep honey on our tongues, even when we are delivering uncomfortable truths to other people.
Ifa says we must keep respect among us. We must respect our elders, in age and in the priesthood. All those who are older than us chronologically must be respected! All priests should be greeted and respected. It is taboo to speak ill or gossip about a priest. There are no more excuses. Respect MUST be shown. Also, we are no longer using the word ‘priestess’. Priest is a universal title and is not regulated to men only. It is for all those who have been given the Ase, regardless of gender. We will call all of our initiated ones, ‘priests’.
Owonrin S’ogbe tells the story of Jesus, and how he made sacrifice at the four corners of the world for followers. OISI is growing; more and more people are beginning to heed the words of Ifa. In 2013, we are encouraged to be humble more than ever. Irosu encourages letting go of the past; Owonrin says look to the future. We are no longer on the left, but in the middle going forward. Let old behaviors, fears, and doubts stay in the past. Look toward the future with new eyes. With this energy other people’s opinions can affect us. We need to be more trusting of one another so that our enemies cannot use our own weaknesses against us. This is another reason that we will make ebo to Ogun. A unified family is a strong family. We must show respect to the elders of our community, our ile, our family. We must praise the Awos and Iyas who lifted us up on our spiritual journeys whether we speak to them on a daily basis or not. There is no greater sacrifice that someone can make than that of his/her time. We give thanks to the Awos. We give thanks to the Iyas. We give thanks to those who have lifted up and taught us Ifa. Obatala will give us the patience we need to endure transitions. Positive thinking leads to positive results. This year things can go from black to white, hot to cold, fast to slow in the blink of an eye. Do not let things sit and fester in your mind.
Ifa says that what someone has done to you before, is now in the past. Leave it there. What things you were feeling about a person and how you don’t like them, and any of this kind of thinking, it is all in the past now. You must leave it in the past. You must get over what someone has done to you. You must get over your negative feelings about a person. This will benefit you more than the other person. It will provide you will a healing that will allow you to maintain peace. Ifa says that we must maintain family peace and harmony. Ifa says this is a year of children and money. We must make sacrifice to maintain peace and harmony in our homes and in our ile. Family, business, and community are all the attributes of a universal-year-six. 2013 is a Universal Year Six. We must be committed to service, service to ourselves first and then, let the energy radiate outward. There is a special sacrifice for money that Ifa prescribes for us. Orunmila proclaimed that when he stretches out his legs it portends the advent of good fortune because the legs stretched out by Aworogun signifies the crowning of his efforts with prosperity, just as the stretching out of his legs by an Ifa priest marks the beginning of his success. Pigeons should be made for the sacrifice, because pigeons use their wings to fly prosperity into the house of their owner. We will give a pigeon to Aje for wealth. Money is coming to us but we must be confident in ourselves. We must build trust with one another so that family harmony will reign.
Taboos for 2013:
Do not let ebos go unfulfilled
Do not make fun of or disrespecting the elderly,the sick, or mentally ill
Wear more white; be more like Obatala in your delivery and disposition
Do not gossip or speak ill of ANY priests. Those in your ile as well as those outside of your ile
Obey your own personal taboos
Give thanks to the Awos and Iyas who prepared your Ifa
Give gifts to twins
Cut down on drinking alcohol
Make sacrifice before travel to avoid being treated poorly
Do not avenge wrongs done to you
Esu- pigeon and he-goat; to keep our proper portals open and to avoid misunderstandings.
Ogun- he-goat; for foundation and nation building, to renew trust, protect children
Ori- guinea fowl; for renewed purpose
Obatala- guinea fowl; for clarity, wisdom, patience and creativity
Aje- white pigeon; for wealth
Egbe- adimu, foods (candy, sugar cane, peanuts, cookies, etc…); for support, elevation and children’s well-being
Iyaami- foods (eko, corn, kola, etc…); for guidance and support
Egungun- food for both the maternal and paternal sides; for guidance, support and protection
Date of Ebo: Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 12pm
Variations to Ebo: Baba Femi is contacting each city’s contact-person, for the specifics of how the ebo will be completed.
Divined and witnessed by:
Mayiegun Awo of Ode Remo, Chief Obafemi Fayemi Epega
Oluwo Ifatoba Omoniyi
Babalawo Olaifa Sangokayode Epega
Iyanifa Ifawunmi Sangokolade Epega
Babalawo Ifasanmi Obaniyi Fayemi Awoyade
Iyanifa Ifabunmi Ogunkemi Orisaponmile Fayemi Awoyade
Chief Dawolade Orisakonyin Fayemi
The Babalorisas and Iyalorisas of OISI