Westerners of all ethnic origins tend to think of Orisa tradition as a "religion," but this is not quite accurate. More precisely, the Orisa tradition is better thought of as a "LIFESTYLE."
The word religion literally means "that which reconnects." It implies a process of restoring one's relationship to the Supreme Being. Lifestyle, on the other hand, has a wider meaning than the word religion.
Those who practice Orisa Lifestyle, are guided by spiritual, social and moral rules, actions, knowledge and duties which are responsible for balancing the seen and unseen realms.
In simple terms, one can say that Personal Priesthood means allowing the consciousness of your Ancestral Promise to permeate everything you do. It means using your natural gifts and talents to heal your life and heal the lives of the people and causes you are destined to serve.
Personal Priesthood is the realization of the Good Condition and carrying out every small act of your life with the clear intent to bring it about. As you are able to do this, you are practicing Personal Priesthood. If other interests distract you, even though you may have a multitude of beads, pots and titles, you are not in compliance with Orisa Lifestyle.
For this reason, all varieties of religious faiths, various forms of worship and spiritual practices, diverse rituals and customs have found their place, side by side, within Yoruba Civilization. Orisa Lifestyle, unlike other religions, does not dogmatically assert that there is only one path of spiritual freedom. Not at all. Our tradition is defined by its pluralism.
The religious and cultural hospitality of the Yoruba people is legendary on both sides of the Atlantic. As a rule, Yorubas pay respect to all religious traditions, accepting and honoring truth from wherever it may come. At the same time, however, we are relentlessly traditional. Consequently, the vast majority of Yoruba people continue to practice Orisa Lifestyle under the guises of Christianity and Islam. We adhere to the principles of Personal Priesthood while practicing Yoga, Astrology and Chinese Medicine.
Orisa Lifestyle is governed by the moral laws of Ifa, combined with spiritual discipline that guides one's Personal Priesthood. We consider Orisa Lifestyle to be the very foundation of life, which is why we sing, "Ifa gbaiye lo o" which means, Ifa holds the world together.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
If you use Facebook or make online purchases, you've aware of identity theft. And, as important as it is to protect your online image and your financial records, the threat is much greater than that. MUCH GREATER.
The greatest identify theft is that of your spiritual identity; it’s not someone taking your wallet and using your credit cards: That’s very superficial. As concerned as you are about your profile pictures and your credit score, I want you to be ONE THOUSAND TIMES more concerned about the profound identity threat that comes from being raised in a comparison-based culture that constantly urges you to focus more on superficial greatness.
Think about it... Be honest with yourself. To what extent do you want to become initiated so you can become rich and famous? To what extent do you simply want to have the beads, the pots and the titles? How often - IF EVER - do you think to yourself, "I want to practice Orisa Lifestyle so that I can make a more meaningful contribution to the people and the causes that matter most?" If you're like most people, you've become obsessed with the most superficial, competitive and trivial aspects of the Yoruba tradition.
I am not judging you. This switch to superficial achievement is alluring and it occurs throughout all cultures of the world and in all times. It happened among the Zen Buddhists during the Song Dynasty, which is characterized by complexity of aesthetic form and elaborate imagery. It happened in the baroque period of Europe, whose arts are overwhelmingly ornate, flowery and complex. All of these attributes, however, represent the most superficial manifestations of human excellence. They become problematic when communities allow superficial greatness to displace the fundamentals of spiritual identity. When spiritual identity is no longer the focus of the community, trust deteriorates, confidence diminishes, and everyone becomes a suspect.
At the same time, however, when we take the Personal Priesthood approach to Orisa Lifestyle, we come to understand that it’s actually healthy to be humbled by this collective identity crisis. It represents a clarion call to the Global Yoruba community to realize that we have to take an inside-out approach to satisfying our individual and collective destinies. Before we rush to put on beads, titles and external trappings of Orisa priesthood, we absolutely must focus on discovering our natural gifts and talents, and on making a meaningful contribution by serving other people through upholding worthwhile causes.
Let's get personal: How is the identity crisis affecting YOU? Are you focusing your efforts on strengthening your primary greatness— your natural gifts and talents and ability to contribute? Right now, set a goal to make a difference for someone else at work, at home, in your neighborhood, or community. The more you focus on serving others, the more authentic you will feel; your spiritual power will grow, you will be build trust, and you will build your worth based on PRINCIPLES, instead of the need to gratify your most superficial values, which too often revolve around instant gratification and becoming an enviable figure in public. This is what Personal Priesthood is all about.
When you take this inside-out, Personal Priesthood approach to Orisa Lifestyle, you will eliminate the rush to buy spiritual identity. Instead, you will learn to appreciate the process through which you CULTIVATE spiritual identity. In this way, you learn to move from being a consumer of spiritual identity and become a producer of spiritual identity. And in this way, you protect yourself from spiritual identity theft. Learn more in the Fundamentals of Orisa Lifestyle.
Live the Medicine!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com