A question I am often asked by people is where is God in all this Ifa stuff. So, here’s how I see the Ifa concept of the creator. It may be very different from what you’ve encountered on your journey so far. I definitely have a unique take on things. .
Ifa is monotheistic.We believe in a single creative force known as Olodumare. The Universe in it’s entirety springs from that single source. Unlike the Orisa, Olodumare is not an energy but rather a consciousness. A consciousness big enough to encompass the entire of creation. Everything we know is part of Olodumare, as is everything we are yet to discover.
Because Olodumare is in everything, part of everything, essentially IS everything, we do not worship God in the way that most religions do. The most that you will here us doing is thanking God for the perfect creation of which we are a part. I personally don’t even engage that way. .
You will hear Olodumare’s name used when some people ask for blessings but most of that is the result of outside influences. Christianity, then Islam, swept through Yoruba land and had a profound influence on how the modern day Yoruba practice Ifa. The influence of Christianity is even more profound in the traditions that sprang out of Ifa in the new world.
In systems like Santeria, Ifa was literally hidden within the icons of the Catholic church in order to spare practitioners from persecution. The result is a unique approach that is similar to the original practice from Africa but distinctly more Christian in its outlook. I mean no disrespect to any other tradition.Practitioners from traditions related to Ifa are more like cousins to Ifa practitioners than siblings.
My spiritual background is very diverse. Ifa is the only system I practice now, but, I’ve been influenced by other traditions: my Catholic upbringing; Hawaiian shamanism; Buddhist philosophy; among others have all coloured my understanding of God. From my perspective Olodumare is an impersonal force. Therefore it is not possible to worship Olodumare. We can become closer to Olodumare though meditation. Sinking into the ground of our being and allowing ourselves to be carried closer to the Universal reality, ending in enlightenment. When the Yoruba spoke about sitting at the right hand of Olodumare, they were talking about enlightenment. In our age we are fortunate that there are techniques that allow us to approach the impersonal creator in a methodical way. We may not all achieve enlightenment in this lifetime but we certainly have the opportunity to move closer to it.
How can we be monotheistic and still worship the Orisa? Our relationship with the Orisa causes a great deal of confusion, particularly for people who've come out of other shamanic traditions. The Orisa are not, and never were, gods. They are simply energies that we can connect with to emphasize certain qualities on our own energy matrices. They are not like the Christian saints, angels, or demons. They are conceptual forces expressed in nature, and in every one of us. We do not worship the Orisa, we honour the power and importance of their energies in bringing our lives into harmony with the Universe, and keeping us there.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I’m likely not a typical Ifa practitioner. If what I’ve said resonates with you why not click here to join me for a Life Path Discovery Session and let’s explore what Ifa has to offer you together.
I’ve been a full-time life coach, and mentor, since 2007. I’ve helped clients: find new careers or enrich the ones they’re in; discover new love or renew a fading relationship; deal with the stresses of day to day living, and of course deepen into the spiritual dimension of life..