Why I Wear Those Beads Around My Neck (or the Answer to “What church you go to?”)

I realize that there was a time when I wanted to know more about certain spiritual systems and I felt like the answers were sometimes vague and hard to come by. I don’t know why that is…maybe the stigmas connected to non-Western traditions make the conversations harder…? Now that I’ve been able to learn more for myself, I would like to be a bit more open to community with the knowledge. I have a platform to speak from and it is perhaps a good place to offer info, dispel a few myths, and simply share what connects me to God.

First, let me make one thing clear: this is not an invitation to debate what I believe in. I am not writing this to “convert” you, so please don’t seek to save me. I am sure you have your hands full saving yourself. πŸ™‚ Again, I am sharing. I welcome questions and comments, as well as an opportunity to learn from you through a positive conversation.

I am an Ifa practitioner, or an Aborisa. Ifa is the study of the wisdom of nature, and the way I see it, it is how everything and us and God connect. It is science, and mathematics. It is rational. It is ritual and learning. It is meditation and observation. It is poetic. It is inclusive and evolving. It is stories that tell truth. It is old and rich, from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, and it is one of many spiritual systems of our Mother Africa. It is also the one that spoke to me and helped me to connect to God.

Ifa teaches sacrifice and reciprocity. That sacrifice can be seen as very scientific and straightforward…you just can’t “get” when you haven’t “given.”

Ifa practitioners learn about destiny, and how to find yours, get on a path that aligns with it, and do it in good character. We also learn about the power (ase pronounced “ah-shay”) that exists within that destiny.

Through this study, aborisas understand the forces in nature, especially how they are represented as Orisa (the beads worn around my neck are physical representations of these forces). We learn to respect, understand, connect with this energy. Yet there are energies that we find an even closer relationship with : our direct, bloodline ancestors. These mothers and fathers walk with us, leave legacies, paths that must honored and understood…I like to think of these ancestors as simply having my back. I see it as a wonderful thing to pray and have those prayers strengthened by the voices of countless ancestors who all want to see me succeed! That’s what’s up! I’m just saying…

The beautiful part about Ifa is that a person who studies it can still decide to go to the spiritual home or practice of their choice (or none at all), and simply use Ifa as a tool to elevate their learning. The even beautiful-er part is that you don’t have to be an Ifa practioner any more than I have to be a Christian to be a person of God. Which is why I don’t carry signs or give you pamphlets. If it’s for you, it’s for you. And that’s that. πŸ˜‰

Of course, there is so much more to Ifa, and this is just scratching the surface. There are great books to read on the subject, and once in a while (on my Facebook page) I will put up invites to local classes led by visiting leaders.

LOL I recently heard a poet say that at one time he didn’t know what all of the “Orisa” stuff was about…he reminded me that there was a time when neither did I. πŸ™‚ I am only just beginning to learn. If you want to know more, feel free to hit me up and I will point you to what I can. For those who were just curious, I hope this gave you a little bit more info. Β For all: walk with good character, be blessed, live in abundance, and ask questions. And always, do you because no one else can. Ase!


Inner Peace, The Yoruba Concept of Ori; Family Spirit, The Yoruba Concept of Egun – Falokun Fatunmbi

Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion – Chief Fama


5 comments on “Why I Wear Those Beads Around My Neck (or the Answer to “What church you go to?”)

    • LOL The blog would be about all I have to publicly say on the subject. Yet I thank you for the word of wisdom, friend…I understand your caution. I felt this much did, however, need to be said. πŸ™‚

  1. I thank you for the information and yeah you are in my area, I would like to learn more about Ifa so thank you for the resource. I think you should post what you want this is your blog and no one else’s, I can’t stand when people try to control your spirit.

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