It's about our community and our spirituality!

Ifa Magic For Sale

Magic Skull

The other day I found a blog touting the magic of Ifa.  It was written in Spanish I think and when I translated the page the resulting text from the article gave me a serious headache with its incomplete sentences and lack of grammer.  But there was a comment of three words written below the article that was completely understandable and precise, “I need mojo.”

One can buy or earn spiritual magic from a number of different individuals and spiritual houses.  I’m personally familiar with a variety of horror stories of how people without so much as a lick of spiritual integrity will prey upon people who are desperately looking for some kind of spiritual guidance for whatever issue they face in their life.  However, when someone is desperate and is frantically looking for a quick solution to an immediate problem there really isn’t a worse time for these people to make spiritual decisions.

Desperation on one’s conscience can be like alcohol in one’s bloodstream.  The more desperate an individual the chances are good that they will be less likely to think straight and make the best choices for themselves or for their family.  And a lot of people, with more concern for personal gain than with helping someone else, are more than happy to jump at the opportunity to help desperate people learn the foolishness of their ways.

But it would be far better for a person to do nothing than to desperately grab at straws in an effort to correct a pressing problem.  One example of straw grabbing while deep in the throes of desperation is the throw of a dice on a craps table in a game so stacked against the player in an effort to satisfy an immediate financial need.  “The Orisas will take care of me because I trust them and it’s all in their hands.”  But if the devotee truly trusted the Orisas chances are more than likely that he or she would have never been in their dilemma in the first place.  In reality, for a lot of devotees and initiates, the Orisas have been reduced to be nothing more than the fire alarm switch that’s to be pulled in case of emergency.

Rumor has it even an atheist finds religion when they are in the foxhole and bullets are flying over their head.  Otherwise people have the luxury to neglect their spiritual development.  Most people opt to do only the bare minimum.  As long as we attend the fellowship meetings on a regular basis and participate in the occasional ritual or ceremony we can leave the responsibility of our soul or spirituality at somebody else’s feet.  Anything out of the ordinary can wait until the next meeting.  And when things get truly anxious we can pull that proverbial fire alarm switch.

People simply refuse to understand that Orisas are not our personal slaves, hit men, servants, butlers, maids, concierge, janitor, or any other occupation that describes someone who is in humble service to others.  But if there was a job description for the Orisas it would run along the lines of spiritual guidance councilor or life coach.  While Orisas will do what they can to keep us on the straight and narrow along our spiritual paths, they’re not about to start bending over backwards to help those who won’t help themselves.  Orisas cannot want it more for us than we want it for ourselves.  Orisas won’t do for us what we refuse to do for ouselves.

But there are a ton of people in the tradition who want to push the idea that Orisas are standing ready to answer our call for help for the low, low price of just an animal sacrifice or two.  If that’s not a deal then I really don’t know what is.  Just imagine your fate has been set to die at a specific place and time.  Not happy with that arrangement?  A high priest within the tradition can perform a ritual that can fix it so that your card won’t come up on the angel of death’s to do list anytime soon.  Having financial problems?  Drink an herbal potion and money will start flowing out your pockets.  About to fly on a plane?  Perform a ritual and if the Orisas are satisfied with your payment then the plane won’t crash.

But if such preposterous notions were true then why aren’t the high priest and priestesses in the tradition living life long and large.  In fact, I know of some high priests in the tradition who struggle just to get the rent paid and the money for their daily medication.  Even more curious would be why don’t these priests and priestesses who can manipulate Orisas so well get Babalu-Aye to arrange it so that they don’t have to use any of those medications at all?  That should be an interesting point for some people.

Maybe the manipulation isn’t being applied to the Orisas but to the devotee.  Someone who is desperate for change in their life would make a ripe target for exploitation.  A priest of integrity will do whatever they can to help a devotee in their community to get through their problems.  But compounding those problems with wasteful rituals that do little more than line a high priest’s pockets isn’t really very helpful.  And when the miracle the devotee was looking for doesn’t come to past the priest will exclaim how the ways of the Orisas are just too mysterious to understand.

Priests of integrity would never stoop to creating mojo for devotees.  Even when everything looks lost the real deal is that the situation is very different from appearances.  Hopefully, a devotee in the throes of desperation would simply sit still and learn to be calm while the storm passes.  It takes a lot more than an animal sacrifice and a handling charge to the priest to change the course of human fate.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Divination, Ifa, Orisa, Spirituality


  1. Hi,

    I find your articles intuitive and very interesting. Much of what you say is true, however, it seems you’ve gone through a lot of frustrations and disappointments in your spiritual path.

    It would be refreshing to some, myself included, if you could provide some answers or solutions. Or is it that you believe that we are doomed? As you conclude this article, for example, you say that sometimes the solution may be to simply sit and wait, but that doesn’t seem plausible when some desperate situations call for desperate measures.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    Comment by The Watchman | Friday, January 23, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback The Watchman,

      If I may use an analogy, I bet Jesus Christ felt a little frustrated as he hung on the cross. The answer your looking for is to quit looking for some kind of magic out of Ifa. The Orisas are not genies here to grant our wishes. They are spiritual entities of nature with jobs to do. Take the magic out of the equation and you will have a better formula for the development of spirituality.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, January 23, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: