Monday, October 22, 2007

Journey to the source

Nick and I travelled to the Sacred Forest and Ife yesterday, on yet another journey into the spirit of Yoruba culture. We walked down the spiraling path of the grove to the Osun river. This year's festival maiden was outside the temple - the babalawo was not there. By the river, two women bathed naked in the waters. When they had finished, we walked down to the water and paid hommage. Then we trekked up the hill inside the forest to the shrine of Obatala - orisha of creativity. The sculpture there is wonderful - part man, part horse, part eruptive being...

Then it was onto Ife. Eshu played with us for a while, not allowing us the quick route into town (we ended up in Ijesa). Eventually we made it to see Jimmi Solanke. We visited the Orunmiyan staff, the Ooni's palace and then to this place (picture on left, click to see a larger version) -the spiritual centre for Ifa divination. Each April, babalawos come from all over the world to the World Ifa Congress. We might just have to be there next year...


Anonymous,  11:02 pm  

I want to make a similar trip next year. How did you organise this? I don't like in nigeria.

Waffarian 1:53 am  

Fascinating, if I am in Nigeria next year, I will certainly be coming along!"world babalawo conference"? what the hell do the discuss? The latest politics in their world? Dammmmmmn I 'd like to know!

Mike,  6:41 pm  

Jeremy do you actually believe in this stuff or is it just an interest from a social/anthropological point of view?

Jeremy 9:51 pm  

@ Mike: mythic patterns of thought structure our thinking, most of the time without our being aware of it. By the same token, there are energies in objects, just as there are energies in minds. As quantum mechanics and more recently, M-Theory, have shown, objectivity is the biggest myth of all.

So the question of whether one believes in 'this stuff' is not the right question. Belief (in western science, in some form of African mythic horizon) is always structured by desire and by the way in which one relates pre-cognitively to the world. Some people are drawn to the idea that one day Science will produce the ultimate theory; others are drawn to the idea that one paradigm will simply cede to the next.

That said, the Ifa Divination system is one of the most sophisticated combinations of mathematics and metaphysics ever devised by humans, and deserves a certain degree of awe..

Anonymous,  9:56 am  

well put Jeremy

Mike,  3:58 pm  

Jeremy the question I asked is the right one as it is the one I wanted an answer to. You chose not to answer the question - that's fine. Trying to dodge an answer with something that belongs in Wheen's 'Mumbo Jumbo' is the wrong answer.

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