FROM THE DESK OF ABBESS LYSTRA
First I must explain that what we commonly known as Shango or Orisha is not the correct name for the Yoruba way of life. The name of the religion or way of life is Ifa. Ifa is more than ten thousand years old, an ancient religion, which as the writers say is a journey not a destination, this journey began in West Africa, this a place where l the highest God created people dwell. As a result of slavery, people were dispensed all over the earth and so was Ifa. When slaves were brought to the Christian world, white men never tolerated their traditional beliefs or way of life (religion). We were and many of us are still lost. We are a royal people; our language, self-esteem, names, and most importantly our way of worship were taken away through slavery. Many Yoruba people continued practicing their religion for generations by camouflaging as Catholicism, as the orishas who are the deities were called saint and the holy Oludumare was called God.
As one well learnt Babalawo stated Ifa shows us that it is not permissible, but imperative that we use our spiritual awareness, and capacities to favorably influence our lives every day. Ifa understands the universal need for secure and fulfilling lives and gives us rules and rituals for tapping into the great pool of unquenchable energy to solve our problems and make improvements in our lives. We do this through ancestor worship, divination and the Orishas. One of the central beliefs of Ifa is that only two events in our lives are predetermined. The day we are born and the day we die. At another time I will speak on birth and death. Everything else in our lives, without exception can be forecast, and when necessary changed.
Ifa knows that we are part of this universe in a literal sense. As part of this intricate organism we call the universe, we all contain minute energy that exists all around us. By learning the instructions for accessing that energy we can make the post profound changes in our lives, real objective changes. We all can learn to use and connect with the energy of the Orishas and our guardian spirits. You can learn to identify our personal guardian Orisha and learn how to effectively use the energy to change and improve your life. At a later date I will talk about the orishas who are quite acquainted with from Catholicism as saints. Shango known as St John, Oya is St Catherine, Osain is St Frances, Oshun as ST Philomena, and many more.
May the holy Oludumare pour out blessings and good health on you and your families?