Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yoruba story of the defeat of death

We have in this verse from Oyeku Meji, an instance where one of the divinities Eshu, was asked to come to the aid of Olomo, an Ifa priest, when Ajogun were coming to kill him. Eshu put yam-flour in the mouths of the Ajogun, making their mouths sour and locking up their jaws. This is to serve as one example of a divinity or good supernatural power going to war against the Ajogun for a human being:

Ifa divination was performed for Olomo,
The tall and hefty one.
All Ajogun were moving around Olomo.
They wanted to kill him.
He was asked to perform sacrifice,
and he performed it.
One day,
Death, Disease and Loss stood up,
And set out to carry war to the house of Olomo.
They found Eshu outside the house
As they were trying to enter the house of Olomo.
Eshu repeatedly put yam-flour in their mouths,
Some of them died,
And some fell ill,
But none could enter Olomo's house
When Olomo became happy,
He started to sing the song of the Ifa priests,
He said 'Atata-tain-tain'
Ifa divination was performed for Olomo,
The tall and hefty one.
Death who wanted to kill Ifa priest,
Can no longer kill him.
Death has moved away from the head of the Ifa priest.
Death does not eat yam-flour.
If Death attempts to eat yam-flour,
His mouth becomes stiff,
His jaws are locked up.
Disease who wants to afflict Ifa priest
Can no longer afflict him.
Death does not eat yam-flour,
His mouth becomes stiff,
His jaws are locked up.
All Ajogun who wanted to attack Ifa priest
Can no longer attack him.
Death does not eat yam-flour,
His mouth becomes stiff,
His jaws become locked.

Taken from: The Yoruba World of Good and Evil, Conrad E. Mauge Ph.D

February 19

Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth – Yoruba proverb
We can become so consumed with trying to make it that we never do. Unfortunately, before we know it, we are seated by age, hardened by experiences having never realized the full value of life. We want so much. We try to do so much, it seems as if nothing ever gets done. The ancient Africans knew that quality not quantity makes life precious. It is our individual responsibility to set the standards for quality in our lives. Do we have peace in our lives? Do we have a source of happiness in our lives? Are we living up to the standards we set for ourselves? Have we set standards? Are we committed to following our heart’s desire? Are we making our dreams come true? We must decide for ourselves what we want for ourselves while the sunshine of youth is upon us. It is quality, not quantity, that brings wisdom with age.

Affirmation: I will let the sun of life shine on me.

Taken from: Acts of Faith, Iyanla Vanzant

A Yoruba story of Creation

Legend has it that in the beginning what is now called earth was a watery marsh, non-inhabitable to human life. There were several species of animal that lived on the marsh and from time to time, beings ventured down a golden ladder (or spider’s web) to hunt game. It is said that one day Olodumare, who was deep in thought, summoned Obatala, his chief architect and most trusted divinity, and gave him the task of creating earth as we know it. Obatala who had gone to Orunmila, chief counselor and heveanly sage, for divination before being summoned, knew of the task in advance. The oracle advised Obatala that he must sacrifice before venturing to earth and that he must ask Olodumare for specific items, if he wished to have a successful mission. In accepting his assignment he asked Olodumare for a five-toed hen, a pigeon, a snail’s shell containing dirt and some vegetation. With the contents carefully placed in his sack, Obatala descended to the watery marsh.
When he reached an area that could successfully hold his weight, he emptied the dirt from the snail’s shell in a pile. The hen was released and started scratching the dirt, spreading it until it covered a wide area. The pigeon was then released and it took particles of the vegetation and planted it at various intervals in the dirt. After four days, Obatala returned to heaven and told Olodumare that he had completed his mission. God then sent the chameleon to “walk” on earth and to examine the work that Olodumare had performed. The Chameleon returned to Olodumare and said “Ife” (It is wide enough). The chameleon also reported that the earth was not dry enough at that time for habitation. Olodumare then asked Obatala to return again to earth and this time he gave Obatala the seedlings of several trees to plant; these trees are now sacred to the Toruba. Among the trees were Igbe, Ope, the Dodo, the Iroko, the Peregun, and the Ayan. When Obatala reached earth, the spot where he landed he called Ile’-Ife’, was to become the holy city of the Yoruba, and the place where man would first exist. Obatala returned to heaven after planting the trees and asked Olodumare to give earth rain, which He did.
Our elders tell us that Obatala was given a second task mission by the Almighty which was to make life forms that would eventually inhabit the earth. Obatala’s specific instructions were to create physical being. Obatala once again sought guidance from Orunmila, and this time he was told to ask Our Father for soft clay from which to mold the creatures. He was told by the oracle that these creatures would become a race, a human race and that they would reproduce. The oracle described the organs of reproduction that must be made. Obatala was told to sacrifice for success. It is said that in his anxiety and haste to begin this new project, Obatala forgot to sacrifice. Obatala asked God for the soft clay and God instructed Obatala that He would bring life to the man-forms; giving man “ase” and certain other attributes including free-will, that would sustain man through limited life on earth; after which man was to return home from his journey; home to Orun.
Obatala eargerly began his task molding the male first with a male organ and the female second, giving her breasts and reproductive organs to allow procreation of their race. After days of continuous labor, Obatala began to drink of palm wine to quench his thirst and soon became intoxicated. With eyes half-closed, and his senses numbed by both fatigue and the wine, he valiantly struggled to complete his task, but alas, the forms were now misshapened and irregular.

Our folklore says that Oduduwa, later to become the progenitor of the Yoruba, came across Obatala in his stupor and decided that he would finish the task. When the task was finally completed, all of the divinities assembled to witness the creation of man. Olodumare arrived and asked the divinities to cover their eye as he gave life to man. All of the divinities covered their eyes except Orunmila; who was chosen to the witness of man’s fate.
Olodumare then breathed life into the forms and some came to life with deformities. Olodumare in His infinite wisdom charged Obalatala, the architect of man, with being the patron of the cripple, the hunchback, the blind, the albino, dwarfs and all others that mat be afflicted with a physical handicap or deformed in any way. He also said henceforth, that it was taboo for Obatala to drink strong spirits.
Shortly thereafter, Olodumare informed his divinities that they were to travel to earth and settle it. Eventually they were told that they would cohabit this plane with man. Obatala was again chosen to govern man and divinities on earth. Olodumare also sent Orunmila to give information, counsel and guidance to Obatala, the divinities and to human beings.

Taken from: The Yoruba World of Good and Evil, Conrad E. Mauge Ph.D

Sunday, February 3, 2013


So @TrinidadJamesGG is here! Is the world ready for @TobagoTracy? Rama was last night. We not I didnt go. Worked at Calypso Fiesta yesterday. It was a good year for the entertainment segment after the competition. Explainer, The Mighty Shadow, Swallow, Johnny King all regaled. An historic 7 women are in the finals of the Calypso Monarch. Raymond Ramnarine is Chuntney Monarch. Super Blue performed at the Fiesta, he believed to be the taker of all Soca titles this year. He performed to a full vocal track. Im supposed to be getting ready to go to the Opening Night of 3 Canal's annual show, this year called Planass! I was promoted to Deputy Head of News on Friday. Word is that I deserved it, happy to hear so I guess? Just another day in paradise! One week to the climax of another Carnival season....a definitive time for many of us...we decide who we are at Carnival...one song says "time to go to fete and play jamette"...yuh know? So Im working from a new position as of tomorrow and hoping my perspective doesn't change. Love!