Sunday 12 June 2022


The Yorùbá conceived of technology, inventions, innovation, engineering and the consistent discipline of building systems that work, as such a high ideal.

This principle of being able to invent and build and provide machines, tools or weapons that solve problems, was so fundamental to the Old Yorùbá World, that we represented it as a form of Godhood. 

Thus, one of the Òrìṣà, or intelligent attributes of Supreme Godhood, is personified as Ògún. 

And, Ògún belongs to a trifecta of Òrìṣà who make war. Can you guess the other two? 

Ògún is worshipped by millions of people from southwest Nigeria to parts of Togo, and Republic of Benin, to parts of Brazil, Haiti, the Caribbean and the U.S.

Did you know, worship is just ground zero for our relationship with our Òrìṣà? 

There are many more advanced, more practically applicable benefits of understanding where we come from as a people, and just how far we can go. 

But colonization interrupted that learning. 

And now we are learning Other Things that benefit Other People, while Our Own Life is on pause. 

We will only ever be second best, at best, until we center our traditions and native intelligence in the same way those we now look up to have done, for their own cultures to colonize ours.

There are other colonial adaptations that appropriate the super intelligent function of a ‘God of Iron’ who has the super power to manufacture anything, and is supremely rich as a result of his inventions. One such example is Iron Man, the marvel comics character.

For us as modern Yorùbá, we need to remember that more than 10,000 years ago, mankind was far, far, more spiritually advanced than we are today.

Our present mind is sorry to say, very dull, low energy.

In those old, old times, there was much less of a barrier between the physical world and the spiritual. 

And, certain experiences we now consider magical or unbelievable were more commonplace.

I knew this as a child. I don’t want to go into details, but till today I remember exactly where I was when the barrier dawned on me, and I first became aware of the ‘others’.

We can’t see the ‘others’, but they see us all the time. The question I asked that day was, what happened long ago that made these ‘others’ withdraw from our physical senses, to a coexistent world behind the barrier?

I don’t know the answer, but I strongly sense mankind evolved in certain ways that made such open contact between here and there no longer desirable for the ‘others’.  

Nowadays marvel movies are describing the multiverse, and we like to watch movie characters zip between worlds, but Americans were not the inventors of that idea.

Facebook has rebranded as Meta(verse), and will soon mainstream technology that will blur the barrier between here and there, but that access was always here, and only lost as mankind slipped lower and lower into ways which forced these ‘others’ to recede from us.

Till today many of us cross worlds when we go to sleep and our consciousness shuts down; Some of us remember after we wake up. Most of us don’t. 

There is a (super)natural selection of humans who refine themselves enough for the ‘others’ to trust them with conscious memory of things that happen when we are asleep. You can’t force it, or them.

That other coexistent world is where Ògún, and the Òrìṣà, and several other spirit forms, some of them tricky/malevolent, come from. All that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that all of us here and now, have the potential to evolve our humanity and refine ourselves as extensively as we wish. 

Some of us will feel a pull to make, to build, to put together, to be inventive or technological.

I personally haven’t felt that. I have experienced other things, which I will talk about at other times.

Other African nationalities apart from the Yoruba also recognize similar cosmic attributes to what we call Òrìṣà. 

It’s important to remember that ancient Ilé-Ifẹ̀ coexisted with Kemet (ancient Egypt), and there was a cross fertilization of culture, ideas and technology.

Even before Ilé-Ifẹ̀, there was the Nok civilization, and it had the most advanced metallurgical technology on earth.

This was thousands of years before an Iron Age began in Europe.

Today, there are still Nok artifacts with human like features that demonstrate what technology was available thousands of years before we came.

Nok’s iron-forging expertise left its mark beyond the region, all the way to ancient Egypt, and centuries later, in great Benin where the same technologies built another regional superpower, whose testaments remain till today, still superior to anything modern technology can conceive.

Even at Nsukka, there remain Iron forges made by the Igbo since 2000 B.C.

There are modern Yorùbá who refers to Ògún as their source of imagination - one example is Professor Wole Soyinka, who was awarded a Nobel prize in 1986 for building entire worlds inside the pages of books.  

Do you know other Ògún devotees?

What are your own gifts, as a modern African? What powers your imagination?

In other posts, I will reveal other Òrìṣà, including some I have more experience with than Ògún, and tell what makes each one unique.

Here’s a concept-illustration of Ògún. 

It is done by a Brazilian Yorùbá. 

His name is Tiago Santanna. 

Like some of us bear Mary or John, he bears the names of his colonizers. Still, his spirit is free.

Our diaspora Yorùbá are frequently further advanced in spiritual decolonization than the Nigerian Yorùbá, 

Maybe because of their direct experience with the true face of our colonizers? Or, maybe we Nigerians are just afraid. But we have such a beautiful and important heritage. 

And we should be proud.

By Ayo Adene

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