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Reincarnation in Ifa

Started by Omowale, Oct 10, 2022, 06:22 PM

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Once again, someone brought a good question up in Ẹgbẹ́ Ọmọ Odùduwà (Looking at you Afonja). Lets discuss the subject.

Do Ifa practitioners believe in reincarnation?

Short answer: Yes we do.

Long answer...

In many of the ìtàns throughout the Odu Ifa, the òrìṣà are the earthly forms of the irúnmọlẹ̀ . The irúnmọlẹ̀ took different earthly forms according to the ìtàns from the Odu. From animals to people. The irúnmọlẹ̀  are entities of Ọ̀run. Heaven (Ọ̀run) is their home and earth (ayé) is where they take form (Note that I only use the term "heaven" just to bridge understanding for anyone new to this belief). That being said. Reincarnation is a theme when we talk about lineage. Lineage is not just a genealogical concept but I would personally say to us, it is a philosophical and spiritual concept. As far as my studies take me and correct if I am wrong... We were born in Ọ̀run before we were born into the world. And when we leave ayé we return to Ọ̀run. Our higher self was assigned in Ọ̀run. Ifa practitioners (Isese) believe that it is possible for an infant to be the reincarnation of it's ancestor in Ọ̀run. Rebirth. I believe the concept is called Àtúnwáyé, please correct me if I am wrong. Evidence of this concept in Yoruba culture can be seen in the meaning behind some common names. The name "Babatunde" means "Father returns." Yetunde means "Mother returns".

This doesn't mean your child will be a reincarnation of your father. But it is simply a spiritual phenomenon that we believe happens.

There is  also the belief that if a person fulfills good Iwa (Character) then he/she will be reborn into fortunate circumstances in future generations down the line.

According to Baba Obafemi, Odu Irosun Iwori says:

Let us do things with joy.
Those who want to go, let them go.
Those who want to stay, let them stay.
Surely, humans have been chosen to bring good into the world.
The all-knowing one, priest of Òrunmìlà,
Cast Ifá for Òrunmìlà.
He said the people of the world would come to ask him a certain question.
He said that Òrunmìlà should sacrifice.
Òrunmìlà heard and complied.
One day, all kinds of people; good people and those who do not allow good
in other people's lives gathered together.
They then went to Òrunmìlà.
They said coming back and forth to earth tires us, Òrunmìlà.
Therefore, please allow us to rest in heaven.
Òrunmìlà said you cannot avoid going back and forth to earth
Until you bring about the good condition that Olódùmarè has ordained
for every human being.
After then, you may rest in heaven.

Baba Obafemi says that this Odu means to emphasize a balance between Ayé and Ọ̀run. That emphasizes humans practicing good character and living other lives so that we bring about a good condition.

My perspective on this Odu is that the cycle of life, death, and rebirth has never ended. A cycle without end.

Anyway please if anyone could correct me or enlighten us deeper into the concept of àtúnwáyé I would love to discuss it. Also as always, you are free to ask other questions pertaining to the topic of this thread if you are unfamiliar with all of this.
~Manifest destiny from within~


Also I just found this video by Ìyálóde Ifáfúnmikẹ́. Her insight really compliments our thread.

~Manifest destiny from within~


Would really love if someone added their thoughts here.
~Manifest destiny from within~


I'm not too familiar with reincarnation, àtúnwáyé as you said, I know its usually restricted to one's lineage though. The belief of you being born in ọ̀run first before you come is a very prevalent belief can be seen in orúkọ-àmútọ̀runwá, the concept of Orí-ọ̀run and Orí-inú, and also Àjàlá's work of shaping one's Orí before you go to Earth.


@Atipo Mo dupe for joining the discussion. What is orúkọ-àmútọ̀runwá? Also I am not familiar with Àjàlá's work?
~Manifest destiny from within~


@Ifasogbon recommended this video from the /r/Isese sub.

Since I have some time now I will watch and give my feedback as it relates to the topic.
~Manifest destiny from within~


When Solagbade spoke about the "shadow" as the being that will tell God where you went and what you did when you leave earth. And that is where your actions on earth mattered. I thought it was interesting. Its the first I'm hearing about it. He also stressed that doing good and having good character garuntees goodness in reincarnation. He cites Ogunda Ogbe, that the Odu tells us to strive for good character.

I will have to ask my Iya about what he said about those who are initiated into Ifa are in an "inner most sanctum" in orun. Also I like when he said "Hell is a state of mind". But I won't get too much into that as we already have this thread on that matter.

Anyway according to him Ifa says that when you have done good, you move to a place called "Ogbe Itero" (I think I spelled it wrong). And it is there when it will be decided if you will return to earth. That it will be decided what benefits will be added to this person's life when he/she reincarnates. He describes that this is added to a person's "Ayanmo" (I am not sure of the tones). He then says that everything becomes favorable to that person. Which he explains is why we cannot compare ourselves with them. And same with the people who have done bad, that whatever they did wrong it will be put back on them when they return to earth. To me this is a clear similarity to "karma". To me its sort of like a "generational curse".

Anyway the full lecture is above. These are just my notes about 36 minutes in.
~Manifest destiny from within~