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Proverbs

Ifa says:
'A Strong Man with No Forethought Is Lazy'

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Orunmila

Orunmila is an Irunmola and deity of destiny and prophecy. He is recognized as “ibi keji Olodumare” (second only to Olodumare (God)) and “eleri ipin” (witness to creation).

Orunmila is also referred to as Ifá (“ee-FAH”), the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and the highest form of divination practice among the Yoruba people. In present-day Cuba, Orunmila is known as Orula, Orunla and Orumila.

Orunmila is not Ifa, but he is the one who leads the priesthood of Ifa and it was Orunmila who carried Ifa (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth. Priests of Ifa are called babalawo (the father of secrets)

Olodumare sent Orunmila to Earth with Oduduwa to complete the creation and organization of the world, to make it habitable for humans.

A woman will not be allowed to divine using the tools of IFA. Throughout Cuba and some of the other New world countries, Orula can be received by individuals regardless of gender. For men, the procedure is called to receive “Mano de Orula” and for women, it is called to receive “Kofa de Orula”. The same procedure exist in Yoruba land, with esentaye (birthing rites), Isefa (adolesants rites) and Itefa coming of age. Worshippers of the traditional religious philosophy of the Yoruba people all receive one hand of Ifa (called Isefa) regardless of which Orisa they may worship or be an Orisa Priest, it is that same Isefa that will direct all followers to the right path and their individual destines in life.

The title Iyanifa is in suspect since it is not used by either the Cuban or most of the West African practitioners of IFA.

Among West Africans, Orunmila is recognized as a primordial Irunmole that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst them as a prophet that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics, during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples.

Yoruba Fokelore

The Leopard Man

A handsome stranger once came into a certain village and strolled about among the people in mysterious silence. All the maidens admired him and wished that he would choose one of them for his bride. But he said nothing, and at last walked away into the forest and disappeared from sight.

A month later the stranger came again, and this time one of the maidens fell so much in love with him that she resolved to follow him into the forest, as she could not bear to be separated from him.

When the stranger looked back and saw her coming behind him, he stopped, and begged her to return home; but she would not, and exclaimed: I will never leave you, and wherever you go, I will follow.

Beautiful maiden, you will regret it, replied the stranger sadly, as he hurried on.

After a while he stopped again, and once more begged her to retrace her steps; but she made the same reply, and again the handsome stranger said in sorrowful tones: You will regret it, beautiful maiden!

They went far into the depths of the forest, and at length reached a tree at the foot of which there lay a leopard-skin. Standing under the tree, the stranger began to sing a melancholy song, in which he told her that though he was allowed once a month to wander about in villages and towns like a man, he was in reality a savage leopard and would rend her in pieces as soon as he regained his natural form.

With these words he flung himself upon the ground, and immediately became a snarling leopard and began to pursue the terrified girl.

But fear gave such speed to her feet that he could not overtake her. As he pursued her he sang that he would tear her in small pieces, and she in another song replied that he would never overtake her.

For a great distance they ran, and then the maiden suddenly came to a deep but narrow river, which she could not cross. It seemed as if the leopard would catch her after all. But a tree, which stood on the river-bank, took pity on her and fell across the river, so that she was able to cross.

At last, nearly exhausted, she came to the edge of the forest and reached the village in safety. The leopard, disappointed of its prey, slunk back into the forest, and the handsome stranger was never seen again.

Ifa Related

Adechina brings Ifa to Cuba

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Adechina
Remigio Herrera (Obara Meji)


Adechina (“Crown of Fire”) is credited as being one of the most important founding fathers of Ifa in Cuba. A Yoruba born in Africa and initiated as a babalawo there, he was enslaved and taken to Cuba as a young man in the late 1820s. Legend has it that he swallowed his sacred ikin ifa used in divination in order to take them with him across the ocean. An intelligent and gifted man, He worked at a sugar mill until his freedom was paid for in 1827. He later became a powerful property owner in the Havana suburb of Regla. In addition to his large African and Creole religious family he had many influential godchildren from Havana’s Spanish, white elite and had important high society connections. He set up a famous religious institution, the Cabildo of the Virgin of Regla (the Cabildo Yemaya) in around 1860, which became a powerful center of Ifa and Orisha worship. Along with his daughter, the famous Ocha priestess Echu Bi, he organized the annual street procession on the feast day of the Virgin of Regla, every September 7th. Each year seminal Afrocuban drummers like Pablo Roche Okilakpa would sound the mighty Ilú batá in honor of Yemaya as they processed around the town. Incredibly, Adechina is also reputed to have returned to Africa, the land of his birth, in order to acquire the sacred materials needed to initiate babalawos. He returned again to Cuba with these sacred items in order to build Ifa there.

All the mojubas (prayers and recitals of lineage to honor the ancestors) of babalawos in Cuba include Adechina.

A great man who helped carry African profound spiritual knowledge to the Americas.
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