Ifa is a religious system that is often misunderstood. Many people assume that it must be evil because many deities are worshiped in this African traditional religion. However, this is not the case. The Ifa religion is actually based on the belief in one supreme god or creative force, Olodumare. It is only through the worship of Olodumare that the other deities may be venerated.
Other deities referred to as Orishas are varied manifestations of this Supreme deity. It is said that there are over 401 Orishas in the Ifa religion – they are actually innumerable. Each Orisha has unique personality characteristics. They are akin to angels, spirit guides, and spirits in Abrahamic traditions.
The Orishas receive reverence or honor through offerings and sacrifices. Many Orishas represent natural forces, such as wind, fire, water, earth, etc. Because some assume that Ifa devotees worship many gods, they also associate it with evil or devil worship since polytheism is forbidden in Abrahamic religions.
In contrast, the tradition embodies a monotheistic worldview and embraces morality and upright living similar to other religions. In fact, living according to Ifa principles can be more stringent than following other religious beliefs.
Sadly, Ifa is a misunderstood religion. This is primarily because certain elements oppose Abrahamic teachings, such as giving sacrifices and offerings to deities. In particular, animal sacrifice receives more than its share of attention. Though it is part of the Ifa corpus, animal sacrifice is not something to be feared or ostracized. In fact, it was once part of Christianity and is still part of other Islam and other indigenous practices.
SACRIFICES & OFFERINGS
Sacrifices and offerings are made to the Orishas to appease them so that they can assist us along our journey. Natural elements from the earth, such as herbs, fruits, plants, etc., constitute many Orisha offerings. Adherents exchange offerings for favors and blessings from the Orishas.
Though animal sacrifice is part of this system, this process is performed in a very sacred way, similar to the Levitical ordinances in the Bible. Devotees most often consume these offerings at the conclusion of a ritual or ceremony. This is no different than the slaughter and consumption of animals for daily meals.
Knowing the proper animal to sacrifice requires divination, which is another area of controversy. Divination is a mechanism of communicating with the divine, similar to prayer and meditation. However, the divination process in Ifa is founded on principles of metaphysical science.
Certain divination practices involve necromancy or communicating with the dead, forbidden in Biblical text. However, divination was practiced in the Old Testament by the Levitical priesthood. Nevertheless, Ifa is envisioned as immoral and demonic because it continues to adhere to traditional models of spirituality.
These are just some of the many complexities involved in the Ifa system that has caused much confusion about its beliefs and practices. The Ifa religion is designed to help people connect with the divine on a deeper level. It is a religion that teaches people about their place in the world and how they can live in harmony with the natural order of things. Ifa can bring peace and blessings to those who follow its strict moral codes and glean from its morsels of wisdom.
GOOD MORAL CHARACTER
Though sacrifices and offers are a vital part of the practice, Ifa integrates the principles of morality and ethics in all of its doctrines. Ifa teaches the concept of living a life of good moral character. Ifa adherents believe that by living a life of good moral character, one will be able to achieve success in all areas of their life. The Ifa religion also teaches the importance of family and community. Also, by working together, families and communities can overcome any obstacle.
Ifa is a religion based on love, respect, and peace. Ifa is much like Christianity, Islam, and other faiths with well-established moral codes that embody “do no harm” principles. In fact, Ifa can be more strict than some religions because there are many taboos you must follow in this system. While some people may have the same taboos, they can vary from person to person.
A taboo is something that an adherent must not do to avoid corruption or imbalance. There are various taboos associated with the Ifa religion. For example, some devotees must not eat the meat of a dog. This taboo coincides with the children of Ogun, for whom dogs are sacred animals.
Other taboos prohibit Ifa practitioners from wearing certain colors that carry specific energy frequencies. Some colors spark ill-favored emotions such as anger, aggression, frustration, depression, etc. Therefore, Ifa may consider this taboo for these individuals. In this way, life can be very rigid for an Ifa devotee or initiate.
There are many different taboos associated with the Ifa religion. And it is essential that you know what they are before you decide to follow this system. These taboos help practitioners live a stronger, happier lives. They are in no way sinister or immoral. Instead, they help maintain a state of purity and balance.
SO, IS IFA EVIL?
Ifa is a religion that can bring blessings to those who follow it. The Ifa religion is not evil. Instead, it is a religion that seeks to bring balance and harmony into the world. It is a religion that can help you connect with the divine and achieve success in all areas of your life.
The Ifa religion is not for everyone, but if you are looking for a belief system that can help you connect with the divine in a profound way, this may be the right practice for you. Ifa provides peace, harmony, and balance to those willing to follow the teachings of this beloved and growing African traditional religion. If you are looking for a system that can help you establish a deeper spiritual connection and live a more fulfilling life, consider learning more about Ifa.