Thursday 14 October 2021

Colette Asked

Q: I have a question to ask the illustrious members of this group and would be grateful if anyone can answer. In Cuba a lot of the population observe and celebrate the Orishas  Oshun, Yemaya, Shango, Obatala et al  on certain feast days of the Catholic calendar.  We know that all manner of west coast Africans were shipped to Cuba including the Igbos from the ports of Calabar.  How is it that the Yoruba culture came to be the most prevalent on this island?  Is it because most of those transported there were Yoruba or was it agreed that all Africans permit/allow by consensus that  the Yoruba belief system be the dominant force. I know it maybe a strange question or have an obvious answer but I am interested for a reason. Thank you.

A: Thank you for asking. Two reasons:

Firstly, Because every ancestors taken from the shores of the continent called Africa today all had Oódua Yorùbá roots and fragments.

Secondly, The principle of elasticity of +1 in the Irúnmolè/divinity numbers within IFA & Òrìṣa SPIRITUALITY can't be found in any ancestral spiritualities within Africa like Afa, Fa, Vodun, Eva, etcetera that have their SOURCES in IFA and Òrìṣa SPIRITUALITY stocks.

According to Ifá, the Sacred Text of Oódua-Yorùbá spirituality, They have the pantheon of 600+1 (not 601) supernatural powers.

The “plus 1” referred to above does not  refer to any particular divinity. Rather it is a  principle of elasticity by which the Oódua-Yorùbá account for any newly deified  Òrìṣà. So any human deified after death is  encompassed by this principle of elasticity.

This “plus 1” principle allows new beliefs,  new thought systems, and new deities to be  brought into the fold of Oódua-Yorùbá culture.

One of many examples of this principle of  elasticity is the manner in which  Catholicism has been incorporated into Oódua-Yorùbá religion in Cuba & Brazil which gave birth to Santeria, Lucumi & Camdoble.

This is why when Adeshina/Adechina, One of the millions of our parents taken from here was sold to Cuba...and started practicing Ifá...using it to heal people even from neighboring islands around Cuba.

The Catholics approached him to seek for his collaborations or they stopped him from rendering his divine service. Adeshina talked to ifá and he was instructed to go ahead with what they wanted. They got Catholics remnants into IFA and Òrìṣa SPIRITUALITY in Cuba from that moment as they created our Òrìṣa's in their saint dialogues. This is the only way to let IFA finds its stay in Cuba till date else we won't be talking about it today.

This led to the creation of Santeria.

Cuba deserves a special comment, not just because of its citizens who trace their ancestry to West Africa, but also because of:  (i)  the fact that it was primarily via  Cuba that Yorùbá Religions made their way  to the United States (which now has the second largest  number of practitioners of Yorùbá Religion outside of Africa).

There are Òrìṣa Baptist chuches on the Caribbeans, Newyork etc.

In Brazil, Yorùbá religion goes by various names. Sometimes the generic term Candomblé or Orixa (also  spelt Òrìshà or  Oricha) is used. Other denominations  of the religion in Brazil include Umbanda, Macumba and Batuque. Although there are slight variations in the practice of these denominations of Yorùbá religions. The central trend is that Yorùbá divinities are associated with Catholic saints. This is  because, instead of calling the Orixa  by  their Yorùbá names, they refer to them as  “Saints”. “Saint Lazarus” for instance is the  Òrìṣà called Ṣànpàná in Africa.  (Sànpànná, which is also spelt Ṣọnpọnná and  Ṣọnpọnnọ is also called Babalúayé.)  “Virgin  Mary” is  sometimes associated with the Òrìṣà called Ọṣún,  “Saint Barbara” is the Òrìṣà called  Ṣàngó. These associations were made by enslaved Yorùbá people in an effort to conceal their religions from the slave  masters. So, when people in Brazil or Cuba claim to be offering sacrifices to “Virgin Mary” or  “Saint Lazarus”, their beliefs and  practices have more to do with Yorùbá beliefs than Catholicism.  It is also because of the principle of elasticity that native  Amerindian Spirits such as the Caboclo have a  prominent role to play in Umbanda.

Again, This “plus 1” principle allows new beliefs, new thought systems, and new deities to be brought into the fold of Oódua-Yorùbá culture. Ifá & Òrìsà Spirituality is flexible and never rigid which is in accordance with the cosmic laws.

The "Intercontinental Church Of Nature" (ICON), which I am part of the founders is beautifully built on the concept of Ifá also School Of Ifa, Ifa Therapy, Order Of Ifa, Aboriginal Segun, settings, messages, rituals and songs are on IFA and irúnmolè. Ifá stands independently alone while Òrunmila & other divinities stand independently alone.

Ire o.

Ifá is everything.

Àbórú àbóyé.

By Awo (Amb) Joseph Olusegun Dáramólá

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