ORISHA’s & IFA's  "ASHE" COMPARED TO SIMILAR  

  

      CONCEPTS IN EASTERN RELIGIONS AND KEMET'S                              

                               VITALIST THEOLOGY


                                                                                                                       © Alashe Michael Oshoosi, 2019


                                                                    PART ONE

                                                  Why I Have Written This Essay

                                                                                                                                               *

While I do not encourage Orisha/Ifa practitioners to use the language of Kemet or of Kundalini yoga’s “chakras” in explaining the functioning of human beings, plants and animals, the fact is that on the Internet one finds hundreds of entries that free- ly analogize (or literally “incorporate”) these Mediterranean  and  Eastern concep- tions into Orisha/Ifa religion. True, in many ways their concepts are roughly analog- ous to  the  distribution  of  ashe  in  the  body  in Orisha /Ifa  ideation, but  because they  are  similar  does  not  authorize  one to claim  that  the “ Pillars of Djed,” the "Souls of Ra," or the “chakras” of Kundalini yoga are a part of Orisha/Ifa religion per se. They are not.  

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Tragedy will have authored its masterpiece if some people take this opinion to be a ‘put down’  or dismissal of the “subtle energy”  conceptions of  the ancient Kemites or the  Eastern  theosophists. I have no such intention. I  do  believe  that  there are “energies” that, ipso facto, permeate all physical masses (including the bio-stuff of which we are made). And some scientists believe indeed that all “mass” and "mat- ter” are but conglomerations or concentrations of various and sundry energy fields. They call them "quantum fields." No problem.

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That said, there is a good likelihood then that humanity has been on to something for millennia  in its  views (of  which there are myriads) that subtle energy may be manipulated by one living thing so as to affect the functioning—great or small—of some  other  living things; even  at a distance—near or far. (But  I  must  admit  that when  most  people  that I  hear  start  explaining  things  in terms  of “energies” is  when I start  thinking about putting one of my  hands on  my  wallet and  the  other on my knife because—except for scientists—most often I know they are using this catch-all  euphemism  to conceal the sad fact  that  they  do  not  a have a clue as to what they are talking about in bandying about this term—"energy"--the most abus- ed one in the English language). Thus, I do have questions as to whether the explan- ations or “constructs” like “chakras" are particularly informative, sufficiently defin- ite, reliable, and falsifiable as to be regarded as accurate.


They, as concepts, are  more likely  than  not to “place holders” for  real knowledge; that is, they may  serve  merely as  provisional  concepts  awaiting (so  far  for about twenty thousand years) truths about subtle “energies” that are actually demonstra- ble and  of predictive value. But, as  proxies (albeit  hopelessly  metaphysical  ones), they yet serve as a common vocabulary that give their proponents a sense of shar- ed understanding. And, in respect of practical and even clinical reality, for them this shared experience--because this term is so widely used by them—that it appears to be virtually self-validating and, therefore, in need of no further reflection.

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My  concern is  not  whether  the  concepts of  “chakras” or “Seven Souls of Ra” (in Kemet theosophy) are valid or useful. I think that it is patently obvious that people will, in  great  numbers, attest  that  gurus,  shamans,  Reiki  energy  manipulators, Tibetan bell  song  practitioners, Kemetic  priests  and  numerous  other “healers” must be doing something right in the nature of increasing the health, the content- ment and well-being in life by  the manipulation and “alignment” of the chakras (or the breath, or whatever they see themselves as doing for their clients)  by making references to them even if they are at a loss—speaking honestly—to explain them in the slightest.

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But, there was a time not  long  ago  when “chi” (“energy”) was manipulated  in the body with  acupuncture  on  the theory that  it was channeled through “meridians” distributed in the body (like lymph vessels) though no anatomist in the world had ever dissected a body and found a single branch of one. Yet, truth be told, in recent years evidence of such bodily “energy” channels have been demonstrated. So, I am not saying that “chakra” centers of energy do not exist, but I do believe that, so far, we know nothing about them except their putative or proclaimed properties.

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Now know that the Mediterranean-rim world, including lower Kemet, and the East- ern world have been built on ideas of physics and mechanics (and metaphysics) and mathematics that have given them a faith in “exactitude,” “precision,” and “purity.” And they also believed  that the highest form  of existence  was permanently  to ex- perience departure from reincarnation back into this rather messy world;one steep- ed in suffering.  But  nothing  could  be  further  from  the  world view of traditional sub-Saharan  Africans  of  west, central and Bantu  south  African  extraction and its diasporan progeny (that would be us, y’all).

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And when you  add  to  this  the  Mediterranean-rim  world’s “revealed religions” of Judaism,  Christianity, and  al-Islam and  their dogmatic, “abstract” and “reduction- ist” thinking  in  Western  religious  metaphysics   and  mysticism (e.g, “the  blood of Christ” or “the words of  Kor’an—at least in Arabic—are  Allah)  even  became incul- cated into our views of morality, social ethics, and  the  supremacy  of  literacy. This penchant lead  to their, i.e., our, obsessions  with “the Book,” e.g., the  Books of the Dead, the Torah, the Holy Bible, or the Holy Kor’an, and so on.

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Not so in our heritage. Ours was  more so  rooted in  orality  and  biology; and much less so in  physics  and  mathematical  computations. We  were  the  world’s original zoologists and botanists and mineralists. Our’s was a world of living qualities more so  than a  world of  abstract quantities. Our  spirituality  was  therefore—quite  un- abashedly—“animist” in nature (thank God!). And, therefore, we respected creative life’s “energy” and cultivated  it in every dimension of  this  world that involved any living thing. (In Yoruba religion, whether the “Ishe-she Agbaye” original versions in Nigeria, the Lucumi  version  in  Cuba  and  the United States, or the Candomble ver- sion in Brasil, this concept is called “ashe").

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The idea—ashe--is somewhat akin to the concept of “ki” or “chi” in the East. But for us it connotes “creative force” (not  just “force”). It  also  connotes  the  concepts of affirmation, menstrual blood,  blood in  general  and even  the  parts  of the  anim- als’ innards that are necessary for it to live (i.e., offered when we "feed the orishas" as we give  them  only  the "ashes" of  the  animals and  plants  that  we work with). Thus, black  African  culture  speaks of  the biological and  the  spiritual—life-based and  affirming  “energies,” and  not  so much  the  abstract  energies  of  physics and metaphysics like the Kemites and Eastern theosophists do.


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                                                                     PART TWO

                                Why This Essay Is Directed to Yoruba Practitioners

                                                                             *

This reflective piece is addressed to Yoruba religious practitioners; case-closed, full-stop. All, however, are free to consider my thoughts, but it is directed to those who, to one extent or in one way or another (or to one degree or another) accolades of Yoruba thought and the Yoruba mentality.

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Whether you are an onlooker, or an alejo (“aleyo” in Spanish), or an aborisha, olo’r- isha, awo, baba’locha, iya’locha, babalawo, oba oriate, iyanifa, an italero, an obasa—i.e., whatever may be your role, stake or station in the religion (but especially if you are a pre-initiate, an  initiate or  a  full-on‘ working’  priest  or  priestess  (there  is  a difference!), I urge to attend to this polemic. It is, especially among us African-Am- ericans, quite noticeable that we tend toward the eclectic and toward  freely “mix- ing  our  saints” and “working on two or three mats at a  time” in  expounding  and appropriating  Yoruba  religion, on the one hand, with Kemetic  theosophy  (includ- ing what they know of “Egyptian religion”and Hermeticism) and Eastern ideas, on the other. 

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This is, of course, quite alright, per se. Indeed, we  do  understand  why  so many of these ideas have come to us through history  and  the  value  that  so  many  people have, at times, found in them. However, we should maintain internally mindful so as not to slip in syncretism  even as we  tend to  juxtapose so  many  trends or ideas in our  daily  lives. Some  might  say  that we, for example, in  the  Afro-Cuban  Lucumi version  of Yoruba (“Santeria”) have  already  allowed  for  the  much syncretization, e.g., of Catholicism, into Yoruba religion.

                                                                                  *

This is a misunderstanding. Our people put “African”in every aspect of life that was, otherwise, Catholic-Hispanic in the New World. But you can be sure that there was virtually nothing (except a candle here or there) that was Catholic going on inside Yoruba religion i.e., inside “the Room.” In other words,nothing Catholic was brought into the inner sanctums of the Ishe-she Agbaye, Lucumi (Santeria), Candomble nor any other variant of Yoruba religion. (And what goes on in “the Room” is,in fact, the only thing that really counts as sanctified or non-negotiable, ritually-speaking, and in respect of secrecy)!

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So, as we proceed, it is alright—perhaps, even, desirable—to look at other lanes, ot- her saints, and on to other mats, but just do not lose sight that they are, in import- ant ways, different from the world view of black Africa like that to which you—as a Yoruba  devotee--are  committed; however  valid  and useful they  may  be  on  their  own terms for other people. After all, having  more  than one initiation in different versions of “the religion” (i.e., among African  traditional  religionists)  not  unusual for our people so we, obviously, can look and learn from the experiences of others by comparison if we like. We were not sectarians (and we never had religious wars!)

But, again, do not let us lose sight that there are also significant world view differ- ences between  that  of  the “black African” world view, i.e., the  west  Africans, the Bantus of central and south Africa (not to mention the Sans or forest people of cen- tral Africa), on the one hand, and  the  Mediterranean-rim  cultures (i.e., those coun- tries near the Mediterranean) or the far East, on the other; as alluded to above.

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It is only for this reason that I have entitled this series of essays quite colloquially: “What Ain’t In Ifa” (i.e., is “what ain’t in Yoruba religion”). Our focus here, of course, is on the concept of “chakras” and the “Seven Souls of Ra” but, in due course, I will take on matters like what extent, if any, are the ideas of mathematics, astrology, melanin theory,” and so on, as “being in Ifa” (or not).

                                                           

We, African Americans have a distinct penchant for unwisely, and impulsively taking eclectic liberties (even with the best of naïve intention)  in naively combining dog- gone nearly everything of interest to us that, perchance, have been exposed to that is not western. But this can, at times, be disrespectful to our particular cultural her- itage and priestly lineages of west and central Africa that extend to us right here in north America--particular if we do so wittingly.

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Orisha/Ifa is a complete psycho-spiritual  religious  system  that does not need “leg- itimatization” by naïve  syncretization with  other world views. The hard-core roots and  nature  of  the  Kemetic and Eastern  world views  are  substantially  different (especially  psychologically-speaking) from  west and  Bantu  central African world-views of the true ancestors of the diasporan African-Americans.  But, alas, for those who simply “must” make naïve comparisons and syncretizations, I offer the follow- ing:

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                                                                   PART THREE

     ORISHA / IFA CONCEPTIONS OF BODILY “ENERGY CENTERS AND FLOWS

  

                                             ORI   (CROWN, as the "7th  CHAKRA")

                           The Ori Is, In It's Highest Aspect, "Godly"; Not "Pure"



ORI (head, destiny, intelligence, consciousness, your most important orisha)/   ORI ODE (one’s persona, the “head” and its looks and habits that are presented to the public) / ORI INU  (Your “inner orisha”)/  ORI-OKAN (“Eriokan” or your “heart con- science. And your  oju inu  or “inward-looking eye”;  also  called  your  ori apere )/ OLORI (Your  guardian  orisha  who “owns” your  head,  your asiniwaye)/ IPONRI (Your ipon’ori or your “ego ideal”; the ideal you/  ORI’ RE’RE (“Ori’ire’ire" is a really “good” or  intelligent  head vs “ori-buruku” or “bad” head / EBBO’LE’RI (or ebbo' lori- -an act  of feeding or  strengthening  and  aligning the ori)/ ORISHA (a deity, a “selected (special) head”)/  ORIATE (is a master-of-ritual ceremonies like initiations; the Lucumi equivalent of a babalawo that sits at the head of the mat; an obasa, if female, the ritual equivalent of an iyan’ifa),  ORI (as shea butter), ORI (a ritual deity object --a pot--that can be made and “fed”in place of one’s actual head)/  IBORI (an altar dedicated to propitiating one’s own ori inu)/ ORUN ORI (one’s hair style that shows  confidence, organization, beauty, and  is  a  part of the ori ode)./  IMORI (a reading  done  by a babalawo  for an infant to determine the nature of the infant’s ori—especially his or her destiny, intelligence and persona. And this is done before the infant’s  feet  are permitted  to  touch  the ground in the essent’aiye ceremony between seven and nine days of age).

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Finally, in addition to the points of  the  body described  here as “owned” by various orishas (or "chakras"), Orisha/Ifa  priests/esses  also  stimulate  and  “feed”  at  least five points on the cranium (the forehead, crown, back of head, and both temples), the sternum, the back of the neck ("eshu ni paco") and at all of the major joints and feet of the body.

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We  do not  speak of  “cleansing”  the  “ori” per se since, when it is “fed” (in a “rog- ation" ritual or “ebbo l’eri” ritual (as described immediately above), it will cleanse it-self. The fetishization of and obsessions with “pure” states of life and the concept of “purification cleansing” from outside manipulations  and  ministrations of priest  /esses  or  gurus  is  not  the way "alignment" is conceived of in Orisa / Ifa (especial- ly  in  the Afro-Cuban  Lucumi  variation). "Purity" in  the  west  and  central  African cultures do not operate obsessively as they do for Kemite adepts, Americans (gen- erally), and Eastern religionists and philosophers (like Hindus or Buddhists). 

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Between shit and piss we are all born! From this rather "impure" and messy scene, the  most  exalted,  potent  and  complex thing  in  the Universe  is born. And  in this world  one  can  never  remain  "pure” (clean  is  okay--but “pure"?--for  very  long)?  Doubtful. So why fetishize it?  As an illustration: Both in the western, Mediteranean  -rim  and Eastern world views sexuality is often neurotic.For them, sexual intercour- se is alien; something "impure," something reflecting our "lower selves," i.e., or our "concupiscent nay-chas!" (Oh...ooo... mio!)  But, abstention from sex does not make people  "pure!"  Infidelity and disloyalty with one's sex partner(s) is what makes one "impure"!

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But the “Revealed Religions”  of  the  Mediterranean-rim  world,  and  the  Eastern world, with all of their sex guilt complexes, would make you think differently on the questions  of “purity” and “impurity” in one’s life. In  their  views  you  were  literally born into guilt and sexual sin (except in al-Islam where one is born into a state of Is- lam--peace!--but then that only  lasts for a moment). 


But I  invite you to think deeply.  After all, “Guilt,” upon reflection, is  really  nothing but fear; two  kinds of  fear, to  be exact: the  fear  of  abandonment  and the fear of reprisal for having committed the “transgressions.”


I recommend  not  burdening yourself with abstract obsessions  like  the  nature of "purity" and its pursuit. It is cleanliness that is "next to Godliness, not “purity.” And thus the Ori strives, therefore, for “Godliness.” And it accepts that God, too, in the persons of the orishas, sometimes has   foibles, "impurities," situational ethics,  and inattentive moments.  Leave the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder complexes) to the Mediterranean-rim folk and the far Easterners like the Buddhists and Hindus.

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Similarly, in the true legacy of West and Central Africa, obsessions with “higher and lower sel- ves” do not apply (as implied by the "Pillars of Djed" when projected onto the body as the  "Seven "Souls  of  Ra" and  as “chakras” as  the Easter theosophists would have it). There is only one “self.” And that “self” (as one’s ori) has multifold foci or locations in the body as well as in the “heaven” from which a body periodic- ally finds its reincarnation source. But no aspect of ori is "higher or lower" than any other aspect of it while we are here on Earth. Ori is a unified deity.

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                                         IFA  (FOREHEAD as the "6th CHAKRA")

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IFA (ORUNMILA) IS THE  WITNESS  TO DESTINY AND INSIGHT. IFA "CONNECTS THE  DOTS" OF THE WORLD;  “IFA HAS A  MIRROR  CAPABLE  OF  SEEING THE LENGTH OF A YEAR”; (I.E., HAS   GREAT   UNDERSTANDING); “IFA   HAS  SEEN  IT  ALL”;  “IFA LOOKS IN ALL DIRECTIONS AT ONCE” (I.E., IFA HAS  HINDSIGHT, FORESIGHT,  AND INSIGHT). 

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                                      OBATALA (THROAT as the "5th CHAKRA") 

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WISDOM, FOREBEARANCE,  CREATIVITY, HEALTH, COOL-HEADEDNESS  ARE  THE ATTRIBUTES OF OBATALA. HOT SENTIMENTS ARE COOLED AS THEY ESCAPE THE THROAT  OBATALA  GIVES  THE  CLIENT  CONTENTMENT AND  COURAGE, AND  A ROYAL  BEARING. "ESHU (ELEGBA)  GIVES  US  THE  ROAD,  SHANGO  TEACHES  US  HOW TO FIGHT ON THE ROAD, BUT  IT  IS OBATALA WHO  KNOWS THE  REASONS FOR THE ROAD."

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                                           OGUN (HEART as the "4th CHAKRA")

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OGUN!  PROTECTOR  OF  THE  HEAD AND THE  PEOPLE,  SKILL,  SELF-POSSESSION, MOUNTING  TALL  (CHALLENGING)  THINGS,  BOUNDLESS  ENERGY,STINGY WITH TALK,  OWNS POWER,  IRON, VIRILITY, SENSITIVITY, MECHANICAL AND MEDICINAL CREATIVITY, SKILL, CRAFTSMANSHIP  AND   DIPLOMACY (VERSUS)  BEING  STUCK-ON-STUPID LEVELS OF AGGRESSION WHEN ANGERED OR AT WAR, OR WHEN HE IS IN THE THROWS OF SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, SELF-IMPALING, EMOTIONALITY.


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                            OSHUN (ABDOMEN as the NAVEL or "3rd CHAKRA")

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USING  FREE-FLOWING  AND  REPLENISHING FRESH  WATER,  PLANTS (AND HERBS, PARTICULARLY)  FROM  HER  RIVERINE  AREAS, OSHUN  DOES  NOT  LIKE  STAGNA- TION  AND  PUTRIFICATION. SO  SHE  WASHES  AND  CLEANSES  THE  BODY  WITH “CLEANSINGS” (AND  INGESTIONS  OF  HER  POTIONS  SO  AS  TO  STIMULATE THE BLOOD AND THE INTESTINES TO CLEANSE  THEMSELVES) AND, THUS, CAUSE HER “3RD CHAKRA” NAVEL PORTAL ENERGIES TO FLOW, TO NOURISH THE FETUS, AND THE BODY, AND  TO  ELIMINATE  THE  POISONOUS  WASTES  OF  LIFE. WITH FRESH- NESS, “RECOGNITION,” AND  HARMONIOUSNESS  ALL OUTCOMES  ARE SWEETEN- ED AS WELL  BECAUSE  SHE  ALSO GIVES  US THE FREE-FLOWING  SOUND  OF  THE BATA DRUMS.

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                    YEMOJA (REPRODUCTIVE TRACTS as the "2ND CHAKRA")

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‘A HUMAN BEING IS JUST A SPERM AND EGGS WAY OF MAKING NEW SPERMS AND EGGS,’ / (LIFE IS ALL ABOUT REPRODUCTION), MOTHERHOOD, AND NURTURANCE  "IT IS YOUR MOTHER WHO INTRODUCES  YOU TO YOUR  FATHER" (MOTHERHOOD IS CENTRAL). IN  DEPARTING  FROM  ADDICTIONS, PENT UP ANGER AND RANCOR, WE EMERGE INTO SIMPLE AND RELAXED FAMILY FELLOWSHIP (EVEN FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE  THE GUESTS OF A FAMILY NOT THEIR OWN] WITH  THE  ASHE  OF YEM- OJA. (YEMOJA = "YEYE OMO EJA" = 'MOTHER OF THE FISH CHILDREN').


SHE  IS  THE  OWNER  OF  THE  ARK, THE  CRADLE, THE  UTERINE  GOURD  OF  THE WORLD. ODU  LIVES  IN  HER  POT:  THE  UTERUS  OF  REINCARNATION,  LIFE, SEX- UALITY AND ALL THAT IS  ASSOCIATED  WITH  MOTHERHOOD, MOTHER WIT,  AND MOTHERLY  DISCIPLINE.   HER  SALT  WATER (AMNIOTIC FLUID) LIVES  INSIDE  THIS WOMB AS WELL AS IN THE PLASMA OF THE BLOOD STREAM AND IN THE PLACEN- TA. ONE EITHER EXPERIENCE HER, YEMOJA, AS UNPOLLUTED, UNMOLESTED, AND RECEP- TIVE TO SEXUALITY AND NURTURANCE OR (OR ELSE!)  IT’S  TOTAL  OBLIV- ION  FOR  ALL  LIVING  THINGS. YEMOJA IS  A  MOON CHILD  AND SHE  TARRIES  IN THE PLAYGROUND OF THE EMOTIONS. 

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                               SHANGO (ANAL REGION, as the "ROOT CHAKRA")

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THE ANATOMICALLY LOWEST POWER CENTER OF THE BODY IS OWNED BY SHAN- GO ("CHANGO"). WHEN HE IS UNGOVERNED, LUST AND POLLUTIONS RUN AMOK. SHANGO’S  ASHE  GIVES  US  PROSPERITY  AND  THE  MASTERY  OF  TACTICS , AND GIVES  US  SOCIAL  ENTHUSIASM, EXCITEMENT,  COURAGE, “SLICK  WISDOM,” SEX- UALITY, AND  GENROSITY.  AND  HE  EASILY  USES  THE  GAMESMANSHIP  OF  THE “PLAYER,” BUT, AGAIN, WHEN  HE  IS  GOVERNED  BY LUST,  POWER, AND POLLUT- ION, HE CAN BECOME  A  SELF-DESTRUCTIVE TRAGIC-HERO: MANIPULATIVE, THE SUBJECT  OF  DERISION, BRAZEN, ARROGANT, COCKSURE, AND EVEN TYRANICAL.


AND  THOUGH  HE  LOVES  THE  PEOPLE, HIS  BAD  TRAITS  CAN REALLY “BLOW IT” FOR  FOR EVERYONE. OFTEN, HE  ENDS  UP  SUICIDING  HIMSELF.  SO, FOR BETTER OR  FOR WORSE,   SHANGO  DRAWS  ON  ALL  OF  THESE  THINGS. HE  EITHER  HAS STRENGTH (TOTAL BACKBONE!) EMANATING FROM HIS FOUNDATIONAL LEVEL OF LIFE-POWER, OR  HE  LOSES  CONTROL AND SHITS OVER EVERYTHING AND EVERY- BODY WHEN THIS—HIS OR HER--"ROOT CHAKRA’S” LOWEST CENTER IS “OUT OF ALIGNMENT.” (ONE KNOWS THINGS ARE BAD WHEN EVEN ONE’S ASS IS ‘OUT-OF-WHACK). DO'BALE SHANGO, KAWO...OOO OOO! (PRAISE SHANGO!).

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                                                                   PART FOUR

               KEMETIC YOGA STIMULATES THE “CHAKRAS,” IT IS BELIEVED

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Egyptians believed that from the bottom of the spinal column’s “root chakra” to its top or “crown chakra,” there exists seven centers of psycho-spiritual consciousness and bodily functioning. ls These seven centers were called the “Seven Souls of Ra” analogous to the concepts of “chakras” as  popularized  in  the Kundalini  yoga  sys- tem of  India. In  KMT language  these  seven  souls  were  called “sefech Ba Ra” and their “energy” flow was controlled by  the  goddesses Aset and Nebethet through seven serpents--hence, their concept of serpentine (protective) energy.

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First, imagine an elongated obelisk or “pillar” (“teken” or pylon) standing straight up. That would be the spinal column.  Now also imagine the arms outstretched at about the third center down from the “crown” or head; where the chest is. This “t” looking figure—if we hung scale baskets from each hand of the outstretched arms--would be the “scale of Ma’at” used for testing the integrity of the self and balance of the soul at that  level (or  lack of it). Now, finally, imagine a  cross-bar (outstret- ched arms) being at any level of any of the other six “chakras” too.

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Ma’at evaluates one's ethics  and  weighs on  the  balance  scale the  soul at each of these  levels  after death, according  to KMT religion. These are the “Seven Souls of Ra” within a person at the seven levels of the spinal column.


In KMT  the spinal  column is called  “The Djed Pillar” (or  the  Pillar of  Ausar-Osiris). Again, it has its seven levels. To each level there correspond parts of the body. For example, the second level is near the sexual organs. So, for example, problems with sexuality (or  the  damning-up  of libido  and  the  personality  consequences of this) may be addressed  by  poses  and  sequences that affect this lowest “chakra” of the Djed pillar (i.e., of  the spine). Similarly, a  constricted  heart (with  its  many implica- tions) may be profitably affected by passing energy smoothly through the “chakra” that corresponds  to  the Djed pillar  at  that  level. And so on. There are serpentine figures that coil themselves up and down this Djed column in the human body (and in life generally).

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In Asia, their power is called “chi” or “ki”; in Yoruba culture it is called “ashe,” and in the West it  is  called “vital power” or “vitalism.” Indeed, in  KMT,  this  “energy”even curves around the “sun disk” crown  of  the  deity Shu (breath  and  wind) itself. If it flows freely it is considered good and healthy. But if these energies are damned-up at one or  more  of  the seven  levels, then  the  individual  may have  problems with the “soul(s) of Ra” and  the  corresponding  various  parts  of  their  bodies (or  their lives). Hence, it is yoga--'uniting  the  upper and  lower' through movement, breath, meditation, diet and ‘sacred geometry’--that  keeps  this  energy  flowing  smoothly. This is the “chakra” idea: the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, “third eye,” and crown that are analogized as the “Seven Souls of Ra.” 

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                      GOOD SOURCES TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF ORI

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1.      “ORI, THE SUPREME DIVINITY”  by Lanre Ola-Ifa Okemmuyiwa, Es Es                                           Communication Ventures, Lagos

2.      “ORI” by Babatunde Lawal,  found in many internet sources.

3.      “The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts,” by Baba Ifa Karade

4.      “Ancestor Ritual” essay in Oshoosi. com by Alashe Michael Oshoosi