Powerful medicine does not cure disease while still in the calabash." Yoruba wisdom teaches us practical magic. If you want the power of Ifa to manifest in your life, you must adhere to the babalawo's instructions on how to use the medicine. My mantra is "its getting better" and its true, as long as we get out of Olodumare's way! One of the primary means through which Olodumare blesses and heals us is through the word of Ifa. When Ifa speaks, it is the truth of heaven, the proven path of salvation. So when the Babalawo tells you to do certain things and avoid others, he is telling you how to LIVE the medicine! How to EMBODY the cure, as it is handed down from Olodumare. Failure to follow instructions is another way of getting the medicine calabash and leaving it on the shelf, expecting the cure to take effect via osmosis! It's not going to happen!
Too many devotees fail to grasp the cultural complexity that activates the spiritual principles. They erroneous believe that verses, rituals and ceremonies alone make one an adept. They mistake spiritual materialism and esoteric knowledge for real authority. I don't care what country you're from, how many verses you can chant and how many potions you can concoct. If you cannot be courteous, sociable, respectful, humble, diplomatic, you have not done anything noteworthy. Living the medicine is not about elaborate magic tricks. Let us consider what Ifa teaches in the Holy Odu OgundaBede:
Sweet potato leaves sprout lush and green
Magic potent leaves come no less rich
Adepts know the first as pot herbs
And use the latter for charms
Adepts skilled in charms but steeped in deceit
Negate their own spells,
Frustrate their owns magic
inner righteousness works better than charms
- Holy Odu Ogundabede
Babatunde Lawal tells us that Yoruba diviners trace most acts of sorcery to 'awon aye,' the evil-minded ones, such as witches, sadists, rivals, jealous neighbors, enemies, or close relations who either have a few old scores to settle or simply envy the success of another individual. Of major concern is Esu, the unpredictable trickster, divine messenger, and controller of fate who could be benevolent at one moment and malevolent the next, capriciously turning joy into sorrow, and vice versa. He is the agent provocateur who plays a lot of pranks with a view to reforming humanity.
Like the trickster motif in other cultures, Esu embodies what Lewis Hyde calls the 'paradoxical category of sacred amorality' by which societies articulate and regulate their social life and behavior. That is why the Yoruba code of ethics enjoins everyone to be courteous, sociable, respectful, humble, diplomatic...' While virtues such as these are taught in a religious context, they are made manifest through the culture. At home, in the market and during everyday speech, those who adhere to Orisa Lifestyle continuously experience opportunities to reenact the principles of harmonious living.
According to the philosophy of Orisa Lifestyle, the physical world is the reflection of a more complex, subtler, and more lasting energy field. Nothing happens in the physical world that did not begin in that unseen world: conflict, sickness, despair, uncontrollable anger, financial hardship, and habitual negativism are all manifestations of spiritual imbalance. Ritual is the principal tool used to approach the spiritual world in a way that rearranges the structure of the physical world and bring about material transformation. In the same way that language organizes thought, so does ritual organize spiritual energy. It is the means by which you can consistently and reliably communicate with the divine. And like all language, there are rules and structures that govern ritual delivery. It is not enough to string together elements according to your personal whims. Ritual efficacy is a direct result of ritual literacy. Finally, it's not just what you say, but HOW you say it that counts in ritual communication.
Here, it is vital that you understand the realities of internal development. There are some who would think it convenient to hide behind a charm or an object or even a keyboard and launch ritual curses. But if you don't have the HEART to stand before your so-called enemy and address him directly - face to face - you have no spiritual authority with which to overwhelm him. Why would the deities aide such a cowardly act? The same is true of ritual empowerment. If you do not have the will, the discipline and the focus to aggressively pursue your life's mission, but you want the work to be done magically, by way of some elaborate ritual, you are deceiving yourself. You need to 'get up, get out and get something!' Then, you will have cultivated the internal development necessary to engage your SOUL - not just your ego -in the ritual process. This is what it means to live the medicine!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com