Why Olorisa need to study under Olorisa for Orisa Sciences and Technologies
One of the things im most grateful for is having real teachers in Orisa. For the purposes of this blog, when I say Orisa, I am also speaking about Egbe, Egungun, and other priesthoods outside of Ifa priesthoods. While Ifa is used to describe the whole Isese tradition, the tradition actually consists of many priesthoods each with their own sciences. Babalawos and Iyanifas are the custodians of the teachings of Orunmila also called Ifa. They are likened to General practictioners and have a broad view of Orisa. But contrary to popular opinion, many Babalawos are not necessarily the experts on all or even most Orisa. The term Esin Orisa Ibile is what describes Orisa sciences. Babalorisa and Iyalorisa are the experts and specialist in specific Orisa and it’s important that if you are initiated to a specific Orisa, that it be a Babalorisa or Iyalorisa of that Orisa teaching you that science the most.
We see a lot of Ifa verses in books and online now so people are learning more Ifa. But the science of Idaasa, also called Diloggun or Erindinlogun , which are also powerful divination sciences are not as strong in the diaspora. Idaasa is the knowledge base that holds Orisa science and stories outside of Ifa. But we still have only 1 publically available book in Diloggun / Erindinlogun traditional verses in English and only a few traditional itans ( Stories) are public. Many don’t realize that while why there may be similar themes as Ifa ones, many details and nuances are in the Dilogun that are not in Ifa verses. Some names of the Orisa in the Dilogun are even changed to Orunmila for the Ifa verses English translations thus edging out the Orisa . As an Iyanifa, and author of Ifa books, I am in no way diminishing Ifa or a Orunmila. But I am also initiated to many other Orisa…and that is where I found a greater gap in teachings.
Each Orisa is it’s own priesthood replete with the historical , metaphysical, metaphorical, regional understandings of the orisa and the Irunmole. These Orisa technologies are just as profound and dynamic as Ifa. A good Olorisa can divine with just as much accuracy as a Babalawo and do effective work. Certain regions are stronger in its teaching and understanding than others for a specific Orisa. Each town and sub ethnic group ( because Yoruba is a catch term for over 300 different sub ethnic groups) has its own verses and protocols for an Orisa. One of my Orisa elders is literally a direct descendant of Laroye and born into a founding family of the Osogbo town. There is a vast difference between learning about Osun from her vs someone from a different region. But each region has its own stories as Osun traveled.
Orisa sciences migrated to different regions and towns in Nigeria and as far as Togo. They brought with them nuances in protocols, technology, and understandings. Yemoja, for instance is most pronounced in Abeokuta areas where she is the Orisa for the Ogun river. Many advocate that Yemoja is the Ogun river and not an Ocean but don’t know there used to be an actual Yemoja river but it started drying up and the people actually moved to Abeokuta where they adopted the Ogun river as the new river for Yemoja. Or that the Oyo that we know now is not the same Oyo (regionally) that historical Sango actually lived. Migrations happened just as they happened abroad when the Orisa came to the Diaspora. Understanding the nuances of the Orisa helps with how we apply Orisa indigenous knowledge and to our lives.
There a lot of people initiating to Orisa in addition to Ifa on the continent and in the diaspora. But they have a difficult time getting educated on the Orisa side beyond the general feeding. Many end up stuck in that they can’t move forward as an Olorisa because they don’t have access to those teachings. Many of the Olorisa who initiated them were hired by the Babalawos and they don’t speak English enough to actually form a relationship with them to teach them how to be Olorisa. And because Ifa takes so long and so much dedication, they are not able to actually do the work of an Awo Ifa either. So they are initiated but still lacking in a lot of knowledge for either side. And the Orisa side ends up suffering more.
But there is work to do and not enough trained priest to do it. You end up having a lot of misinformation put out by others that cause confusion. This is why I started offering opportunities for people to take classes and get instruction from Olorisa on Orisa through Oriinstitute.com . We facilitate Olorisa instruction through Elder Iyalorisa and Babalorisas on the continent and abroad. We host Classes in Idaasa and on specific Orisa for priesthood and Individuals. There is an amazing body of work yet untapped on Orisa that is waiting for discovery in the west. Those who are initiated to Orisa should really delve further into them in order to be the true custodians of Orisa in the diaspora. They may not be able to work as Awo Ifa . To be honest , it’s not for everyone anyway. But there are many who would be excellent Iyalorisa or Babalorisa and be able to help the public. It’s time to step up their game because our people need them more than ever.