Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ile-Ife, Osun State), Owolabi Awodotun Aworeni.

Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ile-Ife, Osun State), Owolabi Awodotun Aworeni.

Eku ijoko, Baba (Greetings to you, Elder).

"Eku ikale" is the proper way of greeting in Ile Ife.

Eku ikale (Greetings to you).

Greetings to you too, thank you.

Please let's know who you are.

My name is Agbaoye Owolabi Awodotun, Aworeni's son. Araba Agbaye, Olu Isese.

Please what is the meaning of Araba Agbaye, Olu Isese?

We all know that he's the Grand Ifa Priest. Every town has their own Araba or Oluawo. Agbaye is the Grand Ifa Priest for all Ifa and Isese devotees.

Thank you, Elder. Please tell us exactly what Ifa means?

Ifa is a guide who guides us to the right path. And anything we want to do in the society, Ifa is what we use to ask. A proverb says: He who asks for the way never misses the road. It guides people to the right path. Every step we want to take, we usually look into it first, so that we won't take the wrong step. And it's the voice that comes out from the mouth of Orunmila, to brighten up people's lives.

Thank you, Elder. Please people want to know who exactly is Orunmila?

Orunmila is one of the Ranking Divinities (Orisha). Among everything in life these days, Orunmila is very important and can't be underrated. How this life was created, it was with Orunmila's knowledge. Anything that needs to be done is always with Orunmila's knowledge. How Oduduwa descended, how other Ranking Divinities behaved. Orunmila was their guide. He's a Grand Ranking Divinity.

We heard that when they are eulogizing Orunmila, they usually mention Oke Itase. Please explain to us, why it's like that.

That question you asked... Because of time. This place is Orunmila's dwelling. Do you understand? This place is Orunmila's dwelling. When Orunmila descended, he had been to some places first. Maliki's dwelling was his first location. He enlightened them there. Orunmila loved high places. Then he left Maliki's dwelling and went to Oke Ileri. When he got to Oke Ileri and saw how they were behaving, he introduced Orishadawo to them. When he left Oke Ileri, he went to Oke Ijeti. He spent years and gave birth in Oke Ijeti.Then he left. He said he doesn't want to be far from Oduduwa in Ile Agbaji. That's why he found himself in Oke Itase beside Oduduwa. Do you understand now? Opokurete was the Odu Ifa that he used to get to Oke Itase.

Thank you, Elder. Please explain to us who are those they call "Babalawo"?

Babalawo(s) are the people who learn Ifa... Who can consult Ifa... Who can recite Eyo. Who are not clamorous. Babalawo(s) are one of the representatives of Orunmila. Do you understand now? It's used for deliverance. Because if you look around, you'll see a lot of Pastors. You'll see a lot of Alfa's and a lot of Babalawos (Ifa Priests). But among the Babalawos, there are Baba alariwos (clamorous people). People go to them for consultation about their job or maybe they want to take a step. They'll go and ask about it. And a saying says: He who asks for the way never misses the road.

Thank you, Elder. As the Araba Agbaye, who has authority over the rest of the Ifa Priests. Please tell us, how can someone become a Babalawo?

Ways to become a Babalawo: Firstly, there's Ajebi. That is, if they're occultic in someone's clan. And there are Orishas in every clan. You'll have to go and study it. Because some people believe that once they're able to consult Ifa, that makes them an Ifa Priest. No, they're not Ifa Priests. You must go and study it. And it's a lifetime study. You'll learn about Opele, you'll learn about Ifa, you'll have a Grand Ifa Priest as a master.

Thank you. We've heard and witnessed situations where Babalawo talks, but some people will say it's not true. And some people will say it's true. Please how can we know if a Babalawo's speech is true?

You mean if they go to them for Ifa consultation or what?

Like when they eulogize one Ifa.

When you go to them for consultation, they'll eulogize Ifa for you. Then you'll ask him that "is it accurate?" You only look up to the sky when you don't understand Ifa. Do you understand now? Chances are, if you go to an Ifa Priest for consultation, the moment he's eulogizing Ifa, you'll call his attention yourself that he's very accurate. And the Ifa Priest will also reply you that "ti awo ba ki fun ni, se ni won n ki fun awo." Maybe I've been lying to you since. But you can definitely tell from the eulogizing that, yes, this is an authentic occultist. But when some people are saying something different, maybe it's just a religion thing. Do you understand now? When they talk about religion, that's when they spit such nonsense.

Thank you, Elder. Please, in what way can Ifa brighten up people's lives?

But you're a Yoruba man?

Yes, Elder.

If they want to appoint a King in Yoruba land, what are they going to make use of?

It's Ifa.

After giving birth, they consult Ifa to check the baby's future. Anything you want to do. You're not supposed to ask me that kind of question, you know what Ifa is used for.

Yes, Elder. It's for the benefits of the viewers.

Yes, for the benefits of the viewers. So it's used to brighten up people's lives. Maybe if you have a problem, God forbid. Or if you aspire something good. And you think about how to live long if you achieve the aspirations. Or when you just give birth, you'll check the future of the baby. You'll ask about it, so that you won't take the wrong step.

Thank you, Elder. Please can you help us to use words of Ifa to give the people some piece of advice?

To give the people some piece of advice?

(ADVISING WITH WORDS OF IFA - click here to listen to the advice).

Patience is the greatest virtue. Let's be patient with the journey of our lives. Let's not be hasty about being wealthy. Let's not just be hasty about life. Let's wait for God's time There's nothing patience cannot achieve. My advice for the people is that, let's exercise patience. Let's not be envious. Our goodness shall locate each and everyone of us.

Thank you. Please don't be annoyed, Elder. If someone wants to learn Ifa, is it a must for such person to be under a Grand Occultist for a long time, in order to learn Ifa? Or it's not necessary these days?

It depends on your attitude towards your Occultist. Some people spend up to 20 years to learn Ifa. It depends on your attitude towards your Grand Ifa Priest. Because if you want to learn Ifa, your Grand Ifa Priest must grant you access to Ifa every 5 days. But if you're being good to your Grand Ifa Priest, he can give you another Ifa in less than 5 days. Your goodness to your Grand Ifa Priest is what will determine how many years you'll spend. And some people can spend a long time because of meat. The Occultist is the owner of Meat, Hard Drinks and Women. And a lot more. But some people spend a long time learning because of greediness. Maybe because of Meat that he's been eating or Hard Drinks that he's been drinking. It depends on your attitude towards your Grand Ifa Priest.

Please tell us about this... They offer sacrifices and rituals in Ifa. But the other 2 religions made it known to us that God doesn't love rituals. Please this rituals that we offer, are we offering them to God or the Deities?

First of all, those that are saying that are just being ignorant. The Rams that they usually kill in Saudi Arabia, what are they used for? Do you understand now? Secondly... Didn't they shed blood? They shed blood. Didn't they offer sacrifices? The sacrifices that we offer is just for the world to be peaceful. That's why there's nobody that doesn't offer sacrifices. When we eat and some of the food drops on the floor, it's part of sacrifice. The ants on the floor will eat the food and even pray (for the provider). Do you understand now? If you go to abroad, they'll say they are doing thanksgiving, Turkey's Festival. And they'll be killing Turkeys. So what is that they are doing? But anybody that says what his forefathers did is not a way, that person has gone astray. Do you understand now? They only used the other 2 religions to enslave us. They took all our ancient materials away for business purposes. Do you understand now? What they used to originate each town was different from each other. The sacrifices that we offer are used for prayers. Maybe someone has a problem. Or to prevent the town from war. To avoid trouble. We are all involved in offering sacrifices. Both the believers and the nonbelievers.

Please people want to know... Is Ifa something you'll love to be initiated with?

You'll love it. We only take this thing too serious in Nigeria. There's freedom of religion everywhere. You can practice any religion you want. But causing trouble in the society? That's what the law is against. He who wants to learn Ifa will seek for an Occultist, the Occultist will consult Ifa for him. Then he'll know his origin. He'll know the taboos. He'll know the kind of food he's supposed to eat. And the kind of cloth he's supposed to wear. Anybody can consult Ifa. A lot of Muslims, Christians, Pastors and Alhajis have Ifa at home.

Thank you sir. As the Araba Agbaye that has been to many places worldwide, Yoruba people believe that Ifa is only for Yoruba people. They believe that it's our secret that shouldn't be leaked. Is it true?

It's a big lie. Even the foreigners are now interested. The Islam and Christianity that they practice, were they originated here? If we check how many Churches and Mosques we have here, even the owners of the religions doesn't take it that serious. Do you understand now? Anybody can practice religion. Do they want to talk about Brazil, or Cuba, or Trinidad? Or Mexico, or Colombia? Ifa is spreading all over the world.

Thank you, Elder. We don't want to take much of your time. We'll be done soon. The way we're spreading Ifa all over the world to enlighten people, some people believe that there are some secrets behind it, that are not supposed to leak. Apart from what you've explained to us, Elder, is there any secret in Ifa that shouldn't be leaked?

There are no secrets that shouldn't be leaked.

(EULOGIZING IFA TO EXPLAIN THAT IFA HAS NO SECRETS - click here to listen to the eulogies).

You see, these Ifa that we're eulogizing is just like the Bible verses that Christians refer to.

(EULOGIZING IFA ABOUT BEING BROKE - click here to listen to the eulogies).

You may be broke today, but you'll be wealthy in the future. Do you understand now? These are the things being used for preaching that, just because you're broke today doesn't mean you won't be rich in the future. That's why it's in the Bible and the Quran. We are just the ones that doesn't appreciate our thing. All those "Odu Ifa" are meant to enlighten people's lives. Maybe you just moved out of your husband's house, and feel like it's the end of the world. You want to commit suicide. There are Odu Ifas that can motivate you.

(EULOGIZING IFA - click here to listen to the eulogies).

She said she's doomed. The Occultists said you're not doomed. They offered sacrifices and prayed for her. And she was able to give birth. There's no other companion, a child is one's companion. Do you understand now? If there's a barren woman who is depressed, they'll eulogize that kind of Ifa for her. So that's just it. There are no secrets that shouldn't be leaked. Unless it's an Oro Festival that belongs to a particular clan. A leader is meant to be respected.

If you go to the Muslims, they have their own secrets too, they'll never reveal it, no matter what. If you go to the Christians, they have their own secrets too. That's what it is.

You see...what....Osu Alaran Ose Afibisuolore, I want to teach people some lessons from the Odu Ifa Ose Afibisuolore, It talks about faithfulness, do you understand?

(CHANTING ODU IFA OSE AFIBISUOLORE - click here to listen to the chants).

Onitaji Olele wished to be enthroned after the demise of his father, so he went to see his Ifa Priest. On getting to him, Ifa was casted, he was told that he would get to the position of his father but he didn't believe the prophesy because he was a physically challenged person, he was told to offer sacrifice and take it to the wilderness, he was told that he would be healed in the wilderness, he found his way to the wilderness with the sacrifice. An old man suddenly appeared to him. The old man asked him why he came, then he said this and that.

The old man then suddenly transformed into an anaconda snake, the snake swallowed the king and then vomited him, Onitaji Olele's hunchback disappeared, they did so over and over again until he was completely healed. So he was told that he would get to the position of his father but he must not come back to this wilderness no matter what. He became the king. Meanwhile, there used to be a festival they used to celebrate for him where some animals used to be killed for him. So one day, his people searched for the animal to kill for him, but they couldn't find, he was so upset, he, therefore, directed them to go the wilderness he was told not to revisit forever, when they got to the wilderness, the old man appeared to them, then he asked them who told them to come, the old man however sent them back to him in order to remind him of the agreement they had together, on getting back for the feedback, he told them never to mind the old man, he said they should go back to kill whatever they find in the wilderness including the old man.

The old man transformed into an Anaconda snake, they killed the snake and then brought it to the palace for their festival. After they had eaten up the snake, the bones of the snake that was left over gathered together and then turned to another live Anaconda snake. The snake went straight to the palace to swallow Onitaji Olele. This king later returned back to his previous form as a physically challenged human, he said it is not ideal to pay one helper with evil, he was later dethroned from the throne. This is how Ifa Priests praise Ifa.

(CHANTING IFA - click here to listen to the chants).

This Ifa teaches us not to be betraying people including our family and friends. We must not be making promises that we can't fulfill. Whoever helps us shouldn't be paid back with evil, because whatever we sow we shall reap. My advice to you is that you shouldn't be a betrayal and an ingrate.

As you have come, you will have rest of mind as you have left your own schedule doing for others.

(CHANTING - click here to listen to the chants).

You left your home well, you will get back home well. Everything you lay your hands on shall prosper. As you are promoting Isese and the Yoruba race, you won't end up shamelessly.




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