The Yoruba believed in a single creative force that has made the Universe. That belief is critical to understanding the Ifa world-view.
From the stillness came creation. The blast of light that started it all is called Ogbe Meji. Today, science calls it the big bang. It happened about 14 billion years ago. In Ifa the force that created that blast is called Olodumare.
How can a philosophy with all those Orisa consider itself monotheistic? Because the Orisa are energies, not gods. They were created by God just the way the rest of the Universe was.
The Yoruba did not ask for Olodumare’s help. They did not consider God approachable. You cannot pray to something that is everything, and nothing, at once.
This benevolent force placed us into creation. It gave us access to the Orisa, the eternal energies of the Universe, to assist us with our growth and development. Unlike most shamanic traditions, Ifa makes God the source of creation, not just the head of it.
What does all this mean to the modem Ifa practitioner?
In my view Olodumare is perfect stillness. Olodumare contains the irresistible desire to become. Olodumare can never be known because there is nothing separate from it.
The Universe has grown and evolved from the instant of the big bang. The evolutionary impulse is irresistible. From the deepest, stillest, part of ourselves it calls us to become more. Our destines express this need to move forward.
The Orisa, our Ori, and our ancestors, are all there to offer support, and guidance, on the journey. We may not know where we are going. We simply have to go. Life calls us in the same voice that screamed “Yes!” as the Universe exploded into existence.
We cannot pray to Olodumare. We can unite with Olodumare as the spark of life within us. Since our ancient origins we have been on a journey of becoming. We are pulled forward by the desire to evolve.
Do you feel God pulling you? I’d love to hear why, or why not.
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