What Is A Babalawo in IFA Yoruba Culture?
Babalawos are essential to the Yoruba/Ifa culture and the world. They are the Custodians, Traditional Doctors, and Healers derived originally from West Africa, Nigeria. As the father of all secrets, a Babalawo is a servant of Ifa and the deity Orunmila.
The word Babalawo in Yoruba culture means "Father of Mysteries."
What are the works of a Babalawo?
A Babalawo/Iyanifa is well versed in customary rituals, oral literature (Ese Ifa), medicines (Akose Ifa), Yoruba culture, and tradition history. A Babalawo/Iyanifa can do many things under the guidance of Orunmila IFA and Elders of the IFA Community. They have tremendous responsibilities requiring much hard work and dedication. Much labor is involved in caring for humanity, the community, and IFA Orisa Obligations.
Why Is It Important to Repay IFA Priests?
People of all nationalities, cultures, and religions must respect IFA Priests and not undermine the Priesthood of IFA. The IFA Babalawo/Iyanifa Priests are representatives and mediums of the connection between humans and the Gods. IFA Priests are exceptionally important to our communities, and we should respect and care for them. They fall under the protection and trust of Orunmila, the Orisa of Destiny.
What can a Babalawo do?
A Babalawo/Iyanifa performs spiritual consultations and ebos (rituals), makes medicines, and is well-educated in the history of the Yoruba culture. A Babalawo/Iyanifa is a teacher and author who spreads the culture through written information. They can communicate with the ancestors and Irunmole by chanting their oriki (praise poetry). Babalawos/Iyanifas can see the past, present, and future by using the divination system of Ifa.
All Trained IFA Priests can shift a situation from negative to positive by appeasing the necessary spirits. Their capabilities range from performing Ifa Divinations, birth divinations, roots divinations, marriage ceremonies, and much more. There are IFA Male and female Priests from all walks of life, and they withhold the wisdom and knowledge of IFA/Orunmila.
Can a babalawo take a curse off of someone?
A substantial part of being a Babalawo/Iyanifa is healing people through the guidance and wisdom of Ifa. If it is detected through Ifa divination that someone has been cursed, then the Babalawo/Iyanifa will do the necessary spiritual work (ebos) and prepare the relevant IFA medicines to rid the client of this curse. If the client is patient and has faith in Ifa and the Babalawo, the client will witness the power and strength of Ifa.
What If I meet A Babalawo That Does not meet the expectations of good character?
A true, traditionally trained Babalawo knows the consequences of not meeting the expectations of Orunmila as we are under a forceful system that deals with oaths. Even you, in your pursuit of truth, must take oaths to the Orisa and your ancestors. Oaths and affirmations help to bring out the best character and behavior in you.
Suppose you meet a Babalawo or Iyanifa that does not meet the requirements of the holy Odu Ejiogbe, which reinforces honesty and integrity, confidentiality, and the IFA code of conduct. As a devotee, even a Priest, you must still exercise humility and patience. It is taboo to disrespect Babalawo/ Iyanifa Ifa Priests, Olorisha Priests, our Elders, our Mothers, and our Fathers. This does not mean that just because one is a Priest or elder, they will not be held responsible for their wrongdoings. We must be humble and leave it in the hands of Orisa, IFA, and Orunmila Olodumare. The wisdom of Ifa and our Ancient Elders teach that it isn't in our best interest to offend the Ori and the Ase of a Babalawo/Iyanifa. No matter what, we must exercise humility. It is the Orisa we are offending, not the human. Please remember this. Let them be, and Esu the Irunmole, Ancestors, Olodumare will handle us all according to our actions and deeds.
The character of a person can be very much tested on this journey. (Trust us, we know!) However, we must remember that we are ALL to be judged by the ancestral court in Orun-Heaven, and none of us are getting away with anything on earth.
This is why when you receive an IFA Divination, the odu will show or expose your character and what's truly going on to help transform you into a better person, thus leading a better lifestyle and destiny.
When you receive your Hand of Ifa or undergo Ifa initiation, and your destiny is revealed, you are held even more accountable for your actions. In other words, we know better; therefore, we must do better. With Iwa-good character and good behavior, we can achieve a better character to gain the knowledge and wisdom of Ifa. Through Ifa's guidance, we're guided through this life toward successful outcomes, prosperity, good health, a good spouse, happiness, and all the blessings of this life.
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This article is in the deepest memory of a beloved Babalawo , who we lost July 2022, you truly will and be deeply missed , we know you are a special servant for Eldedumare and fighting for us all doing ebos in the ancestral realm, working on a greater mission. Thank you for the works and people you helped in the communities worldwide while here on earth. We will see you on the other side Egbe IFA. Thank you for being one of the best human beings.
We Love you so much. Ase.