Babalawo training is extremely important for those aspiring to adapt to this religious philosophy. As a philosophy, you are expected to model your life after the ideal which makes Ifá such a fantastic spiritual philosophy to live your life by. However, not many are able to live by the tenants that set Ifa apart from any other model of spiritual living you may have heard of. This article will serve to highlight some of the more elusive points regarding Babalawo training.
To begin with, regards-less of how much you think you know about Ifa, you must understand that it is not Santeria. We will go over Santeria in another article but for now, it is important to accept that there is a great difference between the two.
Traditionally speaking, and I refer to the practice of that tradition within the Yoruba people in Nigeria, one is born into a family which for generations have worshiped a particular Orisha. Thus related information comes second nature to a native Yorùbá person. However; this is not the case in the Diaspora; we have been exposed to a Christian philosophy, and anything which deviates from it has been deem devilish. I can write a whole book on this fantastic fantasy, but it suffices to say that because of this deviation we, the western minded, have to begin our understanding of Ifa by first getting to know it’s Cosmology.
Ordinarily, Ifa being a universal, living religion, with continuous relevance to the whole of humanity, there would be no need to relate it specifically to the Black-man. The necessity to do so arises only because, firstly, Ifa is the first and oldest religion of mankind which was handed down by Olodumare (Supreme Being) to Orunmila, the first Messiah of mankind and secondly, because the Black-man is presently cocooned in a disoriented state of anomie, totally oblivious of his past, ignorant of his present and unmindful of his nature. He goes about with an air of subservience and prides himself with mouthing and preaching the religious world view of Arabs and Jews, purporting them to be any more universal than Ifa. He is fatally unmindful of the fact that Ifá had existed thousands of years before Abraham (patriarch of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed) and that Ifa is the Primordial religion from which all others developed.
As the Bible states; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word is God”. Everyone knows that the Word is a Message, neither human nor a spirit but a Message that emanates from the Supreme Being, Ifa is neither human nor spirit. It is that Word, That Divine Message of Olodumare.
The earliest records of the preservation of the Divine Message were kept in Egypt by the Black civilization between 6,00-5,00 BC. These were neatly coded in a Mystery System to which the matured, trained and initiated sons of men could be exposed to. Egypt in Africa became the primordial source and documentation center of all revealed knowledge which was then spread across the world. The knowledge was about Olodumare (the Supreme Being), and about science, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, etc.
An ancient Greek saying quoted by Pliny states: “ex Africa semper alliquid novi” (out of Africa comes something always new). An ancient Arab saying states: “He who drinks of the waters (of wisdom) of Africa will drink again”, Aristotle (born 324 BC) stated in his book (Physiognomy) that ancient Egyptians were all very black and woolly haired. Herodotus (History), also describing a race of advance people called the Colchi said: “I believe the Colchi to be a colony of Egyptians because, like them, they all have black skins and wholly hairs”. In ancient documents, Africa was often referred to as the “Land of the gods”.
Therefore; in order to begin your Babalawo training and adapt Ifa as a spiritual philosophy, you are willing to embrace, understand its origins, and its history. This will serve to give you a sense of righteousness regarding your practice of Ifa.