Ọrun- The Sacred Abode and The Aboriginals

Ọrun (the sacred realm) is the abode of sacred and unseen beings, it habituates a countless number of life forces and energies such as Olodumare, the Oriṣas (divine energies), Oku ọrun/Alalẹ/Egungun (ancestors), Oro, Iwin, Ẹgbẹ(variety of spirits).

Olodumare (also known as Eledumare, Eledua, Ẹlẹda, Odumare, Ọlọrun) is known to be the creator of existence, the vessel of all energies. However, Olodumare has never been identified with gender, as a result, the native speakers of the Yoruba language refer to Olodumare as O/Wọn(It/They). As one of the names imply, Olu-ọrun- Ọlọrun is known to be the one that embodies Ọrun and all of its habitants. Olodumare is the source of Aṣe, the life force possessed by everything to come into existence. Olorun isn’t just the Lord over ọrun, It embodies both Ọrun and Aye within and as a result can’t be seen but seen in various manifestations as spirits, humans, animals and plants. As a result, all life forces- in this realm shall call ọrun home.

The Oriṣas

The Oriṣas are the divine forces- primordial, deified and sometimes personified divinities.
The primordial divinities are the ones known to be involved in the creation of the world we see today- Ogun (The God of iron, clearer of the path for both humans and divinities), Eṣu (The inspector General of Sacrifices, divine messenger and activator), Oṣun (the river Goddess, mother of love and fertility), Ọbatala/Oriṣa NLA (the divine sculptor of humans), Ọrunmila (the giver of wisdom, the one who reveals the unseen to humans, the witness of humans and the destiny).

The deified/personified divinities are ancestors who have been deified for possessing an unnamed Aṣe of Eledua. Sometimes, the deified ancestors are reincarnated to manifest in various forms. The most known deified divinity is Ṣango (Former Alaafin of Ọyọ, The will, fire and thunder of Eledua), Ọya(mother of whirlwind and lightning) there is also Mọrẹmi (mother of liberation), Oduduwa (the father of Yorubas). The use and meaning of names can, however, confuse those with little understanding of the Yoruba Cosmos. In the case of Oṣun (the wife of Sango, Mother of all twins) she is sometimes mistaken to be the primordial Iyami Ọṣun (Mother of rivers, fertility and love) It is no news that Gods/Goddesses possess devotees to manifest in a certain lifetime.

The Oriṣas can be grouped into two categories based on their personalities and operations. There are some with a cool temperament and the ones that have no chills. The ones with the cool temperament are known to be gentle, calm, soothing, reflective and includes; Ọbatala/Oriṣa NLA, Oṣoosi(Hunter, God of focus/Patience), Ọsanyin (Lord of leaves and medicine), Oduduwa (the first Monarch of Ile-Ife and deified patriarch of Yorubas), Yemọja, Ọṣun, Yewa, Ọ̀bà,( Queen mothers ruling respective rivers), Olosa, the Queen mother of the Lagoons to come as one- Olokun (Mother of the Sea, Oceans and Sky waters). They are mostly called upon for guidance, blessings and protection.

A majority of the Oriṣas that have the hot temperament are masculine energies, only a few are feminine. They include; Ogun (the God of iron, war and clearer of paths), Ṣango, Ọbaluaye(the Lord and bringer of pestilence), Ọya, Ṣopona(Lord of smallpox). The hot-tempered ones are usually called upon to bring justice upon violators, protect and defend the land during wars or invasion.

However, the classifications of these Oriṣas doesn’t have a thing to do with good versus evil. All Oriṣas possess their different values- positive and negative- order and chaos. Their modes of operation differ based on their manifestation of the unique Ase, as seen by their personalities. Moreso, they are not ranked in a hierarchy as each of them are relatively important in the Yoruba cosmos. Even when they are invoked in ceremonies, they are summoned based on their roles in the ritual and their relationships with each other.

The Oriṣas, however, engage in the affairs of the world through their mediums- devotees who have been trained and initiated to receive and manifest the divinity within. When the Gods/Goddesses manifest this way, they speak and act through the devotees.

Amongst the Oriṣas, there are two key ones; Ọrunmila and Eṣu- they are the pillars between the sacred and human realms. Ifa is the divination system given to the Yorubas by Ọrunmila. Eṣu is the divine messenger between humans and the sacred realm.

As Ọrunmila is the giver of wisdom and witness to humans and their selected destinies, Ifa offers the knowledge of unseen forces that influence the humans and their abode. The diviner is known as Babalawo (Father and keeper of secret wisdom) or Iyanifa (Mother and Keeper of Sacred realm and wisdom). The diviners use the poetry and rituals of Ifa to understand the cosmic forces. The Ifa system can also reveal to every human what their life path is, what sacrifice is needed from them to live life as chosen by the Ẹda(being) before coming to earth. Ifa can warn about a necessary/reversible evil, its causes, and how to reverse it.

Where Ifa reveals, Eṣu plays the role of an agent to execute the action. Eṣu, the inspector general of sacrifices, the one who accepts or declines the sacrifice given to whatever Oriṣa or ancestor. Eṣu doesn’t choose who he likes or hates when inspecting a sacrifice or offering. He looks into the intentions and conscience of the giver. Eṣu is also the God of crossroads- the revealer of choices one can make- this makes Eṣu the free will of humans, the reason he is called a trickster God- whenever humans summon Esu with woeful and uncalled for intentions, he offers choices and the invoker tricks themselves. Esu is not a devil but the reflection of choices we all make.

The Ancestors

According to Kwame Gyekye,

The ancestors are certain individuals of the past generations of a lineage who are said to have distinguished themselves in many ways and, in particular, to have led virtuous and exemplary lives worthy of emulation by succeeding generations of the lineage. Such individuals are regarded as… as mortal paragons.

Africans generally do not consider death as the end of the journey in life, only a transition to the state of immortality and in so doing, a link between the other realm and the physical one mortals habituate. Among the Yorubas, death gives more power and prestige- this helps the ancestors oversee the affairs of their younger ones. As a result, an ancestor can be reincarnated. When an ancestor is reincarnated, the male is called Babatunde(Father has returned) or Babajide(Father has risen)- the female is called Yetunde/Yeside(Mother has returned).

The ancestors are venerated in different levels; the ones prayed to as Ara/Oku Ọrun(The immortal/the dead that lives on). To be venerated as such, one must have lived a good life, done good deeds, died a good death, and given the proper funeral rites. One will hear the true practitioners of the Yoruba religion say “Oku Ọrun ki’n sun (the dead ones living don’t sleep)”

Egungun is the mask/regalia that represents the ancestors during festivals or sacred rituals. Certain sacrifices can’t be offered without the presence of the ancestors- many ceremonies would be considered void if the Egungun of the ancestors is absent.

A few African scholars assert that veneration of ancestors is not the same as worship, but veneration is a part of worship. According to Idowu- when African people venerate their ancestors, they go beyond boundaries and this propels observers to refer to the act as worship. A close observation when practised makes it clear that ancestors are not worshipped but venerated to sustain a cordial relationship between offspring and transcended elders- to prostrate/bow is to greet an elder, to feed an elder is to attract their blessing, and this is how the society continues to venerate their ancestors.

During communal ceremonies and festivities, the presence of ancestors as Egungun restores unity. The Egungun would dance; the community would sing, clap and dance along in merriment. According to Awolalu and Dopamu,

The coming together of the people is re-enacted and many people for the first time in the year meet on festival occasions. Men and women are brought together in one crowd and there is usually a sort of social reunion.

It is of a great tragedy that modernization seeks to eliminate the place of ancestors in the Yoruba and African society at large. Originally, the ancestors are consulted through the oracle before any ceremony but today, humans have taken over the positions of ancestors and money is the oracle. As a result, the ancestors depart from us and let us remain in a state of confusion- bad governance, mishaps on ceremonies, joys turning sour. The ancestors by now would be crying for justice, restoration and reinstatement. I can’t help but agree with Kofi Awoonor when he said:

The gods are crying, my father’s gods are crying for a burial… for a final ritual… but they that should build the fallen shrines have joined the dawn marchers singing their way towards Gethsemane… the gods cried, shedding clayey tears on calico; the drink offering had dried up in the harmattan and the fetish priest is dressing up for the Easter service.

Having explored the role of the ancestors in the society, it is understandable that colonialism displaced the position of ancestors. According to Alamu A.G,

The current paradigms of the ancestors as well as their achievements indicate that they must be remembered, praised and celebrated, but cannot enjoy such a powerful position and influence that they once enjoyed. The post-independence terrain does not guarantee such a place anymore.

We must venerate our ancestors because they lead the way long before us. Understanding the place of the ancestors in our society eventually puts us in position to be venerated as well. We are our ancestors because we are a seed from the family tree that sprouted from one seed.

ORO

Oro is the spirit of fierceness, tempest, or provocation- he is the personified executive power. When Oro haunts the forest, neighbourhood of towns, he makes a whirring, roaring noise to avert perpetrators and trespassers of his community. Due to the fierce nature of Oro and his provocation, women are to shut themselves in and avoid looking out on the pain of death. Where Egungun comes out for social activities, Oro comes out for political and security reasons- criminals condemned to death are for Oro as Oro fiercely wards off thieves and corrupt political practices. When a valuable person is assassinated, Oro is called upon to assist the victim to find justice. Oro is not a spirit to be toyed with or invoked when there are order and peace in the community. Unlike Egungun which prays for the community, Oro only comes out to execute a state of emergency. In other words, the Oro may be considered an Oriṣa of its own.

Iwin

Iwin is a spirit that likes to travel, looking for the human worthy enough to serve. The closest to translate it as is the fairy. Just like in the English fairytales and the famous Genes- Iwin assists humans to carry out activities on command by calling out their names.

Ẹgbẹ (Sacred Mates)

Ẹgbẹ means group/society. It is the classification of spirits in the sacred realm. There are more than groups/societies in the sacred realm.

Ẹgbẹ Emere (Spirits of Children that can transcend through realms), Ẹgbẹ Abiku (Spirits of Children who tend to teach relatives a lesson or not comfortable with the affairs of the lifetime they visit), Ẹgbẹ Omi (The marine spirits).

The Ẹgbẹ spirits are the ones in human form many may consider weird, dangerous, or unnatural. They come with special attributes- healing people emotionally and spiritually- high intuition to judge and guide. The Ẹgbẹ are not the same as the Oriṣas, they all have missions before coming to this earth and unlike everyone else, they remember who they were, what Ọrun is and how to transcend between both realms without death. They are the ones with the knowledge of all truth as they are the ones to ensure the continuum of the universe- creating causes and effects, maintaining order when there is chaos and bringing an end to the wicked.

Not all humans that we see walking the surface of this realm are ordinary. some are Gods/Goddesses, some are spirits, some are initiates, few are all, and many are clueless.

KEMET AND KUSH: EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY

Hey guys, it’s your local celebrity. I will be signing autographs soon; meet me at Honey and Dough *insert Majimbo’s laugh*. When women said,”Consistency is key”, I certainly did not feel that. I am really sorry about my inconsistency; life just happens you know. However, thank you all for the support. I really appreciate. I […]

KEMET AND KUSH: EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY

ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́- Witches or Sacred Mothers?

Pay no mind to the words/works of Afrikan Christian/Muslim scholars. A large number of them had to twist their school of thoughts to maintain the greatest part of their mental slavery.

As a result, on the continent today; many youths find pleasure in lynching women who manifest.

An ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́ is not evil. The concept is broad. Every woman with a womb is an ìYÀMÍ. An ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́ could also mean one who possesses powers of divine.

These ones with powers of divine could either be in spirit realm, human form or WINGED form. The ones who have been incarnated in physical form would then meet with the spirit of other female ancestors to discuss matters. They group up into sacred societies to defend and enrich our lands and anyone who calls on their spirits for assistance.Contrary to the indoctrinated continental film and literature accounts of them meeting to ruin lives, they meet to discuss the threats against their families and the community, then sought to eliminate the threats. Just as every mother would discipline a stubborn child, the sacred ones also discipline “stubborn children.”

When KhepeRa came into being for the first time, he needed Ma’at (The winged Goddess of Balance, Order, law and Truth) to “lay the foundation”. According to the Yoruba creation story, Orisha Nla, laid the foundation of the earth with the help of a Winged Being. The Yorubas believe awon ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́, are the Onile(Earth owners). You hear the Shamans, Gods and Priests refer to them as ẹyin Iya ti o ni Aye(The mothers that own the world). As a result, you can assert the first thing to be created was a WINGED being- if the WINGED weren’t here first. You can also identify the Sun God with an Eagle/Falcon. Why did it have to be a being that flies- the female even?

When you see the Goddess Ma’at, you see wings. This is why they regard the ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́ as Ẹ́LẸ́YẸ́ (The One like a bird). Till date, many people in Africa, still see women shapeshift into birds to fly or land. Every Neteru is identified with a certain animal.

However, shape shifting doesn’t mean evil. It is simply manifesting your knowledge of ONENESS with the universe. When you have knowledge of self to a height, you can pick on any form to accomplish whatever you want.They do not offer their children to covens as sacrifices. When their children are inflicted with pain or death, it is simply because the child risked compliance and turned a weak link from threats. This is why you also need to manifest the divine within you. No woman manifesting already will be so ignorant to sacrifice gifts from her womb.

We need the feminine energy and concepts(ìYÀMÍ) to ensure progress in any society. Ra used his wings to measure the mountains and would soar over all that had been created to ensure balance was present in everything- This is the state many might also consider as Astral Projecting- they take on a WINGED form to soar over the affairs of the world. It is only the awareness that makes you know it is you. But if anyone saw you, it would have been a winged animal that was seen.

Furthermore, there is a difference between a Witch and an ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́. A witch could mean one who is credited with supernatural powers- a priestess can sometimes be credited with supernatural powers. A witch could also mean a HAG or HOGOBLIN- which is highly disrespectful to the ones that protect children. An ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́ on the other hand, is a Sacred Mother- as sacred in the sense of being worthy of veneration- of high value and importance- INVIOLABLE. Never a witch, but a mother who was present at creation of all beings.

There are various types in ONE;

The ones the earth belongs to and agreed to share it- they get upset by the foolishness of men that insults the earth- just like Ma’at, they are the law and judges.The ones that visit from out of the earth to appease the ones vexed at the destruction of the earth- they bring peace and order, they protect children, healing of the lands, mind, body and spirit- just like Ma’at, they are known for truth and order.The ones that appreciate the ways of all worlds- they show off balance- they bring chaos to generate peace- they bring fire to appease water- air to cool the earth- the ones that always listen when you report a transgressor.Lynching, hating, cursing and running from sacred mothers only symbolizes an ungrateful gesture, killing them will only make them return with a vengeful spirit- creating an unfortunate karmic debt for yourself. As a result, lands which used to be green, are turning yellow. We need the full spirituality of our Mothers, Queens, Wives, Sisters and Daughters to manifest. It’s about time to stone the STONE PERSECUTORS. ✊🏿Victory is certain.Hail ìYÀMÍ ÀJẸ́ Mo Jù ìdìDon’t Hate them!
Protect Women!
Don’t Hurt them!

Oedipus, Who’s to Blame?: The Gods Are Not to Blame Book Review

Book Title: The Gods Are Not to Blame Author: Ola Rotimi Pages: 72 pages Genre: Fiction (Drama, Play) Publisher: University Press Plc Buy Release date: 1975 In Ola Rotimi’s version of the Greek mythology about cursed Oedipus, we see a relatable Yoruba man named Odewale – a strong willed man who becomes the very thing he […]

Oedipus, Who’s to Blame?: The Gods Are Not to Blame Book Review