Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tambores dia de Orula con father Gugulandia

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In Yoruba mythology, Orunmila is the spirit of wisdom among Irunmole and divinity of destiny and prophecy. He is recognized as "Ibikeji Olodumare" (second in command to [Olodumare], i.e., the Supreme entity; often also playfully translated as "second calabash to God", since "igba" means "calabash") and "eleri ipin" (witness of fate). Orunmila is also referred to as Agbonniregun, the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom of Ifá ("ee-FAH"), the highest form of divination practice among the Yoruba people. In the Santeria / Lukumi diaspora, in present-day Cuba, Orunmila is known as Orula & Orunla. Orunmila is not Ifa, but he is the one who leads the priesthood of Ifa and it was Orunmila who carried Ifa (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth. Priests of Ifa are called babalawo (father of secrets) or Iyanifa (female Ifa priest). Orunmila is regarded as a wise man or sage, it was Orunmila (meaning; "only heaven knows the secret to salvation and survival", or, "Orun-ni-o mo eni-ma-la"). His name is actually Ela also called Elasoode (Ela ties Ide on), while in heaven assisting Olodumare with the organization and creation of the universe, which because of his great assistance and vast wisdom/knowledge Olodumare sent Orunmila to Earth with Oduduwa to complete the creation and organization of the world, to make it habitable for humans. It is Orunmila and only he who recognizes the position that Olodumare put Ori as the supreme deity above the Orisa including orunmila himself, it is Ori that can intercede and affect the reality of a person much closer than any Orisa. For this reason it is important to consult with Babalawo during times to know ones direction and the wish of ones Ori. On account of the primacy of the individual identity in Yoruba thought, the Yoruba often say in a proverb, "Ori la ba bo, a ba f'orisa sile" (It is the inner soul or head we ought to worship, and cast divinity aside).
Some initiatory lineages have only male priests of Orunmila, while others welcomely include both genders; sometimes this fact causes debate. This difference is true in Africa and in the Americas. The following discussions reflect such debate. The term "Awo" is a gender-neutral name of an initiated priest of Orunmila. The debate surrounding gender is a result of diversity in the many layers of history in various locations, and an understanding that different groups serve Orunmila in slightly different ways is currently developing. Awo in every tradition study the 256 Odu of Ifa; each Odu is an extraordinarily vast collection of knowledge, including stories and prayers that have been passed down from the time that Orunmila walked the Earth as a prophet, usually said to be about 5,000 years ago. (The term Odu has multiple meanings.)
A woman can only be consecrated in to the mysteries of IFA in Africa and even then will not be allowed to divine using all the tools of IFA. Women do not need to receive Odu because all women already have Odu which is represented by the womb of women and the female child bearing ability; the womb is seen as both a physical and spiritual gateway between the heavens and the material world. Several Odu Ifa mandate that women do not see nor receive Odu (Calabash of Existence), and any claims that it can be given are easily dispelled; Ifa stanzas cite several reasons and occasions why. Odu is associated mainly with the force of creation as a gateway between the physical world and metaphysical world for the transfer of divine knowledge and messages. Throughout Cuba and some of the broader Santeria diaspora, Orula can be received by individuals regardless of gender. For men, the procedure is known as receiving "Mano de Orula" and for women, it is "Kofa de Orula". The same procedure exists in Yoruba land, with "ese n'taye" (birthing rites), "Ise'fa" (adolescent initiation rites) and "Ite'fa" (consecration of the paraphernalia of Ifa practice). Worshippers of the traditional religious philosophy of the Yoruba people all receive one hand of Ifa (called Isefa) regardless of which Orisa they may worship or be an Orisa Priest, it is that same Isefa that will direct all followers to the right path and their individual destinies in life.
The traditional religious point of view include similar privileges accorded to women as priestesses of Ifa and womens' societies. A woman priestess is known as Iyanifa, Iyalaja, Iya Agba and Iyalase. The title Iyanifa is in suspect since it is not used by either the Cuban or West African practitioners of IFA.
Iyanifa - A woman Awo Ifa, or can be a titled woman within an Ifa community not a priest, she can also be the Iyanifa present at the Itefa ceremony of any person, as the inclusion of women is mandatory at every males Itefa rites.
Iyalaja- A spiritual mother working with Iya Nla.
Iyanla- the Great Mother, also called Awon Iya mi (Our Mothers) and sometimes referred to as Gelede, the female masquerade commonly found in the Egba areas of Yoruba land and somewhat well preserved in Bahia, Brazil
Iya Agba- An old and wise woman.
Iyalase- High Priestess and head of woman society.
Iyale- Depending on inflection or spelling, the term could either refer to the senior wife in a polygamous household (Iyá Ilé, or iyálé, when contracted) meaning "mother of the household"; or to a communal female personage who is a custodian of secrets and is therefore wise (Iyá Ilè, iyálè when contracted), meaning "Earth Mother".
The Yoruba believe in the duality in life: males exist because of the female essence and females exist because of the male essence, so every major rite or ceremony includes both genders, as it should be.
Among West Africans, Orunmila is recognized as a primordial Irunmole that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst them as a prophet that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics, during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples.
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