My husband and I live in Trinidad. We came into the Ifa tradition about four years ago. We have since been blessed with a beautiful daughter who, according to divination, is a special messenger from Olodumare. Now herein lies our problem. We have been instructed to do Ifa initiation but we do not presently have the thousands of dollars being charged in our country—and we both have locks.
While we are prepared to make all needed sacrifice, how do we determine what sacrifice is necessary?
Additionally, how do we know that the initiation being done locally by visiting babas is the same that is done in Yorubaland? Right now there is much debate about which babalawo is really doing “full” initiation.
We will welcome the viewpoint of others on this matter. – Ifalolase
You and your husband have been blessed with a daughter who, according to some divination ritual, is a special messenger from Olodumare and an initiation ceremony costing thousands and thousands of dollars is now necessary. Why? If Olodumare made the child the special messenger, would she not be the special messenger regardless of any ceremony being purchased from any man? What would a babalawo from Yorubaland do for the special messenger that Olodumare didn’t do already, with the possible exception of sending the child’s parents to the poor house?
Who performed this divination ritual for you that said Orunmila requires an initiation? I would strongly suspect their ethics. As far as I know, divination is the voice of Orunmila. And in all of my conversations with the Baba, I have never heard him say that somebody needs an initiation or an occupation or a celebration or an inoculation or anything else that is strictly a personal choice for ones self. The sole purpose of divination is to help guide people in the development of their spiritual character. How do you know for a fact that the babalawo is indeed a man of Orunmila and not just someone out to make money? Why would you trust your life and your daughter’s life to someone you just met and is trying to charge you so much money? The development of spiritual character rarely involves spending a lot of money. But the way many diviners operate, people are often told they need to spend money fast and to spend it furiously.
Some people may feel like they need a divination ceremony to kick their spirituality into gear. Some people feel that they need to shave their heads in order to invoke or inspire their spirituality. That is a personal choice. The development of spirituality is a personal choice. People who develop spirituality based on the traditions and requirements of other people are not taking their spirituality into their own hands but are allowing others to determine the rules of their spirituality. How can this be personal spiritual development?
Your Ori, that little voice inside your head, is already trying to guide you. Listen to your Ori. If you feel that you or your daughter being initiated isn’t right, chances are it isn’t right for your spiritual development or hers. And I can guarantee you that if you proceed with these thousands of dollars rituals you will forever wonder if you had spent your money wisely. I strongly suggest that you do what you, and only you, feel is necessary for the development for your spirituality. If other people do not approve of your personal decision then that is their problem. They didn’t consult you with questions about their spiritual development. This isn’t about them and their feelings are not a factor. They do not understand your situation as well as you do.
But trust me, Orunmila does understand your situation. He, nor any other Orisa, would ever ask you to do anything that goes against your family’s best interest. And trying to figure out how to pay for an initiation ceremony from a babalawo or some other priest who honestly could not care any less about you is not something that sounds like it might be in your best interest.
No offense, but every child that is born is a special messager from Olodumare. A child is a special message to parents that you have an opportunity to help shape the future. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to give her a foundation of genuine spirituality by teaching her to respect herself, her parents and family, her community, and her environment. Don’t let her get caught up in status and the materialism. Wealth and materialism is the antithesis of spirituality. The accumulation of wealth in order to perform an initiation is not conducive to spirituality. That is illogical.
An initiation is a ceremony that celebrates your Ori and your primary Orisa. That bond is there whether you spend money to have someone perform the ritual and have it officially recognized or not. No man on this earth can initiate you into spirituality or take your spirituality away. True spirituality comes from within. Do not let anyone try and tell you what you need to be spiritual.
An initiation is like a wedding ceremony. The actual marriage takes place in a government office where you get a marriage license and the union of two people is recognized by the state. The ceremony with the gown and the cake and the preacher who blesses the couple is a ritual that is dependent upon how much money somebody wants to pay. The ceremony can be big or little. It can be expensive or done very economically. The same is true for an initiation. You have the right to say how much you want to spend to have it done, if you want to have it done at all. That is totally up to you.
Lastly, despite everything I said, if you want the ceremony performed and you feel like you need the high dollar package with all the trimmings, then go for it. Some people don’t feel like they are married unless they spend a huge wad of cash on a wedding ceremony. If you truly feel that is what you need in order to develop your spirituality then by all means do it. But don’t rush into anything. Orisas can wait. Orisas have been on this plane of existence since the beginning of time. They will be here until the end of time as well. They are not trying to force you to hurrying into debt. And speaking of debt, it makes you wonder how our ancient African ancestors got initiated before there was such a thing as money.