Are you taking your medicine?
No! Not Western medicine! African ritual medicine!
As a professional Ifa diviner based in Oakland, California, I sometimes struggle when it comes time to explain the importance of ritual (ebo) to both new and old clients.
Luckily, my Yoruba friend, Olushola, recently helped me out.
“Just tell them that it’s like going to the doctor and getting medicine,” he said.
I love that analogy because it’s simple…
But in reality it’s way more complex than that, as anyone in the orisa community will tell you.
For starters, in most cases you’re not actually ingesting ritual medicine. Secondly, in many African traditions, you don’t have to be physically present when ritual work is being done.
In the Yoruba tradition, you’ll know if you need “ebo” because it will be revealed during a divination session with a trained Ifa priest/diviner.
Besides health issues, here are other common reasons for why ritual might be needed:
1. Help with financial issues.
2. Help with relationship issues.
3. Ward off spiritual attacks from enemies.
4. For optimum emotional and physical health.
5. To fight witchcraft or sorcery.
Are you in need of some kind of ritual medicine now?
Based on what I know about life and the work that I do with my elders, I have to say yes.
Because 1. There are things that are going on in your life right now that you are not aware of but should be addressed spiritually. 2. Because it’s a mistake to assume that things are well just because all seems well now. 3. Because ritual can give you the spiritual and competitive advantage you need to move forward in life.
In some cases, ritual (ebo) is a matter of life vs death…
Don’t assume that tomorrow will be like today! It’s important to pay attention to things that you cannot see and address them spiritually, if necessary.
I shudder to think what my life would look like without the help of my elders and all the powerful rituals that have been done on behalf of my family over the years.
I know one thing! It wouldn’t look pretty!
In Nigeria, ritual work can go on for days or even weeks. The elders I work closely with in Ile Ife, Nigeria spend an average of 2 to 3 weeks working on a ritual. It’s a team effort. As many as 5-7 Ifa priests might work together just to complete one ritual for a client. And they might spend 4 to 5 hours a day working on the ritual.
“Ise t’o l’agbara,” (it’s hard work, they say)
How long does it take to see results or changes? It varies. Sometimes you’ll notice the effects right away, but in other cases it can take weeks, or even months, so it’s hella important to be patient.
Also, some situations might call for more than one ritual treatment, (just like a medical patient might need to have more than one surgery or might require ongoing physical or emotional therapy over a period of time.)
What experiences have you had with indigenous rituals or African rituals? I would love to hear about them so be sure to leave a comment.
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James Weeks/Producer, Across The King’s River