Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ero Town, Ondo State), Ifasanmi Ogundeire.

Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ero Town, Ondo State), Ifasanmi Ogundeire.

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Ifasanmi Ogundeire. I was born in Ero town, in Ondo State (Nigeria). I am an Ifa Priest.

What is Ifa?

Ifa are messages from God, which are truthful, and they are words of God, just as how we were thought by our elders, in this Ifa Religion path, Orunmila was the only person who held the words of God. That was when it was difficult for the rest of the angels to hear the voice of God. This is why we call him Orunmila. Ifa is different from Orunmila. Ikin is the Ifa which is the voice of God. Orunmila is a secretary to God.

How did you start your Ifa journey?

This is how I started: I went to school a little bit, up to OND. I was therefore told that Ifa is my way which my parents didn't tell me when I was younger. I was taken to Ikere Ekiti town to learn Ifa, I studied Ifa for some years there. So I thank Ifa and my priest, they were truthful to me. How we started then, I went to school a little bit, but Ifa is my destiny. To be sincere, one has to suffer to learn Ifa. Just as Ifa says that no matter how an Ifa student suffers, it always leads to success. This is according to Odu Ifa Owonrin Sogbe. So that's how I started my Ifa journey which I'm not regretting and I pray you won't have any course to regret as well as you are watching me.

Do you think God supports Ifa Religion?

God supports Ifa religion. Why it is so is that... Esu and other angels were initially on earth. Some angels were present when God was creating this earth. God supports Ifa Religion. Why did I say so? According to our elders, some of them were messengers just as how Jesus came. Orunmila came before all of them. There was nothing like calendar during his time. Ifa was the first truthful Religion from the beginning and it's still existing.

How do you consult Ifa?

If someone wants Ifa to help him or her, we do firstly give such a person Ikin or Opele to touch his or her head. Such a person's intention is already known by Ifa. Then Ifa would be cast. Ifa would reveal his life's journey - past, present and the future would be revealed. What such a person would do would be explained by Ifa. We are not seers, Ifa is all about knowledge and wisdom learned.

Does Ifa whisper to you or it is your thought?

Ifa does not whisper to us. It is all about education as I said earlier. Whoever does not study Ifa can't understand it. It is not about vision or someone whispering to us. Not our thought of mind. Once the Odu is revealed, we interpret it. Ifa does not mislead, Ifa guides.

How do you know the sacrifice to offer after an Ifa consultation?

Thank you. We do consult Ifa. Once the Odu is revealed, we proceed to ask Ifa what to do next. And once what Ifa says is done, the prayer would be answered.

How do you know the sacrifice offered is accepted?

This is how we know the sacrifice offered is accepted... The person we've prayed or offered sacrifice for would definitely feel the sign wherever he or she is. Likewise, we do get feedback from Orisha. Whether you believe it or not, Ifa definitely answers prayers. It shall be well with you all.

Do charms exist?

Yes! Charms exist. But two different things here: Ifa is different from charms and vice versa. Charms that work truly exists.

Why can't all Babalawos use charms to solve our problems in this country?

It is in the hands of our leaders. Many of them (our leaders) do consult traditionalists. It is possible but Ifa says: "The truthful people are not up to 20 but liars are countless." Up till today, the truthful people are not up to 20. We can still use our power to solve our problems. But it's in the hands of our leaders. If they want Ifa to do it, it can be done.

How do you use Ifa to better people's lives?

For those whose paths are rough, no matter how worst it might be, Ifa would solve the problem. Such a person would first of all consult Ifa. Whatever Ifa says such a person should do must be done. Then we give some things as well. Such a person would definitely come back to show appreciation because Ifa doesn't fail.

Why do different odus appear when different Ifa priests are consulted?

Yes, you are correct sir. Let's take for instance, it is important for all Babalawos to cast Ifa for themselves every morning. Ifa reveals different Odus as much as you cast it. A client can come to me for consultation and go to another for the same consultation, different Odu would definitely be revealed. If truly such a person is a Babalawo, both revelations are genuine and needed for such a client. But truly, all priests offer the same sacrifice. To explain further... For instance, when Ifa is consulted on something to ask if such a thing would stay longer, when the revelation is revealed, then we proceed to ask for more revelations with different odus.

What are the powerful charms you are sure of?

There are powerful charms as I'm talking to you. We are making some which everyone would see. There are charms... For instance, in the olden days, our elders did travel without any means of transportation, they walked with the use of charms. For instance, as we are here, if eventually we are locked here, we can go out without opening the door. Even if there are gunshots everywhere, we would conquer. The charms our ancestors used during their time still exist. For instance, this is a charm jacket that does breathe on the floor. Our olden days' charms still exist but we don't just give them out. But there are liars by the way. We don't say one should believe in the charm or not. Charms work on their own.

Does money ritual exist?

Yes, it exists. That is, made of animals. There is one we call contribution. One is called Oso Ifa, Oso Ola, Oso Okiki. Animals are used. We have done for people and they've come to show appreciation.

Why do some people use humans for money rituals?

Those ones are ignorant. There are legitimate money rituals that do not take humans. They are in categories. Their level of the total money to get varies.

Why can't Babalawos enrich themselves with these types of money rituals you are talking about?

It is possible... But you know when we are rich, we won't be able to help people anymore. We use to do it for ourselves but it's that of moderate wealth. We use to do it for those around us for them to take care of us by giving returns. To the extent that we use to ensure nothing happens to whoever we do it for, because whatever happens to them happens to us. So we can't do it for ourselves because of those that still need our help. For instance, if I'm living a luxury lifestyle, nobody would be able to come to me for help anymore and my life is destined to be helping people with Ifa. Though some rituals have bad consequences, we don't do such. The ones we do are the ones that help people to settle their finances.

What can you do for people?

I can do many things for people. Firstly, I can cure barrenness with the help of Ifa. I can do charms for protection and so on and so forth. Even to erase curses from people's heads. My own charms are tested and trusted. You will have to test them before using them.

Is there any difference between Opele and ikin Ifa?

Yes, there are differences... Ikin ifa is voice of God. It goes thus: All the messengers were present on earth including Opele as they came for truth. Iroke Ifa was with them. They were all humans including Opele. This is why it's bad to be greedy. Opele was greedy and felt he knew everything. There are differences between Opele and ikin. Ikin is not human, it's God's voice heard. But Opele was a messenger in human form. Opele was fraudulent with his messages to people. He ended up losing his wife and children to sacrifice. Opele betrayed. This is why it's how it is. They are two different things. Ikin is God's words, Opele was a messenger in human form. They are not the same.

Then, why do Babalawos still use Opele to cast Ifa?

The reason is that, Opele is fast for consultation. Ikin takes time to complete ifa consultation while Opele is very fast. Ikin is like a king, whatever ikin says is the final, unlike Opele. Though Opele use to be accurate as well and it solves problems. Whenever Ikin is not available, Opele is in charge and whatever it says becomes real. But whenever it's at the end of the year or month, we use Ikin to consult Ifa. No one regrets in Ifa Religion.

Can you tell us about this white stick you are holding?

This is called "Ilewo." It is Ilewo Osun. There is also Ilewo Ifa This one is called Iroke which is Opele's friend. Opele betrayed and that's the reason why Iroke is like this. What Iroke can do, Ilewo cannot do them. This one, whoever is looking for a pregnancy, will conceive with this one. But this Iroke is for miracles for whoever is in bondage. For instance, this Iroke can cripple an animal. These are what it does, we equally use it to deliver people. With this Iroke, no matter how a war is brutal, we would conquer with it. It is part of what our ancestors used during their time.

Can you differentiate between the two?

This is called Ilewo, the guidance. Like this Iroke, we go places with it. But there are some places we can only go to with Ilewo, because of one reason to the other. Like this one could be scary to those who know the value because they may think such a person is coming to conquer their town. That is the reason why we go places with it (iroke) all the time, instead we hold Ilewo.

Your advice to the viewers.

Our prayers would be answered. Let us be truthful, it is important. Because Ifa says, whoever do evil would reap it with all his or her generations. Let us be truthful. Ifa says we should be truthful and stay away from lies. You should all make inquiries about your destiny. This is my advice to you all. Even those with a bad destiny can have a good destiny with the help of Orunmila. He has done many. It is what you are going to confirm by yourselves. That's it. I wish you all success.

Tell us about Ogbe Ate (Ogbe Irete).

This Ifa I'm about to explain would educate you. Ogbe on the right, Irete on the left. It is called Ogbe Ate. It says over-wise is their priest in the house of Alara. I-know-everything is the priest of the hill of Ijero. I-do-not-know-anything is the priest of Owa Orogun the house of Ila. They were told to offer sacrifice. I-do-not-know-anything was the only one who offered the sacrifice. The senseless one gives Esu what he doesn't like in order to instigate him against them. They were three in numbers. Esu told Overwise to help him train his he-goat. Overwise told Esu that it's possible to help someone train a he-goat. Whoever this Odu is revealed to should not eat he-goats for the whole year until a sacrifice is made at an Esu's shrine. He angrily cursed Baba (Esu), then he (Esu) went away with his he-goat. Esu, therefore, tied over-wise on the floor suffering on the street. In no time, he (Esu) went to I-know-everything who is the priest of the hill of Ijero, I-know-everything equally rejected training the he-goat for Esu.

Meanwhile, Esu told them the he-goat would always give birth two times every six months. I-know-everything angrily chased him (Esu) away. Esu left. Esu, therefore, tied I-know-everything down leaving him suffering on the street. I-do-not-know-anything who is the third one had earlier gone to a priest to cast Ifa for him, whereas Ogbe Ate was the Odu revealed to him. He was told to offer sacrifice to Esu that he was going to be tested. Esu put them to the test. I-do-not-know-anything agreed to train the he-goat. He even said in contrary to the fact that the he-goat would be given birth twice every six months, that the he-goat would be giving birth twice every four months. So when the time was ripe for Esu to come for his he-goat, he killed the goat. He cut it into pieces and shared it with the people of the village. After he shared the he-goat, he began to cry and therefore ran to Esu. He told Esu that members of the public have killed the he-goat. In order for Esu to believe his lie, he began to take Esu to the homes of those he shared the he-goat with to prove himself right. Esu however believed him.

Esu, therefore, made a law that he-goat must always be his offering material. He then told I-do-not-know anything that both of them would be sharing the he-goat brought by the people of the village. But he said he didn't want that, he said he should rather release his brothers he (Esu) tied down. He accepted the request, so he went home with his brothers. They began to thank Ifa while Ifa began to praise Olodumare. He said the Ifa Priest cast Ifa for him. He says over-wise is their priest in the house of Alara. I-know-everything is the priest of the hill of Ijero. Those Ifa Priests of I-do-not-know-anything is the priest of Owa Orogun the house of Ila. Can't you see how offerings pay? In no time, things changed for good as success is for the palm tree. That's that about that. There are more other useful messages in Ogbe Ate. Ogbe Ate revelation is an Odu of wealth, but it has bad sides as well. This Odu story teaches us to be truthful and to be helping our fellow humans, because had it been I-do-not-know-anything didn't help his brothers, they would have died as Esu tied them down.

Tell us about Owonrin Meji.

Owonrin Meji... It says... The eyes of pounded yams got soup for themselves. The plate uses its eyes to take soup. Ageremayagaga got its honor in the premises of Iremo. This cast Ifa for Orunmila who was deprived of his success. He said he must get his success by force. Because nobody takes Akata from Akiti. Because no one takes away one's father's house from them. Nobody drags land with Kerese. Nobody takes a palm tree cloth and gives it to another tree. Ella please let no one take away my success and likewise you. This Ifa is a rebelling Odu. This is what Owonrin Meji says... Owonrin Meji says one should thank his or her father. It is the container of Osumare. This cast Ifa for the first money-collector-iron-bender who was asked to offer sacrifice. This money collector, the first iron-bender was suffering as he has no father anymore. Whoever this Odu is revealed to has nothing to worry about according to Ifa. He was told thank his dead father, that his father would help him. Then when the needful was done, he then saw his father in his dream. He ran to his Ifa Priest to complain that he saw his father in his dream pointing at something.

The king, therefore, called on all the iron benders in the village to construct his thoughts, with the promise that whoever got it right would be gifted with one-third of his wealth. The priest of the first Money Collector, the iron bender told him to construct what his father pointed at in his dream. He told them it was the moon his father pointed at. So he was told to construct it and take it to the king. He did so. The person whose this Odu revealed to is to thank 15 days thanks to the time the Ifa cast. All the iron benders got to the king with their constructions. The king asked him to step aside as he sighted his construction. The king told the rest to leave. The king was surprised to see that the money collector got his thought right. The money collector, iron bender was made rich by the king. This Ifa says we should thank our father. This Ifa, Owonrin Meji says that all reddish things are not necessarily hot. I can't explain further, it is well with you.

Why is it that Ifa Praises' stanzas differ among Babalawos?

It has been like that since the time of our ancestors, but we can still make it one if we agree. Though we might be having different Odu, but all Priests speak the same language. Orunmila says there are language differences, this cast Ifa for Orunmila as he went to learn different languages for all Priests to speak the same language. Though language might be different a little bit, by the way, we can still make it one.

Why are there differences?

The reason why there are slight differences is that we don't learn Ifa from the same priest. Another reason is the fact that Orunmila was told to explain how things won't get worst after he might have left this world. What he explained were noted on the skin of an animal as those who noted them went away with it. Some couldn't get the message till Orunmila ascended into the sky. Ifa Olodumare is one. Thought our ancestors made some little mistakes, but we can still correct the mistakes to make it stand firm. For instance, Osa Logbe is cast here and praised, if the same Odu is cast somewhere else, it would be praised differently, but saying the same thing. It shouldn't be, Ifa is one. We can unite and make it one. It is possible.

Give us example.

Take a look at this one. Says someone cast Eji Ogbe, the popular Odu Ifa. Orunmila says whatever is needed to be done would be started from the bottom. It can be praised somewhere else to talk about the numbers of liars and truthful people on earth. Though when praised very well, it would end up talking about how someone should start what needed to be done from the bottom. That is that on Eji Ogbe. And so on. Orunmila also talks about fulfilling his promise to those seeking his help for success in this Odu. Still on Eji Ogbe as you can see the differences. Eji Ogbe also praises that spit touches the ground it spreads. As you see differences in the praises. But they are all saying the same thing. That is that on Eji Ogbe One stanza maybe is praised here while another may be praised somewhere else.

Another example is Oyeku Meji. Oyeku talks about taking away death on the head of the priest in one of the stanzas. Some priests may praise this differently talking about someone who has overfed. Another problem is that some priests are lazy to praise as many stanzas as possible on the Odu revealed. Some other stanzas of Oyeku talk about taking away death but praise in another tone. And so on. Our ancestors lived their lives peacefully.

This is how we cast Ifa for prayers to be answered and uplifting one. Watch us. Take. Touch your head with it. Achievement is mine, success is mine. Drop it on the floor. Ifa the king, I hope it is well with his intention? You know his intention as he asked me to cast Ifa for him. I hope it is well with him?

(INCANTATION - click here to listen).

Say it exactly as it is, don't confuse us with the revelation. Ella it's in your hands. I hope it is well with him? All his bad luck should go away and never go to any of us. Ikin, you are the witness. Ground, you are the witness in the presence of Olodumare. All is put together then becomes one in the presence of Olodumare. I ask for his destiny how good it is. The owner of a Golden Crown, I hope it is well? The big one like Oya's ear. Vulture presses it's own then becomes bald headed. Akalamagbo lineage press their own ended up having goiter on their necks. I hope it's well with him the king.

(PRESSING THE SIGNS OF ODU ON THE IFA TRAY - click here to watch).

The cast reveals Idi Irosun. Idi Amosun is the Odu on the floor that was cast. Idi on the right, Irosun on the left. Idi Irosun is the Odu on the floor. It is a good Odu Ifa. Ifa says it shall be well with him. Ifa ends the message with long life. It is a good Odu Ifa. Whoever this Odu is revealed is indicating that such a person's wife is on her period or just finishes it or about to see it. The person whose this Odu is revealed to should offer sacrifice against blockages. This is what Idi Irosun says. It is a good Odu Ifa. Ifa says it shall be with you and have a rest of mind. It is revealed that the bearer should offer sacrifice against tribulations. Idi Irosun says something is bothering the person. Ifa says his prayers would be answered. Ifa says he should thank Osun, the deity of water. Ifa says he would have rest of mind and be successful.

Listen to the praise. Those of afternoon with the sunshine cast Ifa for fire. Those of the priest of cool evening cast Ifa for Orii. Baba was asked to offer sacrifice that this Odu is an Odu of challenges, he said it is not. He said it is a good Odu and Odu of rest of mind. They said those with the reddish fire like the shit of Esu cast Ifa for fire. Those of the afternoon with the shinning sunshine cast Ifa for palm fruit. Those of the cool evening the priest of Orii cast Ifa for Orii. This cast Ifa for Baba (Orunmila) the story teller used Irosun for celebration. Baba was told that this Odu is Odu of challenges but he said it was not. He said it is an Odu of rest of mind. The person was told to offer morning sacrifice, afternoon sacrifice and night sacrifice to be successful for a long time. Idi Irosun is a good Odu Ifa. Whoever this Odu is revealed to would be very rich. This is what Idi Irosun said, but must offer sacrifice to avoid problem from women. This is what Idi Irosun said. When Baba offered the sacrifice, he excelled.

Baba was surprised, he said Babalawo of the afternoon, the priest of fire, and the cool evening cast Ifa for him. He said he was told to offer sacrifice and later began to enjoy life. Baba began to be successful same year. Ifa says such a person should offer sacrifice against challenges. This Ifa explains further that... A stranger packaged kola nut from the market, while another stranger offloaded it. He said this has turned to a package the father of Agboniregun. He said because a stranger packages kola nut from the market, while another stranger offloads it. Orunmila says this is a mystery my father Agboniregun. He said because a stranger packages firewood from the farm, while another stranger offloads it. Orunmila said this is a mystery as I also said it is a mystery my father Agboniregun. He said because a stranger packages salt from the market, while another stranger offloads it. He said why are you talking like Ede and talking like Eyo? I walk nakedly, get me some cloth the child of Olufogburu on the hill of Oke Alo. He said they should get some kola nut packaged with salt from the market. They should get him salt tied from the market, etc. They should get him Opepekunmolale odo's leaf for the Ifa sacrifice.

This is how Idi Irosun explains it. The person should thank Osun. Ifa says whatever is hidden would be revealed for the person to see them while the person must not fight with the perpetrator for his or her own good. This is how the Ifa Idi Irosun goes. We use to ask if Ifa speaks good or not before we proceed with the Odu revelation and the sacrifice. This is what Idi Irosun explains. It shall be well with us. Idi Irosun is a good Odu Ifa. Ifa ends it with a long life. Ifa says there shall be progress for this client. If there is a need to worship Osun, he should meet the followers of Osun at their shrine (Osun Fountain) such as the one located at Igede Ekiti, (Ekiti State). This is what Idi Irosun says.

Say: Idi flare like fire, Irosun flows like blood. This cast Ifa for Pelupelu, the child of the Sea flower. He was told to offer sacrifice. He has only one child. Which Olokun (Owner of the sea), he has only one child, he was looking for the only child, he was asked to offer sacrifice, he did and thereby saw his child which turned children for him. Ifa says the person who this Odu is revealed to is not a person of one child rather person of many children. But such a person must be serious with his life for the children to care for him. Such a person is not a person of one wife. That is that about Idi Irosun. Greetings to you all. It is well with you all.



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