The Future of Santeria (And Spirituality)

The Future of Santeria (And Spirituality)

esu weeksI recently read a great article by Omimelli. She's a blogger at the site, The Mystic Cup. The article is entitled: Is There A Future for Santeria? Ominelli writes eloquently about issues that many of us know or have experienced in some way.

Like the impact of the internet on our traditions: “The power of enhanced communications and the availability of all sort of information without a system of check and balances has created the perfect breeding grounds for merchants of the religion and con artists to flourish and prosper. Before finding shysters was limited to the communities they inhabited and perhaps to the occasional ad to be found on newspapers or word of mouth communications. Now, any so-called initiate can set up shop on the Internet, troll on sites like Facebook looking to insert themselves as experts in conversations and forums, establish a blog or a website and drum up a hefty Santeria business,” writes Ominelli.

She also writes about initiation mills – priests and priestess who are willing to initiate just about anybody for money. “When people set themselves up to initiate anyone who comes through their door, we end up with initiation mills. Initiation mills feed pockets, swell heads with godparents who compete to see how many heads they have managed to incorporate in their ranks; undoubtedly initiation mills feed egos. Overall, the results are detrimental because more often than not, such godparents leave a scattered trail of poorly raised godchildren and oloshas. These new initiates know no better because their so-called elders neglect to do what godparents must do: Teach selflessly,” says Ominelli.

I’ve been thinking about Ominelli’s article because almost every point she raises can be applied to those of us who practice traditional Ifa or other branches of African spirituality. There are awos in Nigeria and other parts of the world who will initiate just about anybody for money. Then, there are those who sell bogus spiritual products on-line or off-line. And let's not get started talking about the outrageous and depressing behavior of some priests and priestesses who lack basic manners (and common sense).

And while we ponder the abuses in Ifa and Santeria, we might as well talk about the abuses in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and other spiritual paths. Because wherever you look, I promise you'll find it. You'll also find it in every single profession on earth too – from international finance to sports, and who knows, maybe even ballroom dancing. Alas, it's the human condition.

So why even bother starting your spiritual journey? And if you've started, why stay on it? Well, I firmly believe we can't live without Spirit. We are Spirits ourselves. Hoping to thrive without Spirit is like a fish hoping to swim without water. How far do you think you will get? Sure, I've had ups and down along the way, but I've also discovered that when approached with the right motives and when working with the right people, the spiritual journey can be magical, inspirational, a great source of inspiration and strength.

I've met sages and I've met fools along the way. I'm pleased to say that I've also grown an lot. Ifa has empowered me, and I've been given the tools to empower others.

Regardless of what spiritual path you're on, I believe your journey can empower you, too. Find what works for you. Align yourself with people who inspire you and empower you. Trust the intuition that comes from within you. Go where it takes you. Be open. Be brave. Be confident. And be yourself.

Blessings
James

Contemplation On Ofun Meji

A friend of mine, Marcos Ifalola Sanchez, wrote the following meditation on the Holy Odu, Ofun Meji. I enjoyed reading it and wanted to share. Marcus also has a nice blog. You can visit him at this link – Ifa Yesterday, Ifa Today, Ifa Tomorrow:

We-start-where-we-end’
Was the Awo who divined for ‘the small child who knows nothing’
When performing Esentaiye at the dawn of his life
He was told that if he sought wisdom
And did not lie, or be treacherous
Ifa would support him
He was told that in life, there are many roads,
But only the road of righteousness would lead to an end
Supported by Olodumare
And that in the end
He would return to the place he began
Next to the innumerable Irunmole in Orun

When nearing the end of his life
The Awo ‘We-start-where-we-end’
divined for ‘the small child who knows nothing’
who had become the wise elder who knew much
Ifa said he supported his Ori
And his Ori had supported him
In choosing the righteous path
And so he would return to the place he began
Next to the innumerable Irunmole in Orun
It is such that we repeat the cycle of life
Until we reach Apere (the perfect state)
Ofun Meji
Who was first
And became last
Showing that everything that begins, will end
Trading places with the end, that became a beginning
Eepa Odu
— Marcos Ifalola Sanchez contemplation on the Odu Ofun Meji

2013 Reading For The Year by Chief Awodele Ifayemi

2013 Reading For The Year by Chief Awodele Ifayemi

Happy New Year,

Ifa Divination

Ifa Divination

Blessings to you as we embark on 2013. I’ve provided a link to reading of the year that was performed by Chief Awodele Ifayemi. He’s one of my mentors and you’ll find a treasure-trove of articles about Ifa on his website. In a separate post, I’ll provide links to other Ifa divinations readings by other awos, to give you a different perspective on the energies of this year and how they impact us.

Again, all the best to you in 2013 and beyond. Here’s the link: