THE DEVELOPMENT OF IWA PELE IN MODERN DAY YORUBA PHILOSOPHY
THIRTEEN GUIDELINES IN SELF-DEVELOPMENT
We have thirteen guidelines in our Yoruba Self development in IWA PELE (Good Character) These guidelines were handed down by YORUBA ANCESTORS to enhance right living concepts.
- There is to be no PRACTICE of WICKEDNESS – ‘Those who sow the seeds of wickedness simultaneously plant them upon the HEADS of THEIR CHILDREN’ ‘Verily ashes fly back into the FACE of HE of HE who throws then’
- There is to be no STEALING – ‘Even if Man does not see; Olodumare sees.’
- There is to be no SELFISHNESS – ‘Those who are selfish will come to bare their loads alone.’
- There is to be no CONVENANT BREAKING nor FALSEHOOD – ‘The covenant breakers will be carried away by the Earth.’ ‘The sacrifices of covenant breakers and liars are not accepted.’ ‘Do not lie against companions. Do not break a covenant with an associate. Such acts verily bring about our sleeping.’
- There is to be no HYPOCRISY
- There is to be no ACTS of ATROCITY – ‘Committed against one’s neighbors.
- – ‘The relationship of service between ELDERS and YOUTH is to be STRENGTHENED CONTINIOUSLY.’ ‘The hand of the YOUNG does not reach the HIGH SELF. That of the ELDER does not go into the GOURD.’
- There is to be PROTECTION of WOMEN – ‘WOMEN are the flowers of the GARDEN; MEN are the FENCE around them.’
- There is to be TRUTHFULNESS and UPRIGHTEOUSNESS – ‘Those who are truthful and upright have the BLESSINGS of the DIVINITIES.’
- There is to be KINDNESS and GENEROSITY – ‘Kindness begets Kindness.’
- There is to be SENSITIVITY in RESPECT to VOWS of MATES – ‘In respect to PERSON to PERSON relationships.
- There is to be CHASITY in respect to VOWS of Mates – ‘MAN, do not SEDUCE another MAN’S WIFE; WOMEN, do not SEDUCE another WOMAN’S HUSBAND.’
- There is to be HOSPITABLE DIRECTIVES –
The Egun your Ancestors are the determiners of what is moral and truthful in respect to life. The Orisa do not dictate morality, the Egun, Ancestors do. The ‘GOOD LIFE’ is established by being respectful to the ELDERS/ ANCESTORS. Their wisdom and life directives need to be studied and adhered to. By following proverbial wisdom, insight, and listening to ANCESTRIAL VOICES, Yoruba Devotees are led to inner strengths and worldly balance. It must not be forgotten that the tenets of IFA itself are ANCESTRIAL understandings and interpretations. The very culture is built upon this.
The ‘Ancestors’ are people who have distinguished themselves on the moral plane. They are therefore accorded GREAT respect and are held up as models for the living to emulate. They act as a spur to GOOD CONDUCT and the living in turn HONOR them by offering LIBATION prayers as well as NAMING their children after them. The ANCESTORS are not worshipped in the way WEST AFRICANS worship GOD. They are NOT the final authority in all matters, nor are they given the same attributes as the CREATOR. They are however, REVEREND, HONORED, and RESPECTED, NOT as GODS, but as SPIRITS and PREDECESSORS…..who are in the SPIRITUAL realm, who serve to PROTECT, PRE WARN through DIVINATION, DREAMS, and sometimes through INDIVIDUALS. The ELDERS who sit at the RIGHT FOOT of GOD are ELEVATED ANCESTORS, PRIEST, PRIESTESSES, ORISA etc. These ANCESTORS came into the world, ELEVATED, left a LEGACY and COMPLETED their DESTINY and RMEMBERED by their GOOD DEEDS. We honor our positive ANCESTORS and give REVERENCE to them and they serve to protect and HONOR our desires. These ANCESTORS often reborn into their family to complete their destiny.
In the area of REINCARNATION, it is seen as an EXTENSION of the ANCESTRAL BEING. The YORUBA word ‘TUNDE’ reflects this. ‘BABATUNDE’ Father Returns, ‘IYATUNDE’ Mother Returns, These are examples of the RECOGNITION of the SPIRITUAL ESSENCE, which in part brings it self back. The importance appears NOT to be so much on the plane of SOULS reliving on and on through KARMIC PLANES, but on the constant reliving of MORALS and VALUES. You tend to repeat this cycle until you complete DESTINY, in order to be ELEVATED to the realm of ORUN, seated with ‘OLORUN’ (the Owner of Heaven) ‘OLODUMARE’ (God the supreme being, source of all blessings) ‘OLOFIN’ (the Owner of Heavens Palace) ‘OLOJO ONI’ (the Owner of Each Day) ‘ELEDA’ (the Owner of Spirit) ‘ORI’ (the Owner of the CROWN seated inside your Head) ‘OBA ORUN’ (the KING of HEAVENS) and ‘ALEWILESE’ (the one who Speaks Words into fulfillment) and ‘OYIGIYII-OTA-AIKU’ (the Mighty immovable Rock that never dies). In Order to sit in their presence could take thousands of lifetimes of discipline to complete ones DESTINY in order to do so. Ironically to the YORUBA, the RETURNING or REINCARDINATING of ANCESTRAL SOUL is desired. One strives to LIVE righteously so that they may return from HEAVEN to EARTH. By so doing GOOD ANCESTRAL SOULS strengthen the lives and the SPIRITS of their SURVIVING descendants.
YORUBA, maintain that the SOUL of a DESCEASED person either journeys to ORUN RE RE, Good Heaven or ORUN APADI aka ORUN BURUKU Bad Heaven. Souls taken before their time become GHOSTS upon the earth until OLORUN comes and delivers them to ORUN. The realization of a afterlife is as foremost in YORUBA religion as any other. It has already been noted that the living of a GOOD LIFE is brought about by REVERING and EMULATING the ANCESTORS. This LIFE on earth DOES determine LIFE beyond DEATH.
The understanding held by YORUBA priests is that the HUMAN EXPERIENCE contains a number of SOULS. That upon DEATH, these SOULS are RELEASED and are each placed in the HEAVENS or the EARTH according to the PERSONS life and deepness of wisdom. I may also add the persons life empowers the ones closest to them spiritually. It is also said by some ELDERS that, ‘DEATH to those who DIE knowing is like DEATH to those who DIE unknowing.’ Those who have lived a CRUEL and ABUSIVE LIFE go to a place where their SOULS can never be restored. They can NEVER again RETURN to the LIVING. (People who commit Suicide, Pedophiles, Molesters, Rapist, Murderers, Gangsters, Drug Lords, Oppressors, Thieves, Individuals who planted Racism, and carry it out, etc.)
The structuring of the individual according to the YORUBA ANCESTORS is totally intertwined with the structuring of the COMMUNITY or TRIBAL NATION. The TRIBE or BAND becomes the focal point of IDENTIFICATION. It provides the individual with a Center for His or Her sense of BELONGING, EDUCATION in the ways of the WORLD, and methods for TRANSCEDENCE beyond the WORLDS.
Each stage of the LIFE CYCLE is completed with RITUAL and RELIGIOUS CEREMONY as the core, and SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTMENTAL directives as the outer EXPRESSION. For the INDIVIDUAL to be considered as part of the TRIBAL NATION, they must be INITIATED into it even though they are PHYSICALLY BORN into it. Through INITIATION the CANDITATE passes beyond the NATURAL MODE and GAINS access to the CULTURAL mode-that is they are INTRODUCED to CULTURAL SPIRITUAL VALUES. Since being brought under the ship and stripped of OUR natural cultural concepts and spiritual values this act should be viewed as RE-ORIENTATION to our TRADITION. People clueless to their own CULTURAL TRADITION wonder aimlessly in confusion through out their life like a CHICKEN with his HEAD CUT OFF, these individuals fall prey to anything. Now, you can not self initiate nor request you must be called into the process because you are ready. This is a process best experienced bit by bit. Now, in the YORUBA CULTURE, those who are uninitiated do not have the FULL blessings of the ANCESTORS nor the TRIBE. The term for these individuals is ‘OLOGBERI.’
Once initiated one becomes PART of an EXTENDED FAMILY community based. However, without RESPECT, STRUCTURE, ORDER, BOUNDARIES and LEADERSHIP from the ELDERS modeling EXCELLENT CHARACTER, this system will collapse. The ideal STRUCTURE should beas follows:
‘OLORI EBI’ is the head of the Extended Family. He or She is responsible for Rituals and judgments regarding the Extended Family. This person is balanced, humble, honest, and with outstanding ‘Iwa Pele’ good character.
‘OBA BAALE’ is the ‘CHIEF’ of the town or that particular village.
‘AWORO’ constitutes the Priestly Order.
‘ELEGUN’ are the MEDIUMS.
”OLOOGUN” are the MEDICINE or HOLY persons.
These positions provide but a simplistic view of the MULTIPLISCITY of strata that are a YORUBA COMMUNITY.
YORUBA SOCIAL EXPRESSION
The natural social expression allows for POLOGAMY, which is the Marital Condition where by a man may have more than one wife. The key word here is MARITAL. The MAN and the WOMEN involved are RITUALLY embraced by both RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL MORES. They combine to form a productive unit geared toward interrelationship, child care, business profit, and communal stability. The wives consider themselves as co-wives with the emphasis on cooperation. In order for this arrangement to work there must be a system of conditions, boundaries, and iwa pele. I do not recommend this amongst undeveloped souls. I will elaborate in another blog more details. But for the record this is not for individuals who economics are barren.
YORUBA RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION ALLOWS MARRIAGE
Yoruba Priest and Priestesses are allowed to marry and raise children. Outside of specific SACRED COMMITMENTS, Priest and Priestesses, are encouraged to marry. ORUNMILA, the Profit, was married to a number of wives and sired many children. The statement is very clear, one plus one equals three. In respect to the ANCESTRAL ways, it is taught and handed down ONE MALE, plus ONE FEMAL produces a CHILD. The FEMININE FORCE, must be approached and BALANCED in order to CREATE a STABLE person, a STABLE family, community, and nation. The CREATIVE MANIFESTATION source comes from the FEMININE ENERGY that wills it into existence. Balanced well adjusted IWA PELE, good character is always in its core.
TRADITIONAL LIFE STAGES IN YORUBA CULTURE
This cycle is quite the opposite of the European Clock. At the very center is the YORUBA Religious core, then DIVINATION and RITUAL. This is taught as early as pre conception. The taboos and ODU Stories are taught in early stages like preschool. I think you get the picture painted here. They are equipped to be ARABA early as 19 years of age. They have been apprenticed all their life and has full understanding of their DESTINES. IWA-PELE predates ones arrival always remember to DO GOOD and SPEAK TRUTHS.
BACK TO BIRTH
YORUBA COMMUNAL FUNCTIONING
The creation of EGBE or Specific Secret Societies are integral parts of Yoruba Communal Functioning. They are as follows:
- OGBONI / OSUGBO SOCIETY who reflect the balancing of MALE and FEMALE forces in Human Construct and Universal design. The OGBONI are headed by ELDERS who revere the EARTH MOTHER and strive to PROTECT and UPHOLD her PURITY. These ELDERS are set to carry on the TRADITIONS of the ANCESTORS. They also pass JUDGMENT on those who DEFY the TRADITIONAL LAWS. MEMBERS are initiated into the Society.
- EGUNGUN SOCIETY is DEVOTED to the EARTH, BUT more so with the DECEASED who are buried in it. Those of the EGUNGUN SOCIETY are MEDIUMS who have the ability to possess the SPIRIT of those DEPARTED. They then communicate the desires and last messages to the family. The EGUNGUN are known for their enormous MASKS and RAFFIA DRESS with attached CLOTH covering their entire body.
- GELEDE SOCIETY are devoted to Their function is to bring about HARMONIOUS RECONCILIATION between HUMANS and the WITCHES the AJE. The GELEDE CULT wear MASKS with TRIBAL MARKINGS and DRESS in Padded clothing, representing the FULLNESS of YEMOJA. They invoke the WITCHES and SACRIFICE to them in order to neutralize their powerful negativity and destructive potential.
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