You are on page 1of 28

OYA'S

MARKETPLACE
VOLUME 1

EDITION 3

AUGUST 2, 1993

SANGO'S PLATFORM
By Sowande Akintunde
ALAFIA.
It would seem that, although weve
presumably gotten what we asked for,
we are beginning to lose faith with that
new blood in the United States White
House.
One would hope that, at least, we who
worship ORISA and celebrate EGUNGUN would make use of our divine
resources to help stem our temptation
to eschew rationality in our haste to rid
ourselves of the moral and spiritual
miasma that has personified the presidential administrations of the last two
decades.
It is important that we continue to
hope for the resolution of the myriad
problems that besiege the lands in
which we live, for a human being
without hope is but a zombie...bereft
of spirit and soul. However, too much
hope -- irrational, blind, unreasoning
hope -- turned without factual basis to
expectation, can be equally deadly to
the human soul, because it gives way
all too easily to the poison of disenchantment.
The image comes to mind of a man
parched and starving in the desert who

prays to ELEGBA for food and water.


Before long, ELEGBA answers his
prayers via a vision: the man will receive
food and water shortly. However, the
longer it takes for ELEGBAs promise
to manifest, the grander grows the hope
of this starving man, and the closer
those hopes creep toward expectation.
Thus, as more hours pass, the man fully
expects ORISA to send him an elegant
feast and an oasis of cool water. So, it
comes to pass that the man staggers over
a little spring gurgling a few feet underground; not too far away, he spies a hare
lapping at a small puddle of water thrown
from the spring.
O, thinks the man to himself, this
cannot be what ELEGBA meant; after
all, to eat that hare I must chase, capture and cook it, and that is much too
difficult to be expected of a man so long
without food or drink. And I cannot get
to the spring without digging it out of
the Earth...that, too, is back-breaking
work. After all, didnt ELEGBA promise me a seven-course meal fit for a
chieftain and exotic juices and unguents
for my suffering? Of course, He would
never dispense so mean a fare as a tough
hare and a little water to someone who
has suffered as much as I.

So, secure in his delusion, the man


staggers on. When a day, and then two,
pass without sign of the bounty he now
expects from ORISA, his well-spring of
hope quickly dries and shrivels to bitter
disappointment. Ah, the Trickster has
tricked me, he thinks. He has fooled
me into expecting a feast, while He
laughs at my plight. Ill not be tricked
again; Ill not pray to Him again. Let
my suffering be upon His head. And
so, wrapped in his vow, the man loses
the ability to perceive aid when it is
rendered, and suffers greatly for it.
We who live in the United States and
throughout the Americas have long been
starved for equal opportunity at prosperity, and we have long thirsted for
justice. We are currently in the same
position as was that wretched man in
the desert. We have prayed for an
instrument of change in our lands, and
we have been rewarded with the election
of Bill Clinton as President of the
United States. However, as fervent
and rampant as our hopes may be for his
accomplishments, we must realize that,
powerful as his office may be, the
President is still but one individual who
must enlist the support of
cont. on page 20

EDITORIALPAGE

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 2

The blue dress or white slacks...tuna in water or


oil...a movie or Oprah reruns...would it be that
all our choices were so simple. Yet, it is the very
opportunity for choice that causes us to be the
closest third-dimensional being to OLODUMARE. Failing to realize this, we slough all our
choices off like yesterday's dirty linen. We
consult for guidance in more clearly understanding our path but allow our ego to dictate
our "need" for autonomy. Worse, we may fear
our lack of "understanding" and freeze, remaining decisionless, not quite grasping that such
lack of action is a choice within itself.
Our lives are made up of a multitude of
directions. It is our choices at each little
crossroad of our lives that push us down the
tributaries of our path. It is our relationship
with OLODUMARE and all that entails which
allows us to plant the best seeds and reap the
most from those seeds we choose to sow. The
ORISA do not make our choices -- they cannot;
only we can make the ultimate decisions for
ourselves. The choice we make today affects
the products of tomorrow's endeavors.
Many become disillusioned because divination
reveals a reality that fails to manifest itself in
their lives. What happens here? Consider the
following: It is suggested that it would be in
your highest interest to forego eating meat on
Tuesdays for an unspecified period of time in
order to obtain a new station in life. Tuesday
approaches - a last minute barbecue planned do you eat ribs or not? You CHOOSE not to
eat ribs, although for the life of you, the sense
of it all fails to appear. A new person in town
has been invited to the cookout and comes over
to talk, attracted by the fact you are meatless
at a barbecue. It turns out they have money, an
idea and are looking for someone with the saavy
to begin a new venture. It is something you have
always longed to do. A perfect match has been
made as internal cleansing takes place,
rejuvenating you for new directions.
Or...you CHOOSE to eat that rib, deciding
that eating meat once cannot hurt. The heavens
do not pour down fury upon your head, the
Earth does not open up to snatch you into her
bowels. Contrarily, nothing happens...nothing
at all. As you look into the sameness of your
situation, you feel somehow cheated and blame
the ORISA for having deceived you. But...we

can only be presented with our possibilities. It is


our behavior that dictates which of our potentialities will bear fruit. Additionally, it is an everchanging reality. Each choice leads to the next
which leads to the next which leads to the next - shaping, forming and emitting the arena of
possibilities created by the particular direction
taken. The worlds of our creation are limitless,
guided only by the roads we choose to tread.
What does this all mean? We must begin to take
responsibility for our decisions and therefore
our actions by understanding how we shape our
realities. This issue provides tools to enhance
that process. The groundwork is set in getting
to know "self." There are ways in which one can
begin to understand where their decisions come
from. The paths some have traveled based on
particular decisions they've chosen are shared
with us. Read and enjoy but remember that
there is work to be done. We indeed have the
power, as Sowande suggests in his article, to
creatively support change on a higher level. It
is a decision, though, that must be consciously
made and constantly reviewed. The first step is
yours -- but only you can decide to do so. Go
ahead and take it -- the Earth may just breathe
a little easier because you did. - SG
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
SOYINI GONZALEZ
STAFF EDITOR:
OMOPE CARTER DABOIKU
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:
AWO FA'LOKUN FATUNMBI
IYALOSA ADETUTU ADEYEMON
OYA'S MARKETPLACE is published quarterly by
OYA'S OVEN. Letters to the Editor, questions,
article contributions and advertising requests are
all welcome and should be submitted to Oya's
Marketplace, P. O. Box 21521, Canton, OH 447011521, 1-216-588-9549.
All rights are reserved. Reproductions or utilizations of the contents in any form by any electronic,
mechanical or other means, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage
and retrieval system, is forbidden without the
written permission of the publisher, Oya's Oven
Productions. Reprints of articles from OYA'S
MARKETPLACE may be obtained from the Reprint
Services at the afore-mentioned address.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 3

OLOKUN: MYSTERY AND


REVELATION
By Nisi Shawl
Greetings to the mirror that traveled
to the spirit world and came back!
Words are incapable of encompassing
the mystery. Words are also gifts of the
mystery, and may, therefore, illuminate
our path to understanding.
OLOKUN means owner of the ocean.
In this hemisphere YEMOJA (mother
of fishes) is the ORISA most commonly connected with the seas ASE.
OLOKUN is seen as a path of YEMOJA.
Some connect OLOKUN to the depths
of the ocean while considering
YEMOJAs domain to be nearer the
surface. Many insist on the impossibility
of possession by OLOKUN, and the
undesirable consequences of initiation
to this ORISA. Turning to Africa,
though, and specifically to Benin, will
present a different picture.
OLOKUN, according to the Bini, is the
supreme ruler of AGBON, or Earth. All
other deities fall under the dominion of
OLOKUN. This ORISA rules humanity,
as well, through the representative of
OLOKUNs power -- the chief (OBA).
According to the Bini, The ruler of the
sea is greater than the one on land. This
is only logical as the sea itself is much
greater than the land and accounts for
much more of the earths surface.
Worshippers create beautiful temples
for this ORISA. Magnificent largerthan-life statues of OLOKUN fill their
space, surrounded by courtiers. These
statues are modeled out of sacred earth
collected from ant hills or termite
mounds. The ceremony of preparation
includes the addition of magical and
medicinal herbs, EFUN, and kola-nuts.
Feet knead the mixture until it has the

proper consistency.
After the statues dry, their adornment
includes paint and embellishment with
mirrors, beads, cowries and cloth. Each
temple has its own style of painting.
The colors used range from simple,
somber combinations of black, white
and brown to greyish-blue, orange and
red.
In front of these imposing figures the
community gathers to sing, make offerings and receive the blessings and
pronouncements of OLOKUN
through their priest. OGUN,
ESANGO and EZIZA-The-Whirlwind
make appearances on the dance-floor.
Balance, harmony, and fluid arm
movements, like those of vines or
snakes, observed in an initiates body
announces the presence of OLOKUN.
After delivering messages from the
spirit world the priest is led to a secluded room to cool off and return to
AGBON. In Benin, possession by
OLOKUN is no cataclysm. It is miraculous, yes, and beyond the comprehension of the human mind. It is an
experience that is also inherent in the
worship of this deity.
Everywhere associates OLOKUN with
the idea of conception, which resonates
with the picture of a deity of the
depths, of the deepest mysteries of
life. Reflection, which involves surfaces, is also important in OLOKUNs
worship, though, as the phrase from
the song quoted at the beginning of this
article indicates. One praise-name for
OLOKUN is EZENUGHEGBE, which
translates as the Looking-Glass River.
Another, UHUANMEN, means that
OLOKUN is the Source of the Big

Sea. This ORISA has the attributes of


both the secrets of depths beyond the
depths and the revelatory qualities of a
mirror in Africa.
Practitioners in both the New World
and the Old speak of the enormous
wealth at OLOKUNs disposal; the
unimaginable treasures which originate
in the ocean. In Benin this deity also
occupies the crossroads between worlds
(IGHA-EDE) as does ESU. Perhaps
that position makes it easier for
OLOKUN to distribute this wealth.
The figure below illustrates the way in
which OLOKUN brings the blessings of
heaven directly to us.

Cowries, pearls, and coral may represent OLOKUNs wealth. Perhaps it is


the abundant supply of food the sea
guarantees. It may conceivably be the
birth of children, whose presence means
the continuation of our culture, our
heritage, and the care for our well-being
as we grow old. Primarily, it is life. Life
is the treasure brought to us from
heaven by the owner of the ocean.
By now the astute reader will realize
that I have avoided referring to this
deity as either male or female. Certainly OLOKUNs gender is a controversial subject. Scholars argue one way
and another. Some suggest a neuter or
bisexual identity. Praise songs are to
God, my father, but also to my
mother. OLOKUN is referred to as
both King and Queen of the waters.
cont. on page 20

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 4

TIKARA - ENI
THE ELEMENTS OF SELF
By AWO FA'LOKUN FATUNMBI
The foundation of any system of metaphysics is the concept of self. Many
forms of Christianity regard the self as
either evil or unworthy. It is only
through the process of accepting a specific set of beliefs, that the individual
can find salvation. This world view,
inconsistent with African forms of IFA,
has had a subtle influence on ORISA
worship in the West. The elders of
LUKUMI and SANTERIA lean toward
viewing the individual as someone who
is always in danger of angering the
ORISA. As a result, the process for
avoiding anger is to make periodic offerings to the ORISA in an effort to make
them happy.
The ORISA represent powerful Forces
in Nature, making it difficult to imagine
either the Ocean, the Fire, the Air or
the Earth becoming angry over the
specific actions of any given individual.
Catholic notions of death, purgatory
and original sin heavily influence the
idea that the ORISA are set on punishing those who disobey them. IFA teaches,
in contrast, that the world is a balanced
system that functions with its own
internal guidance system that maintains
harmony and growth. It is the individual
job of each to grasp this internal order,
then to live according to its inherent
principles.
In dissimilarity to Christianity, IFA does
not believe that the curse of Eve
burdens humans. IFA teaches that
everyone has right from birth to receive
the blessing of abundance, good health
and family. They manifest these
birthrights by integrating all the elements of the self.

TIKARA-ENI is the YORUBA word


for self. The word TIKARA is an
elision of TI meaning of, IKA
meaning envelop or world, and
ARA meaning physical body. The
word ENI is YORUBA for self.
TIKARA-ENI therefore refers to all
those elements that make up the total
person. The West frequently limits self
to the physical and emotional state. In
IFA the concept includes the physical
self, the emotional self, the spiritual
self and the influence of those Spiritual
Forces that have a direct influence on
individual destiny.
IFA considers the body the house of
both the intellect and the emotions. It
teaches that both mind and emotion
must be in alignment if life is to prosper. Once this alignment occurs the self
has access to spiritual power called
ASE. Upon access, the self can use
ASE in a ritual context to create alignment with ORISA. In simple terms,
living in alignment with ORISA means
living life in harmony with those Laws
of Nature that sustain Evolution.
IFA teaches that when the self experiences alignment with ORISA, the balanced connection between the physical, emotional and spiritual self occurs.
This experience is described as a joyous
event that motivates the entire body to
celebrate through movement. This is in
stark contrast to the common Western
perception of Spirit interaction, which
has a base of fear, suspicion and the
desire to maintain self-control.
During most ORISA ceremonies joyous
movement becomes collective dancing
that frequently occurs in front of a

mat. IFA considers the mat sacred space.


It is the place where the Spirit realm
and the Earth realm interact. When an
ORISA worshipper dances in front of
the mat, they are surrendering to the
possibility of Spirit possession. The
experience of Spirit possession is not
the intrusion of some alien entity. From
the perspective of IFA, Spirit possession
is a key element in the integration of the
total self. This point of view suggests
that the mat is a doorway that allows
for humans access to the invisible
dimension of Spiritual influence.
From a symbolic point of view, the mat
represents the inter-relationship between
all that exists in the universe. Dancing
in front of the mat is ceremonial
acknowledgement of the belief that
within the matrix of Creation, everyone
and everything is linked. The interwoven fibers that make up the entire fabric
of the mat represent the threads of all
forms of life. IFA expression does not
limit life to animals. IFA believes all
that exists in the world to have ORI,
which means consciousness.

This
excerpt
is
from
the
upcoming book IBA SE ORISA by
AWO FA'LOKUN FATUNMBI.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

Sitting crosslegged before a candle and


incense, I cast the coins. And from the
doorway comes my mothers terrified
cry:
Girl! I aint havin no conjurin in this
house!
That is how the journey began.
And this:
A dinner table talk with relations in
Alabama. . .As certain names are spoken, ideas expressed, my paternal aunts
and normally oh, so rational father,
toss salt over their shoulders without
missing a word or mouthful.
And this:
The beautiful, brick red aunt who hid
her long, wavy black hair beneath African wraps, places a chocolate brown
doll dressed in Native American clothes
next to my blonde Christmas Barbie
and murmurs in my ear: This is who
you are. Black and red. . .Black and red.
Remember that.
And:
Of the grandmother, Priscilla Patton, I
never knew, never saw, this:
They say somebody hex her, a wizened
Delta crone offers cautiously. Or
maybe she hex them first. Woman was
wild. Run off to get married by jumpin
out a window. Blouse got caught and
she jus shuck it off and lef it there.
Took the mule and gone, no blouse on!
And also:
The night after the death of Priscillas
eldest daughter, her youngest daughter, my mother, hears my electronic
metronome begin to tick, tick, tick,
slow and steady.
Joberta, you go on back now, my
mother says tenderly, touching the

PAGE 5

GETTING TO OYA
By Cynthia M. Dagnal-Myron
metronome as if it were her sister,
before turning it off with a firm click,
and no fear.
Yes. This is how the journey began. But
it ended half the continent away, on the
wind swept mesas of HOPI, where I
would wind up married to a KACHINA
carver and adopted by his tribe. When
the KACHINA/EGUNGUN danced, I
understood the drums, the guttural
chants. When I danced for the first
time myself, in the ancient plaza, with
the other women, the rain came -- a
blessing from the ancestors, who knew
what my aunt had told me: Black and
red. . .black and red. This is who you
are.
And so I ran with whirlwinds, in windstorms; stood in thunderstorms smiling
as the drops hit my face. Wild, like
someone else I knew. And someone
else I did not know. But I knew other
things: having suffered a miscarriage I
went up to a windy mesa top ruin, as I
often had before, and held sherds of
ancient pottery in my hands, knowing
the old ones would heal me, and send
me a healthy child, if I prayed and fed
them. And so my daughter was born,
the next spring, eyes wide open, her
frown too old for her face. Sassy eyes,
like someone else I knew. And someone else I did not know.
Months later, a teacher would arrive, a
schoolteacher who would become another kind of teacher. She had lived in
Brazil and studied CAMDOMBLE and
UMBANDA, and she would say, You
act like OYA. . .
And the journey would become a conscious one then. And as if to encourage
it, signs:

A sultry womans voice, waking me up


at dawn one morning, speaking my
name so tenderly I almost wept to hear
it. . .Lights going on at night, by themselves. . .An urge to collect and place
sherds in my husbands cornfield and
garden; to make a circle of sherds and
plant flowers, place found objects in it.
. .My daughters toy spaceship, turning
itself on, roaring loudly from a closet
shelf too high for her to reach, and my
daughter grinning up at it, once we
opened the door, as if she knew what I
knew (Grandma wants to play, I told
her, before I knew what I was saying
myself.). . .
Listening to a Brazilian singer, Djavan,
I asked my new teacher, What is that
chant there?
That is to OCHOSI, she said, smiling. That is an ORISA song.
And she gave me a gift: an article by
Luisah Teish to read. At the end of
which was a phone number. I put it
away until I began to build little altars
without knowing what I was doing it
for. I remembered something about
altars from the article. And one Super
Bowl Sunday after I had sat up all night
rearranging one of them, I crept away
from the KACHINA carver and his
HOPI football fan friends, to see if
Luisah would think I had lost my mind
-- or found it, at last, as I did.
AWO FaLokun Fatunmbi heard me
begin leaving a message, and interrupted
it, telling me to tell him exactly what I
had experienced. And his warm chuckles, as I did so, told me, Yes. . .Ive
come home at last.
cont. on page 20

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 6

ORDER OF ODU
BY OBA ECUN
WHO IS ESU ELEGBARA ?
He is the gate opener of opportunities
(opening whatever door is closed to us)
and the one that closes the doors to us.
There is no other ORISA like ESU
ELEGBARA. He is second to OLODUMARE, not even ORUNMILA has
his powers.
In Yoruba theology, ESU ELEGBARA
is respected as so versatile a character
that one must be wary of what one says
about him. He has often been called
either the Devil of the New Testament
or Satan. He is certainly not the Devil,
who is an outright evil power in opposition to the plan of Gods salvation of
man. On the whole, it would be nearer
truth to parallel him with Satan in the
Book of Job 2, where Satan was one of
the ministers of God and had the power
of trying mens sincerity and putting
their religion to proof.
What I have gathered from many years
of research, reference and sources is
that ESU ELEGBARA is primarily a
special relations officer between
heaven and earth -- the Inspector General who reports regularly to OLODUMARE on the deeds of the divinities
and men, checking and making reports
on the correctness of worship in general and sacrifices in particular.
Some BABALAWO hold the idea that
ESU ELEGBARA is the right hand to
ORUNMILA. His duty is not to run
errands for ORUNMILA; nor to always be in attendance upon him and act
under his orders. ORUNMILA is
assigned the duty of hearing the voices
of OLODUMARE and declaring His
will to the world. Whenever
ORUNMILAs declaration is not
heeded, it is the duty of ESU ELEGBARA to bring some calamity by way of
punishment upon the recalcitrant. In

return for the service which ESU


ELEGBARA gives, ORUNMILA feeds
him. Whenever he is not satisfied with
the feeding, he takes it upon himself to
spoil the works of ORUNMILA.
ESU is unique because he must always
be about his business of inspection. His
duty includes, among other things, the
inspection of worship and sacrifice.
ORUNMILA also belongs everywhere
and is the great consultant. His functions include the prescriptions of sacrifice and ritual acts. It is also believed
that there is a pact between ORUNMILA and Death brought about because of ESU ELEGBARA. ESU once
overcame Death in combat and deprived him of his powers. It was ORUNMILA who interfered with ESU to give
IKU (Death) back his powers.
ESU ELEGBARA and ORUNMILA
often work in collaboration. Once, all
the other ORISA conspired against
ORUNMILA and took him in accusation before OLODUMARE. It was
ESU ELEGBARA who defended him
and whose argument OLODUMARE
accepted. Whenever he works with
ORUNMILA it is ESU that approves
and bears the sacrifices to heaven. It is
through him that the works of ORUNMILA and the other ORISA will be
successful or not. Without the interference of ESU ELEGBARA nothing
will work. Sacrifice has to first be
made to him in order to be successful.
Those who know about this divinity
hold a healthy respect for him as do the
other divinities. This is because he holds
the power of life and death as prosperity or calamity depending on what reports he carries to OLODUMARE.
Therefore everyone seeks to be on good
terms with him. We hear many times of
a warning, BI A BA RUBO, KI A MU
TESU KURU (when sacrifices are of-

fered, the portion which belongs to


ESU ELEGBARA should be set aside
for him). He is a mischief-maker, quite
capable of causing confusion, creating
complicated situations or promoting
malice among people. By his guile, he
would make enemies of very close
friends, cause husbands and wives to
quarrel and make antagonisms among
the family nucleus.
Some say there is an unmistakable
element of evil in ESU ELEGBARA
and for that reason he has been associated with the Devil. They say his primary function in this world is to spoil
things. Even so, we cannot call him the
Devil -- not in the Judeo-Christian
sense of that name. Whatever elements of evil there are in ESU
ELEGBARA can also be found to some
degree in most of the other divinities.
He is not the personal embodiment of
evil standing in opposition to goodness.
ESU ELEGBARA is how he is,
created by OLODUMARE with dual
personalities, that of good and that of
bad. These dual personalities were precisely what OLODUMARE wanted in
him because there would be no one
better to judge the human character.
When all of this has been admitted,
though, it is quite clear still that we of
the Yoruba descent in this new world
place almost every evil tendency and
practice in man down to ESU
ELEGBARAs agency. Whenever a
person commits any deed which results
in unpleasantness or harm to himself or
his neighbors, we immediately say,
ESU LO TI I, (It is ESU ELEGBARA who is making him do it). There
is also a strong belief that we can use
him against an enemy. There are many
rituals that can be done in regards to
this situation, but if you are not familiar and do not have the savvy to do
these rituals, I would suggest not to get

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

started in something that can turn


against you. You must keep in mind
that the enemy against whom you are
doing the enchantment may have more
knowledge than you do and can perhaps work with ESU ELEGBARA better than you. Keep this in mind at all
times.
Another thing to always keep in mind is
that when he becomes angry, ESU
ELEGBARAs fury is not easily restrained. Whenever he is to be used for
anything, make sure you know how to
control his anger, otherwise he can be
destructive.
ESU ELEGBARA, nevertheless, is to
be used and paid homage to at all times
and by everyone -- this is a must. I will
recommend to all of you to only use
him for good deeds. When he is so put
to work he can be benevolent. Whenever he is to be called upon for help, be
sure to address him by BABAMI (my
father). When you are walking along
and see a rock that calls your attention,
be careful -- that rock could be ESU
ELEGBARA calling you mentally --to
pick him up and take him home.
We want ESU ELEGBARA at our right
side at all times. He is worshipped all
over the YORUBA land and in the new
world. Without a doubt, he is the first
divinity in the ORISA pantheon -- there
is no place where he is not called upon
for help. In order to be everywhere at
once he manifests himself as follows:
he is the highest and the lowest, prince,
garbage collector, adolescent, elder,
etc. He adopts any identity in order to
make his presence, powers and will
felt. Everywhere there is ritual to any
ORISA he is the intermediary among
man and the ORISA, but he is also
first; trouble will come if this is not so.
He works in close contact with ORUNMILA, OSUN, SANGO, YEMONJA
and ODUDUWA, but he is number
one and a servant to no one, including
ORUNMILA-IFA.
Because of all I have said in reference
to ESU ELEGBARA and also because

PAGE 7

he happens to be my favorite ORISA,


I will say to you and the four WINGS:
NG BA ROGBO NG BA GBO;
NG BA RATO, NG BA TO;
NG BA RAGBA BI ESU ELEGBARA
MA YO SESE
If I possess the means of old age, I will
be
old;
If I possess the means of long life, I
will
live
long;
If I can be as old as ESU;
I will rejoice exceedingly.
DUPUE, DUPUE ESU ELEGBARA
BABAMI ASE OO.
Thank, thank ESU ELEGBARA my
father the grace be with you.
Note: The prayers written here may be
used to salute ESU ELEGBARA and
also to do work with him, or make an
offering or sacrifice.
SALUTE TO ELEGBA AND PRAYER
TO ELEGBARA
BI S BA WA NRE LEE EMU
ELEGBA MI
BI A BA WA NRE LE ESU ELEGBARA MI.
ONIJA, OO
EJEMU OLUWONRAN
A-DI-GIRI-GIRI-RE BI-IJA
LABALABA KAN MI ETA O FO
RAKINRAKIN.
ESU ELEGBARA, MA BA MJA.
MA BA MSIRE.
EGBE NI O SE FUN MI
O NO OMBOMODE SIRE.
MO REJE LOJU-ITO OMOBINRING YELEYELE.
ESU ELEGBARA MJA.
MA BA MSIRE
O NI O MBOKUNRIN SIRE.
MO REJE LOJU-ITO RE YELEYELE.
ESU ELEGBARA, MA BA MJA.
MA BA MISIRE.
O MBAKIKO SIRE.
OWON FA A LORUN TU.
ESU ELEGBARA MA BA MJA
MA B MSIRE.

O MBAUNKO SIRE
NWON MA DUMBU RE O.
ESU ELEGBARA, MA BA MJA.
MABA MSIRE
O MBAKOJA SIRE
NWON BE AKOJA NI ORI.
ESU ELEGBARA, MA BA MJA
MA BA MSIRE.
ONIJA, O LE.
A-DI-GIRI-GIRI-REBI-IJA.
MODUPUE ELEGBARA BABAMI.
Now I will chant a salute to my
ELEGUA
OBELLIGEREN One, you are not
cruel.
The EJEMU foremost chief of
IWONRAN Town.
He will prepare himself and go to
fight.
A butterfly chances upon a civet-cats
excrement and flies high.
ELEGBA, dont fight against me.
Dont play with me.
Just be to me a giver of good luck.
You said you were playing with a
child.
I saw much blood flowing from the
girls private parts.
ELEGBA, dont fight against me.
Dont play with me.
You said you were playing with a
boy.
I saw much blood flowing from the
boys private parts.
ELEGBA dont play with me.
You were playing with a rooster.
The rooster head was torn from the
neck.
ELEGBA dont fight against me.
Dont play with me.
You were playing with a goat.
The sheep was slaughtered with a
knife.
ELEGBA dont fight against me.
Dont play with me.
You were playing with a male dog
The male dog was beheaded.
ELEGBA dont fight against me.
Dont play with me
cont. on page 21.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 8

ASE...WHAT IS IT?
By BABALAWO OSEFAFUN
ASE...WHAT IS IT?
Since the beginning of time mankind
has been plagued by the thought of
how to become holy to get close to the
God(s). Mankind has developed all the
means in order to make life easier and
to avoid almost all physical labor.
History has seen how life as our ancestors knew it evolved from the six simple
machines -- the pulley, level, incline
plane, wheel and axle, wedge, and
screw. These simple machines changed
the world; that is the physical part of
ASE. To an extent that is wonderful
but only to an extent because what we
created to make our life easier really
enslaves us to our work. We get
farther away from our creator. When
man developed the first construction
crane he created a way to speed up
production. That which took him ten
years to manufacture can now be done
ten times faster but the focus is not on
cutting time. What has actually been
created is GREED. As a computer
tech, it has been taught that computers
were originally designed to help man
speed up calculations and retrieve
masses of information as quickly as
possible. Today those uses are still
realized but there are also people
working overtime in order to meet
deadlines or making sure they dont
lose the stock market Qs - all this
man has created but how has this been
possible?
According to the oral tradition handed
down to me by my godfather Carlos
ODUNJO Canet and from his IFA
godfather, the renowned late ARABA
of Lagos, Nigeria, FAGBEMI
AJANAKU (my great-grandfather in
IFA IBA-E BAE TONU!) all this has
been possible through the power of
ASE.
Many who are initiated to our faith,
whether it is called SANTERIA, LU-

CUMI or the YORUBA religion, are


confused in their understanding of ASE.
This includes several priests who have
long been initiated and who have initiated many others without they themselves knowing what is, who provides
and how to acquire ASE.
Energy, according to the physicists, is
anything that can be converted into
work through the application of force.
If we go back to the simple machines
mentioned at the beginning, we see
that man converted raw minerals into
the construction crane. He has turned
the implements of OGUN, the raw
forest, into houses, boats, furniture
and OSE-SANGO. Could we be confident enough to say that all this is a
manifestation of ASE? Can we state
that ASE is also energy and the application of force is OLODUMARE, even
though those things need something
else to make them do what they were
supposed to do (unless ASE is applied
the machine will be unproductive, just
like a human being)? Are all these
manifestations of ASE? Not to some
of the priests of our faith. To us, it is
a little more or a little less, depending
on who is doing the talking. In fact, to
some unscrupulous priests, it means
the exchange of physical ASE for money
(initiating without the real ASE,) not
thinking of the irreversible damage
that will be done to a person and to the
spirit.
ASE means the blessings and the
divine will of OLODUMARE. These
blessings are illustrated in certain materials of natural origin. At the same
time they represent spiritual strength
and the divine will power. ASE must
be used in all ceremonies of this religion of ours.
Even though anyone can make ASE in
the literal sense, not everyone possesses the real ASE. Because we know

that all in the Universe exists in pairs,


including us, we know that ASE comes
in a pair, called the Physical ASE and
the Spiritual ASE which both work
together. All priests must be well
identified with OLODUMARE in order
to command the power of this thing
called ASE - we BABALAWO also call
it OSE-TURA. An IWORO or a BABALAWO cannot go to a botanica and
purchase the Spiritual ASE; they can
only obtain the Physical. If they are
not well identified with OLODUMARE
the preparation of the ASE, as priests
and BABALAWO know it, will be nullified in the heavens and earth. Even
though a priest is born, their life is
exactly as that of a child being born and
will be nothing until they meet their
second in the cosmos in preparation to
meet OLODUMARE. The IWORO
and BABALAWO can only obtain Spiritual ASE through an exemplary moral
attitude in every aspect, including love
for the parent, brother, sister, neighbor, environment (animal, plants, waterways) and self, to just name a few.
This is how a priest gains the recognition on earth and heavens thereby giving us reason to say that they have ASE.
Neither color, sex, nor religion matters
in order to possess ASE if all the above
is followed. But you can offer the
ORISA each the biggest four legged
animals there are and if your heart is
dirty you will not get the attention of
OLODUMARE. There are many who
follow this lesser path -- priests
diabolically insisting that the women
who come to them must have sex with
them in order for EBO done to work.
Priests charging $500 for five ILEKE.
The list goes on. These are extremes,
of course, but are the destructors of
our faith. As there are bad parents in
family structures, so are there bad
godparents in our religion. As there are
bad leaders and bad doctors, so are
there bad priests. My advice to those
seeking the true ASE is to always check
and get a second opinion and never be
afraid or intimidated. Walk the path of
wisdom and righteousness with your
chin high and I guarantee you that you
will also soon possess the true ASE.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

I am BABALAWO OSEFAFUN I have


walked the long path and now I have
acquired the experience to guide others
and have not been discouraged. If any
need explanation or commentary please
get in touch with the editor who knows
how to contact me. On the other
hand, if you are a priest and feel
threatened by this, reorganize yourself,
your heart and goals because the
Universe needs you. May the power of
my mother OSUN clean your body and
may the power of my father
ORUNMILA give you wisdom.
ABORU ABOYE ABOSESE.

IL RNML
AFRIKAN IMPORTS
We deal in authentic
RS paraphernalia:
OPN IF, RK IF,
YR OSUN, EW IF
(herbs), IKIN IF,
PL, African RI
(shea butter), feathers,
EFUN, shells, ALE
(medicine for men),
RNML magazines,
cloths, fabric, art, and
so on.
Open Mon. - Sat.
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
515 W. 21st Street
San Bernardino, CA
92405
P.O. Box 2265
Tel. (909) 886-6023
(888) 678-6645
Fax: (909) 475-5850

PAGE 9

GOLDEN AGE\OPON IFA


By AWO FASINA FALADE
Civilization is much older than supposed and western society is in reality a poor shadow of the past. I wish
to discuss the time of long ago. We
will call it the Golden Age, where
people were wise and compassionate
beyond all comprehension. When
all knew their relationship with the
natural order of the universe. The
true laws of ODUMARE were the
factors that contained all life. They
were genuinely men like gods and did
in fact converse with the ORISA.
Punishment and fear did not exist in
this time. Men had not dug ditches
to protect themselves from
themselves. There were no weapons,
war, nor hunger. The people were
free from care and the earth was
untouched by plow, yet produced
everything needed to survive. It was
unquestionably a time of
ODUMARE, BABA ABON,
IFA\Truth\Wisdom.
Unfortunately, people took this
blessing for granted and turned their
backs on the teachings of the elders.
ODUMARE in his compassion sent
ORISNLA to guide the lost ones
back into the fold, this was the
Silver Age. For the first time, the
parched air did glow with heat and
ice, which caused people to seek
shelters. They built houses of thick
shrubs and twigs fastened together.
Seeds were buried in long furrows
and the animals groaned, pressed by
the yoke of plowshares. ORISNLA
came to show the morality needed
to gain the grace of ODUMARE,
but the people heeded not. Still,
ODUMARE is ever compassionate
and sent another, OSUN, to guide
the suffering home. This was the

Brass Age, more fierce in disposition


and prone to horrible warfare. The
plows had become tools of destruction. Yet OSUN was compassionate
and tried to guide the lost back, without success. Again ODUMARE sent
his guide OGUN. This is known as the
Iron age.
Perfection is not in the future but in the
past. Each of the ages are superior to
the one that follows. The world has
declined, not improved and the cycle
continues until the New Dawn of
Wisdom is upon us again. At present,
we are in the Iron Age with the world
situation growing more dismal each
year. We are at the eve of destruction
-- the time when life reaches its ultimate degeneration. No evolution of
morality but the justification of decadence. No respect for the law of
ODUMARE, but the raping of ONILE, which provides our existence. IFA
shows the wisdom of the Elders and the
salvation in developing IWA-RERE
(Good Character). It is your choice, to
survive in harmony with the IMALE/
ORISA or to continue to destroy our
relationship with ODUMARE.

F I R E
B I R T H
M O R A L I T Y
S I L V E R
O B A T A L A

L I F E
B R A S S
O S U N
COMPASSION
W A T E R

S P I R I T
I F A
G O L D
WISDOM
AIR

OGUN
I R O N
D E S T R U C T I O N
D E A T H
E A R T H

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 10

TORTOISE AND THE ELEPHANT


By Chief/Ms. FAMA
This article is for the benefit of our
children, our continuity in RS
worship. The article is a childrens story
from African perspective and it starts
with the following song:
ERIN K REL , K W JOBA
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: Elephant, lets go home and be
made a king

ERIN K REL , K W JOBA


ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: Elephant, lets go home and be
made a king
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
To tell children a story in YORBLAND, the children will first of all be
assembled; then the narrator will start
the story with the following dialogue:

Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant


Narrator: N GB KAN
WY
LA

RE,
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: By this time of tomorrow
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
AGADA A MA SE F,
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y

Once upon a time


Children: GB KAN NLO, GB
KAN MB, GB KAN K
TN LY
One time is going, one time is
coming, there will always be
a time on earth

Lead: Machetes will be busy cutting


meat

Narrator: N OJ KAN

Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant

Once upon a day,

KNM A MA SE GB
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: The sound of the clubs will be
heard everywhere

Children: OJ KAN NLO, OJ KAN


MB,
OJ
KAN
K
TN LY
One day is going, one day is coming,
there will always be a day on earth.

Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant


GBOGBO NYN MA YTA
LNU
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: There will be a great feast

Narrator: My story is about the cunning tortoise (turtle)

Story:
In ancient time, there was a town that
was constantly terrorized by a mighty
elephant. It was not very easy for
hunters of the town to kill the elephant
because of its size. To kill such a big
elephant required the joint effort of
several powerful hunters. At that time,
elephants were not friendly with people
because elephants lived in the forest
and human being lived in villages or
towns. That means that there were no
zoos then, therefore, Elephant and Man
regarded each other as enemies. There
were not many powerful hunters in
that town at that time. Therefore,
elders of the town had a meeting with
the OBA (king) and their discussion at
the meeting was on what to do to save
the town from the elephants reign of
terror. This meeting of the elders is
called JO GB, Council of Elders.
At the Council of Elders, the elders
agreed that an announcement be made
that whoever could capture or kill the
elephant would receive a big reward.
The following day after the Elders
meeting, the town crier went round the
town with AGOGO (a gong - musical
instrument) announcing to the town
people that the King had a reward for
whoever could kill or capture the terror
elephant. At this ancient time, there
was no radio, no television, no
newspapers, and there was none of the
modern mass media equipments.
Announcements were usually made by
town criers.

Children: Tortoise again!


Narrator: You know every story about
him.

Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant


The narrator then begins the story.

When Tortoise heard this announcement, Tortoise was happy because of


the reward aspect of the bargain. Tortoise was happy because he was greedy.
Tortoise was also cunning. Tortoise

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

knew that he would not be able to kill


the elephant, but Tortoise also knew
that with skillful planning (remember
Tortoise is a cunning reptile), he could
get Elephant alive to the town. Tortoise thought very hard on the scheme
to take Elephant alive to the town and
when he was sure that there was a good
scheme, Tortoise went to the King and
told the King that he would bring Elephant alive to the town.
The King was surprised at Tortoise and
he asked Tortoise how on earth he
could do that, saying, Tortoise, you
are such a small reptile that the elephant wouldnt even feel it if it stepped
on you. How would you bring Elephant
to town?
Tortoise told the King not to worry
about him. Tortoise demanded that a
beautiful throne be prepared for Elephant but that the throne should sit on
a covered pit. The King summoned
elders of the town and told them
Tortoises request. The elders agreed to
give Tortoise a chance to prove itself.
As demanded by Tortoise, the people
dug a deep pit, covered it, and then
made a beautiful throne on it.
Meanwhile, Tortoise went in search of
the elephant. Tortoise found the elephant and made a friendly gesture to
the elephant. Fortunately for Tortoise,
the elephant returned Tortoises gesture
with a smile. Tortoise worked hard and
before long, a good friendship was
established between the two. Once
this was done, Tortoise started working
on his plan to deceive Elephant into the
town. Tortoise started flattering the
elephant, telling the elephant how
beautiful, majestic, strong, and mighty
it was. Elephant ignorantly fell for
Tortoises flattery. Before long, Tortoise became Elephants trusted friend
to the extent that Elephant started
believing whatever Tortoise told him.
When Tortoise knew that he had build
Elephants confidence in him, he started
telling the elephant that the elephant

PAGE 11

needed to go and live in a town. One


day Tortoise said to the
elephant,Elephant, you know you do
not belong in the forest. With your
power, you should be a king among
people in a town. Elephant replied
that he was not sure if he could ever be
made a king in a human environment.
Tortoise told him that he knew of a
town where they wanted an elephant as
king and the, Tortoise, believed that
Elephant would fit in that position.
Elephant was surprised at Tortoises
news and told Tortoise that he did not
believe the news. Because Tortoise had
planned his strategy well, he mounted
pressure on Elephant to believe him
and also that Elephant should be
prepared for a big kingship installation
ceremony. Tortoise cunningly convinced
the elephant to agree to a date for the
ceremony. Between Tortoise and the
elephant, a day was fixed for Elephants
journey to the town.

thrilled at the reception for him and he


thanked Tortoise. So thrilled was
Elephant that he never paid attention to
the song about his imminent death.
When the people saw Tortoise with the
elephant, they were happy but they
kept their distance because they could
not predict what the elephant might do.
When they realized that the elephant
was happy, they increased the tempo of
their music. They started singing, saying:

Once this date was fixed, Tortoise


secretly sent back to town. Getting
there, Tortoise told the people to assemble at the gate to the town with
pomp and pageantry. Tortoise told
them that as soon as he and the elephant emerged from the bush, the
people should start singing, drumming,
and dancing to welcome elephant to
the town. Also that the singing, drumming and dancing should continue until
they get to the death trapped-throne
made for the elephant. Tortoise told
the hunters that were to kill the elephant to be in disguise and to hide
someplace near the pit. When Tortoise
finished with the arrangement, Tortoise
went back to the forest. On the agreed
day, Elephant was jittery at the prospect
of the days event. At the same time,
Elephant was happy because he was
going to be made a king. Tortoise and
Elephant made the journey from the
forest to the town. Elephant was
happy throughout the journey. By the
time the twosome got to the gate that
led to the town, singing, drumming and
dancing were going on. Elephant was

Lead: By this time of tomorrow

ERIN K REL , K W
JOBA
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: Elephant, lets go home and be
made a king
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
WY
LA

RE,
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y

Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant


AGADA A MA SE F,
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: Machetes will be busy cutting
meat
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
KNM A MA SE GB
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: The sound of the clubs will be
heard everywhere
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
GBOGBO NYN MA YTA
LNU
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y
Lead: There will be a great feast
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
cont. on page 21

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 12

IFA
BY CHIEF FELA SOWANDE
The late Chief Fela Sowande was a
professor of Pan African Studies for Kent
State University/ Born in OYO, Nigeria, in 1905, he received a good deal of
his higher education from British schools.
He discovered that for all his learning
his roots held the true knowledge. He
returned home to research his culture
and wrote a number of papers on
traditional YORUBA. The unpublished
papers were left to the Department of Pan
African Studies at Kent. Permission has
been given to share some of his work with
our readers. Discussion is certainly
welcomed as well as critique. The
following is an continuation of an
unedited excerpt from Chief Sowandes
paper entitled IFA. - SG
Acknowledgements are due to the Ancient Religious Society of African Descendants Association for permission to
quote freely from their collection, and
to those who readily granted access to
private libraries of rare books. They
remain anonymous as a protection
against the curious-minded, whose
curiosity is only equaled by their forgetfulness to return borrowed books. Fela Sowande.
We have therefore in the YORUBA
System, OLORUN, ELEDA & OLODUMARE. Of the three, OLODUMARE is the least rarefied, be He is still
neither Matter, nor conditioned by Matter. He is the Root of that which
eventually becomes Matter; the Root
of that which eventually becomes Form;
we may perhaps regard Him as the
Germ from which the Principles of
Form and of Matter subsequently develop. He is pure Spirit, but so near to
manifestation, that He enters into virtually every aspect of Manifested Life,
not because He is the Supreme God,
which He is not, be because He may be

likened to the Permanent Secretary


of a Minister of State, in whom the
Minister places absolute confidence,
and who deals with the general
public on behalf of the Minister.
One does not upset such a Permanent Secretary and expect the
Minister to have much time for one!
OLODUMARE is vitally important
because of this sort of relationship
with OLORUN -- the Supreme Deity; but also because these Three
Names represent Three States of
Manifestation of That which, in every System like that of the YORUBA,
is forever Nameless, the IT, from
which even the Supreme Deity -OLORUN -- derives, of which it has
been said, in another system: - I am,
without beginning, without end,
older than night or day, younger
than the babe new-born, brighter
than light, darker than darkness,
beyond all things and creatures, yet
fixed in the heart of every one.
From me the shining worlds flow
forth, to me all at last return, yet to
me neither men nor angels may
draw nigh, for I am known only to
myself. Ever the same is my inmost
being; absolutely one, complete,
whole, perfect; always itself, eternal,
infinite, ultimate; formless,
indivisible, changeless...Of all existences I am the source, the continuation, and the end. I am the germ,
I am the growth, I am the decay. All
things and creatures I send forth; I
support them while yet they stand
without; and when the dream of
separation ends, I cause their return
unto myself...Apart from me there
is neither wisdom, nor knowledge,
nor understanding. Into every state
of knowledge do I enter, into false
knowledge as well as into true, so
that I am not less the ignorance of

the deluded than the wisdom of the sage.


For what thou callest ignorance and folly
is my pure knowing imperfectly expressed
through an uncompleted image of my
divine perfection...Mine is the healing
influence flowing down from consecrated
hands, mine the venom of the adders
fang. Nothing falleth but my me, and in
whatsoever riseth, mine is the power that
lifteth up...Before all worlds, I WAS: In
all worlds I AM: And when worlds are
but a memory, I SHALL BE.
Of this same IT, it is also said: From
my substance all things derive their substance, and all that hath form is built
from my four-fold elemental
manifestation. Four are the subtle
principles which the wise conceal from
the uninitiate by the names: FIRE,
WATER, AIR, EARTH. In endless variety
of mixture and proportion, directed by
my Will, these mingle together for the
production of forms. They are
transmutations of a single essence and
from their mingling are brought forth all
things. It is the writers currently held
view that, in the YORUBA System,
OLORUN correlates with FIRE; ELEDA
correlates with AIR; OLODUMARE
correlates with WATER; and OFUN
(HEPA) correlates with EARTH. The
single essence from which They all derive
is the un-named and unnameable IT.
These same oral traditions state
categorically that the permuted names of
OLORUN, viz: OLORUN-ELEMI, OLORUN-ALANU, etc., were imported by
the YORUBA converts and had no place
in the Traditional System per se. Idowus
OLODUMARE, asone who is supreme,
superlatively great, incomparable, and unsurpassable in majesty, excellent in
attributes, stable, unchanging, constant,
reliable, may apply to the concept of
OLODUMARE in YORUBA Christianity. It simply does not belong in YORUBA

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

Traditional System, where we find this


Stanza, cited by Lijadu: OJU MPON
OLODUMARE, OJU MPON ORUNMILA; OLODUMARE NA RUBO KE.
NWON JUMO YAN ASOBILIKI ERANLA KOKAN ATI OGBOGBOKANLA LI EBO FUN ARA WON.
AWON MEJEJI GBO EBO, NWON
RUBO. Briefly, OLODUMARE was
in dire straits; ORUNMILA was in dire
straits; OLODUMARE told ORUNMILA to offer sacrifice; ORUNMILA
said OLODUMARE too should offer
sacrifice; each divined for the other;
each sacrificed. Lijadu adds a footnote
to say that this Stanza, from EJIOGBE,
was one of which BABALAWO stood
in great dread; it was with difficulty he
was able to persuade his BABALAWO
to recite the Stanza, and even then,
Lijadu was led into a corner, and the
Stanza recited by the BABALAWO
mouth-to-ear. The story given by Lijadu,
may be briefly summed up as follows:
OLODUMARE and ORUNMILA were
out walking one day; they suddenly fell
into a deep pit, from which, try as they
would, they could not get out. They
were there for days, until the monkey
(EDUN) happened to discover them
there; he went, collected some fruits
which he threw to them; they ate,
regained strength to climb out, but
were both still so shaken by their
experience that they went and shut
themselves up in Heaven, and no one
could get them to come out, except
EDUN who threatened to spill the
beans about the discomfiture he had
found them in, at which both hastily
emerged from their hiding place. Here
is no picture of OLODUMARE as
conceived by Mr. Idowu. But we cannot
re-write the ODU corpus to satisfy any
author, and they must be our ultimate
points of reference.

PAGE 13

MARRIAGE ACCORDING TO YORUBA CULTURE


By CHIEF ADETUNJI OLOKODANA
Marriage is as old as man. Marriage according to YORUBA culture is an
ancient institution. The conditions surrounding marriage involves the
bride and the groom, the extended families on both sides, as well as the
community in general. This condition, therefore, makes it impossible for
any couple to pick up each other and decide to get married at short
notice. It also makes divorce a difficult exercise. Divorce rate under
YORUBA culture is at 2% in the rural areas and about 10% in the cities.
In my subsequent articles I will dwell extensively on the following
important pillars of marriage in YORUBA culture:
A. The Consent of the Bride and Groom
B. The involvement of the extended families
C. Dowry (a gift of money or property by a bridgroom
to the bride)
D. Marriage dos and taboos

AfriCarribean BBS
We are proud to announce the creation of an electronic Bulletin Board System
that will focus on those issues near and dear to those appreciative of ancient
African tradition and its progeny in the New World.The service will provide
many of the general BBS features such as message centers, chat modes and
E-mail along with a few features unique to our particular needs. It is scheduled
to "boot up" on October 4th of this year and will be available to all users
of IBM compatible computers with modems. For more information, contact
OYA'S MARKETPLACE, P. O. Box 21521, Canton, OH 44701-1521,
(216) 588-9549.

TO BE CONTINUED...

P. S. All those who would be interested in serving as Sysops (system


operators) in their particular areas are invited to discuss their desires with us.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 14

Journey to Self
by Omope Daboiku

Well, the money for tickets is in hand;


actually, in drawer - performance
payments remaining uncashed for fear
they will be invested. I am one for
adventure, but I dont handle
disappointment well and dont want to
have to deal with it here. Questions begin
to mount. Where will I go? Will I, or the
baby, get sick? Should I wean her or not?
What shots are needed? Birth
certificates...passports...visas.
My first insight into the character of
Nigeria as a nation is the visa form. Upon
calling the consolate, I am advised to
submit a written request along with my
passport. Check. The form I receive is at
least a photocopy of a ninth generation
photocopy, lines of the letters broken,
readibility compromised; totally unlike
our immaculately printed and numbered
paperless carbon copies. I am later to
realize that this is a deep clue lending to
the psychological preparation helpful in
absorbing the shock later to come.
With the visa forms I send an express
mail return envelope addressed to a
friends Cleveland home. We will drive to
Cleveland, store the van, catch the train
and ride in relative comfort; take a taxi to
JFK airport and then be off. But first,
airline tickets and a departure date. We
choose to fly Nigerian Airways; it is the
only inexpensive airline we know and the
flight is direct from New York to Lagos. It
has also been suggested that the
experience will help me understand my
people. After trying several times a day,
several days in a row, we decide to use
a travel company where a friend works.
Finally, tickets and flight day. But still no
visa. While waiting, we get shots for this,
that and the other.
Day of departure to New York,
everything goes so screwy that we miss
our designated departure time and
realize that we cannot catch the train to
the Capital City. The money from the train
tickets, however, is necessary to travel by
car. I go to the depot - there is no agent.
The sign on the door indicates the agent
is thirty minutes late due back from lunch.
One hour later, the lunchbreak is still not
over. With a prayer on my lips, I approach
the information kiosk. (You see, Amtrak
departs Cincinnati from the museum

center at Union Terminal.) After explaining


the situation to a clerk she smiles, askes
for the tickets and promptly refunds the
money, no questions asked. I take that as
a sign that travel will be smooth.
On the road, excited, I ask question
after question. How many days in Lagos
before going on to Owo? Will we see
Ibadan, what of Ile Ife? Theres a family
friend in Osogbo I hope to see, not to
mention Osun Grove and Susan
Wagners sculpture.
It dawns on me, about three p.m., to
call the Cleveland Heights post office to
see if the express package has been
delivered. They have no record of any
delivery. Better call the consulate. The
visas are ready; no, they wont be mailed
today. The mail clerk is already finished
for the day and, God forbid, that anyone
else would step into that sphere of
responsibility. (Second clue as to the
character of Nigeria.)
Drive, drive, drive to New York. Every
mile brings more anxiety and relief;
polarity and surface tension become
understandable concepts. Good thing
Ive remembered to bring the consulate
address. We park nearby at about five
a.m. and wait until the office opens. First
in, first served; with visas in hand its on
to Brooklyn. The van will be left with a
cousin. I say a very sincere prayer for its
safety. Off to the airport at two p.m. for an
eight p.m. flight. Am I in for an eye opener!
Upon arrival, Im told that we are very late
and then I see the queue and the baggage.
Suitcases big enough to smuggle a short
adult, boxes big enough for a refrigerator
held together with string, and sacks
galore. Folks pushing, conniving each
other to advance in line, and constant
chatter among the departees.
I am again privy to the Nigerian mind
as a passenger feigns surprise when
the desk clerk announces that his bulging
suitcase (with which assistance was
needed to even get it up five inches to the
scale!) is overweight and requires an
additional charge. My surprise is
authentic, though, when informed that a
ten percent surcharge of the adult fare is
required for the fifteen month baby who
will be in my lap. After the argument about

my ability to get correct information in


advance, the fee is paid. Tickets in hand,
we proceed to the departure terminal.
Wait, wait, wait. At eight p.m. the plane
that we are supposed to get on hasnt
even arrived. Im told it was probably late
getting to its designated point. Nigerian
Airways seems to be caught in a time
warp, literally...late to depart point A, late
to arrive point B, surcharge for late arrival;
late to depart, late to arrive, surcharge. It
is a vicious cycle. Another clue.
After several false starts, the flight is
announced at two a.m. and folks
stampede to the gate. Here there is no
concept of line; instead, there is simply
a bulge of humanity complete with hand
lugguage that could easily fill a moving
truck. Arguments and insults; voices
raised to indecent levels for public
interaction. I anticipate blows being
exchanged, but soon realize that the hot
energy of insult has more power than
physical contact. Folks finally settle down
and I survey the aircraft. Whoa! The seats
are almost uncomfortable and very close.
The movie screen is smaller than the one
used in the sixties to show home movies.
The hostesses cotton suits show the
stress of cleaning; the stewardesses
attitudes reflect their uniforms. Everything
is on the verge of shabby. This is
confirmed when food is served. Vending
machine sandwiches would have been
more appreciated. In the attempt to provide
Western food versus traditional fare,
the meal served is inadequate. Luckily,
anxiety is filling my stomach so the food
is of little consequence. Also, since the
baby has a ticket and teeth, I insist she
also have a food tray; so, I do have
something to snack on through the night.
The flight is smooth but hot. Ive got on
too many clothes. Advice from someone
who had obviously never flown Nigerian
Airways. Thank goodness the baby has
on layers and we all get some sleep. The
ride is long and Im conscious that I am
leaving all that is certain behind. But, can
one ever be certain? That is the stuff of
which adventures are made. Surely, the
spice of life is the titillation of uncertainty.
This is what plays in my brain as I drift off
to sleep. Heading home in relative comfort

OYA'S MARKETPLACE
compared to the forward journey. Of one
thing I am certain this is no vacation. I
cannot afford to be a tourist. I must drink
it, breathe it, and dissect it all. I cannot be
a passive observer: I am going home and
home is where youre an integregal part
of the whole...they need you as badly as
you need them. ASE, I sigh as we rush
headlong further and further east toward
the rising sun.
When I woke up, the sun was glistening
off the floor of clouds below us. As I
marveled over the phenomena of flight, I
noticed the clouds part and Mother Africa
peep through. I could not see Her clearly,
but the sighting alone pulled at my
umbilical center so that I immediately
searched my bag for the handkerchief
that Aunt Zelma (actually a maternal first
cousin, once removed) had given me
especially for The Trip. Here I am choosing
to fly into the arms of fate, back to my
mothers bosom; I reflect on the sensation
of terror They The Departed could
possibly have felt being torn from the
same mother. Tears flow for those lying
between shores all those safe in
OLOKUNs kingdom, fertilizing all life in
the biosphere. We ride over land for a
long while before those expert in this
passage begin to reach for luggage. The
plane lands like a snowflake on glass.
Everyone applauds the pilot; yes, they
actually clap and shout praises on the
ability of their countrymans skill how
African!
The Test began the moment we
deplaned: We had just crossed the
Atlantic Ocean solely dependent upon
extremely sophisticated technology and
upon arriving at Murtula Mohammed
Airport must climb down like a bus station
only there at least one gets delivered
to a covered curb, just in case of rain; but
here, no such courtesy. Then, The Line.
Waiting to enter, everyone waits on line.
Passport, with visa stamped in, and
medical papers are examined cursorily,
oh so slowly, as if slowness insures
some level of quality.
Its hot inside the airport, humid hot;
sweat, several levels above perspiration,
pours between the creases of my body.
I now understand what people who are
claustrophobic feel. The air is still, tepid.
No exhaust fans are blowing. Nothing is
automated except for the folks in line; they
behave like trained animals, patiently
standing on line knowing there is no
value to being impatient.

PAGE 15
It dawns on me that uniforms are
everywhere; its like a business suit it
seems that everyone in charge of anything
has on one. The women have wear
anklets and pumps looking more like
Girl Scouts (Guides) than Madonna. The
colors of the uniforms reaffirm the
dullness of the earth and trees, with every
now and then a skyblue flash of some
ranking officer. Nigeria was to be like just
that dull and dirty with flashes of
brilliance the textiles, the architectural
forms, murals, sculptures, rivers,
mountains and the people juxtaposed to
the dirt, trash, pollution, disrepair and
jumbled development.
Suddenly, my mind shifts and I realize
that all hosts are waiting outside, not
allowed to come inside to greet their
guests. As Im trying to digest this new
issue of control, a guard motions to my
husband and the following conversation
occurs, Sir, welcome home. Sir, this is
a camera, yes? It is too obvious. I would
suggest placing it inside your luggage.
Oh, your cases are full. Well, then, tell me
what you have for them. I realize he is not
concerned for us; he is the frontman
looking for the marks. The them are the
armed guards searching luggage as
you go out. I hold the camera in my right
hand and turn toward them presenting
my left hip on which I had that charming
15 month old girl. We pass through to
waiting arms.
I am overwhelmed with smothering
greetings from faces I recognize from
photos sister-in-law and husband,
distant cousins (and general on-lookers)
to see the African American wife. The
women are pressed and starched in IRO
and BUBA; the men are casual GQ.
Everything is snatched from me; for the
first time in 15 months my hands are free.
(I carried nothing for the duration of the
trip with the exception of a bottle of
whatever to drink and water with which to
bathe. That aspect of respect is definitely
worthy of preserving!) We bustle off to a
car and then were off. And, I mean off. I
see no speed limit signs and our driver
(anybody thats anybody has a driver)
seems determined to see how far he can
make the speedometer needle go into
the red zone. My husband says, No
faster than 90 please. I become
conscious that my right hand is gripping
the doorhandle, the left is grabbing for
the child, and my mind is screaming, Ok,
ok, Im impressed, already! as we swing
into a curve crossing one of the many

bridges over the Lagos Lagoon at 75


mph. I knew at that point that an adventure
was unfolding.
The first stop was OBALENDE district
to the childhood home of one of Nigerian
friends in The States. The dwellings are
all swished together with no space
between them homes and businesses
are side-by-side. My hosts children
swarm out to greet her and see the wife
from the white mans land. They gaze
from the corners of their eyes, kneeling
obediently as they are introduced. I fall in
love with their inquisitiveness. Again,
everything is snatched; Sola, my
daughter, is as delighted as am I. We
cross a small, open sewer on a sturdy
board and go inside. It is dark and cool,
an extreme contrast to the glaring light
outside. Then, to my delight, I am handed
a bottle of Fanta orange the coldest
thing to drink since departing JFK. As my
eyes adjust, I see a small color television,
fridge, stereo and bed; the room is about
8x8 replete with everything needed for
20th century comfort. Mama comes in, we
stand and she speaks to me in excellent
English. Darkly dressed, she has on
nothing spectacular; I am not surprised.
I pass rooms stacked with cases. She
owns three units, one with a pharmacy,
one with a tailor shop. Plus, she sells
soda and beer wholesale. Despite her
surroundings, there is money here. No
one would know by the premises.
Its night in Lagos; music and
mustiness pervade all. Im enthusiastic
and appalled simultaneously. I try not to
stare all these dusky faces and,
contrary to Anglo belief, no two look alike.
I see the countenances of others I know
at home in America; looking at the folks
mulling around the night lanterns at the
street market, its easy to accept that each
of us here, Black in America, has a family
on the African continent. Im overwhelmed
by the similarities and contradictions.
Everyone is hygienically clean despite
whether clothes are fine or ragged. Brilliant
smiles are everywhere; I saw no cavityridden teeth. Men, women, boys and girls
stroll arm-in-arm; here holding hands
has nothing to do with romance.
Childrens toys are what their
imaginations can conceive. Moreover, I
am in the most populous nation in Africa
where the British ruled for so many years
with their hoity-toity concepts of propriety
and had the nerve to leave this place with
cont. on page 23

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 16

THE BRIDGE
(from private conversations)
AFS 1983
In April of 1984 I, along with a fellow
seeker of truth, began a series of dialogues that led to the appearance of
"Dialogues," the second of five essays
entitled "The Bridge" to be published in
"OYA'S MARKETPLACE." In November of 1984, I had my first reading by an
IFA priest. In April of 1991, I was
initiated as a priest of OBATALA. This
summer I was initiated to IFA and am
now a BABALAWO. My name is
OLUSEGUN. To me all of this is
related to the material we call "The
Bridge." It is a statement of the agreement between ORI and IPONRI; that
is to say our consciousness and our
higher self or spiritual double.

DIALOGUES
1987
Chapter One: Wanting to Change
We are writing now for those people
who know, in their hearts, that they
have to change. They dont like their
lives as they are. They feel cut off or
distant from their own deeper, or higher,
sources. They have a sense that people
can be more than people seem to be,
that life on earth can and should be
different, less violent, more whole.
We are writing for the man and woman
who have come to realize that life lived
for the externals alone, that is, life lived
for job, family, house, money, is not
enough. This man or woman experiences technology, and while perhaps
appreciating the human creativity be-

hind it, feels that the external advancements of the day have somehow missed
a more subtle inner truth about human
life. This man knows that instantaneous, worldwide communication has
become a fact, yet he feels very alone
and out of touch with anything of
lasting value, lasting meaning.
He searches. He reads. He joins groups
or tries methods for meditation, spiritual
growth, self actualization. Perhaps she
senses a religious connection to God, or
knows of the reality of the psyche. But
nothing seems to work for very long.
Her life, his life, do not really change,
do not get better. There may be ups and
downs in terms of material success or
times when relationships are more
positive or times when ones physical
condition is less of a problem. But
underneath, there remains a yearning, a
longing, that no amount of external
comfort can fulfill. Men and women
have felt this way for a very long time.
The search for meaning is the oldest and
most basic endeavor of the human mind.
It is the source of all religions, all
traditions, all schools. It is the search
that comes from the realization that
ones own experience of living is at once
profound and meaningless. In this
knowledge there is pain.
In general, people seem to react in one
of two ways to the discomfort of this
most basic paradox of life. The majority turn away from it, almost as a
reflex, and find satisfactory relief in
external actions -- whether in church, in
sport, in wealth, in anything outside of
themselves that can at least present a
passable illusion that life is fine the way
it is. Those who have made this choice

usually do not recognize what they have


done and none would be able to name
the time and place when they turned
away from their own deepest inner life.
We are conveniently forgetful of most
of our basic choices, including the choice
to look outward, never inward.
A few, however, are unable or unwilling to do that. They choose, or are
compelled by inner need, to face the
paradox of life. They begin to see
themselves as ones who are searching
for the truth or truths that must be
beyond the apparent paradoxes of
meaning-no meaning, joy-sorrow, isolation-community, and of course, lifedeath.
Extreme honesty is needed in a discussion like this, for it is necessary to
acknowledge truthfully to oneself how
one finds ones life to be. It does no
good to deny ones inner condition. The
starting point is always with the facts.
So it is essential that one be very clear
about the facts of this issue. He asks
the question of himself, How do I
really feel about my own life as it really
is today?
The candid answer to that, coupled
with the obvious facts about the condition of the world in general, leads one
to search. And now, in response to the
paradox, to the sense of limitation, to
the pain, he or she is able to tell himself
or herself: I am searching for the
truth, I am on a way, a path. I may have
no answers yet, but I will find them. I
am not satisfied with myself as I am. I
have to change, I want to change.
With this personal truth, such a person
has entered yet another paradox and
most likely has no knowledge whatever
that this is the case.
The paradox is this: On the one hand,
an individuals own wish, his or her
personal desire for real change, for
transformation, is absolutely the most
important factor necessary for any
change to occur. Ones own wish, ones

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

own sense of inner direction, is without


equal in importance as the driving force
that can lead to conditions in which
change is at least possible. But on the
other hand, the statement made to
oneself, I want to change, I want to
grow, is in fact one of the most
eternally damning lies that can be
fostered in human consciousness. It
may have slightly different forms, of
course...I want to be more loving, or
more whole, or more conscious, or I
want to be free, creative, alive. But in
every case, the definition of oneself as
a seeker of truth, or as one who is on a
path, or as one who is searching for
something more, in every case such an
attitude in oneself eventually becomes
a barrier to freedom which is very, very
difficult to overcome.
The reasons are not simple. It is not just
that such a person has deluded himself
or herself into thinking that he is looking
for truth when he is not. It is not an
issue of sincerity. No, the more subtle
problem is that the self image of such a
person allows that person to accept,
welcome, trust, and follow almost any
construction of pure nonsense that
reinforces the persons view of himself
as one in pursuit of truth. He or she will
hear or read that a particular teacher,
teaching, or system is about finding
God, reaching peace, gaining freedom,
having cosmic consciousness, attaining
higher self, or any other such idealized
state, and will inwardly rejoice that
there is help available. Great studies,
experiments, experiences, soon follow.
A body of knowledge which seems to
explain everything is accepted, the
sanctity of a particular teacher
acknowledged, the company of others
on a similar path is savored. Our
subject has not found truth, rather our
subject has only found a new context in
which to continue to be the same person
he or she has always been. But now,
this person feels that there is help -- the
missing half of the equation has arrived:
the seeker finds the sought.
This identification, in the name of truth,

PAGE 17

with a system of knowledge or body of


answers is the way in which ones
deepest wish can become ones biggest
lie. It goes unnoticed -- but then,
everything goes unnoticed!

subjectivity which seems to lack all


contact with the simple, observable
facts of reality. We want the truth,
plain and simple. The truth will set you
free.

Any reasonable reader would, at this


point, want to be able to determine
first hand if he or she is an unwitting
victim of such a subtle yet mammoth
lie. Lets not rush to answer just yet.
Lets agree to look at the question
honestly and openly and without fear
(no one but you will ever know!).
Besides, it doesnt matter at all if you
happen to discover that all this time
you have been the victim of a selfcreated illusion. If that is the case, or
if you even suspect that that might be
the case, dont worry. You have nothing at all to lose. To be free from a lie
is no loss. You may also find that what
we are writing is of no use to you, or is
just plain wrong. If that is the case,
then leave it alone.

The questions, however, do seem complex. More so when each persons


entire personal biography is added. So
we begin slowly and simply. We pose
one simple question about ourselves
then make a private commitment to
spend the time necessary to determine
the factual answer. We will want the
answer now, of course, at once, with no
delay, no effort, no confusion. Confusion is annoying. But we decide to
accept delay, accept confusion, accept
that need for some small effort, all for
the sake of establishing at least one
clear fact about ourselves.

...one's deepest wish can


become one's
biggest lie...
Now, we really do have a question to
look at. What does it mean to say or
think that one wants to change? How
real is that wish? What is the basis for
your conviction that you need help, if
you have such a conviction? What
would real change be? Are there traps?
As sincere and deep and strong as ones
wish or longing might be, are there
traps? How can one know for sure?
We need to deal with fact, only fact.
There is great hope in that, great freedom. We do not want self delusion, we
do not want the kind of self indulgent

Lets take the question What do I


want? Our premise in posing that
particular question is at least twofold.
First, we know that what people want
drives their lives. (You may not know
that, or may agree or disagree, or you
may think that you know without ever
having verified it for yourself.) Second,
we know that what a person really
wants and what that person thinks he
wants are usually not the same. This is
only our view. You verify. We may be
wrong. But in any event, it makes the
question of What do I want? very
worthwhile. We know that you can
theorize about it, we know that you can
tell stories about your experience with
your own wants, but the challenge here
is to drop all that we think we know, all
that we are sure of, and just look at the
question openly, honestly, and with
great persistence. We suggest that it be
studied for period of time. Once a day
for three months write down what you
feel you want for yourself at that particular moment. Be ruthlessly honest
with yourself or dont even bother with
this -- why waste your own time? Do
this more than once a day if you can.
Once an hour would be truly remarkable, though practically no one wants
the truth that badly.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

Ask yourself, What do I want, right


here, now? Take inventory. Pause and
look straight into yourself. What issues
are on your mind? What are you seeking
right at that moment? Maybe nothing.
Maybe rest. Maybe food, sex, a shower.
Maybe truth. Maybe sleep. Write it all
down. You may have many wants at
the same time -- list them all. There are
no right or wrong, worthy or unworthy,
sacred or profane answers. There are
no scores, no prizes. This is only to help
find a little of the truth you deserve to
have about yourself.
An interesting phenomenon to notice at
this time is ones own reaction to the
suggestion just made, the suggestion to
try to see what you want. Reactions
generally fall into two categories: those
who resist the suggestion immediately
and those who accept and embrace it
just as quickly. Some of you will never
do what has been suggested here. Some
will do it, but only after many months
or even years have passed. Some will do
it right away, starting with today (the
day you are reading this) and will do it
with great enthusiasm and efficiency, as
if it were an exercise from your
childhood days in elementary school.
Well, it is an elementary exercise from
a school. But in the giving of an exercise
we need to explain that no exercise of
any kind creates freedom. Seeing the
truth as it is creates freedom, is freedom.
The value, importance, limitations, and
risks of exercises is knowledge one gains
with experience. Theres no use in
creating needless theory on the subject.
Chapter Two:
Change

The Magnitude of

There are only two states of existence


possible for a human being: freedom
and slavery. However, it is not easy to
describe the difference in words. The
problem is a problem of scale, scope,
dimension. Freedom cannot be described in terms of slavery. The mind
which is enslaved attempts to conceive
of freedom but will always only repli-

PAGE 18

cate its own slavery with every thought.


There are not degrees of freedom.
Freedom is not a progression of states.
One is either free or not. One cannot
be partially free, or a little free. However, a person can and does change
states -- to and from freedom, in and
out of slavery. The changes go unnoticed for the most part, mainly because
the time spent by most people in freedom is very, very brief, perhaps only
fractions of a second at any one time.
How then does one who exists most of
the time in psychological enslavement
bring himself or herself into a state of
inner freedom?
If one is really interested in this question, it is necessary to verify, as fact,
whether or not one exists in psychological slavery. Are you or are you not a
machine, existing as a machine does,
driven entirely by principles of mechanics?
This is a very old idea, that man is

There are not


degrees of
freedom...One
is either free or
not.
asleep. That man is psychologically,
spiritually dead. That he lives in the
illusion of freedom but actually has no
freedom. That he is in prison, and
worse, does not know that he is in
prison. That he sees only shadows and
thinks they are all there is to reality.
But is any of that true? Can I find out?
What difference does it make for me, in
my own private life?
The student of this question has to
begin with why this question exists for
him or her in the first place. As a

student one can at least look inward,


and without making any presumptions
of certainty, can at least say tentatively,
yes...there is the state I always seem to
be in, I will call that slavery just for
the sake of study. And, yes, there is
another state, which I have sometimes
experienced, or which I at least sense
must exist, and I will tentatively call
that freedom, also just for the sake of
this study. Here we are giving names to
things only for ease of conversation,
not to define them.
Now, within the conditions of this little
experiment, we are saying that a free
person would know for a fact that he or
she is free, and a slave would not even
know that he or she is a slave. Further,
we are saying that I, the student,
presume myself to be enslaved and
therefore am incapable of even knowing
that much, and that any thoughts or
ideas I have on the subject must be a
product or my own mental slavery and
therefore could not of themselves lead
to freedom. Very good paradox indeed!
Within the terms of this paradox, that
is, of a machine incapable of anything
but machine-like behavior, is there any
way out? Lets look at this from a very
practical, totally real point of view. For
the sake of the hope of freedom, I will
tentatively agree that I might be a slave.
And now I remember my question about
this...how can I verify, test, find out for
sure? Certainly it would be worthwhile,
for certainly, if this and that are true,
then there is genuine hope for me. And
that, after all, is what I want.
The most practical, and most possible,
tactic to use with oneself at this time is
to attempt an action that could only be
done by a free person, some action
impossible for a slave. This would be to
consent to imitate freedom while knowing that one is not free.
To go forward with this, we need to
establish a few tentative generalities
about what we slaves think might be
the difference between freedom and

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

bondage. As honest slaves, we can say


that we really dont know anything
about freedom. We have opinions, we
have read books, we have heard sermons and lectures. But honestly now,
we havent every really lived in freedom
and therefore we will suspend all that
we think we know about being free.
Maybe a free person can fly, or heal, or
never again reincarnate -- we dont know.
So we will temporarily define freedom
as that which is not slavery, bondage,
mechanicality.
What then is slavery, bondage, mechanicality? That is the condition we
presume ourselves to be in, it is the
state which the prophets tell us we are
in, and in this experiment we are to
suppose that this is all true. But what
exactly would that be? What are the
characteristics of a slave, of a machine,
of a person in bondage? In bondage to
what? Enslaved by what? A machine
driven or controlled by what?
For the sake of getting started, lets
accept some tentative descriptions of
slavery, or whatever we want to call the
opposite of freedom (actually, freedom evokes no opposite). Lets say the
following about our state of psychological mechanicality: there is no personal initiative, only imitation; all actions, thoughts, feelings, are essentially
repetitive; behavior is controlled not by
vision, not by clarity of sight, but by
fear; habit rules ones internal and external response to stimuli; external
stimuli, or the memory of expectation
of same, rule ones inner life; one has no
thought for oneself, only the internalization of someone elses thought.
Further, we would expect a first-rate
slave or robot to be utterly convinced
without any doubt that all of the above
is untrue, does not apply in his or her
case, and that in fact he or she is selfdirected and full of self knowledge.
Now, is there any practical way to
challenge all of that? Any way to
actually challenge myself, bring my
whole self into question, now, at once?

PAGE 19

Yes, it can be done now, at once. One


only has to look. Just look, not react,
not think, not analyze, not fear, not
hope, not move in any way, just look,
just see. But perhaps that is too much,
too overwhelming, too frightening for
us as we are. For are we not just now
convincing ourselves that we are robots? Not like robots, but really robots! So here, now, as robots, it occurs
to us that we could do one small totally
unrobotic act: we can look at ourselves, we can acquire factual information about ourselves, we can create our
own body of self knowledge, of truth,
without any outside reference points
whatever. Without any reference to
mother, pope, teacher, guru, saint,
lover, and without any reference to
fear, doubt, pride, anxiety, hope, or
need. This is the gathering of facts, the
cognition of truth, simply as it is, now.
But this is still a big task. Still an
unfamiliar act for slaves like us who
thrive on the known, the comfortable.
So we reduce it in scope,make it smaller,
make it manageable, make it real.
We go at one simple question: can I
observe myself?
Obviously, the only way to find out is
to try. And this is the suggestion.
Attempt to verify whether or not you
really can observe yourself. Be practical and honest about it. Get as down
to earth as you can about it. Face it.
Of course you dont think its necessary. We know that. Of course you
already know a great deal about yourself and your life. Of course you
already possess self knowledge and
objective truth. On the other hand,
maybe you dont really want to know;
maybe theres a lurking fear that some
new fact might upset your present
picture of yourself...
Keep this task simple and do-able.
Pick some know behavior or situation
that is sure to happen every day during

the next few months or so. An example


might be brushing your teeth in the
morning, or eating lunch, or walking
down a particular hall at work, or
getting the mal, or turning on a particular television show, or anything that you
know you will do every day.
Attempt simply to see yourself as clearly
as you can for no more than one or two
minutes during the situation you have
chosen.
Observe all that you can of yourself:
your thoughts and reactions, your physical posture or tension, your emotional
state, and of course your reaction to the
act of self observation.
If you decide to do this, if it isnt
beneath you, then you will have greater
success if you help yourself remember
the task each day. Write yourself a
note. Sit quietly with yourself for a
moment in the morning and remind
yourself that for one minute when you
go to get the mail, for one minute then,
you will try to see how you walk, what
you think, what you feel. Not to
become wise in cosmic truth, just to
know a simple fact about how you
really are at that time. For a robot, such
an act is impossible.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

SANGO -

OYA -

cont. from page 1

cont. from page 5

a great many other individuals against


a plethora of complex difficulties, and
only given the proper amount of time
and support will he be able to accomplish his -- and thus our -- goals.
Let us, then, acknowledge his good will
and give him the benefit of the doubt(s).
Let us pray that OBATALA gives him
the presence of mind to identify the
problems that beseige us all in a manner
that is effective to their solution; let us
ask SANGO to bolster his courage in
his own convictions, so that he might
dispense justice on our behalf. Let us
ask OGUN to clear his path through
the political minefield that is bi-partisan politics; let us ask OCHOSI to
guide him to integrity. Let us give
thanks to OYA for blowing the wind of
change in our direction...let us pray
that YEMOJA nourishes his spirit daily
for yet another battle. We must ask
OLOKUN to clear his vision of the
mysteries of our own desires and needs,
so that he can administer fairly to us all.
Finally, let us sacrifice to OSUN, so
that She will see that the bounty She
might bestow upon Bill Clinton might
be bestowed upon the entire United
States and the world at large.
In short, let us orient our heads to do
what we must to help this new President to help us. In so doing, unlike the
man in the desert, we will not pass up
the small meal for the expectation of a
larger feast that might be impossible to
render at this time. Thus, we will find
ourselves better able to keep our hopes
alive at a time when we sorely need
something to hold onto.
O DABO.
ASE.

PAGE 20

OLOKUN
cont. from page 8
The statues in OLOKUNs Benin
temples, which ought to shed some
light on the question, customarily depict this deity as male. However,
OLOKUN is never shown alone, but
always attended by many courtiers. An
unmistakably female EHI, or souldouble (what we call the IPORI) accompanies OLOKUN in one shrine. In
another, the masculine-appearing EHI
wears a type of crown associated with
the Queen-Mother in this world, and
with ORA, OLOKUNs favorite wife,
in the other.
Many find this sexual ambiguity uncomfortable. In this hemisphere, they
usually identify OLOKUN as masculine, paired with a feminine YEMOJA
for the sake of balance. There is the
impression that notions of what defines
masculinity and femininity are useless
at the level this deity operates. There
are elders who say it doesnt matter but
suggest speaking of OLOKUN as male.
Others report valid and enriching
visualizations of OLOKUN as female,
a mermaid in a palace on the ocean
floor.
No one knows what is at the bottom
of the sea. Scientists speak of glowing,
volcanic cracks from a newly formed
Earth. They report phosphorescent,
foot-long worms and other exotic
creatures clustered around these sources
of heat and light. In what we perceive
as darkness, though, there may be other,
stranger forms of life.
In honoring OLOKUN we honor the
known and the unknown; that which
has been brought to us from heaven and
that which we have not yet received.
Hopefully in sharing these words we
may prepare ourselves to receive more.
ASE.

Actually, the journey was about to


begin again. But I would have help
now, to know what the signs all meant.
I am new at this. But have been blessed
all along.
My cars front license says, OYA, and
I smile when people mouth it as I
breeze by. And I say, Go on, Priscilla,
with your bad self. . .
I am beginning to understand.
Alafia.

RIDDLE
"The power of the word is very strong,"
the teacher was telling his student. "In
fact, there are certain words, when
spoken, that can kill an animal without
ever having to touch it." The student
was fascinated and begged to be told
the mysterious words. The teacher
looked to the student and replied, "Ah
yes, but how can I tell you?"

If you think you know, drop us a line.


Let us know if you would mind our
printing your answer. - OYA'S MARKETPLACE.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 21

TORTOISE
cont. from page 11

4. The story also teaches good neighborliness.

ERIN K REL , K W
JOBA
ERIN Y Y , EERIN Y Y

Till we meet again, be blessed and be


fulfilled in your RS worship.

Lead: Elephant, lets go home and be


made a king
Chorus: Elephant, elephant, elephant
With the singing and dancing, the people
led Elephant to his death trapped throne.
The first step that Elephant made to get
to the throne landed him inside the pit
that was laden with sharp metals. The
moment Elephant fell into the pit, sharp
metals, heavy rocks, and clubs landed on
him simultaneously with shots from guns.
It was too late for Elephant to fight back
because he was trapped inside the pit. So
the elephant died in the pit and the town
people had a big feast.
Narrator concludes the story by saying,
B MI R O. (Here I stop.)
Children respond:
GBA ATA JE. (Eat ATAARE
-- guinea pepper -- for
more wisdom.)
Narrator will then ask the children what
lessons they learned from the story.
Lessons from the above story are that:
1. A reign of terror is not good be
cause whoever terrorizes will get
killed eventually. Elephant terror
ized the people, but the people
killed the elephant at last;
2. A person should know well who
ever he/she decides to make
friends with. Elephant did not
know Tortoise well, therefore, he
did not know that Tortoise was
not a true friend but a traitor;
3. There is strength in unity. The
town people were able to kill the
elephant because they were united;

BOR BOY
Coming attraction: FUNDAMENTALS
OF THE YORB RELIGION (RS
WORSHIP) by Chief FAMA.

ODU
cont. from page 7
O Belligerent One, you are not cruel.
He who smartly accrues himself and
goes to the fight.
Thank you, ELEGBA my father.
PROVERB OF OKANAMEJI (1-1)
A KI IRU ERAN ERIN LORI KI A
MA FI ESE TAN IHO IRE NILE
(In front of child you could never say
that someone is going to be decapitated
because when the child sees a man with
a knife he will automatically be looking
at his own neck.)
This pataki could be applied to the
ODU of IFA EYEKUMEJI.
11
11
11
11

11
11
11
11

Pataki of OKANA MEJI (1-1) DILOGUN (Cowrie shells)


It happened that a long, long time ago
there existed in the Kingdom of ILE
IFE a King that had a beautiful daughter - her beauty was known all over the
land. They lived in a magnificent palace
surrounded by incredible wealth.
The King made sure that he kept his
daughter with very little contact with
the outside world. She lived in solitude
in one of the most lovely places in the
palace. Only one of the oldest maids of

the Kingdom had access to the beautiful Princess. This old lady had the only
key to the bed chamber of the Princess.
She was in charge of bringing to the
Princess whatever food she consumed
every day. The diet of the Princess
consisted of some of the most delicious
foods served in the Kingdom, but it was
served to her in very odd ways. The
OKA (bread) was given to her without
the crust, the almond with no peel -only the white part of the bread and
almond was given to her to eat; anything given to the Princess to eat had to
be white. This was the way it had to be
because the elders believed that in this
way the body and soul of the Princess
would be kept purified.
(Do keep in mind that the Princess in
this story is the ORISA JEWUA and
she is everything virgin in this world.)
The entry to her bed chambers was
forbidden to everyone in the Kingdom.
But one day the old maid forgot to
close the door to the Princess room
when she retired. ESU ELEGBARA
had, for the longest period of time,
been curious to find out who lived
behind those walls and was nearby that
day. Taking advantage of this opportunity, he walked inside the bed chambers of the Princess and came very
close to where she was eating her food.
What strange food they are serving
you, my lady, he said when he noted
the food in her plate. Bread without
the crust and almonds without the
peel, what a pity! Everyone knows the
best part of the bread is the crust! The
crust of the bread is where all the
nutrition is, the same for the almonds,
and fruits. Without the crust the bread
tastes very dull, it has no flavor!
ESU ELEGBARA said all these things
to the beautiful Princess but he knew
who she was - she was JEWUA,
OLODUMAREs favorite daughter.
ESU ELEGBARA also knew that he had
no reason to be there because it was
forbidden for all men in the Kingdom to
see JEWAU. She was the symbol of
virginity to every living creature on the

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 22

planet and her virginity was to be kept


intact at all times. With all bad intention
he got the beautiful Princess interested in
everything he had to say to the extreme
that when he left the room, the innocent
JEWUA let the old maid know that a
man had been in her forbidden chambers.

diviner must advise that this child can


and should follow the suggestions given
above, as far as what to become when he
grows up.

The old maid became pale with anger.


Her surprise was so great that she began
to run at full speed out of the Princess
room. She ran until she came across a
very large salon where OLODUMARE
usually was. She came to tell him the bad
news of what had happened to his daughter. At the precise moment ESU ELEGBARA had come inside JEWUAs bedchamber, she lost her virtue of being a
virgin.

1. EBO Offering to ESU ELEGBARA:


16 OKA-bread slices. Spread each of the
slices with cocoa butter and eggshell
powder-EFUN/CASCARILLA then
place the bread in a large white plate and
cover with cotton. After 16 days have
past, take them to the cemetery. During
those 16 days, come in front of the shrine
and pray to the ancestors for help. Light
two white candles in the shrine.

NOTE: We practitioners of the YORUBA


religion know that it is forbidden for a
man to look at JEWUA directly and less
to speak to her. This PATAKI of
OKANAMEJI 1-1 tells us we have to be
very careful when we deal with the
unknown because we can get in trouble.
When this ODU comes out in a reading,
we must do EBO to the EGUNGUN
(ancestors), JEWUA and ESU ELEGBARA.
QUALITIES OF THE ODU OKANAMEJI (1-1):
When this ODU comes with IRE it is a
very good ODU for the person that is
having the reading done. It is telling the
reader that better things and changes are
coming his way. The ODU is also telling
the diviner that the person being read
could be a BABALAWO, priest, poet,
writer, scientist, doctor, lawyer or a
great holy man.
When this ODU comes with OSOGBO,
then it is telling the person that things are
not very good for him and he must move
very fast to get initiated (usually the person
is a child of ELEGBA, AGALLU or
SHANGO). OKANA with OSOGBO is
not good and the person doing the consulting had to do all types of offerings and
sacrifices to the EGUNGUN.
If the ODU comes to a child then the

EBO TO DO WHEN OKANAMEJI


COMES OUT:

2. EBO Offering to ESU ELEGBARA:


One black rooster, taken to the woods.
Clean the person with the rooster then
sacrifice the rooster to ELEGBA. The
rooster should be sacrificed to the first
rock that is found in the woods. Make
sure that the rooster is buried in the
ground.
3. EBO Offerings to JEWUA: When this
ODU comes out in a reading one should
give himself 8 baths (one each day) with
Virginia elder (bleo blanco), make sure
to smash the leaves to get the juice out.
Place the juice in 1/2 bucket of water.
Add to the water a bit of eggshell
powder, 8 teaspoons of almond oil and
3 cups of goats milk. Mix all these
ingredients together and take the bath
early in the morning. This bath has the
qualities of taking away all evil influences.
CURUJEY BROMELIAS HOHENBERGIA EWE ELA:
There are a great variety of these plants,
also known as BROMELIACEA and all
of them are parasites. The EWE ELA is
a very common herb in the forest of
South, Central, Latin and North
America. There are a great variety of this
plant but the majority of them live on the
branches of large trees, especially on the
branches of the Oak tree. These herbs
can be used as ornamental plants and
some of them have flowers that can be

used in flower arrangements.


This plant belongs to ESU ELEGBARA
and OGUN but is the ASE of ESU
ELEGBARA. All of his children should
know all the qualities that these parasite
plants have. At the time of initiation of an
ESU ELEGBARA child, it must be added
to the group of herbs that the ASE is to
be made the night before the initiation. It
should also be placed as decoration in
both of the thrones that are made for
ESU ELEGBARA. The EWE ELA can be
used in all the work that is done with
ESU ELEGBARA. A good luck powder
is also made from her. To prepare a bath
for good luck smash the juice out of the
leaf or blend it. Mix the juice well in a
bucket of water and add to it 3 teaspoons
of honey and 1 teaspoon of perfume.
Place the bucket with the mixture in
front of ESU ELEGBARA the night
before and early in the morning take a
bath with it. These recipe can also be used
to clean the house, because it takes all
evil influences away. Say the prayer given
before in these pages when making this
bath. Prayer makes the enchantment
work better. Anything that a priest does
while adding this plant to it will be
assured of working with IRE.
EWE ELA is used as a medicine and one
of its best qualities is when it is used as a
powder. The powder will kill all bacteria
in cuts. As a powder it has been known to
cure herpes and all types of skin rashes.
EWE ELA is one of the best medicinal
plants to drink because it is a good blood
purifier. In times when medicine was not
so advanced, indigenous people used this
to cure high blood pressure, kidney illness
and venereal disease. In some cases it has
helped stop the growth of some viruses.
This wonder came about when
OLODUMARE created the planet and
all that happened in the ODU of OKANAMEJI (1-1). This is the reason why
this herb is so important to have in our
houses for use in everything that has to
do with ESU ELEGBARA.
EWE ELA is to only be used for good
deeds -- nothing evil will work as long
as it is around.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

JOURNEY
cont. from page 15
NO sewage system. While watching
animals and humans relieve themselves
in the black stream of a ditch, I marvel that
all the children dont die of tetanus or
typhoid as I see one breech the muck to
retrieve a ball. Yet, no one seems troubled
by the stench (which by weeks end has
reduced itself to a comforting smell like
a familiar latrine), nor did anyone else
seem to realize that every speckle on that
sludge was a mosquito skipping. People
with running water fill their pans with
pride and accomplishment unaware of
drinking lead with every drop. Roaches
are as big as the specimens in the zoo;
those guys dont run. Fleeting (Fleet
brand name pesticide) the house each
night to kill Draculas dive bomber squad,
I learned
cont. on page 23
to sleep despite that lone zoomer in
the room and found out why everyone is
Nigeria uses medicated powder. The
menthol in it deadens the evervasive
smell of mold and mildew. I could wax
poetic about that essence; every now and
then I still come across an item from
Home long folded and upon opening it a
slight draft vividly recalls the smells of
that place. Unique, never experienced
here. So full of the living of life.
Comparatively, we here are antiseptic.
So free of filth that we must infect
ourselves artificially through inoculations
to remain healthy. I think of all those who
want to Go Home and wonder if they
could jump this hurdle of inconvenience;
no regular trash pickup or even the
customary US convention of a kitchen
garbage can. Lets not quibble about
paper or plastic; over there its about
containment, period. And, personally, I
prefer an outhouse or even an enamel
slopjar to an enclosed toilet with no water
to flush it. You see, in an all-electric
upscale town apartment, which is superlarge and the envy of any American visitor,
water is pumped to the reservoir and
when it goes out, water becomes a scarce
commodity; bath-tubs are flooded to
assure water to drink, bath and cook. No
one even thinks to empty any waste water
down the toilet. Simple things are not
worthy of contemplation. Take your own
fan and bedsheets to the hospital if you
want comfort. Visitors coming with or
arriving home late to food in thermal
flasks (food bottles) of all sizes,

PAGE 23
marketed there like Tupperware; foofoo
wrapped in plastic wrap and still warm
inside the insulated bucket. Cooker
(stove) looks like any other except the
gas comes not by line, but by cylinder
which the household buys. When the
government really wants to get funky,
there is a shortage of cooking gas despite
Nigerias status of an OPEC nation. But
then this is also the country that posts
billboards asking the people not to abuse
their paper money (wadding it up vs.
folding neatly) and mints coins which the
populace boycotts because it is too heavy
to carry enough to pay for the highly
inflated goods the woman I shopped
with calculated payments by the batch:
Thats X number of =N20 notes.
We move to a relatives house in
another section of Lagos, a city of 9
million people making New York City
resemble Cincinnati, Ohio in
comparison. This part of town is more
sophisticated; there are concrete plates
over the sewers and broken glass along
the rims of the walls of each apartment
building. This house belongs to one our
mothers junior brothers; he is an attorney
whose Mercedes is in a constant state of
repair, but he has one and that alone
lends credence and status. The Auntie
there could have been the sister to my
own fathers sister-in-law in Texas. The
children were lean, clean and welleducated with Western desires:
Swatchwatch and Walkman wants.
Private, religious schooling. Family
prayer at bedtime with special invocation
of protection against armed robbers in
the night. Prayer again at 4 a.m. I believe
in the paradigm of praying unceasingly
and pass. Roosters wake me. I have
slept with crossventilation controlling the
occasional skeeter. Its amazing what a
little concrete can do. The walls of this
uncles parlor (living room) are filled with
books; the furnishings are Ebony 1964.
Its comfortable like grandmaws house.
From here to IBADAN to be with my
husbands older sister, her husband, 4
sons and live-in sister-in-law. Ive
passed the first test, on to the next.
IBADAN is a gemstone; you can feel
the depth of its importance to the cultural
fabric of Nigeria. Hilly, all the buildings
feel really old with no more settling to do.
The earth is red like Virginia clay; all
structures have a ribbon of iron oxide at
their foundations so everything matches.
From a high vantage point, I look down
on a section of the city; it stretches as far
as the horizon. Everywhere I look is
IBADAN, city of iron roofs. I imagine how

the city must have glistened when the


metal was new. Aunties house was fab:
four bedrooms, three baths, kitchen and
huge parlor. All concrete; but concrete can
be a cool shelter from the sun, combined
with ceiling fans and curtains. I saw the
first T.V. broadcast station in all of Africa;
the local cable community producers
stations are technological Gardens of
Eden comparatively. I decide that I would
require satellite reception if I resided on
this side of the water. There are gates
locked at night everywhere with
gatemen. One was a seemingly very old
man dressed in ragged traditional
garments, but his power exuded from him
and I could feel the strength of whatever
initiation had been received to allow this
decrepit old man to guard against the
armed robbers so pervasive in this
societys consciousness. (Until recently,
convicted armed robbers were shot by
firing squad!) IBADAN, where the people
are as smooth as the quartz rocks which
peek through the soil.
On to OWO, my husbands town; a
recent atlas says the population is 90,000.
After seeing LAGOS, I wonder how any
census could be conducted accurately
here. We drive into the ancient past; here
there is a ribbon of green along all the
foundations. We are on the edge of the
bush; this is woodland paradise for
farmers. Our family here is displaced
royalty I am told. The patriarch died in the
early 60s soon after independence a
strange, slow, debilitating death with
sudden onset, the only telltale sign a
patch of missing hair. Suspicion tore the
family apart; and then the fire which
devoured the fruit plantation and
neighboring farms. Years spent restoring
the fortunes of others, children not in
school to work off debts, thrown from
stem to stern, my mother-in-law has been
raised to sainthood in my mind. I am
anxious to meet the woman who had 12
pregnancies, raised six to adulthood with
no mate, and tackled familial
discrimination. As we turn down the lane
behind the palace, I hear the uproar; they
are all on the veranda waiting. In the few
seconds before they descend upon us I
reflect on what Mother said in 1988 when
we married: The fulfillment of prophecy;
the family had been waiting 100 years for
one of their sons to go abroad and return
with a captive warriors daughter. Here I
am, returning home with appropriate
fanfare. Children swarm me shouting
EKAABO, EKAABO - you are welcome.
Everything is snatched again. I see two
women on the veranda and suddenly Im
running involuntarily, and fall on my knees

OYA'S MARKETPLACE
at the feet of my childs great-grandmother.
Her husband is recently deceased; he
could remember raids taking people
away. My head is in her lap, the tears are
flowing; my heart is so full of joy I feel like
its about to burst. I am lifted and turned
to the daughter, my mother-in-law who
looks me deep in the eyes and sizes up
my character instantly, grins and hugs
me. The YORUBA flies so fast I cant
catch it all, but emotion is universal. This
is home; these are my relatives.
Schooled in sociology and a student
of YORUBA culture for over fifteen years,
it is not difficult for me to fit into the family.
Our uncle in OWO (another brother junior
to my mother-in-law) has five wives and
a multitude of children; I recorded fifteen
names to call on a daily basis. From
outside one would not imagine the house
contained over twenty rooms. The original
four above four structure was expanded
to a u shape with ten rooms up and down.
Each subgroup of the family has at least
two rooms which are connected but can
only be entered by one door, creating a
parlor with private sleeping room.
Mothers quarters are at one end of the
upper corridor allowing a wonderful cross
breeze even during the hottest hours of
the day. The children are the first to explore
me. They stand outside Mothers parlor
as I eat the first meal OBE and IYAN
stew and pounded yam. I have heard so
much about pounded yam and upon
eating it I comprehend the African
American love affair with mashed
potatoes. The children wait to see my
reaction; I wait for Mothers lead and
begin to eat. The stew is H-O-T but
delicious. I eat heartily and eventually
sniff as my sinuses testify to the pepper
level; but, I keep eating without taking a
drink of water. Mother soon sniffs too. All
the kids cheer; I have passed the first test
and am certain their various mothers will
get the full details.
I learn quite a bit while here, like why
my husband expects food to be instantly
ready. Here there are five full grown
women who are constantly in the state of
preparing or supervising something.
Activity within this compound begins as
the sun cracks the sky. The bustle was
strangely familiar like being a counselor
at camp, you know. Water splashing,
fires smoking and the sound of enamel
pots clinking. I did not wash a dish or
diaper; here a wife has so much support
that despite the amount of preparation
necessary to do anything, much more get
accomplished than in my own household

PAGE 24
with its hygienic technology.
When asked by Nigerians how I felt
about being there so far away from home,
I found myself replying, I feel like I just
descended down some stairs. It was
comforting like a house party in a cool
basement. I had fun, especially when the
roadtrip began. The first aspect of this
experience was not being able to
distinguish the direction of travel. I try to
get a fix on the sun, but even it behaves
differently here. There are no posted road
numbers or speed limits; everyone
seems to drive by intuition. It is useless
to ask the mileage from point A to point B;
every measure is metric, folks determine
distance by time travelled anyway and
since they move at 90 mph (the odometers
are usually marked that way) its hard to
keep a US perspective on a road with no
lines whatsoever, just macadam for
miles.
From OWO to ONDO City where an
OGUN festival is in progress. Dogs
hanging from trees that are obviously
sacred as they are partitioned off by
concrete walls like a small city park; dogs
being dragged at leash length behind
motorcycles. Oil covers mechanics and
taxi drivers blocking roads for dash
(cash) and running around smoking
cigars and carrying cast iron pots of fire
as if defying nature to set them ablaze.
ADESOLA, the baby, begins to dance to
the rhythm of BATA drums but becomes
frightened when they approach her and
play her praises. Suddenly from nowhere,
an EGUNGUN on stilts corners me and
begins to shout on me. Im slightly
dismayed that my husband is
preoccupied with his own video
experience and I am left without a
translator. But, my heart knows that it is a
specific message that Im being given
and it feels heartening. As we drive out, I
am given MARIWO by the exit gateman. I
am pleased and tuck it in my keycase
where I know it belongs.
We travel outside the city a bit to the
bush. The landscape changes and huge,
smooth black granite rocks appear. I
imagine stories of heavenly elephants
and their droppings feces of the Gods,
I muse to myself. We arrive at the house
of the local chief OGUN priest. We are
welcomed to a parlor with three foot high
carvings around the room; on the walls
are faces reflecting life before
independence. Stories are told about
how the statues used to talk and how this
priest was chosen in childhood and the
struggle to maintain tradition when the

youth treasure material gain over soulful


struggle. As we depart he tells us of the
local celebration and OGUNs
manifestation. He pulls out a soda pop
bottle; inside there is a small gourd like
the ones from which charms are made.
It is obviously larger than the neck of the
bottle. He says OGUN placed it inside as
confirmation of his presence. I believe it
must have been a valid trance; this is
beyond David Copperfield. The priest
gives me a package for my own OGUN;
I receive it graciously not knowing it will be
well over a year before the package is
placed in my own pot...time enough for
me to learn which roads of OGUN takes
snail.
From there to ILE-IFE; I am charged. I
will see the Staff of ORANMIYAN the
Center of my Universe. Arriving in IFE I am
surprised at its lack of urban-ness. We
stop and get out; everything looks
common. Where is the shrine? We
approach what feels like an abandoned
cemetery; the iron gate is elaborate but
rusted and in serious disrepair. I see an
off-white,metal studded obelisk and
realize Im standing on holy ground. I
acknowledge the spirit of ORANMIYAN
and lift a prayer of gratitude to be in the
presence of antiquity. As an
accompanying acquaintance relates the
legend, a man appears out of nowhere.
I smile to myself as I recognize this
manifestation of ELEGBA. The man is
red his skin is coppery, his hair sandy;
his eyes are bloodshot. He reminds me
of a neighbor of my youth a genius
scorned to a constant alcoholic stupor.
Despite his condition, he gives excellent
discourse of the events that occurred on
this hollowed ground and in ending points
to the place where ORANMIYAN stomped
himself into the Earth. He chides us not
to approach the place; I am too filled with
awe to even begin to disobey. Muttering
prayers of gratefulness, I amble back to
the auto. I am actually here; I have arrived
and touched the phallic progenitor of my
spiritual consciousness. In reflection, I
must admit the relief of dream fulfilled
was akin to orgasm.
From ILE IFE to OSOGBO to see BINTU
and hopefully the OSUN Grove. I met
Bintu at the National Afro-American
Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio, where she
had conducted a batik workshop.
Throughout that year (1990) we kept
bumping into each other as we were
featured artists at the same venues. We
took the opportunity to grow close and I
expected a hearty welcome upon arriving

OYA'S MARKETPLACE
at her home. We were not disappointed.
She excitedly received us and outlined
our itinerary. The next morning we set out
for EDE her own birthplace and a town
I had heard much about, for a cultural
mentor had lived there for some time
during his own quest for self. The TEMI of
EDE received us warmly and upon
hearing of the DABOIKU/IJALANA clans
of OWO, picked up his telephone and
called the wives quarters. Within
moments a woman appeared who
greeted my husband warmly and asked
of her sisters and brothers at home.
She was a close relative which meant we
were related to this kingdom through
marriage. We received a gift of yams from
the royal stockpile and were escorted to
the Shrine of SANGO where supplication
was made and offerings laid. Here on
this site TEMI and GBONKA suffered at
each others hands because of SANGOs
egotistical needs. I sigh as I ponder the
price pride often exacts from us. My
thoughts are interrupted by the amplified
call to worship at a large mosque across
the street. IFA and Islam are constantly in
conflict at the street level so it must be
really rough in the political arena. As we
drive back to OSOGBO, we are too late to
go to the Grove; darkness is settling. I
sleep soundly, my soul satisfied with the
events experienced and slightly agitated
about what tomorrow will bring. I am no
longer new meat; the mosquitoes leave
me alone. Perhaps my pepper level has
risen to the native proportion. (Smile.)
After eating breakfast, we head for the
Palace there to see the IYA OSUN. There
is nothing European about this structure
no Prince Charming here. We duck
down a side path and must step over a
streamlet of fresh water before crossing
the threshold. There she sits, mat on
Earth. She speaks softly. I strain to hear
what she says to the petitioner in front of
her. The hair on her head is braided into
a fabulous top knot; it dawns on me that
it is a wig and I imagine her pulling if off
and it sitting on a bureau with no need for
a mannequins head. My turn. As I hand
her a N=10 NAIRA note I see she is also
blind. She passes her hand over the bill
and declares it is too small. Her eyes
may be blind, but obviously her
consciousness
is
expansive.
Embarrassed by the declaration, I hand
her an additional twenty NAIRA note;
someone behind me protests. But, I know
its the appropriate sacrifice; it should
have been twenty from the get-go. She
begins to chant and someone is

PAGE 25
translating, but Im preoccupied. The
OSUN festival has just ended and OSUN
is down; the niche where the vessels are
kept is draped in various types of elaborate
cloths. The IGBIN drums are in front and
so is ADESOLA, picking up the sticks and
playing a recognizable rhythm. I am quick
to call her; please, take no offense YEYE.
Leave her, is the reply, she is doing
what she is to do. After the drum salute,
the baby toddles over and sits squarely
in the IYA OSUNs lap. Their laughter
together is like tinkling crystal. The baby
hops up and goes to sit on a mat at the
rear of the room. Reserved for the
princesses, Im told. Jeez. My childs
intuitive behavior baffles me; I know now
that I am only the custodian.
From here to the Grove! As we drive
down the road, BINTU hails a male friend
who accompanies us. This is it; this is it.
I have known of Susanne Wagners
sculptures here since 1978. Ive seen
them in books; now, Im here on the
same page with them. As we pull into the
first enclosure, the Muslim prayer beads
on the rearview mirror slip off without the
string breaking and hit the floor. The sun
is shining and the air is sweetly still.
Secretly, Im ecstatic that we are here
alone without the throng of humanity
present the previous week. As we step
inside the second enclosure, I begin to
feel moisture. It is drizzling inside the
circle of the inner sanctum; the sun is still
shining and no clouds can be seen.
Tears of joy like a Mother greeting a
longlost child. I find we are whispering. I
approach the river and dip my ILEKE
OSUN in the swirling water. Our escort
fills a liter bottle with water before I can
even make the request. I bend to ask the
Earth for a keepsake and pick up a stone
from the rivers edge. The resident
priestess comes and takes my hand
leading me to the innermost enclosure.
I kneel and pray. She hands me a gourd
of OMIERO; I drink praising OSUN for the
gifts of home and children given as
she had promised in 1978, ten years to
manifest double five. MO FERE FUN
OSUN; A DUPE. I retreat knowing not to
turn my back. The priestess is following
us, but I am unaware. I mention to our
guide that I would like to take the stone
with me. He says to wait, speaks to the
priestess who says: It should be of a
particular type. Like this one. She bends
down and picks up a stone directly at my
feet. As she hands it to me, I open my
clenched hand. The stones are identical;
the priestess smiles, embraces me and

declares OSUNs favor. We turn and cross


a concrete bridge; our host tells the story
of how the river kept taking down the
bridges until the proper EBO was made.
I look at the swift, swirling water and
understand the vicious current under
OSUNs sweet exterior.
We are leaving the Grove, I suppose.
I stare out at Wagners repairs to the
original work. She must have been
tranced when she conceived the work.
She has truly captured the essence of
this place. I am humbled by the concept
that the ORISA are universal for all
humanity despite country of ancestral
origin. Concrete gives way to lush
greenery. We are out of the inner Grove,
no more rain. I hear chattering and look
up to count five golden monkeys leaping
through the treetops. Any more signs and
I think Ill short-circuit. I am aware now that
our host is special; he leads us on to
secrecy. Here the royal divining spot,
here OSUNs dyepots, here OGBONI
meet. Watch the ants; they are marching
so hard they have cut a road in the soil. I
just keep repeating I am blessed. I am
blessed. By now Im numb with
satisfaction. We get back to the vehicle,
climb in, drive back to the city proper, drop
off our hosts and start back to OWO. Well
be there a while more before returning to
Lagos and the U.S. As we drive out of the
city, Im in complete stupor. I have done it,
seen it, drank it, eaten it; it is now a part of
me on all levels. I feel drenched with
success. The pilgrimage conceived over
thirteen years has materialized. I speak
aloud and say, Boy, the crowning glory
now would be a rainbow, wishing for the
inconceivable for the sky is clear, the
ground is dry; there has not been nor is
there any threat of rain. So, you dont
know who you are, eh? my husband
says with a smirk in his tone. Look out the
back window. I turn and, lo and behold,
there is a rainbow directly over the road
looking like a celestial bridge. I close my
eyes in disbelief and totally comprehend
the Native American axiom, Todays a
good day to die. As we drive off I bask in
the fulfillment of fantasy; I have surely
been to Oz.
[Postscript: As this missive comes to
closure, a soft rain begins. No thunder,
no lightening. I decide to get the envelope
together and put it in the postbox now.
Cant wait to get a little rainwater on me.
A DUPE, YEYE O.]

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 26

SEA-SHELVES, INC.
PRESENTS
ART:

YORUBA FABLES (PATAKI)* - Oba


Ecun - #10105 $35.00

GELEDE: ART AND FEMALE


POWER AMONG THE YORUBA John Henry and Margaret Thompson
Drewel - #10504 $45.00h/$20.00p

FOLKTALES:

YORUBA RITUAL: PERFORMERS,


PLAY, AGENCY - Margaret
Thompson Drewal - #10507 $35.00h/
$14.95p
YORUBA
RITUAL:
A
COMPANION VIDEO - Margaret
Thompson Drewal - #10508 $45.00wb/
$29.95 sep.

DIVINATION:
AFRICAN DIVINATION SYSTEMS:
WAYS OF KNOWING - Philip M.
Peck, ed. - #10501 $35.00h/$14.95p
AWO: IFA AND THE THEOLOGY
OF ORISHA DIVINATION - Awo
FaLokun Fatunmbi - #10404 $12.95
COWRIE SHELL DIVINATION:
LISTENING TO SPIRIT GUIDES Malidoma Some - TBA
IFA
DIVINATION:
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
GODS AND MEN IN WEST AFRICA
- William Bascom - #10505 $57.50h/
$24.95p

WALKING WITH THE NIGHT:


THE AFRO-CUBAN WORLD OF
SANTERIA - Raul Canizares - #10408
$12.95

AFRICAN FOLKTALES IN THE


NEW WORLD - William Bascom #10502 $35.00h/$14.95p

THE WAY OF THE ORISA:


EMPOWERING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE ANCIENT
AFRICAN RELIGION OF IFA - Philip
John Neimark - #10402 $12.00

GENERAL:

HERBS/HEALING:

BLACK GODS: ORISHA STUDIES


IN THE NEW WORLD - John Mason
- #10202 $10.00

MEDICINES AND SPIRITUAL


PRACTICES: LIVING WITH THE
OTHERWORLD - Malidoma Patrice
Some - TBA

IWA-PELE, IFA QUEST: THE


SEARCH FOR THE SOURCE OF
SANTERIA AND LUCUMI - Awo
FaLokun Fatunmbi - #10403 $11.95
JAMBALAYA: THE NATURAL
WOMANS BOOK OF PERSONAL
CHARMS & PRACTICAL RITUALS
- Luisah Teish - #10406 $9.95
ORISHA: METHODOLOGY OF
THE YORUBA RELIGION* - Oba
Ecun - #10101 $45.00
POWERS OF THE ORISHAS:
SANTERIA AND THE WORSHIP
OF SAINTS - Migene GonzalezWhippler - #10405 $7.95

ITA* - Oba Ecun - #10102 $29.95

SANTERIA:
AN AFRICAN
RELIGION IN AMERICA - Joseph
M. Murphy - #10407 $10.95

SIXTEEN COWRIES: YORUBA


DIVINATION FROM AFRICA TO
THE NEW WORLD - William Bascom
- #10506 $49.95/h

SANTERIA FROM AFRICA TO THE


NEW WORLD: THE DEAD SELL
MEMORIES - George Brandon #10509 $29.95

MUSIC:
ORISHA SONG LEARNING BOOK
NO. 1 FOR BEGINNERS - Tape and
words -ILE ORUNMILA OSHUN/ILE
ALAKETU 'TI OSHUN - #11001
$12.00

RITUAL:
ADIMU: OFFERINGS TO THE
ORISHA* - Oba Ecun - #10103 $35.00
AGITENA: SYMBOLS OF THE
ORISHA* - Oba Ecun - #10104 $35.00
FOUR NEW WORLD YORUBA
RITUALS - John Mason - #10203 TBA
ONJE FUN ORISHA: (FOOD FOR
THE GODS) - John Mason - Revised

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

edition will be available in September price TBA


ORIN ORISHA: SONGS FOR
SELECTED HEADS - John Mason #10201 $40.00h/ paperback available
soon
RITUAL: POWER, HEALING AND
COMMUNITY - Malidoma Patrice Some
- #10701 $12.95

SELECT HEADS:
AFRICAS OGUN: OLD WORLD
AND NEW - Sandra T. Barnes, ed. #10503 $45.00h/$19.95p
ESU - ELEGBA: IFA AND THE DIVINE
MESSENGER - Awo FaLokun Fatunmbi
- #10409 $4.95
OBATALA: IFA AND THE CHIEF OF
THE WHITE CLOTH - Awo Fa'Lokun
Fatunmbi - #10411 $4.95
OCHOSI: IFA AND THE SPIRIT OF
THE TRACKER - Awo Fa'Lokun
Fatunmbi - #10412 $4.95
OGUN: IFA AND THE SPIRIT OF
IRON - Awo Fa'Lokun Fatunmbi - #10410
$4.95
OYA: IN PRAISE OF THE GODDESS
- Judith Gleason - #10401 $18.00

PAGE 27

clothing and throne garments. Head


coverings, sashes and speciality items
also available. - #10903 Varies

VIDEOS:
AFRICAN AUTUMN - Created by
Basha Alade - the weaving together of
color, dance, nature and Yoruba
folklore through live action and
animation. With dream as a vehicle,
the main character and her friends
become transformed into higher
conscious states as ORISA. OSUN,
whose colors coincide with the leaves
transformed to brilliant colors,
interacts with SANGO, her lover,
god of thunder; YEMOJA, universal
mother of the ocean; and OBATALA,
who represents purity and
enlightment. Each ORISA is
presented in a ritualistic context with
corresponding symbols and music. #10904 TBA

Please send me: (Print book number and price below)


Book #
Book #
Book #
Book #

SUNDRIES:

ORISA GREETING CARDS - Designed


by Ajibola Daboiku - #10902 TBA
TAILOR-MAID SERVICES - IYAWO
seven-day and year white cotton YORUBA

* Available in both English and Spanish

SEA-SHELVES ORDERING FORM

S/H:

MASSAGE OIL "33" - Developed by


Andy Hopper - a unique blend of thirtythree special natural oils combining the
techniques of Aromatherapy and
Herbalism - #10901 $8.95 for 4.5 oz.

ODABO ODOBA - Created by Basha


Alade - a psychic adventure of a young
boy, Emet, in search of his identity.
ODOBA is a round "entity" who acts as
a magical guide and leads Emet through
time and space, where they encounter
masks, music and dances of the African
ancestors. After a sucessful journey,
Emet returns home where he is praised
by his family and friends for gaining a
deeper cultural understanding. The
music is composed of traditional drums
and chants from Cuba and Senegal and
also an original jazz composition. #10905 TBA

$
$
$
$

Book
Book
Book
Book
Tax:

#
#
#
#

$
$
$
$

TOTAL:

Please add $3.00 postage & handling for one book; $1.00 extra for
each additional book; free when 5 or more books are ordered. Ohio
residents add 5 1/2% sales tax. Allow up to 30 days for delivery.
Name
Address
City

State

Zip

Prices and payment in U.S. dollars. Prepaid orders only. Check or money
order to SEA-SHELVES, P. O. Box 21521, Canton, OH 44701-1521.

OYA'S MARKETPLACE

PAGE 28

SUBSCRIPTION FORM:
Yes, I am interested in receiving OYA'S MARKETPLACE NEWSLETTER.

Name:
Address:
City:

St:

Zip Code:

Evening Phone:

Day Phone:
Level of Initiation:
Comments:

OYA'S MARKETPLACE
P. O. BOX 21521
CANTON, OH 44701-1521

OYA'S OVEN - "WHERE SOMETHIN'S ALWAYS COOKIN'!!!"