WHAT AIN'T IN IFA--CHAKRAS * ORISHA’s & IFA'S ARA (BODY) "ASHE" COMPARED TO SIMILAR CONCEPTS IN EASTERN
THEOSOPHY 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 freely analogize to (or literally “incorporate”) these Mediterranean-rim and Eastern conceptions into Orisha/Ifa rel- igion. True, in many ways their concepts are roughly analogous to the dis- tribution of "ashe" in the body in Orisha /Ifa ideation, but because they are similar does not authorize one to claim that the “Pillar of Djed” (i.e., the spinal column containing its "seven Souls of Ra" IN KMT RELIGIONS) nor the “chakras” of Kundalini yoga are a part of Orisha/Ifa religion per se. They are not. * 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 "matter” particles are but conglomer- ations or concentrations of various and sundry energy fields. They call them "quantum fields." No problem. 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 dis- tance—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—I know that most often 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—"ener- gy"--the most abused one in the English language. Thus, I do have questions as to whether the explanations or “constructs” like “chakras" are partic- ularly informative, sufficiently definite, reliable, and falsifiable as to be regarded as accurate. They, as concepts,are more likely than not “place holders”for real know- ledge. That is, they may serve merely as provisional concepts awaiting (so far for about twenty thousand years) truths about subtle “energies” that are actually demononstrable and of predictive value. But, as proxies--albeit hopelessly metaphysical ones--they yet serve as a common vocabul-ary that gives their proponents a sense of shared understanding. And, in respect of practical and even clinical reality, for them this shared exper- ience--because this term is so widely used--appears to be virtually self-val- idating. And, therefore, is in no need of further reflection. My concern is not whether the concepts of “chakras” or the seven "Souls of Ra” in Kemetic theology and theosophy are valid or useful. I think that it is patently obvious that people, in great numbers, will attest that gurus, shamans, Reiki "energy" manipulators, Tibetan bell song practitioners, Kemetic priests and numerous other “healers” must be doing something right in THE LIVES OF OTHERS BY increasing the health, theIR contentment and well-being in life by the manipulation and alignment of the chakras (or of the breath, or whatever ELSE they see themselves as doing) for their clients by making references to them--the "chakras"--even if they are at a loss—speaking honestly--to explain their metaphysics in the slightest. After all, there was a time not long ago when “chi” (“energy”) was manipul- ated 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 “chak- ra” centers (or "wheels") of energy do not exist, but I do believe that, so far, we know nothing about them except their putative or proclaimed proper- ties. 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 an unshakable faith in “exactitude,” “precision,” and “purity.”And they also believe that the high- est form of existence is permanently to experience departure from rein- carnation back into this rather messy world;one steeped in suffering. But nothing could be further from the world-view of traditional sub-Sahar- ans of west, central and Bantu south African extraction and its diasporan progeny (that would be us). Not so in our heritage. Our's was moreso rooted in orality and biology; and much less so in mathematical computations, mechanics, cosmic geometry and broader physics (including theIR metaphysicS "physics" of the "energy flows" and "energy circuitry "in the body. We were the world’s original zoologists and ethologists, botanists AND HERBALOGISTS and mineralists. That is, our’s was a world of living qualities more so than a world of pure, transcendent "perfect forms," of categorical essences, or of abstract mathematical quantities and their relationships that are embedded--"num- erically"--in the universe. That is, for them, ours was a universe (and "nat-
ure" within it) in which embed and govern mathematical AND "ENERGY" MET- APHORS AND METAPHYSICS OF THE BODY.
By contrast, concerning THEIR obsessions with exactitude, we know that there are no straight lines in nature and we know that, with the obserVA- ble "lawful" regularities of physics notwithstanding, there are no math- emat- ics, per se, embedded in nature. And we know that there are no exam- ples of complete purity in nature--not even in respect of the overly-educ- ated pieces of coal that we call diamonds nor even with the presumed pur- ity of rain water. (Please see the essay entitled "What Ain't In Ifa--MathEM- ATICS" in this website). Our spirituality was, therefore—quite unapologetically—“BIO-animist” in nature; thank God! And, therefore, we respected a creative, not formal- istic, qualitative version of life’s “energies” and cultivated them in every dimension of this world that involved any living thing. In Yoruba relig- ion, whether the “Isheshe Alagba'ye” original versions in Nigeria, the Luc- umi version in Cuba and the United States, or the Candomble version in Brasil, this concept is called “ashe" (pronounced "ah-shay"). The idea—ashe--is somewhat akin to the concept of “ki” or “chi,” or prana, in the East. But for us, our vitalism connotes “creative force”; not just an 'energy force.' It also connotes the concepts of affirmation, menstrual blood, blood in general and even the parts of the animals’ innards that are necessary for it to live and that we offer the orishas when we "feed" them (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 “ashe”--and not so much the abstract "energies"of physics and metaphysics like the Kemitic, Grecian and Eastern theosophists do. 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 another, are accolades of Yoruba thought and the Yoruba mentality. Whether you are an onlooker, or an alejo (“aleyo” in Spanish), or an abori- sha, 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), I urge you to attend to this polemic. It is, es- pecially among us African-Americans, quite noticeable that we tend tow- ard the eclectic and toward freely “mixing our saints” and “working on two or three mats at a time” in expounding and appropriating Yoruba rel- igion, on the one hand, with Kemetic theosophy (including what they know of “Egyptian religion”and Hermeticism) and Eastern ideas, on the other. This is, of course, understandable, but not wise, per se. 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” or the sacred groves--igbodu(s)--that preceded "the Room(s)."In other words, nothing Catholic was brought into the inner sanctums of the Isheshe Ag- baye, Lucumi (Santeria), Candomble nor any other variant of Yoruba relig - ion. (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)! AND, again, do not let us lose sight that there are also significant world view differences 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 central Africa), on the one hand, and the Mediter- ranean-rim cultures (i.e., those countries near the Mediterranean) or the far East, on the other, as alluded to above. 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's "Orisha/Ifa 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 mathem- atics, astrology, melanin-racism theory,” and so on, as “being in Ifa” (or not). We, African-Americans have a distinct penchant for unwisely, and impul-
sive ly taking eclectic liberties (even with the best of naïve intentions) in naively combining dog- gone nearly everything of interest to us that, perchance, we have been exposed to that is not western (or that they mis- takenly believe in non-western) . But this habit can, at times, be disrespect ful to our particular cultural heritages and our priestly lineages with ATR's that extend back into west and central Africa history and projects to us right here in north America today--particularly if we do so wittingly. Orisha/Ifa is a complete psycho-spiritual religious system that does not need “legitimatization” 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 THE 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 syncret- izations, I offer the following: IN ORISHA-IFA religion THE "ENEGRY CENTERS" OF THE BODY ARE ALL OVER THE BODY; NOT JUST IN "7" SPECIAL POINTS OR ORGANS PART THREE
ORISHA / IFA CONCEPTIONS OF BODILY “ENERGY" CENTERS AND FLOWS THE ELERI (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO THE CROWN, AS THE "7th CHAKRA")
THE "ELERI" OR "ATARI," AT THE TOP OF THE HEAD, IS LIKE THE CROWN "CHAKRA." IT IS A VERSION OR THE "HEAD OF THE HEAD" OR OF "THE Ori." AS ONE'S "HEAD'S
HEAD," IT Is, In Its ESSENTIAL NATURE, Godly (I.E., A DEITY, AN ORISHA). BUT IT IS
NOT "Pure"--THOUGH A DEITY-- BECAUSE Only GOD-ALMIGHTY, Olodumare ,is "TRULY Pure" ( MEANING Invisible). Olodumare is "Oba MimỌ"--The Pure King) THE (el)'ORI (head, destiny, intelligence, consciousness) IS ONE'S most impor-
tant PERSONAL orisha). AND IT MANIFESTS ITSELF IN A PERSON IN MANY WAYS. ORI ODE, FOR EXAMPLE, IS one’s persona OR the “head” (its looks and habits) that IS presented to the public). WHILE THE ORI INU (Your “inner orisha” or your oju inu) IS ONE'S or “inward-looking eye). AND EVEN THIS IS DIFFERENT, BY CONTRAST, WHAT IS CALLED THE ONE'S ori apere /ORI-OKAN (“Eri- okan”) or your “heart 'S conscience. INDEED, THE CONCEPT ORI HAS MULTIPLE OTHER MEANSINGS THAT GO TO ONE'S PERSONAL EXISTENCE. THE OLORI MEANS ONE'S "guardian ANGEL" OR THE orisha who “owns” your head, I.E., your asiniwaye). AND THIS TOO MAY BE CON- TRASTED TO ONE'S IPONRI OR ONE'S ego ideal”; the ideal you TO YOUR OWN MIND).
ORI’RE’RE (“ori’ire’ire" MEANS "a really “good” or intelligent head" vs. ori-buruku or ori ibi--a “bad” head). A BAD HEAD that can only be ADDRESSED BY cultivating a good character) BY A RITUAL OF STRENTHENING THE HEAD CALLED EBBO’LE’RI . THIS RITUAL (or ebbo' leri--an act of feeding or strengthening and alig- ning the Ori)/ ORISHA (a deity, a “selected or special head") OBA ORIATE (or an Obasa, if female) is a master-of-ritual ceremonies (like init- iations) that serves as the Lucumi equivalent of a babalawo that sits at the head of the mat), ORI (as shea butter); Orisha Ikole Obirin (motherhood/ femininity). ORI EGUN (is the isheshe agbaye or collective wisdom of the ancestors of the world; a traditional name of Yoruba religion). ORI'RE DAADAA ("good luck"as the Yoruba do not belief in random "luck" of any kind; something is always "behind" it). ORI or IBORI as a ritual deity object --i.e., a pot or vessel --that can be made and “fed” in place of one’s actual head. (This is analogous to the "reserve head"--a statuette of a person's head--that was often placed in the tombs of the deceased in Egypt in case the mummy's actual head was damaged or degenerated--so that he or she could successfully make it into the Eter- nal Afterworld). It is 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 at three days of age to determine the nature of the infant's Ori Joto (his or her destiny, intelligence and persona). And this is done before the infant’s feet are permitted to touch the ground in the essen- t’aiye naming ceremony between seven and nine days of age). When a destiny-reading "itan" is done anytime after the person is an infant, the process is called an AKOSEJAYE ceremony. In the west we call the destiny reading of a new initia- te his or her "itan" or destiny story. IPORI is the in-dwelling 'heavenly head' that can rise to the level of a possession, the experience of INI. ORI is also a type of wild pigeon. i Similarly, in Yoruba culture we have the term ORIKI (a praise name or leg- endary account of an ori's--that is, a person's--reputation in life). Also there is a concept called ORILE (that signifies the avatars of an ori ). ORI-OTUN (one's hairstyle that shows itself to Heaven (Otunowa), and ORI-IKA (are one's finger tips that comb the hair IRUN ORI or a grove of hair) and IPONRI (collective unconscious & ego ideal = clairvoyance and psychic ab- ility's source; as ogbon inu or intuition and ISIRI (ishe ori as inspiration).
The APARI (deep unconscious ability,a part of ori inu, allows one to have iwa pele--intuition or sensitivity. Finally,the OSUN (not to be confused with "Os- hun," the orisha) is directly connected to the ori in the sense that it (they) are "transmission wires" between Ikole Orun or Ile'run ("heaven"), on the one hand, and one's ori, on the other: warning, as it does, of imminent dan- ger to the head. It may be a fetish of a large of small metal rooster atop a cup-and-stand, it may be a design painted on the top of the skull or on the floor (like a Haitian veve, Yoruba atena, OR THE SANTERIA "FIRMA"), or it may be a filled water-gazing glass set atop an ancestral alter. A good diviner sal- utes his or her Osun before divination for self-protection. The IGOGE are the various maturational statges of the ori IPARI is the spirit that moves the body. Finally, in addition to the points of the body described here as “owned” by various orishas (i.e., like "chakras"), Orisha/Ifa priests/esses also stimulate and “feed” at least five points on the cranium: Iwaju, (the forehead and the "third eye"), Eleda / eleri /ATARI (the crown), Eshu ni paco" (back of head/neck and which means"Eshu decapitates my wisdom" and is said as one touches both temples), as well as the sternum, the abdomen and all of the major joints and feet of the body (see below). These are places of ori 'sheshe or places where spiritual power enters the head. We do not speak of the “cleansing” the “Ori” per se since, when it is “fed” in a “rogation"or “ebbo l’eri” ritual (as described immediately above), it will cleanse itself. The fetishization of and obsession with “pure” states of life and the concept of “purification cleansing” from outside manipulations and ministrations of priests /esses or gurus is not the way "alignment" is conceived of in Orisa /Ifa religion (especially in the Afro-Cuban Lucumi variation). "Purity" in the west and central African cultures does not op- erate obsessively as it does for Kemite adepts, Americans (generally),and Eastern religionists and philosophers (like Hindus or Buddhists).
The closet thing that we have to the concept is"meticulous cleanliness" that is maNdated when the odu "Ofun Mafun," as an example, shows up in an Ifa divination reading. Awere, a type of sage, the smudging of which fac- ilitates a cleansed soul, can be helpful in appeasing this Olodu.). But, between shit and piss are we all born! That is, from this rather "impure" and messy scene, the most exalted, potent and complex thing in the Univ- erse is born. And in this world, therefore, one can never be born into nor remain in a "pure” state (clean is okay--but “pure"?--for very long? Doubt- ful!) So why fetishize it? As an illustration: Both in the western, Mediter- Ranean-rim and Eastern world views, sexuality is often neurotic. For them, sexual intercourse is alien; some thing "impure"; something reflect- ng our "lower selves," i.e., or our"concupiscent nay-chas!" (Oh... ooo ... mio!) But, abstention from sex does not make people "pure!" Fidelity and loyal- ty with one's sex partner(s) is what makes one AS CLOSE TO "pure" AS YOU ARE LIKELY TO GET! 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 Islam--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 Godlin- ess, not “purity.” And thus the Ori strives, therefore, for“Godliness.” And it accepts that God engendered orishas and in their personifications they sometimes had foibles,"impurities," situational ethics, and inattentive mom- ents. I suggest leaving the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder complexes) about "purity" to the Mediterranean-rim folk and the far Easterners like the Buddhists and Hindus. Similarly, in the true legacy of West and Central Africa, obsessions with “higher and lower selves” do not apply (as implied by the "Pillars of Djed" when projected onto the body as the seven "Souls of Ra" or 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 periodically 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. YOUR Ori is a MULTIPLEX, BUT STILL UNIFIED, ORISHA. So, again, for those anguished souls who simply must syncretize Mediter- ranean-rim sentiments and Eastern theosophy into their Yoruba under- standings (or misunderstandings as may be the case) let me indulge you further: IFA ("IWAJU" AND "ATARI") CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO THE FOREHEAD'S "THIRD EYE" OR "6th" CHAKRA AND THE HEAD'S APEX AS THE "CROWN" 0R 7th CHAKRA," RESPECTIV- ELY). 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. THAT IS, IFA 'HAS GREAT UNDERSTANDING)'; “IFA HAS SEEN IT ALL”; “IFA LOOKS IN ALL DIR- ECTIONS AT ONCE” AND IFA HAS HINDSIGHT, FORESIGHT, AND INSIGHT). THE ORI OJU INU IS ALSO IFA'S "IWAJU" AREA BUT IN ORISHA-IFA THERE IS NO "THIRD EYE" CONCEPT PER SE; THIS IS BUT A METAPHOR FOR INTUITION OR "OGBON INU". THIS 'INNER WIS- DOM' AREA OF THE FOREHEAD--THE IWAJU--IS THE "FACE (EYE) OF THE CHARACTER." THE CROWN OF THE THE HEAD, THE "ATARI" OR "ELERI," IS THE SOFT SPOT THAT ORI EN- TERS THE BODY. OBATALA (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO) THROAT AS THE "5th CHAKRA") WISDOM, FOREBEARANCE, CREATIVITY, HEALTH, COOL-HEADEDNESS ARE THE ATTRIB- UTES OF OBATALA. HOT SENTIMENTS ARE COOLED AS THEY ESCAPE THE THROAT, THUS OBATALA GIVES THE CLIENT CONTENTMENT AND COURAGE, AND SELF-CONFIDENCE 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." HOWEVER, IN SOME VARIANTS OF IFA, OBATALA IS LIKENED TO THE BRAIN AND THE BODY'S HAIR. OGUN (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO) HEART AS THE "4th CHAKRA") OGUN! PROTECTOR OF THE HEAD AND THE PEOPLE, SKILL, SELF-POSSESSION, MOUNT- ING 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 AG- GRESSION WHEN ANGERED OR AT WAR, OR WHEN HE IS IN THE THROWS OF SELF-DES- TRUCTIVE, SELF-IMPALING, EMOTIONALITY. OGUN PROTECTS THE SKELETON. OSHUN (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO ABDOMEN; THE NAVEL or "3rd CHAKRA") USING FREE-FLOWING AND REPLENISHING FRESH WATER, PLANTS (AND HERBS, PAR- TICULARLY) FROM HER RIVERINE AREAS, OSHUN DOES NOT LIKE STAGNATION AND PUTRIFICATION. SO SHE WASHES AND CLEANSES THE BODY WITH “CLEANSINGS” (AND INGESTIONS OF HER POTIONS SO AS TO STIMULATE THE BLOOD AND THE INTES- TINES 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 FRESHNESS, “RECOGNITION,” AND HARMONIOUS- NESS ALL OUTCOMES ARE SWEETENED AS WELL BECAUSE SHE ALSO GIVES US, AS "ANYA," THE FREE-FLOWING SOUND OF THE BATA DRUMS. YEMOJA (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO REPRODUCTIVE TRACTS AS THE "2ND CHAKRA") ‘A HUMAN BEING IS JUST A SPERM AND EGG'S 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 SIM- PLE AND RELAXED FAMILY FELLOWSHIP (EVEN FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE THE GUESTS OF A FAMILY NOT THEIR OWN] WITH THE ASHE OF YEMOJA. (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 PLAS MA OF THE BLOOD STREAM AND IN THE PLACENTA. ONE EITHER EXPERIENCE HER, YEM- OJA, AS UNPOLLUTED, UNMOLESTED, AND RECEPTIVE TO SEXUALITY AND NURTURANCE OR (OR ELSE!) IT’S TOTAL OBLIVION FOR ALL LIVING THINGS. YEMOJA IS A MOON CHILD AND SHE TARRIES IN THE PLAYGROUND OF THE EMOTIONS. IN THE OLD WORLD, SINCE YEMOJA IS JUXTAPOSED WITH MOST RIVERS, SHE IS CONSIDERED THE OWNER OF THE BLOOD VESSELS--AND SO IS OGUN--WHILE OSHUN, THE OWNER OF FRESH WATER RIV- ERS, IS SO CONSIDERED IN THE NEW WORLD. SHANGO (CAN ONLY BE LIKENED TO) ANAL REGION, AS THE "ROOT CHAKRA") THE ANATOMICALLY LOWEST POWER CENTER OF THE BODY IS OWNED BY SHANGO ("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 GENEROS- ITY. 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-DES- TRUCTIVE TRAGIC-HERO: MANIPULATIVE, THE SUBJECT OF DERISION, BRAZEN, ARROG- ANT, COCKSURE, AND EVEN TYRANICAL.
AND THOUGH HE LOVES THE PEOPLE, HIS BAD TRAITS CAN REALLY “BLOW IT” 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 BACK- BONE!) 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 KABIESI- ..OOO OOO! (PRAISE SHANGO)! Please note here that we in Orisha/Ifa religion also have a concept called "odus" which describe 256 basic conditions of life that a person may be sub- ject to at any given time. Interestingly, these odus are also considered oris- has in their own rights. As such, they can be prayed to and offerings made to them as well. They are the signs that come up (and speak) during a divin- ation "reading." Each of the sixteen main odu(s) also has its body-parts that can be "fed" as a part of appeasing them. What they are and how this is done is beyond the scope of this small essay, But I mention it because it is akin to addressing "chakra"-like body zones.
PART FOUR THE MAJOR ORISHA HAVE THESE FOCI IN THE BODY (IN SOME YORUBA PRIESTS' BELIEFS)
Obatala = Brain, Nerves, Hair Osayin = Gall bladder, Intestines Oya = Pharynx, Lungs Obba = StomachIbeji = Ears Ogun = Skeleton, Blood VesselsShango = Heart (Okan, Egbe) Oshun = Pancreas, HormonesOsumare = Lymph nodes Olokun = Blood Yemoja & Ogun = Arteries, Veins Erinle = SpleenOduduwa = Muscles Eshu = Liver, Kidneys, Bladder Oshoosi = Bone marrow Ipari = Spirit that moves the body.
PART FIVE THE SIXTEEN "OLODUS" OF ORISHA / IFA HAVE THEIR OWN FOCI IN THE BODY The Orisha / Ifa religion recognizes sixteen basic categories of "life condit- ions and experiences" that are called "Olodus." These odus are not only con- dition of existen- ce that change from time-to-time for (and within) the in- dividual--affecting his or her experience while being so influenced--but also have certain body parts that are "portals" for entry into the individ- ual as each of them is also considered a "god" in (an "orisha") in its own right. Here are body portals for the odus: And "the energy" is called the Ipari is the spirit that moves the limbs of the body; the ashe, the chi, or the prana of movement. First Version: (Source: “The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts,” by Baba Ifa Karade). "Obara Meji" (The Head), "Otura Meji" (The Mouth), "Ika Meji" (The Throat),"Irete Meji" (The Right Shoulder), "Otura Meji" (The Left Shoulder), "Odi Meji" (The Chest), "Iwori Meji" (The Right Ribs), "Oyeju Meji" (The Left Ribs), "Ogbe Meji" (The Stomach), "Oshe Meji" (The Right Hand), "Ogunda Meji" (The Left Hand), "Ogun- da Meji" again (The Male Genitals), "Osa Meji" (The Female Genitals)- "Irosun Meji" (The Right Thigh), "Owonrin Meji," (The Left Thigh), "Osa Meji" again (The "Irosun--right Foot) and "Ogunda Meji" again (The Left Foot). There are two remaining Olodus, the body parts of which I am unfamiliar; but this is the basic scheme. Second Version: The Body’s Correlates of the Holy Odus in Orisha – Ifa Religion (Source: "An Introduction to the Study of Ifa: A Workbook and Study Guide
for initiates Only)"; by Medahochi K.O. Zannu (Iba…eee!) Buttocks = Odi MejiSpinal Column = Ogbe MejiBlood Vessels = Ogbe MejiHuman Head = Ogbe MejiMenstrual Flow = Irosun MejiHands = Oworin MejiFeet = OWORIN MEJI Vocal Cords, Speech = Okonron MejiMale Genitals & Sperms = Ogunda MejiMouth = Otura MejiBlood Circulation & Ears, "Cheeks "Internal Organs, Eyes, = Osa MejiLips, Nostrils, Two Thighs, "Female Genitals, Labias "Majorum and Minora "Thoracic Cage (except = Ika MejiSternum)Breasts = Oturupon Meji Longevity = Irete MejiFeet and Hands = Oturupon Meji The Body’s Diseases and the Odu Stomach disease = Oworin MejiErectile Dysfunction = Ogunda MejiSwellings of Body = Oturupon MejiDropsy = Oturupon MejiAbcesses & Diseases of = Oshe Meji Putrification PART SIX
RELATED: COMPARING KMT AND EASTERN THEOLOGY AND THEOSOPHY KEMETIC
YOGA'S STIMULATION OF THE “CHAKRAS,” IT IS BELIEVED BY THEM
Egyptians believed that from the bottom of the spinal column’s“root "chak- ra ”(speak ing analogously) to its top or“crown chakra,” there existed seven centers of psycho-spiritual consciousness and bodily functioning. These seven (or twelve, in some variants) centers were called the seven"Souls of Ra” analogous to the concepts of seven or “chakras” as popularized in the Kundalini yoga system of India. In KMT language these seven souls were called “sefech Ba Ra” and their their “energy” flow was controlled by the goddesses Aset and Nebethet through seven serpents (not just two of them)--hence, their concept of serpentine (protective) energy of the ser- pent-like shape of the spinal column. 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 (or lack of it) at that--the Heart (knowledge,wisdom and righteousness) level . Now, finally, imagine a cross-bar (outstretched arms) being at any level of any of the other six “chakras” ("souls of Ra") too. Ausar (Osiris),aided by Ma'at and Anubis, evaluates one's ethics and weighs on the balance scale the soul (i.e., the heart's memories) at each of the levels of the “Seven Souls of Ra” within a person at the seven levels of the spinal column. The heart--with its deeds and memories--is placed on one side of the scale and the Ostrich feather on the other. In KMT the spinal column is also 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 seq- uences that affect this lowest “chakra” of the Djed pillar (i.e., of the spine). Similarly, a constricted heart (with its many implications) may be profit- ably affected by passing energy smoothly through the “chakra”
that corresponds to the Djed pillar at that--the 4th-- level. And so on. Unlike the other organs of the body, the heart--that for the Egyptians was, again, the seat of thought and, therefore, memory--was left inside the corpse during the mummification process. And, as mentioned, the ser- pentine figures--usually depicted as two snakes--coiled themselves up and down this Djed column in the human body, i.e., the spine in life, generally, as well as in death. 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 correspon- ding various parts of their bodies (or their lives). Hence, it is yoga--'unit- ing 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.” Yet, notwitstanding what Kemites and Indians believe (which may be highly valid for them), Orisha/Ifa religion has its own knowledge about the spirit- uality of body functions, body parts, and bodily integrity as set forth im-mediately above. GOOD SOURCES TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF ORI Footnote #1 1. “ORI, THE SUPREME DIVINITY” by Lanre Ola-Ifa Okemmuyiwa, Es Es Communication Ventures, Lagos2. “ORI” by Babatunde Lawal, found in many internet sources.3. “The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts,” by Baba Ifa Karade4. "An Introduction to the Study of Ifa: A Workbook and Study Guide for Initiates Only)"5. “Ancestor Ritual” essay in Oshoosi. com by Alashe Michael Oshoosi Footnote #2In a companion essay in this series entitled "What Ain't In Orisha/Ifa Rel- gion--Sectarianism" I will discuss how we may profitably evaluate the quality of religious beliefs. The first set of questions are these: Is the religion or a variation of it authentic, valid, reliable, and useful? The second set of questions are these: Is the religion or one of its variants sectarian in nature (do its proponents argue with ot- hers--inside or out
of it--about its authenticity, validity, reliability or utility)? Do its proponents proselytize others who are not in it in order to con- vince them to leave their own practices and join in with the proselytizer's religion or religious variation? And, finally, are these religionists doc- trinaire and dogmatic about their beliefs; beliefs that are usually set forth as codes, rules or commandments that apply equally to everyone? Along these lines of inquiry we may find important distinctions between (sub-Saharan) African Traditional Religions, on the one hand, and all other religions and theosophies, on the other.