Eriwo ya! Eriwo ya! Eriwo ya! Greetings on this blessed day of Orisanla. Traditionally, every lineage and community will convene in the shrine to consult Ifa on behalf of the collective at the beginning of the New Year. It is a time to give thanks for last year's blessings and to learn the best way to proceed in the upcoming season. This year's reading for the SF Bay Area promises to be especially enlightening because it reflects our local resilience and strength in the face of ongoing adversity, as predicted by the Holy Odu Idingbe at Oke Itase in June of 2014:
Ifa says that too many Awo are facing series of tribulations and seemingly insurmountable crises at the moment. Ifa says further that there are grand conspiracies and intrigues against all Awo the world over. Adherents of other faiths are making all efforts in their power to suppress and overwhelm all Awo in order to ensure that they do not amount to anything in the scheme of things, either in their social circles, communities, nations or in the world at large.... Ifa says that our Mother Osun will be instrumental in setting all Awo free and restore them into their rightful positions. Ifa says that all Temples or Awo need to offer ebo and to propitiate Osun in order to enjoy the favor of women folk. The ebo materials are as follows: two pigeons, two hens, two roosters and money. The stanza states thus:
Idin gbe mi ki n gbe o
Orisa gbe mi l’atete o j’ori ako esin lo Dia fun Orunmila
Ti n loo ya’wo l’owo Iku
Ti n loo sin’gba l’odo Arun
Ebo ni won ni ko waa se
Idin lift me up and let me lift you up
“Orisa, please lift me up” cannot be higher than being placed on a horse This was the message of Ifa for Orunmila
When he was going to borrow money from Iku, Death
And was also going to serve as the pawn in the hands of Arun, Ailment He was advised to offer ebo
- Holy Odu Idigbere
And so, it is with great confidence and inspiration that Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu and Obafemi Origunwa invite the SF Bay Area community to join us to consult Ifa in order to know what we must do and what we must avoid in order to fully enjoy the blessings 2015. For details on the protocol of the ceremony, please visit: www.OrisaLifestyle.com/communityworship.
Aboru aboye abosise.
The Orisa Lifestyle Academy (OLA16) is a training and certification program for helping health & human services professionals who want to facilitate Obafemi Origunwa's work on personal priesthood, community-building, and social change. We are a community of sincere practitioners who believe in living the medicine that will heal our lives and the lives of those we are destined to serve. Our goal is 1 million Orisa Lifestyle Agreements by 2040.
OLA16 teaches sixteen principles of sustainable culture. Our curriculum, resources and activities are intended to recognize Members who best exemplify Orisa Lifestyle in their daily lives. The Academy encourages members to heal their lives and the lives of those they serve. Members distinguish themselves as men and women who add value to the traditions and spirit of Orisa Lifestyle. As such, they promote year-round and long term orisa devotion, and provide positive service to others. OLA16 membership, activities, and training are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to rescue for all African Americans the virtues of Orisa Lifestyle.
Personal Priesthood teaches you how important it is to recognize your family lineage. The secret to building strong community is solidifying the roles of each lineage. It is from the family lineage that each of us gets our true identities. The lineage is the living manifestation of the Ancestors. Everything that they hoped and planned for is expressed through the extended family and managed at the level of the nuclear family. As the Holiday season approaches, please consider these practices as ways to empower your family as an active contributor to the vitality and prosperity of your local community.
These best practices are going to benefit you, personally, socially and spiritually. Here are some ways for you to approach your spiritual discipline and personal development:
Looking forward, your contribution will shift the course of relationships. Recruit 3 other people who can remind you to focus on these practices over the next 2 or three months.
Earth (Aiye) is a marketplace. Heaven (Orun) is our home. What do you do in the market? You get things to take home. Obviously, nothing you acquire on earth will return with you to heaven, EXCEPT your soul. So, the purpose of the earthly journey is to prepare the soul to return to heaven in a more complete form. This is essential for your ability to understand and properly define what it truly means to be an ANCESTOR.
Typically, I hear people refer to anyone who has died as an ancestor. This is incorrect, according to Yoruba indigenous knowledge. In reality, the only way to be revered as an ancestor is for you to complete your earthly mission, which is to deliver on the Ancestral Promise. This is what prompts the Yoruba proverb that says, 'None of us has sent ourselves into the world. We are all here to complete the errands assigned to us by our ancestors.'
The greatest spiritual principle of Orisa Lifestyle is not initiation, but REBIRTH. That is, the ultimate requirement for spiritual fulfillment is that each and every soul must fulfill its mission in Aiye in order to be admitted to Orun and live on as ancestors. The souls of those who did not complete their mission before they died are believed to reincarnate and continue to live in Aiye until they complete their
earthly mission. These reincarnated souls are referred to as abarameji, or akudaaya.
In the teachings of the Holy Odu IrosunIwori, Ifa says;
Let us do things with joy.
Those who want to go, let them go.
Those who want to stay, let them stay.
Surely, humans have been chosen to bring good into the world.
The all-knowing one, priest of Òrunmìlà,
Cast Ifá for Òrunmìlà.
He said the people of the world would come to ask him a certain question.
He said that Òrunmìlà should sacrifice.
Òrunmìlà heard and complied.
One day, all kinds of people;
good people and those who do not allow good
in other people’s lives gathered together.
They then went to Òrunmìlà.
They said coming back and forth to earth tires us, Òrunmìlà.
Therefore, please allow us to rest in heaven.
Òrunmìlà said you cannot avoid going back and forth to earth
Until you bring about the Good Condition
that Olódùmarè has ordained
for every human being.
After then, you may rest in heaven
- Holy Odu IrosunIwori
We do not bring about the Good Condition through merely performing rituals and ceremonies. No initiation, title, charm or icon is enough to guarantee that you will earn your place in the pantheon of ancestors. The only way is through completing your earthly mission, which is to deliver on the Ancestral Promise, which is traced through what is called your IDILE. While it is true that idile is correctly understood as your familiy's ancestral home, in the context of spiritual development, idile defines the agreement your family's founding ancestor made with Olodumare before establishing the lineage here on earth. It is that agreement that informs your family's Ancestral Promise. At the time that your ori selected its destiny in Orun, you also agreed to deliver on that promise in order to return to the heavenly realm and become reunited with your ancestors.
The Orisa Lifestyle Academy is on a mission to helping you live the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of those you are destined to serve. We do this through practicing 16 Orisa Lifestyle Agreements. Learn more at www.orisalifestyle.com/volunteer.html"
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.OrisaLifestyle.com
Assata: In her own words
My name is Assata ("she who struggles") Olugbala ( "for the people" ) Shakur ("the thankful one"), and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government's policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI's COINTELPRO program. because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it "greatest threat to the internal security of the country" and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.
African Americans are a people who, in many ways, live behind enemy lines. The US Constitution, Bill of Rights and local laws that support them conspire to maintain a status quo that keeps Black people relegated to a permanent underclass. Consider, for example, the EIGHT, (count them, EIGHT) instances wherein Black communities burned to the ground by jealous White neighbors:
1. The Atlanta Race Riots of 1906,
2. “Black Wall Street” Greenwood , Tulsa, Oklahoma June 1, 1921
3. Chicago Race Riots of 1919
4. Rosewood Massacre 1923
5. Washington, D.C. Race Riots of 1919
6. Knoxville, Tennessee Race Riots of 1919
7. New York City Draft Riot of 1863
8. East St. Louis Massacre of 1917 
Likewise, consider the brutal assault against African Americans for simply attempting to desegregate public places during the Civil Rights Movement. The struggle continues until today in the form of institutionalized White supremacism. In all, African Americans have suffered during 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of segregation and 35 years of state-sanctioned red-lining. 
And while some seek separation and others aspire to reparations, one thing is certain: We do not need approval nor permission to practice self determination according to African American needs. Òrìsà Lifestyle Agreements (OLA16) is a movement that creates opportunities for you to live the medicine by choosing small actions that have big impacts on you, your wallet and your local environment. Whereas the religion represents the vision of Yorùbá spirituality, OLA16 is Yorùbá spirituality in ACTION. Knowledge is potential. Action is power!
OLA16 is all about helping conscientiousness devotees achieve their goals through living the medicine, not just in the shrine, but in the super market, at work and in the community. This is in keeping with the teachings of Ifa, which tell us that "...we, as human beings, we are Olódùmarè's elect, designed to renew the world. We are ènìyàn - the chosen ones" (Ajanaku 1970). OLA16 affirms our understanding that each lineage is a self-perpetuating group that includes the departed ancestors, the living and those yet to be born. In this regard, our mission to renew the world is directly related to what we inherit, how we embody it and lastly, constantly improving the quality of how we guide each generation.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.OrisaLifestyle.com