No Reading For 2009…Yet
Getting Baba Orunmila to do anything he’s not ready to do is like teaching bricks how to jump through hoops. 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 for release on the first of January. I remember back in early December of 2007, I started asking Orunmila for the word for 2008. Baba responded asking me why I wanted the reading for the following year when the year wasn’t even close to being over yet. I responded that I was anxious and ready to demonstrate my special connection with the spirituality of Ifa. Baba responded, demonstrate it to whom and for what purpose? I responded, never mind!
Come New Years Eve, the last day of 2007, 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 responded 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, Baba I give up! But when will I get the reading for the year? In classic Baba mode he responded, you will get the reading of the year when you are ready to get the reading for the year.
For weeks I had to put up with this circular, yoyo, Master Yoda logic. I didn’t get the reading for 2008 until sometime in March. So when I see people in the Ifa community post the reading for the year according to Orunmila right on the dot come the first of January, or even the first week of January, or even the month 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. Baba asked when did I ever hear him say that all of these people were speaking for him? Why would anyone simply take these people’s word that they were speaking for him? You see, 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 user manual that comes with them. They will say a few prayers, throw the ipwele chain or ikin or whatever divination tool being used, do a little math to figure out which odu holds the answer, 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 the 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 an Ifa practitioner whose relationship with Orunmila is in good standing.
People whose standing with Baba Orunmila is troubled have zero chance of even pulling up the correct odu. These people might think they are communicating with Orunmila by going through all the motions associated with divination. Indeed, any body watching them would see a very spiritually dramatic demonstration of stereotypical Orisa worship. But in actuality 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 would be better used as a doorstop. Baba doesn’t work with people who manipulate readings intended for others to their own benefit, and it is a guarantee that the benefit to the diviner will be lead to more money.
So I asked Baba, 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 would rather do without a reading than just put anything up as Baba’s word.
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. Baba will explain exactly what he means. And if form some reason a question comes up about the reading that I didn’t think to answer before, I can always go back and start a new conversation with Orunmila instead of just throwing the equivalent of divination dice around. Integrity and accuracy are key. 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.