Disclosure: What follows is my own highly opinionated, intensely felt, not necessarily correct, and perhaps at times alienating view of Odu, and what they mean.
The group of Odus located in the Opon-Ifa cardinal point called Ese-Opon is found in the southern quadrant of the Opon and deal with the element earth and things incarnate and material: health, money, career, sensuality, work, home, cars, maintenance, clothes – anything observable by other people as opposed to anything that is going on within ourselves.
The Ese-Opon is the place of day-to-day events as they manifest in the life of the individual. Further, this quadrant represents the flow of energy in one’s life. This is the realm where potential energy transforms into kinetic energy, marking spirit’s descent into matter. The feet represent the Ese-Opon in terms of the human anatomy, and further denote the physical body and the biological process of fertilization and gestation. It is within this quadrant that the seed is sown into the fertile soil of the Earth. It is also the realm of rebirth and reincarnation and is represented by the sacred Odu Odi.
Ideally, we would not have a favorite Odu. If we could, we would relate to every Odu with equal energy because they are all equally important. All of the Odus have value. However, anybody who tells you that they relate to every Odu with equal energy probably lies about other things too. We are on this earth to work through our imbalances. If we already had it “together”, what would we be doing here? We are here because humans alone, of all Olodumare’s creations, can improve, and we are here to improve. One of the ways in which we make improvements is by learning the most appropriate, the best responses to whatever the universe offers us. And the way in which we achieve that point of development is by getting ourselves in balance.
The challenge of the Odus Odi Meji, Okanran Meji, Oturupon Meji, and Ofun Meji with the elemental dignity of Earth is always remembering that, whatever the body, there is a soul. Whether it is a bird or a flower or a rock, there’s divine energy within. The challenge is not to get caught up in the externals of things.
The Ese-Opon Odus are the Odus through which we can appreciate what we have been give. It is easy to get used to blessings and to take them for granted, and it is easy to fixate on things that are wrong. It’s so easy to pick, pick, pick at the things that aren’t right and accept without acknowledgment the most important things. Anyone reading this article has the promise of waking up in the morning, opening their eyes and seeing – that’s a blessing. How often do we rejoice at the miracle of our daily lives?
The other aspect of these Odus that make them so precious is that they bring us the opportunity to be of service. We can take these bodies of ours, these brains of ours, these hands of ours with opposable thumbs, these mouths of ours that have the gift of speech, and our imaginations and dreams and creativity, and we can do something with them that benefits other people. So the second part of the way to spirit for the Odus grouped in the cardinal point of the Opon-Ifa named Ese-Opon is service.
However, we must now turn our attention to the obstacles, and challenges of these Odus.
The obstacles to spiritual growth inherent in this group of Odus is that we can grow greedy and selfish; we can get caught up in superficiality and form. How many relationships failed because what is loved is the body rather than the soul? F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the misery and tragedy that must follow when we love only the material form of another.
It is staggering to recognize how many people well out of their teens continue to choose the mate who will impress others. The aging man who wants to young beauty on his arm, the one who turns every head and makes him “the envy of every man in the place.” The young beauty who chooses the aging gentleman, not for his wisdom or kindness, but for his new Mercedes and the expensive gifts he showers upon her. The small child, an embarrassment to her mother because she stutters or limps, who is left alone with her loneliness. Is the best job opportunity always the one that pays the most? Is the best companion the one who can afford to travel with us in the style to which we are accustomed?
We will see how both ways; service, and obstacle to spirit manifest in the Odus grouped in the cardinal point of the Opon-Ifa named Ese-Opon.
Odi is an Odu that completes the first four principle Odus, the fourth component that, when joined with its predecessors, forms a whole. As such, this is a sign of completion, an energy that concludes a cycle and ushers the seed into manifestation. This Odu binds the pattern of potential energy and becomes its avenue of manifestation. Odi is an Odu that defines one’s space or speaks of the need to do so. Internal pressure or difficulty may be indicated and depending on the orientation of the Odu, these challenges may lead to productive or unproductive ends.
In “Ibi” Odi is a restraining energy that can have the individual “treading water” rather than moving ahead. Energy is wrapped up in trying to prevent a situation from deteriorating, rather than actively improving its condition. Odi represents obstacles that impede progress and may be a signpost marking a road that has reached a point of critical impasse. The cycle is unable to reach its natural end and hags in a state of suspension. The womb will not release the child. The ground will not release the seed. Something is preventing emergence. Restriction binds all active energies.
Okanran gives the individual a chance to move beyond the burdens in their life and environment. Tension and stress are transformed and a weight is lifted from one’s shoulders. The sense of heaviness eases after a long trying period. This Odu encourages one to have the fortitude to carry on despite potentially overwhelming odds. In order to succeed, one must continue. Nothing is gained by giving up. Stand strong in one’s identity and stand up to those that would attempt to intimidate. Passion should be mitigated with coolness. This Odu delivers a potent dose of justice. and destroys lies. Okanran suggest humility and respect as a path of good fortune.
When Okanran is in a state of “Ibi“, you may be refusing to see the truth that is being presented, thus lying to yourself. This denial leads to a convolution of energies that brings imbalance, stress and possibly even anger. The stress gains momentum and creates erratic bursts of anger. Eventually the metaphysical heat generated by this state of internal friction causes the organism to collapse.
Oturupon’s energy grants you the ability to endure all of life’s hardships and struggles. Unlike other Odus that may signal a clearing or easing of such struggles. Oturupon empowers you to remain steadfast during difficult times. It is an energy that brings stability and security and protects the ground that has been gained. This Odu demands that a person face their challenges directly and is the antidote to Osa’s tendency to flee. Oturupon carries the reminder that courage is the only avenue for success in the present situation. The ways of the Ancestors must not only be learned and respected, but also practiced and integrated into one’s everyday customs. It is through the aforementioned integration that one finds not only fulfillment, but grounding as well. Proactive movement is encouraged over knee jerk responses stimulated from a reactive condition.
When this Odu comes in “Ibi“, it indicates that you are not capable of holding your space and may be affected by a lack of strength and courage. A tailspin begins wherein fear begets more fear until you are consumed by this infection. That which you seek to keep suppressed is corrupting your structural integrity or the situation at hand. Reactivity forces you away from your center and jeopardizes stability. Oturupon warns of the risks involved in becoming complacent as steadfastness becomes a dangerous lack of concern.
Ofun marks the end of the road that winds through the sixteen Oju Odu, starting with Ogbe and ending with this Odu. As the terminus, it is a symbol of proper completion and closure.
Unlike Odi that marks completion leading to birth and new beginnings, Ofun signals the completion of the cycle itself. Ofun represents a state of wholeness wherein all parts have been returned to their original unified state. This unification is a result of wisdom that can only be gained through the process of life and maturity, a wisdom that results in a synthesis of energies into a balance state wherein flow is possible.
The physical symbol of the Odu itself suggest the balance of light and darkness, contraction and expansion, input and output. It is through this state of equilibrium that Ofun bestows its generosity on the individual or their situation. Your capacity to recognize the extremes of life as poles of the same spectrum directly reflects your ability to receive the blessings of this Odu.
With the completion of any cycle comes the blessings that are gained from the journey. The seeds discovered in Ogbe, planted in Iwori and born in Odi have come to full fruition in Ofun. Great abundance is indicated, a prosperity that affects all levels of existence.
When Ofun comes in a state of “Ibi“, its is indicating that you are unable or unwilling to give, a failure to recognize the necessity of give and take in order to maintain balance. You have separated from your spiritual wisdom and must regain this connectivity in order to function.
Material obsession has extinguished the flame of the spirit. No matter how many riches you possess, money without spirituality becomes a source of bondage, rather than liberation. You become a slave of that which you covet. Lastly, Ofun’s contrary nature can often indicate that a lack of maturity is the source of your problems.
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