SPEECH BY PROFESSOR IDOWU B. ODEYEMI, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR IFA RELIGION ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD IFA FESTIVAL 2014
SPEECH BY PROFESSOR IDOWU B. ODEYEMI,
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR IFA RELIGION
ON THE OCCASION OF
THE WORLD IFA FESTIVAL 2014
THE DEDICATION OF THE NEWLY REFURBISHED IFA TEMPLE, ILE-IFE
ON 7TH JUNE, 2014
I greet you all, in the name of Olodumare, Obamubamu, Oyigiyigi, Oba ateni lege lege f’ori s’apeji, Almighty controller of human destiny. I greet you all in the name of Orunmila (B.A), Elerii Ipin, Alase, ibikeji Edumare. I greet you all in the name of the Araba Agbaye and the Council of Spiritual Elders (Awo Olodu Merindinlogun).
Once again, I send joyful tidings to all Ifa adherents during this season of elation and hope for mankind. On the 7th of June, 2014, thousands of Ifa worshippers, Priests and Priestesses will converge on Ile-Ife, Nigeria to celebrate the millennia-old, Annual Ifa Festival. It also marks the beginning of Yoruba New Year. The festival, which takes place at the birthplace of Orunmila and over which the World Ifa Temple was built in 1932, commences with the ascent by adherents to the sacred Temple at Oke’tase at 1400hrs GMT. This is followed by a long procession to the palace of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race. There, the Araba Agbaye, who is the living embodiment of Orunmila (B.A), leads the faithful to perform one of the most sacred rituals in Ifa Religion: ESA (Spiritual rebirth). You really do not need to receive the Esa ablution more than once in a lifetime, but all faithful must receive it at least once. It is as important, if not more so, as “seeing” ODU, the sacred pot of destiny. ESA symbolizes spiritual immortality. As Ifa says:
“Mo gb’esa mi o ku mo
Gbogbo Awo, e je ka gb’esa”
“I have received Esa and entered into immortality
All brethren, let us receive Esa!”
B’oja ba tu tan
A ku olorii patepate
A ku awon sanko sanko ale oja
Bifa ba pedi tan
Iwonwo a dide
A dia fun Orunmila,
Ifa nlo f’oju k’ Odu l’oke Ikefun.
Nje, mo f’oju k, Odu, emi o ku mo
Mo f’oju k’ Odu mo rire
At the end of a market day
Only the coordinator remains.
When Ifa transcends the level of comprehension,
The un-initiated depart.
“This was the Divine message for Orunmila
When he was going to perceive Olodumare
In his Almighty Whiteness and Brilliance.
I perceive Odu today
And I achieve spiritual immortality
The procession re-ascends the Oke’Tase hill after the solemn Esa ceremony, accompanied by singing, dancing and sacred Iyere chants along the highways of Ile-Ifè. The Yoruba New Year commences at exactly 00:24am (23:24GMT) with Iwure by the Araba Agbaye and the sixteen High Priests (Olodu Merindinlogun) of the Temple. At 3:00am (02:00GMT), the Annual Ifa Divination is cast, for all adherents of Ifa, fo Ile-Ife and the Ooni, for Yorubaland, Osun State, Nigeria and the world in that order. This year, the New Year message will be posted on our website: www.ifaagbaye.org for the benefit of all adherents.
In 2013, the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola donated the sum of N33 million Ifa Council to refurbish the World Temple for International Tourism. This is the first public gesture by any sitting Yoruba Premier, Administrator, Soldier or Governor to promote African Spirituality, alongside the two, latter day Middle Eastern religions.
The Spirit of Oduduwa and our forefathers who inhabited this sacred site thousands of years ago, will keep and protect Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and ensure success in whatever he lays his hands upon.
The new look temple being commissioned and dedicated at 11am on Saturday 7th June.
Let me finally seize this opportunity to send my greetings to all Orisa worshippers in every part of the globe. I also send felicitations to all our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, irrespective of colour, sex or nationality. All members of the International Ifa community constitute a single “Ifamily”
I specifically greet all our brothers and sisters in the following countries: Cuba, the Caribbean Islands, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Surinam and the Guyanas, whose great, great, great grandfathers and grandmothers have toiled over the centuries to ensure the survival of Ifa religion and Orisa worship. For centuries, our forefathers were cast into slavery and their great religion was demonized as evil and fetish. For centuries, Euro-Jewish propaganda sought to eliminate and bury the African Spiritual Essence. The white-man vainly tried to suppress our Orisas and forced our brethren to seek refuge under Christian deities (Peter, Paul, John). This unfortunately lead to the establishment of a hybrid worship system in which the images of Christian deities (decorated as “saints”), adorn Orisa Shrines and Temples particularly in some temples in the Caribbean.
To all our Orisa brothers and sisters, I say: Your Spiritual freedom is here at last! Cast away the garment of dual faith! Of what use is a “St Peter” or “St Mary” in an Orisa temple? It is an extension of the colonial self-abnegation. Ifa and Orisa are the light of the world! Oil and water cannot mix, except under unstable conditions. Let’s go back to the pure worship of Ifa and Orisa; let’s get back to our true source of human existence: Ifa
Today, we thank Olodumare and the Orisas for allowing us to survive the negative propaganda onslaught. Today, all attempts at bastardizing our psyches and demonizing our religious world view have failed. Today, Ifa, as the true light of the world, now shines brightly across every part of the earth. Ifa, as the Divine Message of Olodumare to mankind, is spreading through the dark alleys of every human mind. Ifa, as the religion of truth and righteousness, is the only religion on earth which has neither preached, nor engaged in violence of any kind. It is the only religion whose adherents have never waged wars, “Crusades” or “Jihads” to maim and kill other fellow human beings in defense of a “Creator”. Ifa has no carved images and worships no idol. Ifa priests use Ikin, Opele, Opon-Ifa, Iroke, Iyerosun and Ibo only to access divine esoteric information and not as objects of worship. Have you ever heard of anyone worshipping “Opele”? Ifa is coded in an 8-bit digital (computer-compatible) format and output in parable-format. All the Divine Messages are coded within 256 Odu. Each Odu represents an esoteric pigeonhole, each also divisible into another set of 256 sub-holes. Within each hole are encoded over 16000 Messages. There are therefore over 1,048,576,000 sacred messages in Ifa! That is why one of the appellations of Ifa is: My Lord, Unfathomable!
Today, we wish all Worshippers, Pilgrims, Followers, our Governor, Visitors and Admirers, A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS YORUBA NEW YEAR!
Professor Idowu B. Odeyemi, fnmgs
International Council for Ifa Religion.