As the never ending deluge of disinformation of Ifa continues in the diaspora from cut and paste book readers/market sellers, there comes a point when I have to put out some countering information for people who have no knowledge of what is being marketed towards them. This is tiresome, and I really do have a life other than tracking down offenders when it comes to marketing Ifa. I have one client in particular who enjoys perusing websites and then coming back to me for verification of what is being said and sold, which keeps me free to do the real work focusing on Ifa, while keeping an eye on the rot that is settling into the diaspora, and the rot is deep. Stay tuned for another post on faux Babas and their ‘Ifa initiations’ coming soon.
In today’s offering of questionable market sellers and items, we will touch on various items being touted as suitable for ‘orisa offerings’ or human consumption and wearable ‘Ifa jewelry’.
This is a generic term for cleansing/charging herbs. While it may or may not contain the plant materials needed for consecration of Ifa items and “house/body cleansing”, do you really want to trust your ori and implements to something bought online from someone you have no knowledge of/no link with as a spiritual elder? NEXT!
2. “Dried Kola Nut”
Shaking my head….the market seller states “This kola has been dried so please do not ingest” (exactly, because it is dried leftover rejects from market). This is NOT FIT for offering to ANY ORISA. Why would you offer something to orisa which IS NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION! Market sellers will do ANYTHING to create a new product category and MAKE MONEY, using YOUR IGNORANCE in order to make a dollar. Stick with the fresh. Trust me. NEXT!
3. “Iyere Pepper”
This is being touted as an offering to Esu to “spice up” spiritual works. Again, THIS IS A COOKING CONDIMENT FOR AROMA. This is not a pepper for use in orisa rituals and offerings! NEXT!
4. “Agba Seed for Sango”
This is touted as being used in cooking/eating and also offered to Sango. THE SEED HOLDS A POISONOUS INNER CREAMY FLESH! DO NOT USE THE INNER SEED FOR ANYTHING! YOU WILL GET SICK! Again, if you do not know what you are doing, do not touch/buy items that are being touted as ‘Ifa items’. NEXT!
5. “Epo Pupa for Ikin”
Sigh….red palm oil is ONLY USED FOR IFA WHEN THERE IS BLOOD OFFERING, OR, IFA, THROUGH DIVINATION, HAS ASKED SPECIFICALLY FOR RED PALM OIL for the client. The website quote my client sent me says this: “Epo pupa is especially necessary for Babaláwos because Ifá must never be dry, not for any length of time.”
The normal offering for ikin Ifa is oti/gin, omi tutu/cool clean water, eku Ifa/dried Ifa rat. No one, trust me, no one in Nigeria, drowns their ikin in red palm oil. NEXT!
6. “Adidan” (Aridan)
This is a seed pod being touted as being used for offerings to orisa. No, no it’s not. It IS used with other ewe for a work with a certain energy. This is NOT an orisa food offering! NEXT!
7. “Eku Ijebu”
Being touted as an offering to Osun and orisa. NOT TRUE. This is ONLY USED IN POUNDED SOAP FOR EWE OOGUN PREPARATIONS. If you know what that recipe is, great, if not, this is NOT FOR ORISA OFFERING. NEXT!
8. “Obe Esu”
This is a small knife being offered purely for diaspora market. it has no use whatsoever, unless you just think it looks cool. NEXT!
9, “Ogo Esu Eshu Staff”
See above number 8. Unless this is consecrated, it makes a pretty shrine decoration and nothing more. NEXT!
10.”Osun aka camwood”
This is being touted as an offering to Osun. This is an old Yoruba beauty aide, used with ori to rub into the skin of small babies, to make them attractive to Osun, i.e. bring blessings and protection. This IS NOT a typical offering to Osun and not seen in Nigeria as a ‘real’ offering. This is market invention to chum business. NEXT!
AND SAVING THE WORST FOR LAST:
11. “Ileke Ide Ifa Large Ifa Beads Otutuopon For Wrist with Ikin Ifa”
This is perhaps the most disturbing of all. There are people mass marketing these Ifa beads with a 4 eye ikin beaded onto the necklace/braclet, via a HOLE in the ikin Ifa. Where do I begin….
While this ‘fashion item’ does exist in the diaspora, it is NOT used as a fashion item in Nigeria, and the ritual involved in making it is NOT ONE THAT CAN BE USED IN ORDER TO MASS MARKET THESE ITEMS TO THE DIASPORA!
The people who wear this item are only SOME BABALAWO, BUT IT IS WORN MOST ASSUREDLY BY THEIR WIVES/APETEBI (if they have the money for the rituals/ebos needed), AND WORN AROUND THE WAIST, NECK OR WRIST TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE MARRIED TO AND UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THEIR BABALAWO HUSBAND. In order to reach that point there is a weeks long ceremony that must take place, and not just by one person, but by a whole group of Babalawo together, it costs money, and is not taken lightly!
You must first find a suitable tree with Ikin from where you want to take it from, there are leaves laid down around the base of it, oriki are chanted and Ifa is washed with the woman present. She prays to the ikin Ifa, the appropriate sacrifices are made according to DIVINATION, be they she-goat, ram etc, and the special ikin Ifa she will wear are looked for. The proper incantation is recited, the proper leaves are looked for to wash, offerings are made and the whole lot is left to rest for 7 to 15 days, after which the offering is removed and ikin cleaned. Divination is done again to make sure that all is okay, that the offerings were accepted, and any messages / taboos received in regards to the woman who is to wear the waist bead / wrist bead / necklace set. THEN YOU MUST DO ANOTHER EBO FROM THE DIVINATION THAT CAME OUT!
PEOPLE WHO ARE DRILLING HOLES WITH METAL TOOLS TO IKIN IFA IN ORDER TO PRODUCE FASHION ITEM ARE DESECRATING THE BODY OF ORUNMILA! UNLESS YOU HAVE DONE ALL THE SACRIFICES NECESSARY, UNLESS YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH THE RITUAL YOURSELF OR HAD SOMEONE DO IT IN PROXY FOR YOU, AND GIVEN THE WOMAN HER TABOOS, ALL SACRIFICES MADE, IT IS RUBBISH DIASPORA MARKETING TACTIC! YOU ARE DOING NO FAVORS TO YOURSELF!
Take it slow and take it easy if you are in the diaspora! Understand that the Ifa tradition is being slammed sideways by diaspora ethnocentric meddling, whether by sheer ignorance or simple plain greed. Seek out qualified people, and as always, use your head/ori to guide you! It pains me that the true Ifa tradition, the true root tradition is suffering under the weight of diaspora nonsense marketing rubbish. Do NOT TRUST THAT JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE / FOUNDATION MEMBERS RECEIVED THEIR INITIATION IN NIGERIA, THAT THEY ARE THE REAL DEAL AND OFFERING CORRECT RITUAL AND PRACTICE! BEWARE AND BE CAREFUL! DO NOT LET YOURSELF BECOME A PART OF THE DESTRUCTION (and a victim!) OF UNSCRUPULOUS IGNORANT ‘LEADERS’ WHO ARE DIRTYING THE TRUE IFA TRADITION!