Hi! I’m Chief Awodele Ifayemi
Nice to meet you!
Names are very important for a traditional Yoruba family, my name was given to me by my Grand Father after consulting Ifá during my Esen’taye or naming ceremony. This ceremony was performed nine days after my birth.
Awodele means Awo (esoteric knowledge) will reach home. This name is given to a child who is born outside of his father’s (Babalawo) native land, and Ifayemi means Ifá benefits. I find it interesting and as it turned out I did become an Awo (Babalawo) who reached home (my paternal homeland) and have received many benefits from the practice of Ifá.
I was initiated in Ilobu Land; the African Village of my paternal Ancestors.
This is located in Osun State. My paternal grandparents practiced Ifa and I grew up following the principles of “Iwa Pele.”
Iwa Pele is a call for you to discover and then develop through education and apprenticeship your Skill Sets, Aptitudes, and Talents, so that you can then offer them to your immediate community as a service that only you are uniquely qualified to offer. Education is a “Big Thing” with Ifá.
My parents believed in education and both my paternal and maternal sides of my family served in the military. So once I completed my degree in Electrical Engineering I started my military career in the Marine Corps. Eventually, I transfer to the Army in pursuit of more opportunities for advancement and retired after 20 years of service to my country. I continued working in the corporate world and eventually retired from my Engineering Career. Ever since I’ve been a full-time practicing Babalawo serving my community.
What follows Is A Q&A Of the Most Asked Questions
What Does Ifá Say About Teacher, Teachings, and Learning
Odus teach much about life. By way of example let me share a teaching from the Odu Eji Ogbe on having a measured approach to achieving the good life.
Let us not engage the world hurriedly.
Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently.
That which should be treated with mature judgment,
Let us not deal in a state of uncontrolled passion.
When we arrive at a cool place,
Let us rest fully.
Let us give continuous attention to the future.
Let us give deep consideration to the consequences of things.
And this is because of our eventual passing.
This Odu emphasizes the virtue of iwon, or balance, and the amuwon, the balanced person. We are not to engage the world in a hurried, heedless, or reckless manner. Nor are we to seek material gain impatiently. Although Odu ethics poses wealth as one of the main blessings in life as well as an important condition to live a truly full life and a means to aid and share with others, there is continuous concern that the pursuit of material gain not be excessive or all-consuming. On this via the Odu Obara’Wori Ifá says that:
Even if you have money, it does not mean you will not become blind.
It does not mean you will not go mad.
It does not mean you will not become lame.
It does not mean you will not become ill and the like.
You still can become disabled in any part of your body.
Therefore, you should go and get more wisdom
So that you may think deeply about things.
You should cultivate good character;
You should acquire wisdom;
And you should come and sacrifice
So that you may be at ease inside and out.
The good or moral life, the teaching tells us, also necessitates that we treat important matters with the reasonableness and calmness they require.
Moreover, the Odu suggests that the good life also requires that we know when and how to rest. It poses rest as an essential condition not only for the good life in general but also specifically for serious moral and critical reflection. Finally, the Odu tells us that we should give full and ongoing attention to the future and be constantly and profoundly concerned about the consequences of things. This dual moral emphasis speaks to our need to be concerned with the effect of our actions, not only on the quality of life and relations in the contemporary world but also on the future of the world and generations to come. And thus, it has particular moral meaning not only for the quality of human relations but for the integrity of the environment. On this via the Odu OsaMeji ifá says:
Osa, the brightly shining one, Babalawo of the world,
Interpreted the teachings of Ifá for the earth.
They said that the earth should stop making sacrifices for wealth,
And instead, make sacrifices that would protect Earth from its enemies.
In this way, we will live.
And so, we plead
That as long as we live on earth,
That the earth not be destroyed.
Such moral concern, the Odu suggests, is to be embraced not only for the good life here but also to secure our place in eternity given our eventual passing. In a word, it speaks to our need to live a life that leaves a legacy of goodness in this world which not only promises respectful memory in this world but also eternal life in the next.
Who/what Has Inspired You To Be Here Doing This Work?
People often ask me why I’m a Babalawo. Honestly speaking, it is what I was born to do. Ifá teaches that three days after a child is born a ceremony called igbori should be performed. This ceremony reveals what the Soul of the child desires to accomplish during its lifetime and if it happens to be a returning ancestor. In my case, I am a returning ancestor who wanted to continue being a Babalawo and was born with certain Skills, Aptitudes, and Talents well suited for an engineering career.
Why Are You Doing This Work and your responsibility? Personal Desires For The world
As a Babalawo, it is my charge to share my knowledge of Ifá with whoever is seeking to find their “truth” in life. I’ve been practicing Ifá for the most part of my life and every day is full of new lessons and rediscoveries.
What Do You Want People To KNOW?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is that Ifá is about self-empowerment and growth. The type of empowerment that one finds via Ifá, allows you to grow beyond your expectations, heck for that matter beyond anyone’s expectations. This growth is not about money or stature; it’s about spiritual growth. The kind of growth that helps you shine from within. It’s the kind of growth that keeps you feeling joyful and positive. This kind of growth is contagious and very attractive.
What/why system of divination are you using?
A Babalawo and an Iyanifa use three instruments of divination. The Ikin is the preferred divination instrument for ceremonies like igbori, esentaye, initiations, and determining your head Orisa.
The Annual reading is also done with the Ikins. The second instrument is the Opele. This is a chain we hold in the middle. Both sides of the chain have 4 leaves, and when we cast the chain over our divination mat, it instantly creates the sacred geometry of an Odu.
The Opele speaks much faster, so I prefer to use it when I need to choose from different options.
Finally, we have the Obi Abata or Kola nut which we use exclusively to communicate with our Ancestors and Orisas.
In a Nutshell What Is Ifá?
Earlier in this conversation, I highlighted the legacy I which to share with my community. I feel that the most important legacy I can leave is the revelation that Ifá is a Spiritual Philosophy that teaches Self-Empowerment via Self-Accountability.
I created a curriculum that I call the Self-Empowerment Track. This is designed for those who are in need of getting control of their lives, and once and for all manifest the kind of life they desire to have.
So, we start:
Then we start learning about the Fundamental Pillars to Personal Transformation
Resources you should acquire from the book store
I’m giving you my time for free, all I’m asking in return is your commitment to the Self-Empowerment Track.