Disclosure: What follows is my own highly opinionated, intensely felt, not necessarily correct, and perhaps at times alienating view of Odu, and what they mean.
The first gift of the Ese-Opon Odus is Odi Meji. The gift of Odi Meji is incarnation and materiality. What is the first gift we receive from Olodumare? What is the first gift Olodumare gave to the first humans? The gift of the palpable is such a gift.
We begin with this wonderful gift! We get to be on this earth, where green grass grows and blue water flows and stars shine at night. And the message and the challenge of this Odu is to know when to pass through the mystical arch out of a garden, a sequestered place – perhaps our own little home environment – to the stark, high, snowy mountain peaks, unsoftened by verdure, which represent the pinnacle of pure truth. My personal experience with Ifa is that the reference to Mountains refer to reaching a higher level of unadorned truth, facing the objective truth.
The path that leads out fortunately also leads in. This Odu gives us the gift of knowing that we can venture forth and then retreat to a place of safety and comfort. We can move out with courage and confidence knowing that we have a place to which we can return.
Rounded archways are mystical. Many of us, I think, have had the experience of passing through an arch and feeling that we have entered a different level of consciousness. On Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles, California as you drive north to Malibu, you come through a dark tunnel and suddenly find you are out in the light, seeing the shinning waters of the Pacific Ocean. At the right time of day, the light on the water is overwhelming, almost blinding. It is as if you have transcended to another level of being. What is suggested by Odi Meji is that when we move out of our garden of familiarity and habitat, we move to a place of higher understanding.
Higher understanding is a gift we receive from the Orisha Obatala, and in Odi Meji and throughout its Omo Odus this gift is manifested with different degrees of maturity and understanding. In Odi Meji we find the essence of adolescent behavior. Odi Meji has all the virtues of youth – openness, energy, lack of preconception, optimism, faith, enthusiasm, innocence, and idealism. Unfortunately I find that Odi is totally lacking in the gifts of age – experience and wisdom. Odi is more passionate than informed.
Still we need this childlike quality throughout our lives. Once again, if we approach this Odu from a Jungian perspective, we each, man or woman, have all of these youthful archetypes within us. There has been a lot of talk about the “inner child” in recent years, but we have more than one inner child. We have a joyful child, a fearful child, a curious child, a budding adolescent, and a rebellious adolescent among the many inside us. We see four of them in the Odus which form the cardinal point of the Opon-Ifa named Ese-Opon. When one of these Odus show up for us, it very often stands for someone who carries this energy in our lives, but it always represent a part of ourselves that is being activate at the time.
Based on my personal experience, Odi is the most spiritual Odu. Odi expresses appropriate awe of the manifest: genuine reverence that there should be such a thing as the physical world. Olodumare could have chosen simply to imagine the universe but instead chose to create it. What generosity! How wonderful! Odi’s appreciation of the physical world id understandable; as previously stated, Odi is associated with Jung’s sensate function.
It is clear to me that Odi is fully aware of the soul within the body, of the God energy animating the outer form. Through Odi, we sense the miraculous in the ordinary, or should we say, we should know there is no such thing as the ordinary. Odi does not need to be in a temple, church, or cathedral to experience the holy quality, the blessed quality of the world itself. Odi can see it in a leaf, in the eyes of another person; Odi can feel it in the fur of an animal. Odi can hear it in the wind or in birdsong, even in the whirring of a well-run machine, yet this Odu is especially affinitized to the natural world where we find its energy. Odi experiences the presence of God in the wilderness, on a beach as it watches a sunset, the arms of love. This Odu represents someone who has cultivated the attitude of holy intention, so that everything is experienced as blessed.
We must remember that each Odu has a flaw as well as a strength. The flaw in Odi is the danger of falling in love with money, power, prestige, status, influence, accomplishment – anything in the material world.
In my view Odi has just received power from Olodumare, and he may be amazed, impressed, delighted, or confused by it, but he clearly can become slave to it. We can all remember being teenagers and our first experience behind the wheel, or our first dab of perfume, or our first venture at the stove.
How do we know which interpretation to put on this Odu when it show up during a reading? We don’t; that’s what makes Dafa so interesting. It depends on the accompanying Odu and the sense you have about the person for whom you are casting. It depends on your intuition at the moment. It depends on the inspiration granted by Ela.
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