In this delightful lecture punctuated with humor, insight and personal anecdotes, Chief Babalawo Oluwole Ifakunle, affectionately known as the “Babalawo of Harlem,” gives an overview of Ifa divination and the role it can play in our lives.
I recently met Baba Ifakunle at a conference at Harvard University entitled “Sacred Healing and Wholeness in Africa and the Americas.” The symposium and the lecture was organized by Funlayo Wood, a doctoral student in African and African-American studies at Harvard.
“We can see into the future if we know how to read signs and symbols. It’s about the synchronicity of life,” says Baba Ifakunle, a professional diviner who was initiated into Obatala and Ifa more than 20 years ago. “Divination is an attempt to see beyond our five senses and to understand the root causes and solutions to issues that we might be facing.”
“Ifa is about balance,” he adds. “The work that I’ve done has been rewarding to me. It has been life – changing to me and to others.”
I was struck by Baba Ifakunle’s warmth and sincerity when I met him. It was refreshing to meet another Awo who is passionate about his craft and the clients he serves. In the lecture below, Baba Ifakunle talks briefly about his childhood, and how he was visited by Spirits at an early age.
He also discusses Obi divination, the importance of “iwa” (character) and how ancestral energies and problems are sometimes transmitted from one generation to the next. And he spoke of how “diviners are born – not made”. Baba Ifakunle insists that one of the ultimate goals of a diviner is transcendence, becoming one with the universal energies.
As a student diviner, I was inspired as he recounted how Ifa divination helped him cure one client of cancer. And I laughed when I heard the story about the African who could have won the New York lottery but unfortunately did not. Oh well!
Anyway, here’s the link to Baba Ifakunle’s Harvard lecture:
For more information about Baba Ifakunle, or if you’re interested in readings, orisa-inspired products, or to book one of his dynamic lectures, you can visit him at Baba Ifakunle’s website