Self Empowerment through Ifa

Ori, the “Inner Man”

“One that is swift to remember his ward
You who rally to one’s aid faster than the Orisa
The one that brings one to the Earth refusing to forget one
The Ori of the poor person is undesirable
The Ori of the wealthy is what every man craves”

What Does Ori Do?

Ifa holds the institution of Ori in high regards and advices everyone who follows Ifa to do the same as it is the only entity that can work for the profitability of its owner more than any Orisa. A verse of Ifa under Ogunda Meji says:

Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee without turning back, Ifa asked
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Sango said
What will you do if after traveling for long
And you become tired
You got to Koso
The home of your ancestors
And they prepare Gbegiri soup
And also prepare your favorite amala
And give you a gift of bitter kola
With one rooster
Once I eat to satiety
I would return to my father’s house Sango said
They said Sango is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee to a faraway place?
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Oya said
What will you do if after traveling for long
And you become very tired
You got to Ile Ira
The home of your ancestors
And they slaughter a big castrated goat for you
And also prepared your favorite pot of egbo
Once I eat to satiety
I would return to my father’s house Oya said
They said Oya is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who sis capable of following his devotee to a far away destination, Ifa asked
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Oosaala said
What will you do if after traveling for long
You become very tired
You go to Ile Ifon
The home of your ancestors
And they slaughter a hen with eggs inside her
And also prepare plenty of snails
And use to prepare Osiki soup
Once I eat to satiety Oosaala said
I would return to my father’s house
they said Oosaala is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee without returning back, Ifa ask
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Elegbara said
What will you do if after traveling for long
You got to Ketou
The home of your ancestors
If they give you a rooster
With plenty of palm oil
Once I eat to satiety
I would return to my house Elegbara said
They said Elegbara is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee without turning back, Ifa ask
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Ogun said
What will you do if after traveling for long
And you become tired
You got to Ire
The home of your ancestors
They gave you fried beans
And slaughter a dog for you
And accompanied it with chicken meat
Ad gave you palm wine and guinea corn beer
Once I eat to satiety, Ogun said
I would start Inala song
And return to my father’s house
They said Ogun is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee without turning back, Ifa ask
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back, Osun said
What will you do if after traveling for long
You become tired
You got to Ijumu
The home of your ancestors
If they give you plenty of Eko
With yanring vegetable and guinea corn beer to savor it
Once I eat to satiety
I would return to my father’s house Osun said
They said Osun is not capable of following her devotee
Orunmila lo dodede nibere
Who is capable of following his devotee without turning back, Ifa ask
I am capable of following my devotee without turning back,Orunmila said
What will you do if after traveling for long
You become tired
You got to Oke igeti
The home of your ancestors
And they offered you rats that run with great speed
And also two fished that swim with great speed
Two chickens with enormous livers
Two goats with enormous breast
Two cows with heavy horns
And they prepare pounded yam
And prepare amala
They added the wine of abooda
If they also give you alligator pepper
And fat kola nuts
Once I eat to satiety
I would return to my father’s house Orunmila said
They said Orunmila is not capable of following his devotee
Orunmila I confess my ignorance
Come and cover my deficiencies
Mapo in the city of Elere
Makun in the city of Otan
Mesin in the city of Ilawe
Mapo of the city of Elejelu
Gbolajokoo the one that picks up the tusk of an elephant
And blows it as a trumpet
Orunmila you are the leader
I am the follower
You are the one that teaches one wisdom like ones kin
Who is able to follow his devotee to faraway destination I ask
It is ones Ori Ifa said
It is Ori alone
That is capable of following his devotee anywhere
Orunmila says when a Babalawo dies
People would ask that his Ifa be thrown inside a ditch
When the devotee of Sango dies
People would ask that his icons be thrown away
When the devotee of Oosaala dies
They would ask that his instruments be buried with him
Ever since men have been dying and going in the long journey to the beyond
Have you ever heard of anyone whose head was severed and left behind? Orunmila asked
It is Ori, Ifa repeated
It is Ori alone
That is capable of following his devotee without turning back
If I am lucky to become rich
I would give thanks to my Ori
My Ori, it is by your grace
If I am lucky to have children on Earth
I would give thanks to my Ori
My Ori, it is by your grace
All the good fortunes that I make on Earth
I would give thanks to my Ori
My Ori, it is by your grace
I greet you my Ori
The entity that never forgets one
The one that favors one swiftly than even Orisa
There is no Orisa that can unilaterally bless a person
Without the consent of one’s Ori
I salute you Ori
That makes it possible for children to be born alive
Anyone whose sacrifice is accepted by Ori
Should rejoice exceedingly

The main message of this verse is that there is no Orisa that is as capable of aiding one in critical situations as the Ori. The Ori is the one that is there at all times in the life of the person whether poor or rich, short or tall. This verse and many others like may have inspired the saying “It is the Ori that we ought to offer sacrifice to rather than Orisa“. This is the conclusion under Owoinrin Meji and some other verses of Ifa.

Ahonrangbon lode Ore
Ahonrangbon lawo ode ijesa
An important elder is he that was tied to a post
Before we fought the war of Igbonhin, life was extremely difficult
Cast divination for Lawusi okole
The child of Afiroko sehun bo
On the day his life was as hard as stone
He offered sacrifice to Ori continuously
His head became bald
Where he was offering sacrifice to Ori
Yet his things did not improve
He offered sacrifice to Orisa persistently
The calabash of Orisa became encrusted
Yet his things did not improve
They asked him to offer sacrifice to Egungun
He offered sacrifice to Egungun for long
To tomb caved in
‘Ha! Lawusi exclaimed no deity could profit him again
He decided to go to his Babalawos
They told him to offer sacrifice to Ori of other people around
That would make his things improve
Therefore our acts of devotion should be to the Ori
While the Orisa should be left alone

The ambiguity of the last two lines has generated heated controversy. Is it saying that we should direct our devotions to Ori and ‘abandon in totality’ all devotions to Orisas, or is it saying that we should first seek peace and harmony with our Ori before we go back to meet the Orisa?

If we study the saying carefully and insert the word “temporarily’ then it would say;

We should offer sacrifice to Ori
And temporarily excuse from Orisa

Then it becomes very clear that we are only being asked to do that which would make the devotion to Orisa meaningful; if Ori does not accept our sacrifice, no other Orisa would.

Let us appreciate the fact that the Orisa themselves have their own Ori which each of them is individually resolute in catering for, so that they too in turn would continually be in good standing with their devotees. If the Ori of the Orisa does not work for them, nobody would know them.

Ori is about one’s being. One may leave his Orisa at home and travel to faraway places, but he cannot leave his Ori as it is an entity that would continue to watch over him/her. If Orisa profits his devotee but his Ori does not, then everything come to naught.

Therefore; let us sing to our Ori as such;

Song To Ori

It is my Ori that created me
It is not a human being
It is Olodumare
It is my Ori that created me
The Ori of Agbe created Agbe bird
The Ori of Aluko created the Aluko bird
It is not a human being
It is my creator who made me
It really is not a human creation
It is my creator who created me

Don’t stop from following me
My creator don’t stop following me
The stars does not stop following the moon
My Ori, do not turn back from following me

A Morning Prayer To Ori

Every morning when you wake up, but before you say a word to anyone, hold your head with both hands and chant the following;

To wake up early morning
And give destiny its due
Devine for there person that will meet-with-luck
It is me that gives destiny its due on my waking in the morning
Therefore, it is me that will meet with luck today and tomorrow

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