Various rules underline the principles of the Ifa religion. Before we consider these rules, we need to consider other aspects of the Ifa religion. The Ifa religion is one of the most widely practiced African traditional religions.
Ifa is an African religion that has contributed to the lives of people that worship it. It is a religion that is followed in the Yoruba land of Nigeria. It is also a religion that has contributed to the social development of the people that have embraced it in Nigeria and throughout the diaspora.
The Odu Ifá is the spiritual corpus of the Ifa system. Orunmila is known as the Grand Priest – he is the one who unveiled divinity and prophesies to humanity. On the wooden divination tray known as Opon Ifá, Babalawos (priests) and Iyanifas (priestesses) utilize either the divining chain known as Opele or kola nuts known as Ikin or the sacred palm.
The Odu Ifá literary corpus consists of sixteen main texts. Based on the uncountable ase relevant to the 256 Odu coding, there are a total of 256 Odu that are thought to describe all circumstances, acts, events, and outcomes in life. These are the foundations of ancient Yoruba spiritual knowledge and all Yoruba divination methods. Historically, Ifá proverbs, tales, and poetry were not recorded. They are therefore handed down verbally from one Babalawo or Iyanifa to the next generation.
THE RULES OF IFA RELIGION
There are about sixteen core rules that define the Ifa religion. These rules underpin all other doctrines or teachings within the system:
- There is one Supreme God. While many people assume that Ifa practitioners are polytheistic, the spiritual system is actually founded on monotheistic principles. Ifa devotees believe in a Creative Force that made all other deities and spirits. These deities in turn made human, animal, and plant life.
- The devil does not exist. While there are evil or malevolent spiritual enemies that create barriers and blockages, Ifa does not teach the principle of one Devil or Satanic power who is solely tasked with the mission to kill, steal, and destroy.
- Besides the day you were born and the day you are destined to die, every event in your life may be predicted and, if need be, modified.
- Being happy, fulfilled, and successful is your birthright. It is unnatural and counterproductive to be unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsuccessful. Our lives should be replete with joy and goodwill if we live according to our destined paths.
- During this life, you should develop and gain wisdom. There will be a time in your life you need to grow, develop yourself, and acquire wisdom. This time is essential in the life of every individual.
- You were given birth to through your blood relatives. You have a link between you and your blood relative that forever binds you together.
- The heavens are our home, the earth is our marketplace, and we are always moving between the two. The truth is birth and death define our movement through life. We cannot exist ad-infinitum on earth, we will die when the time comes for us to return home. And, we experience this existence in our dreams and other subconscious states during our sojourn on earth.
- In a literal sense, not figuratively, you are a part of the cosmos. The interconnectedness of the world and man cannot be overemphasized or separated.
- You must never intentionally cause harm to another person. It is certainly inhuman and taboo to cause another man pain.
- You must never endanger the cosmos. You must be careful not to cause harm to the universe as you are connected with this infinite force.
- Your spiritual and temporal abilities must act in unison. Ensure that your spiritual and physical nature work together in harmony and balance.
- You are born with a unique path, and it is your responsibility to follow it. Divination is there to give you a road map. There is a specific purpose you were created, and it is through this knowledge that you find fulfillment.
- Your forebears exist and must be venerated. It is our right and duty to venerate our ancestors. Always ensure you honor your ancestors as they are part of your reality even in the afterlife.
- Sacrifice warrants success. When there is a need for sacrifice, perform it, for success lies ahead.
- The Órisàs dwell in us. We must always be conscious that Órisàs are everywhere around us.
- You don’t have to fear. Fear is not necessary or productive.
The Ifa religion is a prominent African traditional religion that has impacted many lives in the history of mankind. It is a religion that has been practiced for thousands of years, particularly in West Africa. The Ifa religion is based on the Orisha tradition which consists of the Orishas Orunmila, Eshu, Oya, Obatala, Oshun, Ogun, Yemoja, and hundreds of minor Orishas.
The teachings of this religion include the belief in a Supreme Being known as Olodumare, which is referred to as the creator and source of all things. This Supreme Being is a non-personal deity who created the world and mankind through the agency of the lesser deities, which are known as the Orishas. The main goal of the Ifa religion is to help mankind achieve spiritual perfection.