Friday 14 January 2022

Initiation into Ifa (Igbodu)

It is a pity that some people don't know how Igbodu started and the reason why people are initiated into Ifa.

To prove it right, for better explanation and understanding, we must back it up with some Odu Ifa.

We can not talk about initiation into ifa without discussing about the Orisa Odu. In Odu Ifa Osa Meji, it is stated that that Odu was the only woman that descended with the men to the earth, the first set of Orisas that descended were 7 in number, led by Ogun, it was Ogun that created the way and led them to the earth, Odu Ifa Ose Otura gave confirmation about the descending of Orisas to the earth with Osun.

In Odu Ifa Osa Meji, it is stated that this Odu was the only female among the 7 Orisas that descended to the earth, getting to the earth, the men were maltreating the odu because she processed less power than the men. She went back to complain to Olodumare on how the men were maltreating her, then Olodumare gave her an Owl, the secret of witch craft and also the secret behind Egungun cult. She got back to the Earth and dominate the men.

In Odu Ifa Ose Otura, it is recorded that the men that descended to the earth ignored the advice of Orunmila about descending with Osun, but they decided to ignore the advice claiming that what benefit will a woman add to their value or existence on Earth. So, they got to the earth and couldn't find things easy, they neither multiplied nor increased, they went back to Olodumare and Olodumare asked them about the female Orisa that descended with them but they said they didn't descend with her. Then Olodumare instructed them to descend with Osun because there is nothing a man will do without the involvement of a woman that will be successful. It was after that they descended with Osun. When they got to the earth, Orunmila slept with Osun, Osun got pregnant and gave birth to the child called Ose Otura that all Babalawos have accepted as the ritual today anytime they are performing a sacrifice. This is an approval of how the Orisas multiplied to become our ancestors till today.

Let us go into the energy of Odu and how Igbodu came into existence and its benefits.

Odu Ifa Ose Oyeku (igbadu) especially the Orisa Odu which comprises four Orisas, which are Obatala, Ogun, Obaluaiye and Oduduwa. Combination of these four Orisas formed igbadu.

In Odu Ifa Ose Oyeku, it is recorded that Orisa Odu is being regarded or considered to be the most powerful woman on Earth, she called her neighbour which were Obatala, Ogun, Obaluaiye, and Oduduwa to come together and they established igbadu. Obatala contributed calcium, ogun contributed charcoal, Obaluaiye contributed Camwood while Oduduwa contributed soil. All these materials were used to represent all the Orisas in Igbadu. To make Orisa Odu (Igbadu), let me give you a small description on how it looks like, Igbadu comprises a big Calabash and four small Calabash inside the big Calabash.

Having examined the fact that established Orisa Odu (Igbadu), let us explain the main topic which is initiation into Ifa (Igbodu).

In Odu Ofa Iretegbe, (Irete Ogbe), it is stated in Odu Ifa Iretegbe that Orisa Odu was so powerful that the men were afraid to associate with her, Obatala was the first to associate with Odu having known the secret behind Egungun Cult. This made Orunmila to move close to Orisa Odu to get her interested in marriage to him. Orunmila married Odu and Odu promised to serve Orunmila with everything she had. The day Orunmila married Odu he was very happy and became rich, he said no Odu ever seen Odu and be poor again.

Initiation into Ifa known as Igbodu, Igbo means bush, which means bush of Odu or bush where Odu is. Since Orunmila married Odu and became rich then we go to Igbodu to marry Odu in respect to solve our problems.

Aba Ni wa owo Ni oruko ti a npe Ifa, meaning Ifa helps to make money.

Going to Igbodu is to marry Orisa Odu, no wonder why women are not allowed or permitted to enter Igbodu. It is simply because Odu is considered to be a woman and a woman doesn't get married to another woman in Yoruba custom and tradition.

It is of recent that I started hearing about women getting initiated into Ifa (Igbodu) due to several writings about Orisa Odu. But since Odu possesses or processes the highest level of spiritual power even more than the men, then Odu can be regarded as man or woman depending on how you see it, the same applicable to Orisa Olokun. 

Odu Ifa Okanransode gives reason why everyone that enters Igbodu must come out with Ide Ifa tied to his/her arm.

By Olu-Awo Ifanla OgbeateTemple

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