Becoming a Babalawo

Similar Posts


  1. aboru aboye aboshishe

    Do you follow the Lukumi tradion or African? What do yo think about the mixing of both tradtions? My questions come after reading an article on today.

    1. Aboye Aboshise!

      Alaafia to you my friend!

      Erik, your question is very profound and one which merits a thoughtful answer….

      Both traditions have merit; one has not been influence by Christianity and the other has. This is not to say that the Former is better than the latter. The lukumi tradition has a strong Christian undertone and has served its followers very well for centuries. The key point is to commit to one or the other. However; having said this, many Lukumi traditionalist are investigating Traditional Ifa and some have even received Ifa either through Itefa or Itelodu..

      So I guess a question some would ask is why is this happening. The best answer I can give you is based on historical reality; we must consider that although much knowledge regarding Ifa made it across the Ocean, it was the young and able bodies which survive the journey. The fully trained Babalawo either escaped capture of did not survive the journey. I say this for two reasons. First it takes many years of hard study and practice to be recognized as a fully trained Babalawo sanctioned to work for the general public. Traditionally this person would be in his early 30’s before he even sees a client on his own. This person would have started his training at a very early age, perhaps 5 or 7 years of age, and resided in the home of his Babalawo for about 10 to 15 years before moving on to another Babalawo who would specialize in a particular area of practice. As you can see; this person would have had ample warning from Ifa to escape the enslavement which was approaching, then again he may have been destined to be one of the select few who by surviving the journey and enslavement would bring this beautiful Spiritual philosophy to the New World. But because of his young age and short years of training his knowledge would be fragmented at best.

      Taking my previous consideration I ask you to consider the possibility that these young men and women; whose knowledge of Ifa and Ocha was fragmented would merge their knowledge in an attempt to save their traditions and spiritual beliefs which by know are also subjugated to Christianity by their tormentors.

      It is therefore permissible to accept that what is born out of this experience is something that looks like Ifa, but has been synchretized with Christianity and adopted to answer the sorrows of this new world and indentured service suffered by these ancestors.

      So in summary and returning to your question:

      Do you follow the Lukumi tradition or African? What do yo think about the mixing of both tradtions?

      Here is my answer; I follow the Traditional African Ifa philosophy. I have shared my knowledge of ese Ifa and traditional ceremony procedures with Lukumi Priest and discover there are great differences in both. Yet again one must be open to the considerations I shared in the previous paragraphs. Regarding the merging of both traditions, I would say one can husband a Pekingese with a Toy Poodle and get a Pekoodle. Humor aside, I would make a conscientious decision to espouse one or the other.

  2. Auburo Aboye, Baba
    Thank you for your very eloquent and detailed answer. It fills in the gaps of logic between what one can deduce or intuit about the differences between Lukumi and Ifa.
    My greatest issue in my journey has been the levels of secrecy in Ifa which generates an athmosphere of fear within the followers of Lukumi. This fear is both of the Orisha, who are presented as punishing dieties, much like the Jehovah or Yaweh of the Old Testatment, and of the Babalawos, Iyanifas and priests in the tradition. This fear is often used to control and unnecessarily intrude upon the lives of the devotees and practitioners.
    I understand how, in a historical context,secrecy and fear could have been used to preserve the tradtion and protect the practitioners. However, what I have observed and expereinced in these modern environments is the attempts to disempower the individual’s Ori. This seems to result in an entrapment of individiduals into a cult like expereince. Many love Lukumi, it is inherently beauriful tradition. Those that attempt to leave, however, are usually met with distructive expereinces.
    I have observed that, with those who have been trained from a more “Arican” tradition,this type of fear and need to control is minimized. While there is secrecy with the Awo of Odu & Healing the fundamental tenants are open for individuals to inspect, study and internalize so as to make informed decisions about one’s own spiritual path.

    Fundamental is this difference is the significance of Ori as primary Orisha, and Orisha as non-punishing entities. Orisha may withdraw their support and allow natural consequences to occur but they do not punish in the sense that we have learned of punishment through Judiac-Christian traditions. Even Eshu & Iyami, who are often portrayed as inherently malevolent and capricious become beings who help us understand Universal and personal truth and the Karmic laws of cause and effect.
    Thanks for your healing approach. It is good to know that there are individuals out there that teach a spiritual approach that can lead to personal freedom from the Matrx and union with all that is.

  3. There are some really great ideas here. Can’t wait to put some of these into action. Its really going to bring good vibrations where the vibrations should be

  4. is there anyone (priest) that can break the spell of a babalawo.if a person claims to be a babalawo and all their spells and talisman have negative effect and they know this,but prentend everything is ok when everything is going downhill for their the not evel in there injustice.for one they will tie a person in and try and get all there money and screw up there life while they have these evel spirits causing them all kind of hell on a daily bases.this so called babalawo made some talisman that i paid for to advance in life.but he did’nt tell me how to use it right.even though eleggua told him the correct way.he kept it from me.this talisman was made from the skin from around the heart of a african had 24k gold inside along with other things(flowers and herbs)but he lied about a lot of things and the talisman for over 2months would’nt only dried after my sons mother touched it.i saw a little resluts from it,but nothing strong.after my son mother touched it,withen a couple of months everything took off for her.this is from’s 9 years later and nothing in my life seem to be going right.i tried going back to him several times to remedy the problem,but things always get worse and worse.i am only able to move ahead little by little by seeking out al hikmah sufi’s.they magic is alot purer.santero’s r not good people.they pretend to be so they can tie u in and rob u.true magic with good intendtions will only produce good intendtions.the hightest form of santareia is palo myombe.which is black magic.santera people cannot be trusted.they r full of lies and warned…

    1. Alaafia Gary;

      Your experience is an unfortunate one, but one which tends to happen more often than I care to admit.

      In “Traditional Ifa” we strive towards Iwa Pele. The closest translation I can offer is the pursuit of the development of our character. However; even the word character fails to encompass the complete weight and substance of this pursuit. You see we are all born with certain abilities, aptitudes and skill sets which allow us to make certain endeavors “look” easy.

      Therefore; Iwa Pele is the endeavor to develop these certain abilities, aptitudes and skill sets. In doing so we become “better” individuals and stay in the “path” we where born to follow. Therein lies the crux of Iwa Pele; it is easier to take short-cuts than to endure the arduous efforts involved in the development of good character. It is one of the main reasons so many individual exist with low morals.

      O Dabo!

  5. dear admin,

    aboru aboye,
    i am very happy to read all you guys post on here.i have been searching for people who are proud of their root and who will embrace the truth about our origin and religion.i dont have much to say here but admin i would love to let you know that i am an IFA initiate and from igbodu i know the odu that birthed me ,pls can we talk personally as i would love to ask you some things unknown to me yet.thanks

  6. What about the issue of Ori. Is it true some people are – let me say – divinely ordained? even though they may not become practiced Babalawo but still claim to be Ifa adherents, I mean missionary-like adherents.

    And secondly, please, Ifa should remain as it is and not be turned into a religion for collective worship which becomes vulnerable to milking the masses as we see other religions. Ifa traditionally is a religion to the priests but a belief to the people who consult the priests more like a patient visiting a doctor and not turn the hospital to a Sunday-Sunday or Friday-Friday visit.

  7. Jeremy, as somoene already pointed out, some are meant to be honorary, others have a real meaning. MKO Abiola held several honorary titles. However, he was also Aareonakankanfo of Yorubaland. OBJ wanted this title, but out of respect for MKO Abiola, the post has since been vacant.In my humble opinion, the sooner we get away with this sort of insanity (Chief this, Chief Otuba that), the better for out country.

Leave a Reply