Lately, I’ve been thinking about something my mentor told me years ago when I began Ifa divination training.

My mentor was the late Afolabi Epega, a 5th generation Ifa priest who also had a doctorate in organic chemistry. Although he died in 2006, I still hear his laughter and booming voice. As I invoke Ifa and interpret the odus, his spirit is there to guide me.

The old man saw the future ahead of me. “Clients will come to you looking for magic,” he warned. “But you’re not a magician, you’re a priest. If they want magic, tell them to go to Hollywood.”

As priests, we study the movement of spiritual forces that the ancients call and we invoke the power of the orisas and the ancestors. And once we do our job, we leave it in the hands of the orisas, knowing that the words of Ifa will eventually come to pass. That’s how Baba Epega trained me.

“But when will the words of Ifa come to pass?” I once asked.

I didn’t really like the answer then and I’m not sure I like it now, but here’s the truth: the words of Ifa will come to pass when the time is right. Even the most advanced priest might not be able to pinpoint when the prediction will manifest. Today? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? Ten years from now?

And then Baba told me of one prediction that took 20 years to materialize.

He also warned me that some clients will not want to hear the truth. “Don’t believe that bullshit,” he said. “They want to hear what they want to hear. But your job is to tell them the truth. They can take it or leave it.”

I’ve been thinking about Baba a lot because I do readings for clients now, and I’ve come to realize that most people are in a rush. I always tell them to slow down.

One client called 30 days after her reading and said “you told me there will be a new lover?” I did, but I certainly did not tell her when. I’m no magician and I’m not trying to be one.

Ifa is a way of life. It is not about getting what you want, when you want it. We are dealing with universal energies. Yes, we invoke forces and appeal to forces but we are not in charge of these forces. We are all subject to forces that are beyond our control and understanding.

I’ve come to believe, however, that we get what we need in the right time. I also believe in the concept of a “sacred time” when things take root and flourish in ways that are more profound and often far better than we ever might have imagined.

Our elders remind us that patience is the father of character.

The search for magic is an illusion. Good luck finding it. Genuine spiritual growth is always available, however. But it’s a life-long journey!

May you travel well.