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Kutiro-Balafon-Sabar = Drums Ensemble…

****Music of the Mande –  Gambian Tantango=Kutiro Drumming…

The Mandinka Drum Ensemble consists of three Drums. The leader plays the long Sabaro, assisted by two Drummers playing the Kutiro – small Kutirindingo and larger Kutiriba. Drum troupes play for recreational dances and various festivities. The Mandinka, descendants of the Mande peoples of western Africa, now reside primarily in Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. Among the Mande people in general, rhythm expressed as drumming is linked with all forms of movement, be it dancing, wrestling, procession, or agricultural labor. 

There is a defined hierarchy within the ensemble where the Sabaro takes the fore, both musically, and socially. A Drummer will begin a long apprenticeship, usually starting in youth, gradually working from Kutiros to Sabaro as his skill increases. The Tantango ensemble is employed in many life-cycle rituals circumcisions, fertility, agricultural and recreational, wrestling events.  The most prominent such event is recreational dance Bantaba and singing held in a wide-open space in the center of a village or at a crossroads in town. Participants amass in circles which can vary in size: sometimes with barely enough room for dancers, at other times as large as city blocks with rented folding chairs placed along the sides of the street for guests. The Bantaba events begin with a signature recreational dance – Lenjengo, danced primarily by women and girls, and which typically includes a collection of rhythms, songs, and dances leading up to the “Lenjengo” a fully engaged dance-music gathering that could go on indefinitely. The term Tantango is often used to refer to any of these Drums, and sometimes the ensemble is called a Seruba ensemble after the name of an important dance event in which they are played. The ensemble is used throughout the Gambia and Cassamance as far east as Tambacounda.

Evidence from neighboring Drumming traditions suggests that the Mandinka may have fashioned their Drums after models used in their new Senegambian homeland or even acquired them there. Both the name and the shape of the Mandinka Sabaro and Wolof Sabar Drums are very similar, and the method of attaching the head to the body is the same for these two as well as for the other Mandinka and Wolof Drums. But in contrast to the Mandinka ensemble, fixed at three Drums and rarely augmented, Wolof Sabar-based ensembles consist of more Drums and can accommodate large numbers of players. In the case of celebrations with many participants, the Mandinka ensemble is still not augmented; rather, many ensembles play for smaller groups within the larger crowd. In addition to Wolof influence, there is also an exchange of rhythms between Jola and Mandinka, even though the Jola play the very different Bugarabu, a group of three of four large Drums played by a single person with bare hands. The practice of wearing iron jingles (Jawungo) around the wrist is widespread among Mandinka and Jola Drummers as well as Bala.

Each Drum is played with one hand and a short stick approximately of nine inches long; the two Kutiro Drums are sometimes played with both bare hands. The minimal vocabulary necessary to play the Drums consists of two different hand strokes and two different stick strokes. The hand strokes are an open bounce (kun) where a clear tone is produced, and closed damped stroke (Ba) where the fingers press on the head and remain there. The stick strokes are a bounce (Din) and a press (Da). With two hand sounds and two stick sounds on each Drum, a strikingly full orchestral sound can be created by just the two Kutiro Drums.

As a village rather than urban event, Lenjengo can be contrasted in organization with analogous urban Jembe Drumming (Dununba)events in Mali and Guinea. In Lenjengo a long-term compositional process is at work with a specific sequence of pieces. While the Sabaro Drummer  plays the phrases linked with the entrances, exits, and other movements of the dancers, the two Kutiro Drummers play the indentifying parts that are unique to each dance.

The stage presentation Mandinka Drumming and dancing has a history that is now over half a century old. New traditions have developed, moving Drumming in a variety of directions. Although some of these traditions flourished abroad, the general recognition of Africa as a wellspring of a deeply entrenched culture of drumming and dancing still operates. The number, diversity, depth, and uniqueness of Drumming traditions in Africa are astounding. So is the musical sophistication and power that can be routinely achieved by a small ensemble of instruments with a limited palette of sounds.

***Drum Call – The Drum call begins all ceremonies. The Drums speak the opening prayer and request blessings for the dance ceremony to begin. The purpose of the drum call is to contain the spirits that would normally be invoked through the dances. The drum call is also called “Baque.” Each ethnic group has its own “Baque,” and within each ethnic group every family has its own special rhythms that are passed down from generation to generation. 

Forango: Sitick 9″ long … Jawungo = Bell – Iron Rattles … Kusango – Peg …(5″Long Hole -5/8″)  Bora or Bisango – Beard or Skirt for Sabaro… Minango – Antelope Skin… Fasango – To Lace… Manduka – Mallet…

“Sabaro = 6  – 7″ Diameter 25 – 27″ Long…(4 1/4″) Kutiriba = 9  – 10″  Diameter 15 – 17″ Long…(4 1/2″) Kutirindingo = 7 – 8″ Diameter 12 – 14″ Long…(4″)

Griot, Jaly, or Ayan (keepers of African oral traditions) dies, they literally take libraries of African music and dance to the grave where it is entombed and lost to the world forever. Since the music and dance of Africa is largely an oral tradition that is verbally passed down from one generation to the next, sheet music is not available. Younger generations of Africans no longer practice or know the traditional music and dance of their Ancestors, therefore, African music and dance is an endangered species. 

                     ***The  African Balafon:  Listen – Feel & Move…

    An instrument known to have existed during the Mali Empire, the Balafon has been and still is popular in West Africa. Its name has a Manding origin but the name varies in some parts like Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Balafon means the “act of playing the Bala,” with “Balan” corresponding to the instrument, while “fo” a verb meaning “to play” in the Malinke language. Guinea’s Susu and Malinke peoples, as well as the Manding people dwelling in Senegal, Mali, and Gambia are the popular users of the instrument. Balafon traditions were also recorded in Chad, Cameroon, and around the Congo BasinIn Ancient times, the Balafon is considered a sacred instrument that is exclusive to trained and skilled caste members. It was stored in a temple for safekeeping and can only be played at certain traditional and ritual occasions such as funerals, weddings, and festivals. Not to mention that the Balafon has to be purified first before being played.

According to one of the Mandingo myths, the first inhabitant of the Earth coming down from the sky was a blacksmith. It is certainly not by chance that the Balafon played an important part in the history of the accession of the kingdom of Mali. Castes formed, and among them the blacksmith was found at the center of all craft activities and became powerful. Without him there would be no weapons for hunting, nor farming implements, nor cooking utensils. He was master of fire and wood. Traditionally, it was he who sculpted the shell of the Djembe, or the slats of the Balafon.  The Bala-Fola’s gesture is the same as the blacksmith’s. Beating with the stick is the same movement as with the hammer and the slat replaces the anvil. Everything seems to indicate that the first Balafon players were smiths.

 Amongst thousands of percussion instruments, there is an important family, the mallet instruments. Xylophones, vibraphones, marimbas,  have a common Ancestor – the African Bala. The culture of Balafon music is highly developed in the countries south of the Sahara desert and the tropical rain forest.  With the ethnic groups like the Senoufos, Bobos, Miankans, Lobis,  Toussiens, Samogos, Gouins or Tourakans (Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana) a large Bala can have up to 21 slats. Normally, the Balafon is tuned from the lowest to the highest note, usually in a pentatonic chord (five tones), like, for example, the black mallets on a piano keyboard. Nowadays, “western” chords can be found as well, like diatonic and chromatic. But at all times, African musicians have known how to cope with influences coming from abroad in an own, original style.

Gum-rubber mallets on a balafon: A Balafon can be either fixed-key or free-key. The Balafon is generally capable of producing 18 to 21 notes, though some are built to produce many fewer notes. Balafon keys are traditionally made from Béné wood, dried slowly over a low flame, and then tuned by shaving off bits of wood from the underside of the keys. Wood is taken off the middle to flatten the key or the end to sharpen it. In a fixed-key Balafon, the keys are suspended by leather straps just above a wooden frame, under which are hung graduated-size calabash gourd resonators. A small hole in each gourd is covered with a membrane traditionally of thin spider’s-egg sac filaments – nowadays more usually of cigarette paper or thin plastic film to produce the characteristic nasal-buzz timbre of the instrument, which is usually played with two gum-rubber-wound mallets while seated on a low stool or while standing using a shoulder or waist sling hooked to its frame. This effect is accentuated by the sound of metal bracelets attached to the player’s wrist. Mallets and resonators are fixed on a frame of wood sticks and strings made of goat’s skin.

Regional traditions: As the Balafon cultures vary across West Africa, so does the approach to the instrument itself. In many areas the Balafon is played alone in a ritual context, in others as part of an ensemble. In Guinea and Mali, the Balafon is often part of an ensemble of three, pitched low, medium and high. The Susu and Malinké people of Guinea are closely identified with the Bala, as are the other Manding peoples of Mali, Senegal, and the Gambia. Cameroon, Chad, and even the nations of the Congo Basin have a long Balafon traditions. 

The Bala, kora , and the Ngoni  are the three instruments most associated with Griot bardic traditions of West Africa. Each is more closely associated with specific areas, communities, and traditions, though all are played together in ensembles throughout the region. Guinea has been the historic heartland of solo Balafon.  The Balafon, also known as Balafo, Bala, Balani, Gyil, and Balangi, is a type of tuned percussion instrument. It is played by using two padded sticks to strike the tuned keys.

***The gyil  is the name of a buzzing  Balafon common to the Gur-speaking populations in northern Ghana, Burkina Faso, southeastern Mali and northern Ivory Coast in West Africa…

In some cultures the Balafon was and in some still is a sacred instrument, playable only by trained religious caste members and only at ritual events such as festivals, royal, funeral, or marriage celebrations. Here the Balafon is kept in a temple storehouse, and can only be removed and played after undergoing purification rites. Specific instruments may be built to be only played for specific rituals and repertoires. Young adepts are trained not on the sacred instrument, but on free-key pit Balafons.

                                     *** Sabar Wolof Drums ***

 Sabar drumming is the very exciting syncopated drumming of the Wolof tribe in Senegal and Gambia. The Djola and Mandinka Sabar is very rare. The only place to see this Sabar is in rural areas during a ceremony such as a naming ceremony, wedding, or birthday. Wolof sabar can be seen throughout Senegal and Gambia in urban areas as well as rural. Sabar is not complete without the dance. Of course this is true with most drumming in West Africa. The dance is a very beautiful style… almost even like a martial arts. Sabar dancers display incredible flexibility and agility.

The Sabar drums are traditionally peg tuned…but some players today are using the more modern method of rope tuning. There are 5 drums in the Sabar family and they all have different sounds and roles to play in the music. The M’balax drum is the main rhythm drum and is fairly high in pitch and medium size. The N’der drum is the tallest and highest in pitch and is the lead drum and plays a lot of ‘calls’ or signals to cue the group what to do. The Toongani was originally a mandinka drum called the kutiro but was in recent years added to the Sabar ensemble. This drum is the smallest drum and has a unique bass sound.  The Joll is the lowest in pitch of the bass drums. It play various patterns and is also a solo drum. The highest pitch of the bass drums is the Tahnbat. This drum plays interweaving patterns sort of opposite the Joll. All drums are played with hand and  stick. 

In Gambia and Senegal the most common place to see Sabar drumming is at a ceremony such as naming ceremony, wedding, birthday, or return from Mecca. These ceremonies typically happen in the streets. It is very popular even outside the Wolof tribe. Most ceremonies of all tribes in Gambia and Senegal will have Sabar drumming at the party. Typically Sabar drumming and dance will start after all the formal ceremonies are finished. During a naming ceremony the child is given a name one week after he or she is born. In the morning the baby will be prayed for… as well as all the family prayed for… and during this time the baby’s head is shaved. Depending on what tribe the ceremony can have different events that follow. Typical food at this ceremony is benechin…or jaybuchin. 

Reference Sources:  Wikipedia = Roderick Knight = Charry  Eric = Erik Silverman = Mosheh Milon = Stephan Monssen = Souleyman Diop =  Gert Kilian = Stream Africa = Mike Bennett = Rob Holland = Kim Atkinson

 

DJembe Drum = Cries…Laughs…Talks!!!

 Djembe Drum***Creates A Hypnotic Influence Over Its Listeners…

A Malinke Djembe is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet Drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the Djembe comes from the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose. In the Bambara language, “djé” is the verb for “gather” and “bé” translates as “peace.

The Djembe has a body – shell carved of hardwood and a Drum-head made of untreated rawhide, most commonly made from goatskin. The Djembe can produce a wide variety of sounds, making it a most versatile Drum.  The Malinké people say that a skilled drummer is one who “can make the Djembe talk”, meaning that the player can tell an emotional story.  

There is general agreement that the origin of the Djembe is associated with the Mandenka caste of blacksmiths, known as Numu. The wide dispersion of the Djembe Drum throughout West Africa may be due to Numu migrations during the first millennium AD. Despite the association of the Djembe with the Numu, there are no hereditary restrictions on who may become a Djembefola – one who plays the Djembe. This is in contrast to instruments whose use is reserved for members of the Griot caste, such as the Bala, Kora, and Ngoni. Anyone who plays Djembe is a Djembefola-the term does not imply a particular level of skill.

Geographically, the traditional distribution of the Djembe is associated with the Mali Empire,  included parts of the modern-day countries of Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, and Senegal. However, due to the lack of written records in West African countries, it is unclear whether the Djembe predates or postdates the Mali Empire.  

***The goblet shape of the Djembe suggests that it originally may have been created from a mortar. Mortars are widely used throughout West Africa for food preparation… There are a number of different creation myths for the Djembe… Prior to the 1950s and the decolonization of West Africa, due to the very limited travel of native Africans outside their own ethnic group, the Djembe was known only in its original area.

The Djembe first came to the attention of audiences outside West Africa with the efforts of Fodeba Keita, who, in 1952, founded Les Ballets Africains. The ballet toured extensively in Europe and was declared Guinea’s first national ballet to be followed by two more national ballets, the Ballet d’Armee in 1961 and Ballet Djoliba in 1964. Fodeba Keita,  saw the ballets as a way to secularize traditional customs and rites of different ethnic groups in Guinea. The ballets combined rhythms and dances from widely different spiritual backgrounds in a single performance. Fodeba Keita generously supported the ballets  world-wide performance tours, which brought the Djembe to the attention of Western audiences. Other countries followed Keita’s example and founded national ballets in the 1960s, including Ivory Coast (Ballet Koteba), Mali (Les Ballets Malien), and Senegal (Le Ballet National du Senegal), each with its own attached political agenda. 

In the United States, Ladji Camara, a member of Ballets Africains in the 1950s, started teaching Djembe in the 1960s and continued to teach into the 1990s. A number of Djembefolas emigrated and made regular teaching and performance appearances in the west. Recordings of the Djembe far surpass the number of recordings of any other African drum. This is significant because these recordings are driven by the demand of western audiences: there are almost no Djembe recordings within African markets. 

Most Djembes from Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Senegal are still hand carved from traditional species of wood, using traditional tools and methods. In the 1990, Djembes started being produced elsewhere, such as in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Indonesia. However, these woods, being softer and less dense, are not as suitable as the traditional woods. A number of western percussion instrument manufacturers also produce Djembe-like instruments, often with fiberglass bodies, synthetic skins, and a key tuning system.

 Djembe players use three basic sounds: bass, tone, and slap, which have low, medium, and high pitch, respectively. These sounds are achieved by varying the striking technique and position. Other sounds are possible – Masters achieve as many as twenty-five distinctly different sounds, but these additional sounds are used rarely, mainly for special effects during a solo performance Ddjembe kan, literally, “the sound of the Djembe”. A skilled player can use the sounds to create very complex rhythmic patterns; the combination of rhythm and the differently pitched sounds often leads an inexpert listener to believe that more than one drum is being played.

The bass sound is produced by striking the Drum with the palm and flat fingers near the center of the skin. Tone and slap are produced by striking the drum closer to the edge; the contact area of the fingers determines whether the sound is a tone or a slap. For a tone, most of the area of the fingers and the edge of the palm contact the skin whereas, for a slap, the contact area is limited to the edge of the palm and the fingertips. The basic sounds are played “open”, meaning that the hands rebound immediately after a strike, so the contact time with the skin is as short as possible.

Traditionally, the Djembe forms an ensemble with a number of other Djembes and one or more Dunun. Except for the lead Djembe, all instruments play a recurring rhythmic figure that is known as an accompaniment pattern or accompaniment part. The figure repeats after a certain number of beats, known as a cycle. Cycles longer than eight beats are rare for Djembe accompaniments—longer cycles are normally played only by the Dununba or Sangban.

 Each instrument plays a different rhythmic figure, and the cycle lengths of the different instruments need not necessarily be the same. This interplay results in complex rhythmic patterns. The different accompaniment parts are played on Djembes that are tuned to different pitches; this emphasizes the poly-rhythm and creates a composite overall melody. The number of instruments in the ensemble varies with the region and occasion. In Mali, a traditional ensemble often consists of one Dunun – konkoni  and one Djembe. The konkoni and Djembe are in a rhythmic dialog, with each Drum taking turns playing accompaniment while the other instrument plays improvised solos.  

In Guinea, a typical ensemble uses three Djembes and three Dunun, called Sangban-medium pitch, Dundunba-bass pitch, and Kenkeni-high pitch, also called kensedeni. If an ensemble includes more than one Djembe, the highest pitched Djembe plays solo phrases and the other Djembes and Dunun play accompaniment. A Djembe and Dunun ensemble traditionally does not play music for people to simply sit back and listen to. Instead, the ensemble creates rhythm for people to dance, sing, clap, or work to. The western distinction between musicians and audience is inappropriate in a traditional context. A rhythm is rarely played as a performance, but is participatory: musicians, dancers, singers, and onlookers are all part of the ensemble and frequently change roles while the music is in progress. 

Musicians and participants often form a circle, with the center of the circle reserved for dancers. Depending on the particular rhythm being played, dances maybe performed by groups of men and/or women with choreographed steps, or single dancers may take turns at performing short solos. The lead Djembe’s role is to play solo phrases that accentuate the movements of the dancers. Individual solo dances are not choreographed, with the dancer freely moving in whatever way feels appropriate at that moment. Marking a solo dancer’s feet requires the lead Djembefola to have strong rapport with the dancer, and it takes many years of experience for a Djembefola to acquire the necessary rhythmic repertoire.

Traditionally crafted Djembes are carved from a single log of hardwood. A number of different wood species are used, all of which are hard and dense. Hardness and density are important factors for the sound and projection of the Djembe. The most prized Djembe wood is Lenke, not because it necessarily sounds better than other woods, but because the Malinké believe that its spiritual qualities are superior. Malinké traditional wisdom states that a spiritual energy, or Nyama, runs through all things, living or dead.  

Shells are carved soon after the tree is felled while the wood still retains some moisture and is softer. This makes the wood easier to carve and avoids radial splits that tend to develop in logs that are allowed to dry naturally. Carvers use simple hand tools, such as axes, adzes, spoke shaves, and rasps to shape the shell. A well-carved Djembe does not have a smooth interior but a texture of scallops or shallow grooves that influence the sound of the instrument. Djembes with smooth interiors have tones and slaps with too much sustain. Often, interior grooves form a spiral pattern, which indicates a carver taking pride in his work.

young djembe player

The Djembe is headed with a rawhide skin, most commonly goatskin. Other skins, such as antelope, cow, kangaroo can be used as well. Thicker skins, such as cow, have a warmer sound with more overtones in the slaps; thinner skins have a sharper sound with fewer overtones in the slaps and are louder. Thick skins make it easier to play full tones but more difficult to play sharp slaps; for thin skins, the opposite applies. Thin skins are louder than thick ones. Thick skins, such as cow, are particularly hard on the hands of the player…

Skins from dry and hot-climate areas and poorly fed goats are preferred for Djembes because of their low fat content. Skins from cold-climate goats with high-value nutrition have more than double the fat content; they tend to sound dull and lifeless in comparison. Even though the fat content of male goats is lower than that of female goats. Many players prefer female skins because they do not smell as strongly and are reputed to be softer.

 The skin is mounted with the spine running through the center of the drum head, with the line of the spine pointing at the player, so the hands strike either side of the spine. Animal skins are thicker at the spine than the sides; mounting the skin with the spine centered ensures that the left and right hand play symmetric areas of equal size and thickness. In turn, this helps to minimize differences in pitch of the notes played by the left and right hand. Normally, the head end of the spine points at the player, so the hands strike the area of the skin that used to be the shoulders of the goat. Skins may be shaved prior to mounting or afterwards.

malinke music cover

Up until the 1980, the most common mounting system used twisted strips of cowhide as rope. The skin was attached with rings made of cowhide; one ring was sown into the perimeter of the skin and a second ring placed below it, with loops holding the skin in place and securing the two rings together. A long strip of cowhide was used to lace up the drum, applying tension between the top ring and a third ring placed around the stem. To apply further tension, the vertical sections of the rope were woven into a diamond pattern that shortens the verticals. Wooden pegs wedged between the shell and the lacing could be used to increase tension still further.

The pitch of these traditional Djembes was much lower than it is today because the natural materials imposed a limit on the amount of tension that could be applied. Prior to playing, Djembefolas heated the skin near the flames of an open fire, which drives moisture out of the skin and causes it to shrink and increase the pitch of the Drum. The modern mounting system arose in the early seventies, when touring ballets came into contact with synthetic rope used by the military. Initially, the synthetic rope was used to replace the twisted cowhide strips. However, the rope could now be tightened to the point where it tore through the skin; in response, drum makers started using steel rings instead of twisted cowhide to hold the skin in place. To prevent damage to the rope from rust flakes, as well as for aesthetic reasons, the rings are often wrapped with strips of colored cloth.

***Djembefolas frequently attach one to four metal rattles to their drum, known as sege sege (Malinké) or sesse (Susu), also called ksink ksink. The rattles serve as decoration as well as to create a richer sound.

djembe and dundun drum family

Traditionally, as today, in Africa an individual needs to spend many years accompanying his Master in ceremonies and other festivities before becoming a real Djembefola – Djembe player. Today in the communities of western civilization learning to play the Djembe generally involves finding a Master Drummer and having private lessons or lessons for small groups of people.

 

“A Drum-maker often chooses a tree from the side of a well–traveled road from which to carve a Drum, for such a tree will have heard much conversation and will therefore make a Drum that is especially good at talking.”

djembefola

Reference Sources: Wikipedia =

Food *Gift from the Gods*

                        ***Ritual Uses of Foods

All ritual starts with an intention and the way magic works is that through certain steps you are able to manifest your intention. Try to always prepare and cook foods that you enjoy, as you are preparing food not only is it necessary to cook with intention, it is also necessary to visualize what magical outcome  that you are working towards, by doing this you are igniting the energies within the food and within yourself. As you eat your magic food be fully present and make sure you are thinking about that which you wish to conjure, make sure you are visualizing your ultimate magic outcome. Imagine the energy of the food not only sustaining you, but with enchantment bringing about the changes that you want, be at one with the food you eat and the magic you are creating.

 *** When using food for Ritual work always have the reason for cooking certain foods, such as cooking for love, cooking for prosperity, for health or for protection. As you handle and prepare the food have a particular goal in mind, when stirring food always stir clockwise with two stirs anti-clockwise as you finish stirring. Sharing a meal with friends or those you love is a ritual in itself, there is a certain energy associated with this simple pleasure, and with the Ritual of food our life is sustained. 

 ***Agbado Corn-MaizeMagical Ways=Seed of Seeds!!!                                     Of all the grains eaten in the world, Corn Maize probably is surrounded by more legends and folklore than any other. Corn has been planted, tended, harvested and consumed for millennia, and so it’s no wonder that there are myths about the magical properties of this grain.

=== Ceres was the Roman Goddess of grain, specifically corn, and of the harvest season. According to legends, she was the one who taught mankind how to farm. She is associated with agricultural fertility and a bountiful harvest. Make her an offering, and she may well protect your crops from natural disasters such as flooding or blight. 

***Sprinkle corn around your ritual area to delineate sacred space. Make a corn doll to honor the deity of your tradition Corn = Maize, is the seed of seeds. Key words associated with corn are: Sacred Mother, Protection, Luck, Divination… Corn represents fertility and is used to invoke Mother Earth. Used in ritual, it teaches the mystery of life, death, and rebirth. Many cultures gave corn, which is regarded as a food of prosperity, protection, and spirituality, a special God or Goddess of its own.

The Magical Aspects of Corn… It is a symbol of fertility and is often used to invoke Mother Earth. Whether it is used as a centerpiece, a wreath for your front door, or as a delicious side dish at your next meal, corn pops up in a variety of ways from mid-late summer through fall. Corn teaches us the mysteries of life, death, and rebirth. The spiritual representation of the corn and is closely related to the higher self or third eye of sacred sight, this symbol represents the saints and often depicted with a lily, and most prominently in association with royalty. Many cultures revered corn as a spiritual element, which is regarded as a symbol of longevity, prosperity, protection, and spirituality.

Hundreds of years ago food was worshiped and seen as a gift from the Gods, the energies contained within the food we eat are vital to our survival. You will find food all the more enjoyable as you approach it from a magical perspective, and every meal can be a wonderful act of alchemy that magically changes the food you prepare into a beautiful meal for you and yours to enjoy and energized by. When eating be conscious of the higher power existing in the foods, this way each meal can be a celebration, and cooking will take on an entirely new tone.  

The Ancient Egyptians used food as a means of exchange and food was stocked in the tombs as a gift to the Gods. Corn has been used by various tribes over the centuries and used in rituals, it is a symbol of fertility, life, eternity and resurrection. Corn was also used for divination purposes, it was practiced by the Ancient Aztecs, it was often used in elaborate healing ceremonies. Corn is still considered sacred by many tribes and is treated with great reverence, it is thought to bring blessing and heightened spiritual enlightenment.

 *** It’s believed that burying a sheaf of corn while uttering a curse will cause your enemies to die–they will rot from the inside as the corn decays in the soil. Use corn in rituals involving growth and transformation. After all, a single kernel brings you a tall stalk full of more kernels! You can also associate it with self-sustainability and fertility, both of people and of the land.

                      ***Epo Pupa = Red Palm Oil Offerings…

***Ritual Uses of Palms in Traditional Medicine…

Palms are prominent elements in African traditional medicines. In some rituals, Palms play a central role as sacred objects, for example the seeds accompany oracles and Palm leaves are used in offerings. In other cases, Palms are added as a support to other powerful ingredients,  Palm oil used as a medium to blend and make coherent the healing mixture. 

Traditional medicines in rural sub-Saharan communities recognize that the occurrence of disease can result from the intrusion of negative supernatural forces. These forces are often defined as  sorcerers, broken taboos, displeased Ancestor spirits or deities… Afflictions which are mostly related to the action of the malevolent forces are either serious and chronic or emerging suddenly and unexpectedly.  Thus, traditional healers often apply divination and various rituals in order to understand the overall significance of a healing process and counteract its cause. Since palms are part of the everyday life of nearly all rural people in Africa, it may be expected that they are also important in the spiritual framework of rural life in Africa.   

 The Palm fruit is made up of three carpels that fuse to form a drupe with one or a few seeds, covered by a thin seed coat.  Palm seeds are often called Palm kernels or Palm nuts. Perhaps palms bring justice because they are associated with understanding, peace, and harmony, or with indwelling tree spirits themselves. Palm leaves also served in various ceremonies, rituals and religious festivities. In Benin, the Palm has been recently reported as sacred and protected where ever it grows because it is seen as the realization on earth of the God Fa. Nobody is allowed to cut it down or to use its fruits for making oil…  

All parts of the palms were used in rituals, but the most commonly used part was the leaf, followed by the fruit and oil extracted from the fruit, seed, entire Palm tree, sap in the form of Palm wine, root and inflorescence. In some treatments, the Palm is the actual sacred object or the central element of ritual practices, for example entire Palm trees determine sacred places, Palm seeds accompany oracles and Palm leaves serve in offerings. Continuous interactions with the spiritual world are axiomatically absorbed in childhood, and subsequently reinforced in every phase of life.  

***Palm Oil is called various things all over the world. The Yoruba  call it Epo Pupa–Red Oil whereas it is called “Manteca Corojo” in Spanish. Traditionally, it is a common cooking ingredient dating back centuries, but to the Orishas… it is the food of choice…

                        Eja Gbigbe = Dried Fish…

Fresh fish rapidly deteriorates unless some way can be found to preserve it. Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Open air drying using sun and wind has been practiced since Ancient times to preserve food.  Fish are preserved through such traditional methods as drying, smoking and salting. Drying food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. 

 Eja Gbigbe = Dried Fish  the curled up brown thing you see in the above Photograph is a different breed. You see it all over the markets hung up on long poles or stacked high in buckets. If you don’t see it first, you will definitely smell it. The fish, usually either catfish or small eel, is dried with all the bones and guts inside. It tastes a bit salty and mostly takes on the flavor of whatever soup/stew you eat it with. The fish is treated with salt, either in form of strong brine or a surface coating of dry salt. This combination of reduced moisture and salt inhibit the growth of spoilage bacteria, a basic principle of all cure meats.

The Significance of Yams…

Yam Festival:  It marks the first harvest of Yams during the autumn season, after the monsoon season. The Yam is the staple food crop in West Africa. The first harvest of Yams during the autumnal season, subsequent to the monsoon season. Yam festival has both religious and economic significance. Religiously, the festival is used to thank the God and the Ancestors for the new harvest and to traditionally outdoor the new yam.

The first offering of the crop is made to the Ancestral Gods by the chief priests; the religious rites includes taking the Yams on the second day of the festival in a procession to the Ancestral ground. Music and dance are part of the festivities, the festival is also popular because the Priests supervise  the performance of the ablution ceremony by cleaning all the Ancestral shrines. The Yam is carried by the Priests in a colorful procession for offering to the Ancestors buried in the burial chambers. Only after this offering is completed are people allowed to consume the new crop of yam. A day is observed as a mourning day for the Ancestors and also to keep a fast… 

                             ***Snails as human food…   

When the word “snail” is used in this most general sense, it includes not just land snails but also numerous species of sea snails and freshwater snails. Snails have considerable human relevance, including as food items, as pests, as vectors of disease, and their shells are used as decorative objects and are incorporated into jewelry. The snail has also had some cultural significance, and has been used as a metaphor. Both snails that have lungs and snails that have gills have diversified so widely over geological time that a few species with gills can be found on land and numerous species with lungs can be found in freshwater.  

Snails can be found in a very wide range of environments, including ditches, deserts, and the abyssal depths of the sea. Although land snails may be more familiar to laymen, marine snails constitute the majority of snail species, and have much greater diversity and a greater biomass. Numerous kinds of snail can also be found in fresh water.

In parts of West Africa, specifically Ghana, snails are served as a delicacy. Ghana tiger snails, are also known as some of the largest snails in the world. In Cameroon, snails, usually called ‘nyamangoro’ and ‘slow boys’ are a delicacy especially to natives of the South West region of Cameroon. The snails are either eaten cooked and spiced or with a favorite dish called ‘eru’.

The Yoruba religion uses snails in different ways: to offer them to the Orishas, to cook them and eat them after an offering, to appease certain religious entities,  to drink the dribble of the snail, for preparation of medicine, for preparation of very powerful religious powders, for preparation of consecrating baths for religious icons and religious initiations, for preparation of medicinal and religious soaps, creams.

   Reference Sources: Wikipedia = Ogunda Bede =

Iyerosun = Opon-Ifa…

                     The Divining Powder (Iyerosun)  

Iyerosun is a powder used in the Yoruba Ifa tradition mainly by Diviners in Ifa divination practices to mark Odu Ifa. It is termite dust from the Irosun tree, the Irosun tree is a special tree that is said to have a connection to the spirit realm. Iyerosun is sprinkled on the Opon- Ifa  (Divination tray) and scattered on its face to imprint the Odu Ifa. This powder is very important to Ifa and a competent Awo can use it to perform wonders. This powder has blessed by God  and whatever a Diviner wishes to do with it shall come to pass as long as it is properly done. The position of Iyerosun in Ifa is such that Ikin cannot be used for consultation in the absence of this powder.

*** By implication, the most sacred aspect of Ifa cannot be carried out without the use of Iyerosun. Ifa tells us what led to the situation where Iyerosun choose never to part with Ifa forever…

Ogbegbarada Adebayo Ebo-Riru

*** The figure of Ifa are marked on the tray in a powder which is scattered on its surface. There are problems in botanical classification and apparently regional variations in the name of the tree, but Iyereosun as the name for the powder is widely recognized. Divining powder Iyerosun is often kept in a bottle or other container. Ifa Diviners bring home a piece of the trunk of the Irosun tree during the dry season and leave it on the ground so that termites can eat it. The termites, they explain eat only the whitish outer parts of the wood.

Initial Invocations: Before the first divination of the day, prayers and invocations are offered to Ifa and other Deities while the apparatus is being arranged. The Diviner sits on a mat with his tray in front of him. He spreads wood dust (Iyerosun) on the tray, and places the divining cup in the center of it. He draws a line clockwise with his finger in the wood dust (Iyerosun) around the base of the divining cup, saying, “I build a house around you, so you can build a house around me, so you can let children and money surround me.” He erases the line with his cow-tail switch, saying, “I pay homage oh..(3x) Homage come to pass…(3x) He takes a little wood dust (Iyerosun) from the tray and places it on the ground, saying “Ground I pay homage; homage come to pass.”

                    ***Opon = Ifa Divination Board…

***Ifa is not merely a Collection of Verses, Proverbs, Parables and Anecdotes. Ifa is God’s Sacred Message to Mankind. It is the embodiment of the totality of human existence. It is also clear that Religion, Worship and Sacrifice are but few aspects of what constitutes the Divine Message known as Ifa. It constitutes what is also known as the Great Mystery System.  

Yoruba Traditional Wood Carving

God gave the holy spirit Orunmila a flawless method of communication between himself and the Orishas. Sixteen is the number of Cosmos; it represents the primal order that issued from the unity of God. Sixteen is also a significant number in the world of computers. When the world was first created, it spread out from an original palm tree that stood at the center of the world at Ile-Ife. The palm tree had sixteen branches, which formed the four cardinal points and the sixteen original quarters of Ile-Ife. The number sixteen represents the variables of the human condition, the sixteen possible situations of human life. The sixteen principle signs are called Odu or Olodu, from each of which are drawn sixteen subordinate signs Omo-Odu, “Children of Odu”.

These are the universal energies that give birth to all given circumstances and situations, all the blessings and misfortunes of the universe are contained within them. It is through the knowledge of these energies, called Odù Ifá, that a Diviner is able to work with individuals to achieve the greatest potential of their destiny. The Odù Ifá are the blueprints to all the energies possible in the Universe. Each has verses of esoteric knowledge associated with it along with Medicines, Rituals, and Sacrifices…

A Diviner uses the Opon Ifá in order to communicate with the spirits who are able to identify the causes and solutions to personal and collective problems and restore harmony with the spirits. Opon Ifá are flat and usually circular, with a raised outer edge carved with figures, objects, or geometric designs. Opon Ifá  may also be rectangular, semi-circular, or an approximate square. The top of the tray is called the head, and the bottom, the foot – the latter is typically placed closest to the diviner. The diviner, uses several art objects in communicating with the spirit world during divination.   

At the beginning of a divination session, the Ifa diviner will draw a cross-roads pattern on the surface of the Opon Ifa as a sign that this is the place of meeting between human concerns – sickness, barrenness, fear of witchcraft and spiritual powers. It is the place of communication between humans and Orisha Orunmila, the God of wisdom who knows the prenatal destiny (Ori) chosen by each person. The diviner will then use his Iroke Ifa, Ifa tapper to invoke the presence of the Ancient Diviners. Tapping rhythmically, he will call upon Orunmila and Orisha Eshu, to be attentive to what he is doing. Eshu is the guardian of the ritual way, the messenger of the Gods and other spiritual powers, as well as the conveyor of the sacrifices of humans to such powers. Eshu’s face always appears at the top of an Opon Ifa.  

When the holy spirit of Orunmila wants to communicate with you, chances are he’s got what it takes to bypass all the human trappings that people say must be done. Orunmila has so many ways to at his disposal to make an appearance to an individual’s consciousness that it boggles the mind. Conversely, simply because we’ve gone through all the hoops that the community of Ifa worshipers says are necessary in order to become a Diviner doesn’t automatically make us a Diviner. A person can study Odu verses and spiritual text from now until the end of time. However, if the individual s not right in his or her relationship with Orunmila, if they do not embrace social consciousness, if the person does not practice personal integrity, Orunmila would not trust that individual to be his manifestation of spiritual instruction. Only people with the fortitude to maintain their good Character will have his trust to guide others…

*** No Leaf can fall from the Tree without the Authority, Power and Knowledge of God… 

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = William Bascom =  Ifasola Ogundabe Ajigbotifa

 

Atare = Agbon = Odidere…

 The Magic of Ataré..”Grains of Paradise = Alligator Pepper”

Guinea Pepper is so called because it is a native plant from the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Other common names for this spice are Guinea grains, melegueta pepper, and grains of paradise.  Alligator pepper is a West African spice which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum Danielli. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum Melegueta. However, unlike grains of paradise which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds.

The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family of flowering plants, native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed, the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back. It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine, where it imparts both pungency and a spicy aroma to classic West African soups (stews). Often, a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added as a flavoring to West African soups. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavor.

It can open the way to communicate with the Orisha and Ancestors, it is the key ingredient in countless Sacrifices and literally there is no major initiation that can proceed without having a bit of its Ashé. It can also be used for protection and even to set wrong doings.In the Orisha community Ataré is also known as Pimienta de Guinea. 

When babies are born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of Alligator Pepper (Atare) shortly after birth as part of the routine baby-welcoming process, and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets. Alligator Peppers and kola Nuts are presented to guests at the top of the agenda and prior to any other food or entertainment. Prayers and libations are made together with kola Nuts and Alligator Pepper.

Ataré is important because its energy awakes our bodies & spirit, it increases our Ashé, it makes our words carry the heat of creation and it opens doors to the realm of the Ancestors and Orisha. However, the value of Ataré goes beyond the spiritual reasons our bright Ancestors recognized centuries ago.

                         *** Agbon = The Coconut Oracle ***

 Coconut Palm Tree = “Tree of Life from heaven” 

There is no doubt that the ritual of breaking the Coconut has its origins in Hindu practice. There is no doubt that it is performed by people of all religions today in India. It is even performed in enterprises conducted by the state, which are supposed to be truly secular.

Smashing the coconut is symbolic of annihilating the Ego and Humbling oneself before God. Whenever a work of magnitude is undertaken it is natural for the persons involved to feel a sense of pride at what they are setting out to achieve or what they have achieved. This ritual indicates that the actual “doer” is God and humans are merely instruments in his hands. Coconuts are also broken before the deities in temples during normal worship. Again, the philosophy is the same – complete submission to God.

Coconut Palm Tree is called the ‘Tree of Life’, ‘The tree from heaven which gives all that you desire’ by those living in coastal areas. As a thanksgiving to God and a symbolic gesture, for the path to Self Realization which you tend to forget in the midst of the stress and strain of day to day living.

*** Coconut is a symbol of selfless service to the almighty. Each and every part of the coconut is of use to mankind. Nurturing a Coconut tree does not require much effort. It can grow all on its own and serves the mankind in many ways.

The Evolution of Obi Abata to Coconut: Divination is performed using four pieces of Coconut meat in Santería Lukumí.  When the Lukumí people were abducted to Cuba, they found themselves in a different climate where many of their native plants did not grow. Kola Nuts do not grow on the island of Cuba, and yet the Lukumí people needed to perform Obí Abata divination to begin restoring their religious practices. They decided to innovate and used Coconut meat instead of kola Nut (Obí Abata). By cracking open a Coconut and extracting its meat then dividing it into four pieces, they developed a suitable alternative for Obí Abata divination. Over the years, and with the loss of fluency in the Lukumí dialect, Santeria adherents fell into the habit of referring to Coconuts as Obí since they were being used in the Obí Abata system of divination. But in the strictest sense, the Lukumí word obí actually refers to Obi Abata, and Agbon is the proper word for Coconut.

*** Coconut water is an essential spiritual item which stand for mystery and parity. We are require to apply Coconut water to this great bath ritual rites to purify ourselves. What we are suffering from is unknown to us, our enemy is known to us, items they used for the evil spells are unknown to us: mystery. For our deliverance to reach 100% purity, Coconut water must be involved. Remember, literary, coconut is been used to reduce or dilute the effectiveness of drug. The amount of injury, harm, pains, and suffer our enemies leveled against must be fight using mystic force of Coconut water.

*** The Coconut is an independent object of worship… A coconut  The fruit of God, alone is also used to symbolize ‘God’ While worshiping any deity. The three eyes of the coconut represent the three eyes of unknowns. In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a Coconut. It is also offered occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. In traditional ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshipers. The Coconut also symbolizes selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc, is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc.

Parrot =  Odidere = Ayekooto :  The World Reject Truth

The Magic in a Feather: A Feather Found***A Gift From SpiritThe Birds are sacred and special in various ways and thus make them to be different from other Birds. One of these Birds is a Bird named Parrot =  Odidere = Ayekooto which means = The World Reject Truth… because they believe the Bird is strictly a Bird that say nothing but the truth. This Bird is a special bird with many beautiful features and brilliant characteristics that makes it different from just any other Bird. Legend has it that during the Ancient times of myth, animals including Birds speaks and understand the human language. And it is believed till this day that Odidere = Ayekooto still retain this special mystical power to speak, hear, and understand the language of human.

Parrot spirit animal is the wise teacher of the power of your words, spoken or not spoken, for even the silent. Words in your mind are driving you forward, having dominion over your choices and the paths you take. Parrot reflects to us the immense power of our inner mind. Parrot spirit animal shares his wisdom; to take care in the words you speak and the secrets thoughts you carry.

In forest one can easily see other Birds like pigeon, sparrow, dove and even hawk. But to see this Bird named Parrot = Odidere you will have to go deep into the thick deep forest because it is not a common Bird, and even the nest of this sacred Bird is hardly seen by people. It is even the belief that the egg of Odidere is a sacred object that cannot be seen by a mortal, and thus make it so rare to be seen in open places. The feather of Odidere is used by royalty and it is a symbol of the elite. A symbolic special Bird that combines its beauty together with its mystical attributes… (Obatala Odidere-Crown Ogbe Ose)

Parrot is symbolic of truth telling = Speaking from the center of the heart. As Parrot speaks back to you the words you have spoken, you hear your own words with no filter. This is a powerful reflection of self, as you able to recognize the truth of your own words and what you are communicating or you will be reminded of the secrets that you are keeping, or the untruths that are being told. Parrot is a great teacher of communication and brings guidance and assistance in your ability to communicate that which you really feel.

Feathers come from Birds and so are thought to be magical by association. Birds have long been regarded as messengers to the Gods, as Ancient people believed they would carry messages to and from the heavens. Birds were the only animals who could defy gravity, and so they were sacred to many cultures around the world in old times. Because of this, their feathers were regarded as gifts from the Gods…and today if a feather is found it is said to be a gift from Spirit—be it a person’s spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one. There is something special in every found feather, and feathers can be used to bring good things into one’s life. Every Bird’s feather contains the power of the Universe… Feathers are magically ruled by the element of Air. But each feather also can hold other special powers; depending on the bird it came from, its color and place of discovery and other factors.   

The feather represents the element of air, of the intellect and the realm of thought, which is the first step toward creation. Bird feathers are symbols of the wind, the mind and new opportunities. Finding a feather can also be a sign that we are connecting to the divine and the creator God. Finding Bird feathers is a reflection of change and of reaching new levels of consciousness.  

*** Orisha Worshiper practices open pathways to the sublime in all of us, and foster a deep and loving respect for all that lives through stones, crystals, trees, plants, animals and humans themselves. To the Worshiper, all is alive, all is sacred and all is connected in a cosmic web of beauty…  

  Reference Sources: Wikipedia =

Ogbo Edan *** Ogboni Society…

*** Good Character Is What Adorns A Man…

               (( Ogboye, Ogboran, Ogbo Edan!))

Ooni Adesoji Aderemi Ile-Ife Yoruba

Ogboni  =  known as Osugbo in Ijèbú  is a fraternal institution indigenous to the Yoruba language-speaking polities of Nigeria, Republic of Bénin and Togo, as well as among the Edo/Benin people groups. The society performs a range of political and religious functions, including exercising a profound influence on regents and serving as high courts of jurisprudence in capital offenses. Its members are generally considered to be part of the nobility of the various Yoruba kingdoms of West Africa.

Though versions or lodges of this fraternal group are found among the various types of Yoruba polities – from highly centralized kingdoms and empires like Oyo, to the independent towns and villages of the Ègbá and the Èkiti. The Ogboni are recognizable for their veneration of the personified Earth (Ilè or Oduduwa) and their emphasis on both authority and benevolent service to the community. While membership in the Ogboni generally signified a high level of power and prestige, the society held pre-eminent political authority among decentralized groups like the Ègbá, where they were intimately involved in the selection of rulers that served as little other than figureheads in practice. In contemporary Yoruba land, Ogboni members still command great power and influence in the affairs of their societies, although this is largely due to the history of their respective chieftaincies and not to any official authority.

Ogboni lodges were one of the main commissioners of brass jewelry and sculpture in pre-colonial Yoruba land, using the metal’s rust-resistant qualities as an apt metaphor for the immortal functions and beliefs of Ogboni adepts. The most recognizable of these symbols was a pair of Ogboni initiates, one male and one female, attached by a chain and worn around the neck. The pair are thought to symbolize the attachment of the sexes in procreation and balanced society. Generally, one or both figures will hold a thumb in the grip of the opposite hand, demonstrating the paramount Ogboni handsign denoting initiation and membership.

Various fraternities in Nigeria have incorporated references and insignia from the original Ogboni, including the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity, the Indigenous Ogboni, and various others. Many of these contemporary societies combine elements of Ogboni’s historical functions with superficially similar institutions like Freemasonry and the Rotary Club.

Olori Oluwo Ogboni Ibadan

Similar traditional institutions combining political, judicial, and sacred duties exist among the various ethnic nationalities of southern Nigeria, including Nze na Ozo in Igbo-speaking southeast Nigeria and Ekpe/Ngbe/Ugbe in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. Initiatory secret societies are a common feature of pre-colonial government across much of West Africa and Central Africa.

Oluaye Oba Ogboni Agbaye

History and Structure: With regard to how to describe the Ogboni,  members of the Ogboni “society” would likely take offence at having their organization referred to as a “cult” or a “secret society” and would probably refer to themselves as a “lodge” similar to that of the Masons. In Nigeria the Ogboni are commonly referred to as a “secret society” by Nigerians, but that Ogboni members would likely self-identify the group as a social club whose members help each other in matters such as commerce, marriage. Consequently, in this Response the Ogboni will be referred to as a Society. There has been a lot of “cross-fertilization” between the Masons and groups such as the Ogboni, since there are many Masons in Nigeria and that they have been there since the 19th century.  

  The traditional Ogboni society was part of the checks and balances system of the Yoruba kingdoms. They were kingmakers, and disposed of both a religious as well as a judicial function. They had also the power to dethrone the Oba (the king) and could order him to kill himself. They are thought to still dispose of considerable local influence, forming part of the traditional power network to regulate societies and control resources. It is assumed that through their membership they also have strong connections to official state structures.  

  First we have the Osugbo gbede which is normally referred to as being owned by the Oba. This is for the Oba’s chiefs. There is Ogboni Aborigine fraternity of Nigeria, there is Iwule Ogboni and it is believed to be for the elderly four. Firstly we have Ogboni Out Ife, there is Ogboni Arapa Nika, this came from Akoko in Ondo State, there is Ogboni Ara Ife, there is Ogboni Akala, and there is Ogboni Agamasa, Ogboni Ogenete and also the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity which came out of Ogboni Aborigine.  

 The Osugbo’s being titled chief of the Oba can however attend functions of the Aborigine because they are respected members of the society. It is therefore not expressly possible for a member of one society to gatecrash into another’s. Asked to state when the traditional Ogboni was created, the Oluwo Ogboni Aborigine, Iledi Iyadamilola I, Imota Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Akinyemi said nobody could say when Ogboni started. “What is known about Ogboni is that they existed before the advent of colonialism, they ruled with the Oba, they governed and adjudicated matters in traditional ways and they were so meticulous that even when the colonialists came, they found the system so formidable that they coudn’t tamper with it,” he explained.  

  *** Ogboni society, including its history, structure, rituals and Sources indicate that information about the Ogboni society is limited. Several sources also indicate that they are referred to as a “secret” society or as a “cult”.   

Ogboni Society…

Historical Background: Ogboni society is an “assembly of elders” that created a cult based on the cosmology of Yoruba.   The Ogboni considered themselves as the “privileged intermediaries between the Living and the Ancestors”. They venerated mother Earth or goddess Earth, Sources indicate that the Ogbonis acted as the “check and balance” against the power of the king to the point of having the authority to remove him if necessary. The Ogbonis had judicial functions, their primary role was the preservation of the “Ife oracle”.  Priests of the Obgoni society are often called on to consult the oracle to determine a number of sensitive issues, such as Ancestral support for the King. In fact, members of the Obgoni society are Guardians and Protectors of the Divine Oracle and Laws. The Ogboni society was the highest court in Yorubaland, with the power to judge powerful individuals that did not face justice in the open judicial system.  

Apena Ogboni Oranfe

The only Yoruba parts of Nigeria where they still have some real influence on the traditional administration of the cities are in the Egba, Egbado and Abeokuta parts of Nigeria.  However, the Ogboni still have “quite significant” influence and power over the affairs of the nation. Nevertheless, the political integrity of both the Ogboni Society and the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity “has been called into question given their strong links with Freemasonry, the Rotary Club, or the Rosicrucian Brotherhood”.  All Ogbonis are under the authority of the political leader, referred to as the Alafin, who has the authority to convoke the priests into “extraordinary sessions”.   However, the structure of the Ogboni society is a “secret that only an Ogboni member can answer,” risking death by poisoning.

Rituals and Ceremonies: particularities about the rituals and ceremonies of the Ogboni society are a “Secret that Only an Ogboni Member can Answer,” risking his or her own death. Membership is open to Yorubas and other ethnicities, and that men and women are eligible for initiation within the society, although the “predominance of Male Elders is undeniable”.

The society is “potentially very dangerous for individuals who join them”.  Even though positions within the Ogboni society are not inherited, if one person’s parent was a member of the Ogboni Society, and that person had been exposed to their activities meetings held at his or her parents’ house while the child was present so that over the years the child grew up knowing the identities of the Ogboni; or the parent deliberately pledged that his or her child would become a member.  In most situations, individuals deliberately and voluntarily join these societies because they want power, financial rewards, and success….  

Lanre Awoyemi Oluwo Ejaloninbu

*** The Apena was the spokesman of the Ogboni society which was a central and important institution in all Yoruba states. The Ogboni has been defined as a ‘secret and ritually united corporation of political and religious leaders and its special priest. The Egba Ogboni as the ‘real leaders of the town’. The Ogboni was once the civic court, the town council and the Electoral College… In principle the Ogboni stood between the King and his subjects, preventing the one from being despotic and ensuring the proper subordination of the other.

Reference Sources:

Orogbo = Bitter Kola Spiritual Benefits…

*** I have tasted and eaten Orogbo in the physical state of existence. Let my voice and my life attract longevity and sound health in the universe. The force behind Orogbo gives us  the power to enjoy longevity in the universe. Yearly , we set our eyes on Orogbo  at the market place.  I have eaten Orogbo in the physical existence let me live long , live old and live well in the world – let me live a life dignifies of an Orisha devotee before joining my Ancestors.

Orogbo = Bitter Kola…Garcinia kola is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. It is found in Cameroon,  Congo, Danxome, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Bitter Kola also known as Garcinia kola is a tropical flowering plant found in western and central Africa and it produces brown, nut-like seeds. A brown to deep brown peel covers it. This peel is removed before it is eaten. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when it is eaten. It is this bitterness that its name is derived.

It has been used in African culture for centuries for both traditional and medicinal purposes.In Yoruba land it is called Orogbo. The Hausas call it Miji-goro, while it is called Akiilu by the Igbos. Amazing health benefits of bitter leaf Bitter Kola was eaten mostly by the elderly people because of their belief that it could prolong life. Bitter kola can act as a serious healing tool because of its strong spiritual properties. Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing; Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool.  Used in special protective rituals for suppressing enemies.

The legend concerning the appearance of Bitter Kola states that Kola nut was the original food of the Gods. One day, while visiting earth, one of the Gods left a piece of this nut and people consequently found it.  Since then, the tree stake and the fruits of this plant for their stimulant effects have gained popularity of having some spiritual benefits of bitter kola; they began to be used in the sphere of magic or as a kind of an aphrodisiac. Benefits of bitter cola: wide range of effects The fruits of Kola tree have varied medicinal uses, especially in Nigeria. Bitter kola is primarily used as a tonic and stimulant, for the treatment of dysentery, fever, vomiting, and exhaustion. Bitter kola can act as a serious healing tool because of its strong spiritual properties.

Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing; Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool. Used in special protective rituals for suppressing enemies. Bitter cola can ease the flow of asthma, it can act as an antioxidant and diuretic. Its use enhances alertness and improves physical performance. It improves mood, suppresses appetite and stimulates libido – because of the caffeine as one of its components.

Negative Energies affect people and cause distress to them through their subtle energy. Negative energy can create a variety of problems such as depression, unclear thinking or malfunction of an organ which lead to even further difficulties such as addiction , financial problems or chest pain respectively. Negative Energy : The primary weapon used by negative energies is a spiritual energy capable of manipulating any process on the Earth plane. The extent of this manipulation depends on the strength of the attacking negative energy.

 Bitter Kola Benefit for Food Poisoning: In many rural areas of West Africa, when food is suspected to be contaminated by bacteria or someone accidentally eats food poison, traditional healers often recommend the mastication of bitter kola immediately after eating. This usually prevent the development of any infection or poisoning. Herbalists even recommend the seed and the bark of bitter kola should be eaten together in cases where food poisoning is suspected, it helps to detoxify the system. Bitter kola is not only anti-poison, it also has the ability to repel evil spirits according to traditional beliefs. Though it sound superstitious, many believe it works and do have spiritual benefits.

*** Do you know that bitter kola is one of the easiest ways to increase your Sperm without going through any medical means. The examination has shown that individuals that have the practice of chewing two slices in a day hardly suffer little sperm court. Both Men and Women can gain a lot of benefits of bitter kola when they chew it.  People drench the cola for 2 days, mix the cola with heated water to take out the extract, after which it is filtered so the unmixed and plain solution is obtained. Some people like better to take off the back that is the outer layer but it is more effective when you mix it together, by doing this you grow the level of the vigorous effect of bitter kola on sperm. It is believed to cure Male impotence.

Ify Asia Chiemeziem Museum…

*** Unlimited Sexual performance: Bitter kola is the number one Sexual performance medicine for weak Men. No other product can match the Sexual benefits of bitter kola as its give you unlimited performance in bed! This is a new discovery that has made this product a hot cake! Those who have tasted it are living happily now with their couples. And their Women has no reason to look outside. Get like 6-7 pieces of the bitter cola and mix until you get a smooth structure, add water to the blended mix, stir it up and drink. But it is passable when this blended mix is connected with honey, it tends to grow the potency and it is perfect for the individuals who cannot tolerate the bitter taste of the kola.

Bitter kola and honey Healing properties of honey are known for centuries. Bitter kola and honey are two brothers, which heal body, spirit, and soul. Honey and bitter kola are two natural antibiotics, so combining them you double-strengthen their effect. Honey and bitter kola are used both for the treatment of a sore throat and coarse voice, stimulating mucus, they soften the dry throat. The mixture of these two useful products is also used for the treatment of acne due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Now you know about healing properties of bitter kola and honey, these two medicines are given by nature and help in the treatment of many health problems. Why not to use what nature has given us. Chewing bitter kola relieves coughs, hoarseness, bronchial and throat troubles. Several studies discovered bitter kola to be a remedy for dysentery, osteoarthritis, antidote against poisoning and considered an aphrodisiac.

 The importance of Orogbo during initiation process, sacrifice, propitiation of head, prayer and other essential spiritual steps, before and after Orisha activities cannot be quantified, but it is important to know that Orogbo during divination is equally important, if just to be at the pocket of highly revered Babalawo . The presence of Orogbo depicts longevity for Babalawo and those around him, just like the presence of obi means, evil has no portion in the surroundings of a highly respected and honored Babalawo .

Just like any other Yoruba words , the word Orogbo is coined and derived from two words – oro and gbo.  Oro means very small, round, while Gbo means longevity, eternal, everlasting. when the two words are blended together, it becomes a unified and spiritually blessed word called Orogbo , which consequently means, a round fruits that attract longevity, everlasting blessing, enduring health and perpetual blessing of longevity .

During, initiations or any sacrificial steps, or ritual  or propitiation, Orogbo is used to pray for longevity, sound health, peace, harmony, and happiness. Indeed a man with the blessing of long life and sound health, so also his loved ones enjoy the same degree of health and longevity  is indeed a blessed man in the jungle of life that is filled with mishap, untimely death and sorrow. The name of the fruits Orogbo  is coined to denote Iwure (prayer), it is a spiritual seed  that establish the power of divinities with abundant  trait of long life  and sound health . However during  Initiations, Sacrifice or Ajiki , which is early morning prayer, Orisha devotees or seeker of truth through the tradition of Orisha, are required to pray and eat  part of this fruits, to serve as alignment  with the force and natural energies  embedded in the nature. Orisha is a religion or philosophy based on the use of natural materials in the nature .

While Obi Abata is perceived to be a Female fruit energy, that give birth to Male and Female alike, Orogbo is a Male fruit energy  that fail to have lobes or part like Obi. Orogbo can be cut into pieces either by teeth or knife, it has no parts, but a hard fruit that shows natural toughness and ruggedness. While obi is easily breakable with just hand and it is used also to denote the Feminine part of the universal force or energy. Orogbo represents   the dominant energy of God  with unique characteristics of solidity , strength , firmness and oneness of energy in the universe. Orogbo symbolizes  unilateral force of God  which means life, wisdom, strength, victory, longevity and sound health in abundance. Orogbo also denotes that life in any way cannot be explained or invented  except through divine  and spiritual understanding and wisdom .  

Orogbo according to above explanation is an object that represents the uniqueness and unified energy and vibration  of God in our lives. If all necessary spiritual, physical, mental, moral and emotional obligation are followed, happy lot, success,  longevity and sound health will be out lot, that is the meaning of Orogbo .

*** Another importance of Bitter Kola is that it  repels snakes. It can be used to chase snakes away. For snake prevention, spread it around the building. ***  

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = Nairaland Forum = Omo Oodua = Naij.com = Stay Well World = Babalawo Obanifa

 

 

Opele = Ifa Divination Chain

The Ancient Name of Opele = Irere…

An Opele (Irere) is a divination chain used in traditional West-African Religions, notably in Ifá. A Babalawo = Bokono (Diviner) uses the Opele in order to communicate with the spirits who are able to identify the causes and solutions to personal and collective problems and restore harmony with the spirits.

The Opele (Irere) consists of eight half-nuts of the Opele tree with convex/concave sides linked at regular intervals by short strands of chain at the ends of which the priest may attach small beads, coins, and cowries. More recent Opele (Irere) have substituted small, oval brass plates for the half-nuts. The Diviner holds the Chain at the center and then swings the Chain gently, lying it on the cloth or mat on which he is seated. In a single motion he creates a pattern, which refers to an Odu of Ifa, the verses of which he then chants. The pattern, consisting of the concave and convex sides of the brass plates or nuts, is equivalent to the pattern of parallel marks made by the Ifa priest in the Iyerosun dust on an opon ifa when using Ikin Ifa (Sixteen Sacred Nuts).

 The Divining Chain is said to “talk more” than the Palm Nuts, but it is regarded as in inferior instrument, less reliable than Palm Nuts for deciding important questions. It is also spoken of as Ifa’s servant. Nevertheless it is more commonly used in Divination, and a number of Diviners employ only the Chain, because they dislike using the Palm Nuts. The reason for this is that the Divining Chain arrives at the same interpretation through the same set of figures and verses more rapidly, and answers more questions than are usually asked when the slower method with Palm Nuts is employed.

Olatona Oyegbade Oyekunle = Ojugbonna Awo Osogbo

The Divining Chains are made by the Diviners for themselves and for their students. The Divining Chain, which is about one foot to two feet long, usually consist of eight halves of Seed shells or Pods joined together by sections of Chain. The middle section of the Chain, by which it is held, is somewhat shorter. The Seed sections are of equal length, so that when the Chain is held in the middle, the four Shells on the right and the four on the left hang down side by side.

The Divining Chain is thrown with the Right Hand only, which is said to be used consistently in Ifa Divination, even by left-handed Diviners. It is tossed away from the Diviner in such a way that the two open ends fall nearest to the Diviner and the two sides fall parallel. Each half Seed shell can fall with either the Concave inner surface (I) or the Convex outer surface (O) facing up. It is essential that the two surfaces of the Shells, or of other materials used in place of them, can be distinguished.

Various objects – including beads, cowries, shells, coins, buttons, rings, small bells, and bits of metal – are attached to the bottom of the pods at either end of the Chain. Their purpose is to enable the Diviner to distinguish the Right half (even) and the Left half (odd) of the Chain, so that the same half is always cast on the same side, and so that the figure will not be misread. Often an even number of cowries (two or four) marks the Right half and an odd number (one or three) mark the Left.

The Type of Divination Chain most highly prized consist of circular brass links set (Swivels) at right angles to each other, permitting the Seeds to fall freely in either the concave or the convex position. With a good Divination Chain the probability of each of the figures appearing is equal (1 in 256). The fall of the Seeds is not left to chance but is controlled by Ifa, the Deity of Divination, and any interference with the free fall of the Seeds, by the instrument or by the Diviner, garbles the message which Ifa wishes the client to receive.

The Shells of a dark-colored Seed (Egbere), said to come from a large tree (Igi-Epu), is most commonly used and most highly regarded. These Seeds resemble almond shells in their general shape and markings but are darker, smaller, and much harder. They are sold in the markets, but they have become increasingly rare and expensive since the early trade in ivory. When Split open, they show a smooth, slight convex, outer surface. A small hole is burned through each end of a half of a Seed Shell with a hot iron, so that the section Chain may be attached.

Most common is the Seed pod known as  “Opele – Irere” from which the Divining Chain takes its name. It comes from the Opele tree, this pod is referred to as Ewe’s foot  (Ese Agutan) these are the only Seeds found in elephant dung, and that they are obtained either from hunters or directly from the tree. This Seed pod has a distinctive pear shape and naturally split open at the base, with the two halves splaying out from the top where they are joined until broken apart.

” According to Ife Diviners, when Ogunda Meji died at the town of Oko, a tree called Opele Oga Oko sprang up on his grave, and from it fell a fruit that split open, revealing the figure Ogbe Meji written inside.”

As Orunmila told us in Ejiogbe: The basis for understanding the beginning and end of all things. Through Ifa is revealed the Great Mysteries of life. Only Ifa explains the reasons for the existence of life, living, death, sickness, success, failure, poverty, wealth, life before birth and life after death. 

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = William Bascom

ABIKU = Born To Die Prematurely…

*** The Concept of Abiku and Emere In Yoruba Culture *** 

 The knowledge we used to build a house is incomparable to the wisdom we will apply to live in it. The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.

Abiku = The One Who Is Destined To Die…

Some children over time are reborn to the same mother with the previous look, sex, complexion and structure. Owing to ephemeral nature of Abiku’s life. Abiku completes several consecutive life-cycles with one mother. In some cases, the Yoruba in one of their traditional ways of deterring Abiku from reoccurring deaths after reborn deface them either by cutting their finger, ear or a deep mark in the face or back. To a great astonishment and in most cases, the Abiku on reborn would have those marks whether on the face or back

Emere and Abiku are the kind of children who make a certain pledge concerning their life duration with their mates in the Spiritual Sphere. At the expiration of their time, they die and re-unite with their mates. Some oral tradition also confirm that some Emere among them are readily married in their realm and probably bore children over there. A spirit that is referred to as Spiritual Husband – Oko Orun  will have sexual intercourse with her in her dream and this will result to miscarriage. 

The Emere and Abiku if eventually cannot return to their mates, perhaps because of some spiritual appeasement made by their parents, believed to be having problems because their mates will be crossed with them for breaking the re-unification accord. The problems such person usually confronts is the misplacing or total loss of any items in their possession often, money. The solution to that may include offering sacrifice inform of food to stop such occurrence.

Abiku = The One Who Is Destined To Die…

The Abiku and Emere are very attractive because of their beauty and they love to live very close to water or coastal areas. The Emere and Abiku spirit usually roams around some areas like the side of the road, corner in the cities and villages, footpath in suburban area, jungle, inside trees like Iroko tree etc. That is why often, pregnant women are advised to desert these areas in order not to attract the spirit. 

In preventing such incidence, pregnant women are advised to attach either a needle or a small white stone to the edge of their clothes. The Emere and Abiku would not be able to follow the woman because those are elements that work against them. Aside this, pregnant women are not advised to stay alone in a hidden and dark place. They should also desist from going to T junction at noon. They are also forbidden to go out at the late hours in the night and they should desist from going to coastal areas and dumping sites.

Abiku is someone, who does not care about their own suffering, they suffer with a smile. Sweetness and bitterness are two extremes that are present at all times. This is the energy of Abiku’s Ori: When we talk about Abiku we can see that a lot of people like to suffer and they do not care that they are suffering. Their feelings and their activities are always connected with suffering.

 Abiku Connection With Ori – If we look at the lives of people critically, we can easily see this. This is a trend for everyone that has Abiku energy. The reality of Abiku is connected to their Ori. One of the toughest challenges is how to treat (heal) someone who is born with the energy of Abiku

 Ifa considers the individual top priority, using all the knowledge and instruments it deals with making the individuals life good here and now, in this life. Everyone is born with some sort of predestination. It is not fate because if something is fated, then the individual has no way of affecting that. But when something is predestinated, someone can realize that or not because everyone is responsible for his own life.  In life we have all that which we can call good luck: progress, longevity, health, luck… But good goes hand-in-hand with destructive energy, and if we wish to achieve the good, we have to neutralize the bad.

 We can classify destructive energy into four basic destructive elements:                Death –  Sickness – Failure –  Confusion

 When we consider a person who has the Abiku syndrome, it means that these destructive energies are constantly stalking him and that he is under heavy influence in at least one area by some of these elements. When everything seems to go well and suddenly it seems as if one of these energies got activated and it gives out the impression of being out of the person’s control.

The energy of a spiritual society, with which it is necessary to stop excessive embroidery, pacts and similar connections, so that someone could live a good life. A person with this energy is not treated as problematical but is understood and treated to maintain the positive elements of this energy. In fact, almost everyone who has this energy present, probably has an exceptional talent and capabilities which he could, with the right treatment, develop better than other people.

This preserved knowledge can contribute a lot in the process of education, as well as treating people. People with this syndrome often go to doctors but that kind of treatment does not help and in a different extreme situation someone with that energy can live through and recover when it is no longer expected. In order to understand at least a little about this energy, we must first look into the concept of a human being and how he is understood by Ifa as well as other spiritual practices.

 A child that is not a “radical” Abiku is born normally after 9 months of pregnancy. If it belongs to the “real” Abiku which do not want to be born, it will be born before time, before the end of normal pregnancy (after 6-8 months). After the birth of the child many things start happening; the forming of its character, its personality. In this period of growth the child recognizes the people who love it and reject it. But it begins to understand the definition of its life. It begins to distance itself from people and begins to fear the life. When we look at a person within our family or among our friends we sometimes fear for him.

All this is what creates the universe of Abiku. If we go back to pregnancy and birth: some experiences of spontaneous abortion, premature death, constant illnesses or mothers decision to make an abortion – these are all actions that only Abiku can afford.

 There are Abiku actions that are called Emere. Emere is a child with a hidden behavior – at times very stubborn, rebellious, disobedient, with a passion for accidents, bold, constantly provocative, takes risks, a child who loves revenge, often gets ill, often cries without reason, always talks with itself, plays alone or simply does not want to play with other children. Sometimes Emere creates a stage for himself and also plays all the roles himself. Those who have this sort of energy often talk to their imaginary friends, complain to them and fight with them. They stand out of the traditional system. That is why we say they are stubborn, rebellious. It is not true, however, that they are rebellious only out of malice because Abiku loves to be different than his peers.

 Positive Characteristics Of Abiku:  We need to understand the following – What counts is not what we have, but what we make with what we have. That is the problem of Abiku. Those who have this energy, which we consider supernatural, need a spiritual grip so that they could turn this energy to their own advantage.

 There exists a society of Abiku, the universe of Abiku actually. One of the most dangerous Abiku aspects is the one that Abikus are always highly connected with the spiritual world. They are in the visible and invisible world at the same time. They live in both these worlds at the same time. They have nightmares, some always sleep with their eyes open, they can sleepwalk, can go to the kitchen in the middle of the night to drink water… etc.

At night Abiku can manifest itself in a way similar to a dream but in their being they do not dream anymore, they actually travel into another world where they meet their friends.  Sometimes they have many confused information about what happens to them at night. But that actually are not dreams but rather Abiku transformations because Abiku always lives a parallel life. Sometimes they wake up on the other side of the bed, sometimes they even keep falling off the bed. Abiku is in both worlds at all times. Just like children, adult Abiku can also wet their bed.

*** Abiku = The One Who Is Destined To Die… The name refers to children under twelve that died, as well as to the spirits that killed them. The general belief is, that some spirits wonder in the uninhabited wild land. These spirits, the Abiku, are sad, but mostly hungry. They try to improve their life by entering into children body. When the Abiku spirit is settled in the child body, it consumes the child food, and slowly, the child will get sick and die.

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = 

 

The Speaking Power of Altars…

An Altar In A House Of Worship To Honor Our Ancestors…

The word Altar comes from the Latin Altārium, meaning – high  and also to the Latin Adolere, which means – to ritually burn or sacrifice. Nowadays, the Altar is the place for non-sacrificial religious rites such as communion or weddings, and is a metaphor for offerings. They do not have to be big and fancy; they can be so subtle that even the people you live with can be unaware of their existence. The purpose of an Altar is an area of focus. Here is a small area within your home which serves as your outward spiritual focus. It reminds us that there is far more to life than the everyday striving for survival and success. It is a place where the small objects that are sacred and meaningful to us can be gathered together and treated with respect.

ALTARS = An elevated place or structure, as a mound or platform, at which religious rites are performed or on which sacrifices are offered to Ancestors. A usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else sacrificed his family life on the Altar of career advancement.

Altars could be natural objects or man-made constructs. Four materials are recorded as being used in Altars: Stone – Earth – Metal & Brick. An Altar could stand alone, or it was located in the courtyard of a shrine. Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted. Altars were places of exchange, communication, and influence. Sacrifices were the primary medium of exchange in altar interactions & the essential act of external worship. The act of sacrifice moved the offering from the profane to the sacred, from the visible to the invisible world.

Altars can be placed anywhere, on top of a dresser, a window sill or small table. Simply create an empty space and slowly, carefully, place upon it the items which are special to you. Maybe a crystal, a cloth of inspiring color, flowers, a candle, or whatever feels appropriate. Now you have created your own personal sacred space. When you light your candle and gaze upon your Altar, it will help you to remember who you are and why we are here. Altars serve us as a great source of strength and focus for the Light.

In the fast pace of today’s world there is a growing need to reconnect to the sacred elements of life. An Altar can fulfill this need through being a powerful visible representation of the spiritual energy that surrounds and sustains us. It serves as a kind of reminder of our connection to spiritual realms.

Creating and using an Altar can be an effective means of forging a connection to higher powers. This can help infuse the most ordinary aspects of life with a divine sense of meaning. An Altar dedicated to increasing your spiritual awareness can become an energetic point of convergence for symbols that propel the human spirit forward. It can be used as a place to pray and ask for divine guidance, a place to listen to messages from the spiritual realm and a place to give thanks for blessings received.

Creating an Altar is a sacred way to call spiritual energies into your home. It reinforces your intention to invite more peace, serenity, and love into your space. It can be used for prayer, meditation, chanting, or just a place of sheer beauty and connection to the Divine. Once you create your Altar, make a daily ritual to meditate or pray near it. Use the sacred energy you’ve created to remind you of your highest spiritual intentions as you honor Mother NatureConnect with the energy of Air – Fire – Earth –  Water. Sometimes the theme for your Altar will come to you in an unexpected way.

Building Altars For Personal Transformation = Creating an Altar with the intention for transformation is a powerful way to keep your focus on your intentions. We make altars all of the time. Some we create on purpose, some out of routine habit. The photos of your family on your hearth is an altar as such as the extensive altars inside of a place of worship. “An Altar can simply reflect your spiritual truth back to you or it can be a working altar which holds your intention and prayers”. An Altar for transformation might address losing weight, healing a breakup or divorce, calling in more financial prosperity, a new relationship, a new project, or even the archetypal energy you want to invite into your life.

The very foundation of these spiritual teachings is the Law of Personal Responsibility, which states in part that we are responsible for all our experiences. By the laws that we establish with our thoughts, acts, and words, we are the creators of all our experiences. In other words, our experiences in life are reflecting back to us where we are in consciousness. In addition, great emphasis is placed upon understanding how our minds work and how we may more effectively use our minds in a way that it has been designed to be used. The teachings of this philosophy help us discern between the thoughts of our mind and the gentle promptings of our soul.

These spiritual teachings are filled with inspirational quotes, affirmations, spiritual sayings, and spiritual exercises. The spiritual light of the Living Light Philosophy illumines a path to a conscious awareness of our own soul, our own divinity, but it is up to us to make the effort to walk upon that path.

THE SPEAKING POWER OF AN ALTAR:

 Life and death lie in the tongue.  There are people who have the authority to speak over others. An instance is the authority of parents to either speak blessing or curse over their children. There are two ways of speaking over someone: Benediction and Malediction. The first means Blessing and the second means Curse. There is undoubtedly, power in speaking. Speaking does invoke or incite what is said, but there is something that gives spiritual essence to what is being spoken, and that is an Altar.

Altars give spiritual voice to every speaking. Through blood offered on an altar, spiritual entities affect physical beings. It speaks life for us over and above every malediction that any other Altar speaks against us. But we connect this altar through sacrifice. Altar is a place of sacrifice. Not all sacrifices are of blood but every sacrifice whether bloody or not, has a life! Quality time spent with Ancestors can be the Altar through which you connect the everlasting Altar. The underline is that you need to sacrifice on an altar that will connect you to Ancestor’s Altar.

The Power of a Personal Altar: Men who build and oil their Altars, never get deterred by, nor become victims of, the frictions of life. An Altar is a place not necessarily physical set apart for interaction with the spiritual. It is a place where our lives are powered. Our speed in life depends on the power of our Altar. If we don’t raise our own Altar, we’ll become a victim of another man’s altar. In a typical traditional African setting, each child has an Altar built for him by his parents. It is on this Altar that prayers, incantations, and most importantly, sacrifices are made for him until he gets to a reasonable age, when he’s left with the responsibility of running his Altar.

Quite evidently, those families that take their Altars seriously, lead more notable lives and stand out in the community. This Altar concept is also seen in most other religions. This therefore, lends credence to the fact that one’s personal Altar is the taproot of his spiritual life. The deeper this taproot, the taller your life grows; the more resilient you get, the more you boom and flourish, and the more relevant you are to your world – just like the palm tree. Little wonder the bible says “the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.” The palm tree has an extremely deep tap root.

Finally, we learnt that it is sacrifice that makes an Altar. Without sacrifices, an Altar is powerless. There’s no access to the spiritual that costs nothing!  Our Altar is the place we first dedicate our offerings, and our seeds to Ancestors. May the holy spirit of Ifa opens our eyes to this spiritual truth.

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = Awo Falokun =