Of Negative Thinking and the Leopard’s Spots

Leopard of IfaNot so long ago I was contacted over the internet by a client who requested a session with Esu to deal with a serious problem in his marriage. As he would not be able to attend in person I have my helper set up a laptop inside my shrine, ready to take down dictation as Esu settles into the business at hand.

After about 9 long pages of advice, all relative to the situation both spiritually and materially, Esu began to speak of the differences between humans and animals, specifically to the pitfalls of humans having a brain such as we do, and of not knowing how to “use it correctly”. I’ll try to write what was spoken here as this conversation was not recorded.

He began by saying that it is only humans who indulge themselves in negative thinking, to their detriment. And that God created all animals, all living things on earth, with the means to survive and procreate, enjoy their lives.

The Animal Kingdom is an eat or be eaten type of world for most creatures, but God, in his wisdom, gave to each a special feature to help them in their daily struggle for survival. God gave many creatures wide set eyes that can see in a range unknown to humans, enabling them to see predators not only from the front, but also the sides and from behind. Poor humans are very limited in their range of sight. Many animals have ears that can swivel forwards and backwards so they can pick up the slightest rustle of movement from all directions. Best of all, they were given wonderful camouflage to blend in with the grasses, trees, the landscape of their environment. Birds who must hunt or be hunted in snowy areas have white feathers, zebras have stripes which mimic shadows and light, different type of gazelle have coats the color of the Savannah grasses, the lions coat and mane mimic the grass and the leopards are dappled with shadows and light. So, back to the humans. While the animals are at relative ease in their environment,  Man is not. Can you imagine what life would be like if an animal were to allow himself to be beset by negative thinking?

“Oh! I am surely going to be eaten if I make my way to the watering hole!” “I am not feeling lucky today, I had better not go eat the fresh budded flowers with the others!”, “I just know that Leopard is waiting for me over by the baobab tree!”, and so on and so forth.

They would die of starvation; they would die of thirst if God had given them minds that could behave like a human mind. All of the animals put down their differences when it comes to thirst. Is it risky? Yes. But in order to survive they cannot have overwhelming fear.  Man also needs to survive and if  he puts his thoughts, speech, and actions to the negative side and he has an unhappy day/life-whose fault is that? If Man always believes the worst is coming, and it does, because he has not put his mind to building positive in his life-whose fault is that? What we put our minds to is what we see, attract and become. Negativity breeds unhappiness and more negativity. So what is it that God gave to humans, much like he gave to the Animal Kingdom? Surely God did not equip animals to survive better than humans? Well, number one of course is we have a rational thinking brain, while our undoing, it is also our strength. But the worst problem Man faces today is that for a huge majority of people on earth, their parents and ancestors did not pass down spiritual truths to live by. We are not talking here of religious ideology of man, of rote ritual, but concrete basic truths to live by and thrive. Being positive or negative works independently of being a Catholic, a Hindu, etc.

The basis of happiness is to not limit your Self and your life by visualizing all of the reasons why something will fail, why you cannot, will not be able to, don’t have the means, are not equipped, and a million other excuses. Our success rests squarely on our own shoulders, and though God did not give us spots like the Leopard, he did give us His divine spark which we carry inside that can illuminate our minds and life if we do not allow the darkness of negative thinking to cast a shadow on our inner flame. Now go outside and roar!

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2 thoughts on “Of Negative Thinking and the Leopard’s Spots

    1. farinade

      Thank you for your question!
      The word “Iyanifa” means literally a “Mother of Ifa” meaning as a “priestess of Ifa”, belonging to the priesthood, part of the tradition and a figurehead. Iya=Mother, but also implied she is a mother to those around her within the Ifa tradition and community and that she is “wedded” to Ifa in a sense as a life path in caring for her children. So when we write Iyalorisa or Iyalorixa etc., it is Mother (Priestess) of the Orisa/Saints, similar thing. All female initiates start out as “Iyawos” whether into orisa or into Ifa. When we talk of Babalawo. Baba=”Father”, awo = the “body” or community as a whole of Ifa, so owner/father/priest of the secrets within Ifa=implied wisdom or owner/priest/figurehead of the body of wisdom/knowledge/secrets of Ifa. Babalorisa then means a male priest of orisa.

      In order to get the feel and understanding you have to look at how words are used inside the culture in other roles. Iya alone also has the meaning implied of being the “mother/wife” of someone in Yoruba culture and within the secular family. “Iyawo” can be a second wife or new wife, and when a woman has her first child, she becomes simply “Iya Segun”, “the mother of Segun”, the name of her boy. Shes “loses” her own name, and her position inside society and culture is displayed as tied to the treasure that is her child she is raising up, hence, “mother of Segun”. I hope this helps!! May Ifa guide bless and protect you and yours always, Ase O.

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