Eku Igba Odun. Odun Kan ni ooo!! Aseyi samodun o! Oba wa ki gbo gbo omo Oduduwa ni le, ni loko le l'odi!
Ifa teaches us that it is noble for one to celebrate during another's anniversary. Ifa says, "Eni odun ba ba l'aye / Ki o se odun, ki o yo sese" (when one witnesses another anniversary, one should rejoice greatly).
Prescribing to such, we greet the great ancestors and spirit guides, Osagiyan Palace, Ogboni, Council of Iyas and Babas, Chiefs and community members of the Kingdom of Oyotunji Village, the multiplicity of Yoruba culture and west African influenced temples and communities across the United States and the greater North America and Diaspora in this new Gregorian year of 2014. This date, marking the space in time where Western propaganda leads us to believe, the Christian lord arrived some 2,000 plus years ago. This "holiday" is but the opening ceremony to the New Year of our ancestors of the Yoruba culture and tradition that we recognize annually on the day of March, 21st. The Ifa New Year prescriptions from Ile-Ife, the Oriate of Cuba, Oke Tase and the forest of Oyotunji have been cast. We employ all to heed the ebo required and allow the wisdom of Ifa to carry us all through this year’s blessings.
Living Culture: Be a good student.
This year, we are all reminded to be good students of Yoruba and African culture in its antiquity; thus finding ourselves pupils to traditional ways of living, raising families, marriage, socializing, eating, praying, building, and overall – just being. History teaches us, that to attempt to assimilate, or suggest that we adjust to an oppressive culture; to fit those lowest on the totem pole – is psychotic. Instead, we must bury ourselves in the ways of our ancestors so that we may levitate with what our ancestral DNA calls for. Burying oneself in ancestral tradition gives a source to pull from when confronted with conflict resolution. We must all be reminded to be the good students of our collective ase and organize it, accordingly. Prior to the telephone, airplane, train, automobile or internet, our ancestors knew how to communicate and organize. Ifa's catch-word for this year for African cultural nationalist is – ORGANIZE.
Feeding Community: Channel the energy.
As regular practitioners and participants of the ancestral tradition, we must apply ourselves to using the ways of our ancestors to address the issues of our community. For example, if within our community we are planning to have an Ogun Bembe or celebration in honor of Ogun or the divine masculine energy of the universe, would it not make equal sense to include a men's roundtable or talk-back with the men of the temple or community; this way allowing the Ogun invoked energy and anointed space to bless the healing and solution developing for the men within that particular community? And the same can be had for the women within the community, utilizing the divine feminine energy of Yemonja, Moremi, Osun Queen Taiye and the Candace Queens to invoke an impenetrable sisterhood that collectively creates a womb ignited gravitational pull so transformational, that woman by woman, our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives are restored to our primordial standard. Primordial standard – simply implies that her disposition or world view, for Africa and it's Diaspora, is one that loves, supports, cares for, and goes forth to create a climate that is conducive to the further growth and development of the healing and restoration of African people – WORLDWIDE.
Feeding Community: Learning the ways of our ancestors.
Laws and rules that govern a traditional African culturally based community have always existed. If it is conflict you find yourself in, one must investigate the ancestral resolve and peace-making process. The answers are not hidden but written clearly in the innumerable Odu of Ifa. In many cases, Ifa in the west has taken on the "fortune telling" role or glass ball reader. However, the practicality of the Odu stories and proverbs is to be taken as a live-ity; a lifestyle or a way of life. This is learned by watching and observing the ways of our ancestors. Ifa is the wealth of the ancestors’ wisdom.
Celebrating Tradition: Protecting the children.
When we think as Europeans do when it comes to children, then we will only think of the living children. Our ancestors teach us to consider the unborn while we live out our lives. Wherever Africans are, all Children MUST be protected. Our African families today have the grim task of teaching their children about sexual molesters, predators, and pedophiles. [And unfortunately, in the past Oyotunji’s immediate and extended communities have experienced bouts of the macro-induced, micro-emulation of pedophilia and molestation. Our council of elders in both cases chose to handle each situation as traditionally as possible. Because prisons and institutions of confinement were introduced to us through European interfacing, African peoples, the Yoruba, did not have such within their villages. If there was an infraction to the greater society, physical punishment such as lashes or body part removal, and even exile or beheading were sought. We’d also like to extract that mass pedophilia as experienced in the African-American community is a result of the European induced psychotic sexual deviance influence.]
Reaffirming Osun as the mother of culture and deity of art rather then sex could help further secure our children’s community.
As Africans, we must not create an atmosphere of fear but one of education and enlightenment. As young men and women reach puberty and begin to attract the opposite sex, the family must know the culture of our ancestors in order to cope. In the culture of the Yoruba, puberty is celebrated and marks a time of rites of passage. As a Prince, I and fellow school mates participated in a number of tests and challenges to earn the right to be in Egbe Akinkonju (name of Oyotunji men’s society). And not so that we could wear nice sneakers or drive cars with shiny paint, but because the entrance into the men’s society was validation to the community that we were then able, obligated and responsible for the posts of Asolu (village guard), Ilari (the King’s guard), Dokpwe (the village’s men’s building collective) etc.
To hit puberty in a traditional Yoruba community for young men wasn’t followed by a promiscuous behavior pattern as seen in our communities, but meant more responsibility to one’s bloodline, family name or ancestors, one’s immediate family and extended community. It means that you answer to more people while experiencing the ever evolving pressure to follow one’s culturally-born destiny.
And relatable to the male rites, is that of the female. Egbe Moremi is the women’s society that women at puberty are positioned to cross over into. It’s necessary to mention as a sort of disclaimer, that because we are not of the female gender we have received counsel from our mothers, wives and sisters as it pertains to this society. And so per the women of the Aafin, our daughters in a traditional Yoruba community are held very close by the women within that community.
Coming into as a young woman allows the receiving of the divine-feminine-power-lifestyle-teachings. The tests and challenges a young lady at puberty would encounter would be the basic behavioral and habitual teachings that a mother passes down to her young daughters. From prayers, to market skills, to caring for her younger siblings, how to properly dress and how to make her and her family’s clothing if need be, cooking, creating furniture, hygiene, how to befriend other women, cutting wood, pick mariwo, amongst a number of other things. To hit puberty in a traditional Yoruba community for young women wasn’t followed by a promiscuous or risky behavior pattern as seen in our communities, but meant more responsibility to one’s bloodline, family name or ancestors, one’s immediate family and extended community. It means that you answer to more people while experiencing the ever evolving pressure to follow one’s culturally-born destiny.
Protecting our children must equate to TEACHING our children the TRADITION! If at any point a Yoruba becomes disgruntled or begins sinking in life, s/he is encouraged to ascertain a prescription from Ifa, orisa or ancestors – our roadmap our guide.
Celebrating Tradition: Key word, CELEBRATE!
This year Ifa tells men to be good to their wives and wives to be good to their husbands. Let us be reminded to celebrate, show appreciation and, however you best define it, and love one another in excess. This year in the Kingdom, we have plans to build; celebrating our ability to simply – man the land – if nothing else. In 2014, we welcome our Yoruba constituents, near and far, to join us as we celebrate during our 14 annual festivals, one of which will be a Royal Wedding, in which we, the Oba, will take on another wife. 2014 marks us being festive in our culture! We hope to join the assorted Ile and Temples across North America during their perspective odun and celebration as well. So be certain to contact us directly should you be interested in inviting us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, as we have heard the disgruntled comments from many who’s disposition is one that “traditional African culture is too old" or "we don't need chiefs, Queens and Kings because that’s too old". We hear the people who often cite the fact that "I want the Religion and not the culture". In response to those comments we say this… We have not attempted to live our ancestral culture long enough, with meticulous detail enough or broad enough to harp on its short comings and/or so-called out dated thinking. All the while, we live European doctrine in our daily lives; European, Western culture is in our speech, thoughts, family patterns, social hierarchy, diet and cuisine, marriages, conflict resolution, dress and just about everything else we are made of. We have all of the characteristics of SLAVES who were reprogrammed by some foreign master. Are we FREE yet? History teaches us that the true emancipation of a people didn’t come from the colonial, oppressive culture that enslaved them in the first damn place. No. Historical reference teaches us that the true emancipation of a people comes directly from the willingness to shed the imperialistic influence and trade that in whole heartedly for the indigenous ways of their people. Let’s collectively make it a point to celebrate and be festive in our indigenous Yoruba culture in 2014.
Oba nki e,
HRM Oba Adejuyigbe E. A. O. Adefunmi II
HRM Oba Adejuyigbe Egundjobi Alladahonu Oyewole Adefunmi II, Oloyotunji of Oyotunji