What is Ifa?

Ifa is...

Ifa Catechism

Who, or what, is a Babalawo?

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What is IFA?


    IFA can simply be said to be the religion or divinity brought into the world by Orunmila. He is the custodian of the Deity, moral, economic, language, origin and metaphysical orders of the Yoruba culture, and of its believers throughout the world.
    The basics involve the priest or the mediator called Babalawo or Balawo (elder in the priesthood order) who is consulted by clients for solutions to life's numerous problems.
          Ayo Salami - A complete IFA divination

    IFA is an ancient monument where the Culture of the Yoruba people is encapsulated enthroned and entombed. It is much more than Geomancy in that it is not only divinatory, it also embodies the Beliefs, Religion, History, Sociology and Ecology of the people. It therefore diagnoses, treats, adjudicates, arbitrates, guides, advises, instructs, teaches, explains as well attempts to unravel the mystery of existence in this world.
          Dr. A. A. Ekundayo - Spirituality and Mental Health (An IFA overview)

The author Bernard Maupoil quotes Bokono (Babalawo) Gedegbe at Abomey - one of the greatest Diviners in Abomey, whose reputation extended far and wide:

"All the Bokonon (Babalawos) try to define IFA/FA with pomp, each one looking for a definition that interests, and intrigues. But I, although I am a Bokono (Babalawo) shall not risk a definition! Only the miraculous nature that created IFA/FA can speak of it learnedly."

The author continues: we maintain that IFA/FA specializes in the function of individual information. In principal, IFA/FA does not constitute for any one an offensive armed magic army that is put at the disposal of the diviners or their clients, and does not do good or bad. IFA/FA is impartial: He/It informs and his role stops there.

IFA does not judge. He/It is an instrument of information, attached to that which is asked of him/it. He/It does not carry judgments of reality. He/It ignores the legality and the judgments of men. IFA/FA is not the way some people think, amoral: He/It is divine and is not a natural force. He/It is the solicitude of the creator for his creation, exempt from the blind passion of the Orisa (mystical deities).

A good Babalawo is a servant of Orunmila who helps and assist clients in attaining their Highest Destiny. He is a well respected leader who is in touch with the material and spiritual. He is never in conflict with any other tradition or religions - indeed; his help is sought in many ways as his influence extends into all phases of life. He lives for one purpose only, to discover the will of Orunmila.

The African Elders of Cuba speak of IFA:

IFA is the creation, knowledge and destiny of the laws imposed for the resolution of the divine powers of the tri-monogenic universal law, which are Olorun, Eleda, and Olodumare, the ones who by mutual agreement created in concert its perfect work that is the creation of the universe. Within this vast interstellar space (with) its perfect work and supreme architecture, is the planet that is called earth.

It is a given that the perfect creation does not have errors to measure that they were making the mysterious transformation. This began the birth of IFA. That was his creation, his laws, his destiny and finally a conjunction of historical knowledge and a foundation of these deities, which in turn began the scientific work of creating what we call nature, a compendium of all that which breathes, moves, feels, grows finally, animal, vegetable or mineral. That is IFA.

IFA is the mysterious work of the deities. Where each time that they "touched" or created something, it was "written" or recorded in the mysterious diary of the deities.

    "IFA is defined as the unified assembly of all the dead initiates separated from their descendants by a great number of generations, speaking with one voice. They have acquired the greatest detachment vis-a-vis from this world and consequently the capacity to watch the general interest of their group."
          Albert Surgy - Geomancie et le Culte D'Afa chezles Evhe

Some by their ignorance try to deny or refute IFA, but they don't know that to deny this, they deny themselves, since there is nothing in this vast inter-stellar space that has not been created by IFA.
The attempt to compare "western science" with IFA is like comparing someone who can count stars and constellations in the universe with someone who cannot.

          Aboru, Aboye, Abosise

I dedicate this work humbly to two of my mentors who are one of the first pioneers in IFA here in the New World; Oloye Medahochi Kofi Omowale Zannu and Oloye Ifagbemi Ogundele. May Orunmila always bless you and guide you well.
Ase! (So be it!)

          "kekere" awo Ifayemi

Connect to the power of Wisdom, connect to the power of IFA!
Consult IFA before the problems starts!