I arrived at Ile-Ifẹ on the evening of Saturday 7 June 2014 for the annual Ọdun Ifá (World Ifá Festival) that is held at the beginning of the traditional/original year. The trip was organized by my Baba Ifá, to whom I am very grateful, and I departed for Ile-Ifẹ for the first since birth, in company with other fellow Awos (Èṣùmare’s apt explanation of the noun awo can be seen in John 3:8) of the Temple I attend and an Awo from Mexico.
By the time we arrived at the centre of that foremost kingdom by nightfall (c.f. John 7:1-10; I wonder if every Òṣùmare individual who goes to Ile-Ifẹ for the first time after baptism arrives there unnoticed) we encountered extremely busy streets dominated by youths – iṣẹṣe waxes stronger and stronger and its future is not in doubt. There was also lots of ọti (hot drinks aka alcohol) for libation and consumption; which is not surprising since ọti is very important to Èṣùmare (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 2:15-22; Luke 7:34; John 2:1-11).
Our main target was the Temple of Ifá located atop Oke Itase.
Note: “Itase” is rendered in the bible as “Zion”, which becomes obvious upon acknowledgement of the interchangeability of the -ts-, -s- and -sh- sounds: e.g. “Itsẹkiri” is also “Iṣẹkiri”; and noting that the Amorites also spell “Zion” as “Tzion” –
(I)tase > Tse > Tze > Tzen > Tzin > Tzion > Zion
Once at the summit we purchased some obi (kolanuts) to use for prayers, requesting for good auspices for the new year. Then we gave them to the priestesses at the foot of the Ọpẹ Ifá (Ifá palm tree) to use in casting for us telling us Ifá’s message. I also entered the Temple and saw the Araba Agbaye (worldwide head of all Ifá priests) seated on his throne and learnt that the Odu for the year is Idingbe (Odi Ogbe) with the message of ire aiku (longevity) for all Ifá devotees.
From there we went to the nearby Town Hall, located at the T-junction opposite Irẹmọ Road (my people who are called Rẹmọ migrated from Irẹmọ Quarters sometime in the 15th century CE), to eat, drink and relax. Seeing that the feast would go on throughout the night even till the following day, I decided to stroll around, feast my eyes on various happenings and look for Òṣùmare icons and beads to purchase. To my dismay I did not find any as the numerous traders of beads of various divinities that I encountered told me they had never heard of such. I thus resorted to consoling myself with the fact that Otura Irẹtẹ individuals are rare and that in this age most Ọmọ Oodua would have forgotten about Èṣùmare until the time when it is about to come to a close.
In addition, I wanted to purchase divination instruments like ọpẹlẹ (divination chain), ọpọn Ifá (divination tray), ìrọkẹ (divination staff), ìrùkẹ (Ifá’s whisk or horse tail) and ajere, since I have begun my priesthood – started as an ọmọ awo (Ifá student) – but I found the prices of the ones I saw on the high side for me so I held back. Some of the fellow awos with whom I arrived helped me search for these items and the Ifá beads, and I was able to get an Ọbatala necklace and bracelet, an Èṣù bracelet, two ọpẹlẹs, an Ifá necklace, three VCDs by Àràbà Fáyemí Elébuìbọn, an album titled “Oju Odu” by Ifáwùnmí Oladejo, and a book titled “ÌWÚRE, Efficacious Prayer to OLODUMARE, The Supreme Force” by Fáyemí Fákáyọdé.
A fellow awo with whom I arrived introduced me to Ayọ Salami, a well renowned author, with whom I had a brief chat and purchased two of his books titled “IFÁ: A COMPLETE DIVINATION” and “Yorùbá Theology and Tradition: The Genealogy”. I’ve found them quite interesting and will be using them for this blog and hope to purchase more from him soon, but I did not mention anything of this blog and myself as the author to him.
By 3 am chewing sticks were being hawked for sale and before 5 am which was over an hour before dawn we were on our way back to our Temple.
This is one of my most cherished experiences and I am most grateful to Olodumare for making it happen and drawing me to Ifá. My camcorder has been faulty to I have no picture or video of the event to upload, but I hope that changes soon.