Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State), Dada Adedayo Ayeni Animaroju.

Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State), Dada Adedayo Ayeni Animaroju.

Can we meet you?

My name is Dada Adedayo Ayeni Animaroju, the child of Ajemunigbohun from Ikere-Ekiti town, specifically in Oke-Ikere. I am a Babalawo by profession, I cast Ifa for people. Whoever comes for consultation, whatever Ifa says I should say is what I say, and whatever Ifa says the person should do is what I'd tell him/her to do for the person to get his/her desired result(s). That is my job.

What is Ifa?

Ifa is one of the representatives of Olodumare from heaven since the beginning of our creation. Among the children of Olodumare, Ifa is an important messenger. Ifa to Olodumare is like when a father has 5 children and one of them is a good messenger. Then such children would be highly placed, this is why Orunmila is called the God's Right-Hand Man, he usually consult God before he takes any step, this is why Orunmila is called the God's Right-Hand Man.

How did you start your Ifa Priesthood Journey?

It's a long story, I'd have to share it briefly in order not to waste your time. When I was a child, my mother used to talk about Ifa to my hearing all the time. I used to get worried with her utterances as my mates were schooling. She would say she was talking based on what my late dad said before he died and that Ifa can't affect schooling. Though my grandfather was the Ifa Priest (he's the father of this Baba sitting right here). I asked him, would I only focus on Ifa without formal education? He replied I'd go to school, but I insisted on schooling.

When it got to a stage in the year 1974, I told my mother that I'd be joining the Police Force, my mother screamed and told everyone that I wanted to kill myself. She said she wasn't in support of the Police Force's idea, so I was advised not to join the force, then I went back to school. In fact, my situation became complicated. I therefore began to sing, now I'm also a Musician. My mother made some efforts for me as her son, so she stepped out to do Ifa Reading for me. After so many pleadings from my mother, I later accepted to learn Ifa without knowing that Ifa Priests would end up being among the successful people in the society. Even during the process of my ifa initiation, I didn't take the process serious, I stopped going to school but only focused on music, I later got married and began to have kids during the course of my struggles to survive, Ifa was actually protecting me from begging for food from my enemies, but I wasn't progressing.

My family members however contributed for me to complete my ifa initiation, Now Ifa is paving way for me, even though I'm still looking up to my elders and those that are more successful than me in the Ifa Religion, now I'm thankful to my family members for saving my situation (as they encouraged me to learn Ifa). I am doing fine right now and above all, I'm thankful to Olodumare and Ifa. Ifa is something that God supports, some ignorant people would say Ifa is paganism, it is what we met on earth. The foreign Religions are trying to outshine Ifa, Ifa is for guidance in making any decisions in life in order for us to be successful. May God make life better for us. Ifa brings peace to the face of the earth and it is what is giving us. I am still learning Ifa because I'm yet to be perfect in the religion. Some people are scamming with Ifa nowadays, what they don't know, they lie they know them. I'm not beefing them, maybe God supports the way for them. But I learned Ifa from an elder who equally studied Ifa in his old age, he was a reserved person, his name is Chief Raji Omoyeni from Ikere-Ekiti, he taught me Ifa, I follow the path he showed me, he taught me to always do Ifa consultation before I work on any critical health challenge, he said I shouldn't handle what I can't do, that has been my style since then. I am not a greedy man, so I don't work on what is more than power. Whatever Ifa tells me to do is what I do. That was my Ifa Priesthood Journey.

You said the tradition was dirty at that time and that was the reason you didn't want to join it.

Okay, thank you. The reason why I said it was a dirty tradition is that... At that time when we were young, our elders were not neat enough with the spirituality, such as keeping a piece of sacrifice meat in their pocket with the blood stains, but the elders used to say something good with their readings then. This is the reason why I said it was a dirty tradition that time, because I could not be keeping some pieces of meat in my pocket. That is it. But nowadays, we are thankful to God as there is civilization in the tradition, now we don't keep meats in our pockets anymore, as we even wear plain white now which can't be used to pocket meats, so they are neat now. We are in the civilized world now. The reason why I said it was a dirty tradition is what I just explained. It is not that I dislike Ifa, it is not that I underrate Ifa Religion followers, but the situation of our society as at that time made me to reason that way. But I'm thankful that Ifa has cleans me up.

You said the your Ifa tutor learned Ifa in his old age.

Yes in his old age.

And you said you learned Ifa as an adult as well, could you please explain what you meant by that?

The meaning of what I said is that, you know in this present generation, a child of about 15 years old has already started learning Ifa. He would as well be going to school, then would attend Ifa class after school. If you check the Ifa practitioners in Nigeria apart from the ones outside Nigeria such as South Africa, now, 90% of them are educated. The meaning of this is that, they started learning from their childhood. My Ifa tutor was a very hardworking man, but he wasn't fully successful in it just exactly like my story. You can imagine someone learning Ifa at the age of 60, but when he began learning Ifa, God therefore blessed him, he began doing fine. We are thankful to Ifa because he lives in his own house now, I am now begging Olodumare to give me my own house, he taught me not to deceive people with Ifa. There are some people that their problem's solution is just two pieces of kola nuts. In that case, I won't inflate the request, because I know that Ifa don't lie, and Ifa would grant the request of the client. I have told you the name of the Baba that taught me Ifa, Chief Raji Omoyeni.

Tell us how your Music career mixed with your Ifa Spirituality journey.

Thank you, I'm thankful, I am happy with that your question, you see the musical journey, when I was in the Primary School, we used to sing end of the year songs, as at that time, I liked coming to sing, so I was chosen as a cultural leader in the primary school, I used to lead the musicians, I started singing for people professionally since my primary school days in the year 1971, That was how I became a musician. Even in my secondary school days, I lead the cultural group of my school. So when I fully became an Ifa Priest, I was scared if Ifa won't stop me from singing, because of the love I have for music, I thought it would stop me from singing. but my Odu revealed that I must be a Babalawo who must be saving people from problems, I was even told that I must not compromise, so I listened to what Ifa says and Ifa says I should continue with my musical career. This is the reason why I am combining singing with my Ifa Priesthood.

Thank you. So who taught you how to sing and the lyrics?

I believe that it is a work of God and Ifa, because I can't really say someone taught me how to sing, but when I started, I had some role models I used to look up to at that time, I used to sing with them as they even knew I have talent in singing. One of them is Adimula Fakorede, the second one is Kokumo Adedara. They actually paved way for me to start the music career properly, I'm thankful to God because he is supporting me, I am yet to have my own house but I am begging God to provide it for me, I as well pray for my children to be successful for them to take care of me.

Please sing a traditional song for us.

Thank you, the traditional song I would like to sing for you is... When I released my album that is currently trending, I faced some challenges that time, it is based on gossiping and backbiting. As I got to the studio... Meanwhile I don't rehearse with my band members before I sing in the studio, I was suddenly called upon on that very day at around 3 O'clock to come to a studio in Akure, meanwhile I didn't rehearse, so I called upon my band members, we all travelled to Akure to record the song, on getting to the studio, we were told to rehearse, I told them I don't know how to rehearse because I may change the style in the studio. My promoter was worried, but I insisted with an assurance from me that everything would be fine, so he accepted, then we entered into the studio, I'm talking about year 2014, the album is still trending, I started singing thus:

(SINGING - click here to listen).

As I was singing, I remembered the gossipers and blackmailers then I began to sing for them thus:

(SINGING - click here to listen).

That was how I sang the song that time and everybody accepted it, Then after the one, I sang this one as the second one.

(SINGING - click here to listen).

The song talks about charity begins at home.

(SINGING - click here to listen).

This song you are singing, it is Oro (Orisha) song or traditional song?

I sing traditional songs not Oro (Orisha) song. Though music is of different types of genre. Music can be used to correct bad people, music can be used to settle a misunderstanding, music can be used to make sad people happy. So these are the three categories of my songs. So it's not about Oro (Orisha) songs. Though I can sing for them during Oro (Orisha) festival, this is different from the primary functions of music.

How do Babalawos Decide on the Sacrifice to offer for their clients?

Babalawos are of different types. Some people would cast Ifa on the ground without explaining it but they only go straight to the point of what is needed for the sacrifice. Ifa wants us to ask further because our conclusion may not be correct. Are you listening to me? Where I studied Ifa, we don't verbally decide on the sacrifice to offer, rather we consult Ifa. Remember I said something that when Ifa is cast, it requires explanation and further readings until we get to the root of the problem. Ifa may just decide to use only kola nut for sacrifice, whatever Ifa says is the final. We can't just inflate the sacrifice materials unnecessarily. I'm talking about how I studied my own Ifa, I don't know about others. Others may say something different, maybe according to where they studied their own Ifa, I am telling you about how I learnt my own Ifa. Ifa may say sacrifice is needed or appeasement of one's head, because head of the great Orisha, could it be that the head is striking? That would asked from Ifa to know what the head demands for accordingly. Note that most of the people running to Ifa are having financial problems so we can't just be inflating sacrifice materials for them.

What does head appeasement mean?

As far as Ifa in concerned, when Ifa says head should be appeased, we do consult Ifa to know what the head needs for the appeasement in order for the head to fight the enemies of the person. Some people may be told that Ifa their lineage Orisha as some don't know about it. As we are in the era of civilization, there is an Ifa that I came across that is more than 80 years in existence which is even older than me. Whereas the entire family are struggling to survive, only one person among them did Ifa Reading to unveil this problem, but when the Ifa was appeased, things began to go well for them.

Tell us about Isefa and Itefa.

I'd be glad to answer this question accordingly. When someone is told to perform Isefa, it is possible the Ifa exist in the person's lineage for a very long time ago. And if we are to look at it critically, no home (family) in Africa without Ifa, we shouldn't deceive ourselves. Some families have Ifa of about 200 years ago with no trace of who initially got it. Such a family would say they do not have Ifa, whereas their Ifa is striking. 500 years Ifa may be striking, but they would say there is not Ifa in their family, such a person from the family would be told to perform Isefa before things can begin to work for the person. If such a person agrees, then Ifa would be initiated for him/her on his/her name, then the forgotten Ifa in his/her family would be chanted and given to him/her, when Ifa is washed for the person, when all the necessary things are done.

On the day of the spiritual rite, ifa may decide for the person to be learning Ifa, until then before one would know if to just be praying with the Ifa or learning it. Such a person must be celebrating the Ifa annually, then such a person would always be told his/her dos and don'ts annually. An Odu Ifa would decide if the person should be using Ifa to help people from tribulations which of course the person must become a practicing Babalawo. So that is it. Odu decides on what to do with the Ifa, maybe to only be praying with him and celebrate annually or the Odu may tell the person to become a practicing Babalawo who would be saving people from problems.

(IFA DIVINATION SYSTEM WITH IKIN IFA - click here to watch).

Owonrin Itura.

(IFA PRAISE - click here to listen).

This Ifa is saying that the daughter of the bearer is sleeping around, Ifa says the daughter is pregnant but must not abort the pregnancy, So that the person won't end up a barren lady. That is what the Ifa says.

What Odu Ifa is that?

Owonrin Otura. (He called it in Ikere-Ekiti dialect, haha). Owonrin Itura.

(PRAISING IFA - click here to listen).

Saying someone is sleeping around which would result to getting pregnant. Ifa says the pregnancy must not be aborted, because the abortion may result to complication or the person may become barren. That is what Ifa says.

Thank you, father.

Please what is the meaning of "Oro?"

The meaning of Oro... Tradition is the meaning of Oro. It is the destiny of someone. Those pastors you see practice the call of their destiny. One's destiny is the meaning of Oro. Some people are categorizing Oro as an evil thing, it is not. Those pastors you see practice their own Oro. All Orisha followers practice their own oro which is their own destiny. Your work is your oro as far as I'm concerned. People usually say "Our Lineage Oro" it means what the family chose to be practicing. People's profession is their oro as well.

Thank you. But some people in some parts of Yorubaland restrict people from coming out whenever they are carrying out their oro spiritual rites, whereas, this is one of the reasons why the other religions avoid Traditional Religion, could you please tell us the reason for these restrictions?

Our elders usually say an adage, it says "A cultural heritage induced governance." For instance, when you arrived here for this interview, I told you I'd have to call my father, that I can't be here alone, because this is the oro of our family, Ifa is our father's chosen job, I can't be doing anything with you without his consent, are you listening to me? If he eventually gets to know later, he would be upset right? What would be my explanation if I don't involve him? What we use to appease our Ifa are: goat, pig, animals in general, not humans, we don't use humans for sacrifice.

In the olden days, some people are called fools - nearly all lands practice that. Are you with me? When we say "Restriction" from coming out during oro rites, Restrictions from coming out during Oro rites usually happens in the middle of the night not during the day. The reason for that is to hide some confidential rites just like how I do not understand your own job. But if I come to you to learn your job, you will show me the secret, but if I don't come to learn from you, you won't allow me to know about it. If I force myself to see what you are doing, you may get upset with me and fight me. Did you hear that? This is the reason why we say novice shouldn't see what we do, there would be restriction, only the qualified people are needed there, likewise myself. If I want to carry out my own lineage Oro rites, I would say to people - no one should see this! So with the warning, would you say you want to see it? Even though I have no spiritual power to fight whoever forces himself/herself to see the secret, I may instruct my people to physically fight the person. Have you not been told that no one should sight it? Are you listening to me? So one's lineage's oro has its own peculiarity. And they won't allow anyone to destroy it. That is the meaning.

Preach to us from the Holy Odu Ifa.

An Ifa says... Meanwhile I'm going to tell you the name of the Odu Ifa with my own Ikere dialect where Irete Meji speaks, it says: A black dog won't let them climb ege tree, Agbogbo (ram) Momo won't let them climb ege, a cock won't let them climb ege. When the Orishas were going to climb the tree of success, they started the journey, some of them were even chased by a dog which hindered them from getting to the spot, only Orunmila managed to get to the spot, he was asked to offer sacrifice, he did so. The day he left for the place to climb the tree of success in the garden of Olodumare. We, with corn, yam, and corn cake. When he got to the boundary to get to heaven, he first of all met a ram, the ram made an attempt to disturb Orunmila from gaining access, he quickly gave the ram a tuber of yam, ram began to eat the yam while Orunmila left him. Likewise a dog made an attempt to disturb him from gaining access, he quickly gave a pair of corn cake to the dog, the dog began to eat it while Orunmila left.

He then finally got to the garden of Olodumare where a big cock was. As the big cock wanted to stop him from coming in, he quickly gave some seeds of corn to the cock. Orunmila therefore climbed the tree of success to the top. After the cock was done with the corn, it began to look for Orunmila until it found him at the top of the tree of success. The cock began to scream by saying "Orunmila has climbed the tree of success!" Orunmila responded thus with a song: Ogege, the tree of success, Orunmila has climbed the tree of success, he climbed the tree of wealth, Ogege, the tree of success, Orunmila has climbed the tree of success, he climbed the tree of wealth. That was how Orunmila climbed the tree of wealth in the garden of Olodumare. Orunmila became the custodian of all the good the things of this world.

(IFA PRAISE - click here to listen).

That was why ifa says on that, Ifa says may we have rest of mind and grow old and be free from tribulations. I say Ela Boru Boye.

Your word of advice and prayer.

I pray that all of you watching me right here won't go blind. As you are all watching me, God would always bless you with good things. Those crying for babies would have babies. Those crying for money would make money. Those who are sick would be fine in the name of Ifa Olodumare. What you've lost, Ifa Olodumare would bring them back. As you are all watching me, Ifa Olodumare would grant all your heart desires. As you are looking for wealth, Ifa Olodumare would provide it for you. Ifa Olodumare would give you children as you are in need of them (amen). As you are hoping to have your own house, Ifa Olodumare would provide it for you (amen). As you are watching me, if you are having issues in your home, it would be settled (amen). As you are watching me, we shall see again. My father's house would be convenient for me as your own father's house would be convenient for you as well. Ifa would bless you. Thank you. Bye.

Thank you, father.

(CASTING IKIN IFA - click here to watch).

Please does Ifa Spirituality differ according to each land in Yorubaland?

All of us in Africa appease only one Ikin. I earlier told you that some people just have Ifa, they may not even understand Ifa praises. They frame up lies to their clients. Ifa don't frame up lies, never! But such a person has Ifa as a means of livelihood and he gets victims often. As for me, if a sick person is brought to me, I would first of all consult Ifa to know if I should attend to such a thing or not. If Ifa says I should attend to it, Ifa would guide me on the medication to use for the sick person. This is how I learnt my own Ifa. Ifa would direct me on the medication to use and definitely it would work for the person. But if Ifa says the person should be taken away, then the person should be taken away. I won't because of money destroy my future. If I'm hungry in the morning, I can eat at night, rather than lying to make money as I don't want Ifa to be upset with me, I follow the path of the Baba that taught me. You see the slight language differences in Yorubaland doesn't mean Ifa speaks differently as we always arrive at the same conclusion.

Please Baba, could you please tell us the curriculum of Ifa studies?

Thank you. When learning Ifa... As for me, whoever wants to learn Ifa from me, I would first of all consult Ifa about the person to know If such a person would grasp the knowledge or not. If Ifa says that I should accept the person to learn Ifa from me, then I would, first of all, give the person Opele to start with just as how my Baba Ifa did for me. The one that my Baba Ifa gave to me is still with me, I would pass it on to my next generation. The Opele is used to open each Odu Ifa, It would enable the person to master the Odu Ifa signs. After the person has mastered each Odu Ifa, then Opele would be given properly with prayers, then how to combine each Odu Ifa would now be taught and how to know that ones that speak from the Odu Ifa cast on the ground. So this is how Ifa apprentices are taught gradually until he/she becomes a master of himself/herself. My first Opele is behind me right here, the one that the Baba that taught me Ifa gave to me. Before the other one over there was given to me. Before I started divination with Ikin, I started with Opele.

You didn't mention praising Ifa, is it part of what is taught in Ifa studies?

You will have to learn the recognition of both the Major and Minor Odu Ifa. Then after that, the Ifa Praise follows. The Ifa praise starts from Eji Ogbe. Like two verses would be given for the person to master before the next ones are given among the major Odu Ifa. It's a lot of hard work. After the significant odu ifa are mastered, then to the next one which is the minor ones. Baba ifa would begin to test the ability of the person in chanting and passing messages with the Major Odu Ifa before he moves to the Minor ones. Then the offering of sacrifice would be taught.

Tell us what you mean by the "Amulumala."

You know there are 16 Major Odu Ifa as follows:

(MENTIONING THE NAMES OF THE ODU - click here to listen).

Each of the 16 major odu ifa has another 16 chapters each, as you can see, they are many: 256. We can't explain it all here.

Yes, thank you Baba.

(IFA APPRAISAL - click here to listen).

Please tell us about the Odu Ifa's sign on the tray.

When I woke up this morning to appraise my Ifa, Eji Ogbe was revealed.

Please tell us about the Odu.

If I am to talk about this Odu Ifa on the ground, among all Odus, it's the first, it's the head of all Odu in Ifa, it has both good and the bad sides. I pray the whoever this Odu is revealed to, it shall be for good. When it reveals goodness, it doesn't mean one should relax, we would have to dig down to know what to do for the goodness to be achieved. We must not relax whenever Ifa talks good, before the good fortune would come, there are procedures to follow.

Please tell us some messages from this Odu Ifa.

This Odu Ifa... When I was praising Ifa earlier, this Ifa says whoever it reveals to, the person should always start whatever he/she want to do from the beginning. The person mustn't be a copy-cat. This Odu Ifa talks about the beginning. This Odu Ifa says that the client must start his/her life journey from the beginning and the person would be successful. This Odu has everything in its possession, it has both sweetness and bitterness. But whenever this Odu Ifa is revealed, it shall be for good. Ifa would make us understand the appeasement. Even though it talks about goodness, we must dig down for more revelations on what to do to achieve the goodness. This ifa also reveals battles from a woman. Whoever this Ifa is revealed to should be careful with problems from women. When this ifa speaks good, it is possible that the person's fortune would come from a woman, at the same time, the person must be careful with women.



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