My two experiences with Babalawos were both second hand – As a child, a family member brought me a herbal treatment for a skin condition that befuddled orthodox medicine and had been going on for a year.
It completely disappeared 2 weeks after I started the Baba’s green ointment. I still have the scars from where the Yaba Hospital (orthodox medicine) did a biopsy and later thinned my skin trying to understand whether I had some kind of cancer or fungus, before Yoruba science came to my rescue.
The other time was when money was stolen, and a family member took suspects to a Baba in order to discern which was the thief. He was correctly identified by divination. When I got back from work and heard what went on, I wasn’t really convinced but then he confessed as he was packing his things to leave!
Wailed loudly about his reasons for taking the money and what he did with it. He was also a relative so we still saw afterwards but I didn’t get the chance to ask him how surprised he was to be outed by Ifa.
The list of things Babalawos are said to be able to resolve is long and sometimes incredulous but I never scoff, because of my own experience. The world is full of mysteries and it’s not only pharma companies that have the keys .
Both pilloried and revered in different measures by the Nigerian movie industry , over the many years since Westernisation and foreign faiths entered the homeland shores,Babalawos remain a mystery to many of us. Whenever I get the chance and a Baba that’s forthcoming with answers I always use the opportunity to solve as many mysteries as possible.
Babalawo Ajagun is also an Onisegun, and after celebrating his Ifa Festival on 28th July he has been carrying out Ifa initiations.He’s great with answering my curious questions. I asked him about his Ifa festival and also the initiations.
TY: Aboru Aboye Abosise, Happy Ose Ifa !
Baba: Ogbo Ato Asure Iworiwofun.
TY: What does Ogbo Ato Asure Iworiwofun mean?
Baba: Ogbo means you live long, Ato it will be straight/in order/organised, Asure Iworiwofun means all your Iwure or prayers be answered
TY: Thank you , What is your Ifa festival about?
Baba: Cleansing, thanking Ifa for previous years and asking from Ifa about the next new year we have in stock, we sacrifice Ifa on that day , people and well wishers will come to celebrate the day with us singing dancing, food and drinks will be served
TY: What do you cleanse with? Prayers or herbs
TY: What is for sacrifice?
TY: What is Ebo?
Baba: These are Etutu used to sacrifice different gods as directed by Ifa. When you consult Ifa for any certain life problems or whatever , Ifa will tell you the Ebo/Etutu to appease gods
TY: Do you all dress up in Ifa outfit or traditional Yoruba outfit?
Baba: Any attire
TY: Are women involved or is it just men. How about elders and children are they celebrating also?
Baba: Everybody chooses different days for his or her annual IFA festival
TY: Is it the same time every year
Baba: After Oke Agboniregun which is celebrated every year first Saturday of June , all Babalawo will start starts fixing different convenient dates for their Annual Ifa Festival provides your Ifa did not say otherwise
Baba: Someone is coming from Arlington to celebrate with me this year. I will initiate my godson from USA to on same day I am celebrating my Ifa Festival
TY: Please could you explain the process so we can understand the pictures ?
Baba: The process is entering Igbodu to know the Odu that your ori brought. Then we sacrifice to your Ifa . To go Igbodu you need to have your ikin ready and all other materials
TY: What is the difference before and after initiation. What can he now do that he couldn’t do before initiation?
Baba: During initiation Ifa will give warning according to his corpus odu from 256 odu
TY: So he picks one ikin and it is translated for him?
Baba: No. There are ways used to select, at Igbodu
I guess we’ll have to find out about the “ways used to select at Igbodu” another time.
Baba Ajagun has a certificate in Electronic Data Processing from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. He was an apprentice for 15 years under his late father who was also a Babalawo and has been practicing fully as a Babalawo for 15 years. He was initiated into Obatala and has apprentices all over the world in Ghana, Togo, Benin, USa, UK, Canada, Brazil , Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago. He teaches herbal remedy, leaves and roots, as well as Ifa studies. His abode is next to Ooni of Ife’s palace in Ile Ife.