Reading for the Year 2018

Welcome to 2018! The reading for this year was completed on Dec 31, 2017 at the Temple of Ile Ifa located in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The guidance for this year is provided by the Sacred Odu Ogbe Osa. We have received instructions on the importance of Moderation not only for our leaders but for our daily affairs as well.

Much has changed that has impacted the collective consciousness of our country. It is my hope we can adhere to Ifa’s advice and caution. There is much to lose, not only for us but for the generations to come if we fail to be good Stewards of this planet.

The Odu starts with the following cautionary council:

Let us not engage the world hurriedly.
Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently.
That which should be treated with mature judgment,
Let us not deal with in a state of uncontrolled passion.
When we arrive at a cool place,
Let us rest fully.
Let us give continuous attention to the future.
Let us give deep consideration to the consequences of things.
And this because of our eventual passing.

This is a teaching on having a measured approach to achieving the good life. It reflects the Odu emphasis on the virtue of “ìwon”, or balance, and the “amúwòn”, the balanced person. We are not to engage the world in a hurried, heedless or reckless manner. Nor are we to seek material gain impatiently.

Although the Odu ethics poses wealth as one of the main blessings in life as well as an important condition to live a truly full life and a means to aid and share with others, there is continuous concern that pursuit of material gain not be excessive or all-consuming (Obara Iwori).

Even if you have money, it does not mean you will not become blind.
It does not mean you will not go mad.
It does not mean you will not become lame.
It does not mean you will not become ill and the like.
You still can become disabled in any part of your body.
Therefore, you should go and get more wisdom
So that you may think deeply about things.
You should cultivate good character;
You should acquire wisdom;
And you should come and sacrifice
So that you may be at ease inside and out.

The good or moral life, the teaching tells us, also necessitates that we treat important matters with the reasonableness and calmness they require.

Moreover, the Odu suggests that the good life also requires that we know when and how to rest. It poses rest as an essential condition not only for the good life in general, but also specifically, for serious moral and critical reflection. Finally, the Odu tells us that we should give full and ongoing attention to the future and be constantly and profoundly concerned about the consequences of things.

This dual moral emphasis speaks to our need to be concerned with the effect of our actions, not only on the quality of life and relations in the contemporary world, but also on the future of the world and generations to come. And thus, it has particular moral meaning not only for the quality of human relations, but for the integrity of the environment (Osa Meji):

Osa, the brightly shining one, Babalawo of the world,
Interpreted the teachings of ifa for the earth.
They said that the earth should stop making sacrifices for wealth,
And instead make sacrifices that would protect earth from its enemies.
In this way, we will live.
And so, we plead
That as long as we live on earth,
That the earth not be destroyed.

Such moral concern, the Odu suggests, is to be embraced not only for the good life here, but also to secure our place in eternity given our eventual passing. In a word, it speaks to our need to live a life that leaves a legacy of goodness in this world which not only promises respectful memory in this world but also eternal life in the next.

Guidance for our leaders and elders is of great concern to Ifa. On this the Odu says:

Ah! an elder who commits excess will be thoroughly disgraced.
This was the teaching of ifa for Odu When Odu arrived on earth.
Ah! they said, “O you, Odu;”
They said “you must be careful.
You must be patient.
And you must not be shamelessly disrespectful.”
Odu asked “why?”
They said “it is because of the power which Oludumare has given you.”

This is a teaching on how one who is an elder and powerful person should act, especially toward others. It begins by asserting that an elder will lose respect if he/she commits excesses.

The moral prohibition against excess (àsejù) indicates both an ethical concern with balance and propriety. In the first case, balance is prescribed as a central virtue in ifa tradition and appears as an emphasis throughout the Odu.

A balanced person becomes a model of the moral person, one who has no habits or tendencies which lead to disgrace, self-destruction or self-diminishing.

Propriety, as a moral category, suggests the rightness of doing what is fitting, appropriate and in conformity with accepted moral and social standards. An elder should be concerned with the dignity and respect required of one holding such a status.

A powerful person must likewise act in such a way that s/he is not abusive or a disgrace to her/his office. Odu says that as a powerful elder, he/she is advised to be careful and patient and not to be shamefully disrespectful.

Here “careful” refers to maintaining a considerateness towards others which is respectful and caring. The virtue of patience is a central ifaic virtue and complements the virtues of calmness and self-control, so essential to good character, iwàrere.

There are Ebos which should be done by your elders in order to receive the appropriate blessings from your Ifa or Orisa house. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this Ebo.

Commentary

I want to share a different perspective on the Odu of the Year by breaking it down into its components. Each of the 256 Odus have been assigned to a specific region or realm of life. There are four such realms and the Odu for this year straddles two realms; the Otun-Opon (Eastern Realm) and the Osi-Opon (Western Realm).

The eastern realm governs the world of the Self – your home, immediate family and intimate surroundings. This is the region of life whose symbol is the element of fire. It is further represented by the rising sun and signals a new beginning.

Anatomically this region relates to the portion of the body from the neck to the sternum, located at the base of the rib cage. This region also deals with the visible realm and those forces that are in plain view.

The eastern realm of Odus can be associated to the Jungian function of consciousness called intuition since intuition is really quite miraculous. It is a way of “knowing” that has nothing to do with reason and very little to do with perception. It is knowing without having learned. It is not the result of study or of inductive or deductive processes. If we had scoured our brains, all our ideas, and our entire conceptual framework, we would never have come up with what has suddenly come to us in a flash. What we experience is a miraculous entry into consciousness of something that seems to come from somewhere else. All at once we just know!

It seems appropriate to me that the element of Odus grouped in Otun-Opon should be fire, with its quickness, suddenness, and dissimilarity to its source. You begin with a match and a matchbook, and all of a sudden – in a flash – you have a flame, which looks nothing at all like either the match or the matchbook. There’s no way to figure out how you can get fire from these two inert little pieces of cardboard. That’s the way intuition flashes into consciousness.

The Fiery Odus also represent life energy of all forms, what Freud called libido. It is the animal energy that drives life, the vital force that we feel surging up within us. And although those two – intuition and libido – may strike us as totally different from one another, they really are related as suggested by the word sublimation. Sublimation clearly means “to make sublime.” So if we take that basic life energy and express it, not in its most positive way, not in terms of frank physical sexuality, we can eliminate it to a point of artistic expression. By moving the energy to that creative place, we make it sublime.

The Osi-Opon is found in the western quadrant of the Opon-Ifa. This represents the world, as it exists outside your immediate surroundings – friends, extended family, neighbors, associates, business colleagues, etc. Being the opposite of Otun-Opon, the Osi-Opon represents death, completion, and the place of transformations.

The water element and the setting of the sun represents this realm. Emotions are also found within this section of the Opon. Kinetic energy returns to its source to be transformed into potential energy once again. It is through the gateway of Osi-Opon that this return takes place. Physicality gives way to death. The final transition is made. The area from the sternum to the pelvis region falls under the auspices of the Osi-Opon.

This realm deals with the invisible world and governs those things that are obscured from view. I have said that each realm of the Opon-Ifa represents a way to spirit. The way of the Osi-Opon Odus is the way of love. Love is so powerful an energy that Emmet Fox, the Christian theologian, tells us that with enough love, there is absolutely nothing that cannot be accomplished, no barrier that cannot be broken down, no wall that cannot be scaled, no situation that cannot be reversed. If we look around us in our everyday lives, we see expressions of this all the time.

However; the Osi-Opon Odus do not represent love alone. They represent emotions in general, negative as well as positive. I am not in favor of hatred. I am not in favor of jealousy. I do not advocate resentment. I am not saying that it is wonderful to be in despair. What I am saying is that all of these emotions exist. And because they exist, they must be acknowledged and permitted expressions along with all the rest of human experience cataloged by the 256 Odus which make up the sacred text of Ifa.

Syncretization

The Odu for this year straddles two realms; the Otun-Opon (Eastern Realm) and the Osi-Opon (Western Realm). Hence; Ogbe speaks about the Self – your home, immediate family and intimate surroundings. It speaks through intuition. It is further represented by the rising sun and signals a new beginning. Therefore; this year is full of new personal growth opportunities.

Anatomically this region relates to the portion of the body from the neck to the sternum, located at the base of the rib cage. This region also deals with the visible realm and those forces that are in plain view.

So, if you are experiencing neck pain and anxiety, then you are not listening to your inner voice (Ori).

Whereas Osa speaks on the experiences you will have outside your immediate surroundings – friends, extended family, neighbors, associates, business colleagues, etc. Being the opposite of Ogbe, Osa represents death, completion, and the place of transformations.

Osa speaks via your emotions. Anatomically this region relates to the portion of the body from the sternum to the pelvis region. So if you are experiencing gastrointestinal or intimacy issues, you are dealing with an unidentifiable issue.

A layman’s summary can be that Ogbe Osa is presenting you with a new opportunity to visit how you deal with issues related to friends, extended family, neighbors, associates, business colleagues, etc, and how those issues affect you, your home, immediate family and intimate surroundings.

Your body will “speak” to you if you are not dealing with these issues in a constructive manner. You will suffer from a stiff neck, digestive and intimacy problems. All of this due to a lack of moderation in how you manage the affairs described by the Odu.

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4 Comments

  1. Module, Baba thank you for your sincere commitment to the practice of IFA and your consistency. That really means a lot to the individuals who really gain for your sharing. My teachers are not always consistent with me and I often get frustrated with them because I am not getting the hands on training I would value and gain from. Thank you.

    1. Alaafia;

      Thank you for your kind words. It is unfortunate, but you are not alone. The Diaspora has commercialized Ifa to the point that many now claim to be Babalawos yet lack the proper education and experience to properly discharge the responsibilities of this office. The practice of Ifa is a lifelong pursuit and no one can claim complete competency.

      I would like to invite you to https://www.babalawotraining.com

      That is a site I created to teach both Babalawos and Iyanifas the awo of Ifa. There is a series of free videos you may find informative.

      Feel free to contact me should you have any questions related to the practice of Ifa/Orisa.

      Ogbó àtó Asure Ìwòrìwòfún.

      O dábò!
      Chief Awodele Ifayemi
      Atunwase Awo of Ilobuland

  2. Modupe Baba, I would like to continue studies and to consult with you on various matters. What Orishas are in charge this year?

    1. Alaafia;

      It would be an honor and a privilege to be a resource for your continued studies. This is a year of transformation and the rejection of denial. The Orisa influencing this year is Oya. She is influencing the entire planet thus as such her influence is archetypal. Most all esoteric systems speak about transformation and Ifa is no different. However; we have our Orisas which, if invoked properly, will help us make the needed transformation in the areas of life where we need it most.

      Please feel free to contact me via email.

      Ogbó àtó Asure Ìwòrìwòfún.

      O dábò!
      Chief Awodele Ifayemi
      Atunwase Awo of Ilobuland
      Follow Me on:

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