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Developing

Universal Ogboni Philosophy and Spirituality

My Journey

Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju


Compcros
Comparative Cognitive Processes and Systems
“Exploring Every Corner of the Cosmos in Search of Knowledge”
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Developing

Universal Ogboni Philosophy and Spirituality

My Journey

Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju


Compcros
Comparative Cognitive Processes and Systems
Exploring Every Corner of the Cosmos in Search of Knowledge

Cover image
An Ogboni sculpture from Barakat Gallery of Onile, Owner of Earth, Owner of
Land, representing Ile, Earth, Earth as mother of all and the Ogboni Iledi,
sacred meeting house, as integrating the community, and by extension, one
may deduce, the human community in its home on Earth, itself nestled within
the cosmos.

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Contents

Abstract 4

Immediate Inspiration and Acknowledgement 4


Goals 5
Information Sources 6
Methods 7
Current Context of Public Knowledge About Ogboni 8
Earlier Vision Statements and Summation of Progress 10
Progress of Exploration and Construction 10

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Abstract
This is a statement of my goals, the rationale for those goals, a description of
my methods and an account of my progress in developing Universal Ogboni
Philosophy and Spirituality, a new school of the Yoruba origin Ogboni esoteric
order, centred in Ogboni veneration of the feminine, represented by Ile, Earth,
universal mother, represented by male and female human beings as her
children.
This initiative is grounded in the aesthetic values of Ogboni bronze sculpture
in dialogue with Ogboni philosophy and spirituality, within the context of
classical Yoruba thought, framing these conjunctive streams in a global
framework integrating African, Asian and Western thought.
This creation is part of my effort in contributing to the development of female
centred spiritualities in general, represented in Africa by Yoruba origin Iyami
spirituality and Igbo Uli art and spirituality, represented outside Africa by my
expansion of the Hindu Sri Devi Khadgamala Stotram ritual dedicated to the
Goddess Tripurasundari, of which I have published the first part of this
reworking of the ritual as “The Journey of Shakti,”.
The larger project contributes to the further development of the intersection
of the visual and verbal arts, philosophy and spirituality, from such classical
African thought and practices, as the Yoruba origin Ifa, the Fulani Kaidara and
the Ghanaian Adinkra along with other bodies of knowledge beyond Africa
The cover image above is of an Ogboni sculpture of Onile, Owner of Earth,
Owner of Land, representing Ile, Earth, Earth as mother of all and evoking the
Ogboni Iledi, sacred meeting house, as integrating the community withi which
the Iledi is located, and by extension, one may deduce, the human community
in its home on Earth, itself nestled within the cosmos.
Immediate Inspiration and Acknowledgement
My immediate reason for producing and distributing this compilation of my
work on Ogboni is that of preparing a foundation for unifying my studies on
classical Yoruba conceptions of the feminine, correlating Ogboni, the feminine
dimension in Ifa, the female focused Gelede and Iyami conceptions, relating
these to Igbo Uli art, in the implications of the latter’s origins as an art
practiced primarily by women, perhaps relating these with my work on the
Hindu ritual the Sri Devi Khadgamla Stotram, dedicated to the Goddess
Tripurasundari.
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The formulation of the introduction to this listing of work is largely inspired
by questions asked of this project by a family friend David Olusegun Juwape.
May he prosper.
Goals
I am developing Universal Ogboni Philosophy and Spirituality, a new school of
the Yoruba origin Ogboni esoteric order, in order to demonstrate the glorious
significance of Ogboni philosophy, art and practice in contrast to its
association with evil and secrecy in the minds of many Nigerians and general
ignorance about Ogboni within and outside Nigeria.
Ogboni is one of the world's great celebrations of the sacrality and universal
motherhood of Earth in relation to her children, the human male and female,
projecting these ideas through inimitable art.
Ogboni thought, practices and art demonstrate a profound sensitivity to the
Earth as a matrix sustaining all terrestrial existence, in the fraternity between
men and women and between them and all other beings on Earth, a bond
reaching into the cosmic home within which the Earth is nestled.
Ogboni philosophy develops in a distinctive manner this ancient idea which is
gaining increasing recognition as human development threatens the
ecosystemic harmony of the Earth.
These ecological sensitivities are expanding through those human
technological and social developments taking humanity into space. The trans-
terrestrial vantage point enabled by space exploration further foregrounds the
uniqueness, fragility and life sustaining power of humanity's terrestrial home,
qualities created by the fortunate convergence of cosmological factors that
enable life on Earth, from the balance of gravitational forces in relation to
other celestial bodies to Earth’s distance from the sun.
Reinforcing Ogboni reverence of Earth is Ogboni development of one of the
world's richest forms of veneration of feminine capacities, understood in
Ogboni as an expression of identity with Ile, Yoruba for Earth. This is
demonstrated with particular force in the evocative range, beauty and power
of Ogboni metal sculpture. This art, a blend of the figurative and the stylized, is
uniquely powerful in its evocation of the feminine in terms of a balance of
maternality and wild vigor, lyrical resonance and arcane force, voluptuous
presence and preterhuman power, venerable potency and nurturing capacity.

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Ogboni philosophy also suggests ideas about how best to conduct the journey
of life within the terrestrial frame that is humanity's envelope within the
cosmic framework. Part of this vision of how to live involves, through the
enablement of ritual art, penetrating into and sharing in the point of
intersection of spirit and matter.
This aspiration to inter-dimensional conjunctions is centred in methods of
facilitating the intersection of what are understood as sentient, sentience
enabling and sentience enhancing forms of energy and the human mind within
the context of material existence. The goal of this effort is to expand sensitivity
to various dimensions of being, cultivating appreciation of the meaning of life
and how to best understand its issues and direct the course of one's living.
In Ogboni thought, practice and art, human possibilities are demonstrated at a
high level, resonant with the best that has been achieved in related fields while
demonstrating unique actualizations of these universal potentialities.
My task is the elucidation of this achievement and an adaptation of its
possibilities through modes of expression and media of presentation readily
accessible to everyone.
This project aspires to an examination and adaptation of Ogboni philosophy,
art and practices, in the context of classical Yoruba philosophy and spirituality,
in relation to correlative bodies of knowledge within and beyond Africa,
demonstrating Ogboni’s contribution to the global fund of ideas about the
meaning and character of existence, enabling the study and practice of Ogboni
philosophy and practice by anyone in ways convenient for them.
I have never been a member of Ogboni nor do I seek membership, being
largely a do-it-yourself, solitary spiritual and philosophical practitioner and
learner. My encounter with the beauty and power of Ogboni thought and art,
however, inspires me to share these ideas and creative forms with others and
contribute to the development of Ogboni thought, art and practice.
Information Sources
My knowledge of Ogboni comes from academic journals and scholarly books,
interpreted through the prism of my study and practice of related Yoruba,
Benin, Igbo, Akan, Zulu, Asian and Western philosophies and spiritualities, and
exposure to nature and other spiritualities in Australia and South America,
within the context of a grounding in the intersection of art, philosophy and
spirituality in African, Western and Asian contexts.
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Methods
I prefer to construct my own cognitive systems though dialogue with existing
frameworks. I bring to my work on Ogboni this flexibility of approach,
developed through grounding in traditional material, interpreting them in new
ways, demonstrating both my sources and the directions in which I take them
as well as the logic of the novel orientations developed from the older
contexts.
The old orientation my work is built upon is constituted by what is already
known about Ogboni. The new orientation consists in making this information
more widely accessible through the use of such platforms as social media
offering greater visibility than traditional academic spaces where most of
what is publicly known about Ogboni is published.
The new orientation I bring to bear on Ogboni also consists in degrees of
development and adaptation of the previously existing material. This involves
interpreting the significance of the knowledge currently available beyond its
current level of explication as well as the adaptation of this knowledge in new
directions, facilitating its use by people in contexts different from the
traditional framework in which they have been previously employed.
These novel strategies of use involve the development of new prayers and
rituals adapted from existing knowledge or freshly constructed but inspired
by that knowledge.
These new developments are relevant to Ogboni members because they
demonstrate possibilities of Ogboni yet unrealized by the group on account of
the fresh interpretive strategies and frames of knowledge brought to play on
the existing material.
They are instructive to non-members in enlightening them about existing
Ogboni values and practices, while demonstrating the yet undeveloped
potential of these older orientations, clarifying how people can take advantage
of these ideas, living Ogboni philosophy and spirituality without being
members of Ogboni in the conventional sense, an approach that could prove
attractive to people who might not be inspired by the idea of being members
of Ogboni in the traditional manner though they admire Ogboni ideas as
clarified by this project.
This initiative contributes, therefore, in moving knowledge of Ogboni from the
shadows of rumor to the light of certainty.
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Current Context of Public Knowledge About Ogboni
The name "Ogboni" is associated with occult evil in the minds of many
Nigerians, its country of origin. This association is not helped by the secrecy of
its older body, the Aboriginal Ogboni Fraternity, as different from the newer
Reformed Ogboni Fraternity. The Aboriginal, however, and perhaps even older
and more secretive bodies before it, are arguably the historical and ideational
core of the place of Ogboni in Nigerian history.
Ogboni social media presence, represented particularly by Facebook, often
does not prove very helpful, on account of the difficulty of distinguishing
between genuine Ogboni Facebook pages and those set up to propagate
questionable claims of being able to assist members secure wealth, that being
another value associated with Ogboni in the public mind, along with human
sacrifice, evil Satanic associations, among a constellation of gross negativities
constituting the coming together of people to gain advantage in a society often
bedeviled by inequality and uncertainty as Nigeria has increasingly become in
its 50 plus years of existence.
There is almost no depth of information on Ogboni beliefs and practices
readily available within Nigeria, with more information, ironically, readily
accessible outside Nigeria. Some books on Ogboni have been published in
Nigeria and the West but their visibility is highly limited.
Serious scholarship of significant depth on Ogboni philosophy, practice and
history does exist, but this information is confined to academic journals and
scholarly books, all published in the West, largely inaccessible to those
without access to these resources. Even when, as with the journal archive
JSTOR, access to the archive is eased for developing countries, the institutional
platforms through which JSTOR can be more readily accessed puts the archive
outside the reach of many Nigerians on account of the low level of library
culture in the country.
For the rest of the world, publication on Ogboni has not reached anything near
the volume and consequent visibility enabled for knowledge systems that
share its engagement with similar ideas and aesthetics, such as Western
Paganism and modern Western witchcraft, Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra.
On account of these limitations, the power of Ogboni ideas, practices and art
as one of the world's great philosophical, spiritual and artistic traditions, and
one of the world's great celebrations of the sacrality and universal

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motherhood of Earth in relation to the primordiality of the human male and
female being is largely unknown within and outside Nigeria.
Having gained some exposure to great demonstrations of similar ideations
and correlative artistic forms across the world, particularly in Western
Paganism and witchcraft and in Buddhism and Hinduism, and come to better
appreciate the epistemic significance of Yoruba esotericism, awo, in the
context of world esotericism, I am developing a new school of Ogboni.
The new orientation involves making this information more widely accessible
through the use of such platforms as the social media spaces Facebook and
Google and Yahoo groups and open access online document archives such as
Scribd and academia. edu which offer greater visibility to the general public
than traditional academic media.
I am sharing this work in various social media groups to which I belong,
groups targeted at Nigerians and Africans and cross-continental groups
centred in various disciplines relevant to the study of Ogboni. My Facebook
account gains attention from Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are responding
with significant interest to what I have shared so far on this project, interest
also demonstrated by responses on the one listserve where this work has
been shared, USAAfrica Dialogues Series Google group.
The essay and film titles below are linked to the works in their publication on
various platforms. The list will be updated as the project progresses.

Earlier Vision Statements and Summation of Progress

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1.Creating and Developing the Greater Ogboni Fraternity : A New
Development of an African Esoteric Order
2. Constructing a Philosophy and Spirituality of Ogboni, a Yoruba Origin
Esoteric Order, by Adapting the Work of Babatunde Lawal and Other Scholars
Progress of Exploration and Construction
3. Daniel, blood oath & Gabriel Okara’s Piano & Drums [[OGBONI
CONNECTION ? ]
4. Convergences of the Erotic, the Philosophical and the Spiritual in Yoruba
and Hindu Thought
5. Reworking Ogboni and Gelede: Transposing Yoruba Female Centred
Spiritualities in an Individualistic Context
6. Reworking the Yoruba Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : Philosophy,
Aesthetics, Spirituality
7. Aesthetics and Epistemology of Ogboni Sculpture : Dialogues on Ogboni 1 :
Part 1
8. Aesthetics and Epistemology of Ogboni Sculpture : Dialogues on Ogboni 1 :
Part 2
9. Reworking the Yoruba Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order: From the Two to the
Three : Multiplicity and Unity in an Earth Centred Spirituality and Philosophy
10. Reworking the Yoruba Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order: From the Two to the
Three, from Temporality to Eternity : Philosophical Reflections and Spiritual
Invocation in an Earth Centred Spirituality and Philosophy
11. Earth as Enabler of Birth and Rebirth: A Prayer and Philosophical Stanzas
from the Greater Ogboni Fraternity
12. Salutations to the Owner of the Land, the Owner of the Earth, Owner of the
House of Humanity
13. The Clitoris in the Art of the Yoruba Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order :
Description of Work in Progress
14. The Monarch in Pink : Explicit Evocations of Female Sexuality in the Art of
the Yoruba Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : Description of Work in Progress

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15. Female Erotic Intelligence and Arcane Power in the Art of the Yoruba
Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : An Intercultural Dialogue : Part 1
16. Female Erotic Intelligence and Arcane Power in the Art of the Yoruba
Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : An Intercultural Dialogue : Part 2
17. Female Erotic Intelligence and Arcane Power in the Art of the Yoruba
Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : An Intercultural Dialogue : Part 3
18. Female Erotic Intelligence and Arcane Power in the Art of the Yoruba
Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : An Intercultural Dialogue : Part 4
19. Female Erotic Intelligence and Arcane Power in the Art of the Yoruba
Origin Ogboni Esoteric Order : An Intercultural Dialogue : Part 5 [ With Erotic
Images ]
20. A. Mystical Journeys in Lagos: Ogboni Mysticism in Urban Space : A
Philosophy of Peregrination: Photo Essay (USAAfrica Dialogues Series Google
group with a discussion thread)
B. Mystical Journeys in Lagos: Ogboni Mysticism in Urban Space : A Philosophy
of Peregrination: Photo Essay [ Facebook with a discussion thread]
21. The Master of Equanimity and Seeker of Balance: Initiation into Edan
Ogboni in Terms of an Aesthetic and Cognitive Mysticism
22. Metaphysics and Epistemology of Ogboni Mysticism 1 : Inspired by a
Comment from Humanities Scholar Kenneth Harrow
23. Metaphysics and Epistemology of Ogboni Mysticism : Inspired by a
Comment from Humanities Scholar Kenneth Harrow 2
24. Ogboni Aesthetics and the Universal Significance of Yoruba and Igbo
Theories of Perception : The Inspiration of Hanneke Grootenboer
25. Arcane Mothers : A Film on the Arcane Feminine in Art of the Yoruba
OriginOgboni Esoteric Order in Convergence with Non-Ogboni Art

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