No Reading For The Year…Yet
For me, getting Baba Orunmila to do anything before he is ready to do it is like getting a brick to jump through a hoop before it was ready to do it. It’s not going to happen, at least no time soon. So it amazes me that some people can get Baba to give them the reading for the year like clockwork. Back in December of 2007 I started asking Orunmila for the word. Baba would respond asking me why I wanted the reading for the following year when the year wasn’t even over yet. I replied something to the affect that I was anxious and ready to demonstrate my special connection with the spirituality of Ifa. But Baba isn’t so easily persuaded. Baba would ask, demonstrate it to whom and for what purpose? And all I can say is never mind!
Come New Years Day of 2008 I was back with pen and paper ready to get that reading from Orunmila. Again, what’s the rush? Well, in the Orisa houses I experienced as an early practitioner, I was taught that people received a reading for the year at the beginning of the year. And Baba would respond that I was also taught that people who were initiated into Ifa were more significant than people who were not initiated. I was taught that people had to shave their heads when they were initiated. I was also taught that people who wanted to practice Ifa had to spend tremendous amounts of money and must adhere to traditional Yoruba culture. Okay, you win! But when will I get the reading for the year? Baba’s answer was that I will get the reading of the year when I was ready to get the reading for the year.
For weeks I had to put up with this circular, yoyo, Yoda logic. Baba didn’t give me the reading until sometime in March. So when I see just about everybody else in the Ifa community post the reading for the year according to Orunmila like clockwork on the first of January, or even a little late like the first week of January, I have to wonder, what’s up?
Last year there were a variety of readings for the year from a lot of people. Not a single one of these readings matched what anyone else had to say about the coming year. Again I went to Baba for an understanding of what’s happening. When did I ever hear Baba say that all of these people were speaking for him? Why would I take their word that they were speaking for him? A lot of people feel like they are speaking on behalf of Orunmila. They get out their divination tools and use them according to the instruction manual. Say a few prayers, throw the ipwele chain or ikin or whatever, do a little math to see if the answer is in the left hand or the right, look up the result in a book of odu verses, and there you have the reading for the year.
But spiritual readings should be much more involved than a lucky throw to lookup an odu in a reference book. Imagine trying to convey a message about how someone should live their life using nothing but an odu verse that has a rather convoluted story about praising a babalawo and the babalawo praising Ifa with ten thousand cowry shells as payment. Now the odu has to be interpreted and interpretation is only as good as the practitioner and there are so many ways a very important communication can be misinterpreted. And that’s only part of the problem of the practitioner whose relationship with Orunmila is in good standing.
People whose standing with Baba Orunmila is on the outs have no chance of even pulling up the correct odu. These people might think they are communicating with Orunmila by going through the motions or the drama of doing readings. But in all honesty these diviners are doing nothing but making random stabs at luck. A divination tool in the hands of a practitioner of poor character or on the outs with Orunmila for some other reason could be better used as a doorstop. Baba doesn’t work with people who manipulate readings intended for others to the alleged diviner’s benefit.
So I had to ask, how are people supposed to believe what you are telling them through me when there is so much spiritual clutter out there? What distinguishes me from the others? Well, the fact that I don’t publish a reading for the year right on schedule like everyone else should give people a hint that something here might be different. I’d rather do without than just put anything up there.
When people read the word of Orunmila here, they can rest assured it is straight from the Orisa and not out of a book of odu verses. Baba and I will sit down and we will discuss the word so that I can get it from him without spin and without interpretation and without having to do some ciphering to get a number so I can pull an odu out of a reference book written by some other diviner. Baba will explain exactly what he means. And if later on, if I ever have a question about the reading that I didn’t think of earlier, I can always go back and start a new conversation with Orunmila. That’s just one of the reasons why I take extra care to stay in good standing with Orunmila. I might not be the first with a reading for the year. But trust that when I am ready for the reading, it will come straight from the Baba’s mouth.
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