What is the IFA religion

Excerpt from the book “A Life with the Gods”, text by Susanne Wenger
© 1980 Gert Chesi. Perlinger Verlag Ges.m.b.H.

Some important terms in Yoruba mythology
Yoruba is traditionally a city culture that is not influenced by colonization or cultural proletarianization, but built cities according to its own internal laws. You live in the city and go to the farm. You come home from the farm to the city on the occasion of cultural events and bring natural produce with you.

The religious center of all Yoruba cults is the city of Ilé Ifè. Yoruba always needs a balance of power. Everything that threatens to become excessively strong is set against another strong value. The volcano of metaphysical forces Ilé Ifè is also contrasted by the second metropolis of cults, Òyó. The Óòni is Ilé Ifès city king and the most sacred instance of secular authority. Òyó, on the other hand, is the city of the god Sòngó (Shango), who represents lightning and thunder. Ilé Ifè is not only the mythical origin of all Yoruba gods and men, but also the place where »the world began«. All Yoruba cities have a city king, but only sixteen of these Obas wear a pearl crown. They are the descendants of the sixteen sons of Odùduwà, the mythical founder of the nation, who is now revered as an important Òrìsà.

The common mistake that the Yoruba (and other polytheistic religions) do not believe in God is based on the fact that the term Òrìsà was and is translated as "the gods" or "a god". But there is no translation for Òrìsà in the languages ​​of those peoples who packed pre-Christian cultural memories into the deepest subconscious. In our discussions too, unfortunately, the misleading term "the gods" has to be accepted.

Even the word "believe" is not used in the traditional Yoruba in connection with God (Olódùmarè), since the transcendent presence of God for humans, animals and plants, but also for Òrìsà, is axiomatic and irrevocable a truth. In the religious polemics of the Yoruba, the word "faith", Gbàgbó, which contains its antipode, "disbelief", is only available to Christianity, which is one of the two imported religions. The idea that someone could question the existence of God is absurd for any Yoruba, whatever religion they belong to.

Missionary zeal preceded the exploration all too quickly. One did not take the time to get to know the culture and language, fanaticism had nipped all doubts of conscience in the bud. Missionaryism is in itself an attack on human dignity. Olódùmarè is a unique and transcendent instance that cannot be compared with anything or anyone. The gods, the Òrìsà, are all almost similar to him in one or the other of their specific aspects, but never the same. Before the religious slackening of our time, the name Olódùmarè was hardly ever mentioned. He dwells beyond all ritual realms. The large rock giant in the holy stream, which was polished in unmeasurable periods of time, is called Òyígíyigì in honor of Olódùmarès, because it is also charged to bursting with magical-mystical primal energy, which is both: matter and spirit. But in any case it is genetically the transcendent libido Òrìsàs, which all creatures produce before the physiological insemination.

Olódùmarè, on the other hand, does not testify. His axiomatic being catalytically effects all life and all death. All branches of creation, every creature, also mineral and water are olórìsà, because everything comes from a hierarchical line of an Òrìsà and is therefore one of his aspects.

In this sense, every Òrìsà myth is to be understood in that it - láé-láé - once lived on earth a long, long time ago, whereby the distance in time corresponds to the archetypal primal reasons of the pre-chromosome nuclear. But that place on earth where a god once set his foot or where ecstatically transformed through suffering is holy.

Olórun is an epithet Olódùmarès and in recent times the designation of God by Christians and Mohammedans. In the Yoruba tradition, God was not allowed to be named. He is surrounded by total taboo. This was also the case in Judaism. Yehowa, Yahweh, etc. are relatively modern attempts at an etymological reconstruction of the intolerably intensely dynamic name of God. There is a tradition that the secret of God's name was kept by the ascetic sect of the Essenes. Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist were Essenes. Nowadays, Olórun is unfortunately on everyone's lips as "Hans in the alley". He sanctions curses as readily as prayers and is implicated in every banality of busy everyday life.

Eléèdá, the sacred, God-indwelling dynamism, is Orí. Orí is actually God's meta-intellectual proto-mystic substance, homologous in various metapsychic dimensions with the Holy Spirit. Orí not only represents, extremely intensely, God's own spirituality, Orí is also he in us. Through Orí, everything created (Edá) is meta-intellectually and meta-genealogically related to God. That means that everything that exists is, through Orí, an incarnation of Eléèdá and has an inalienable part in God. According to the axiomatic paradox of everything that belongs to the psychoid (C. G. Jung), God, Olódùmarès, sacred archetype, is incomprehensible to man. It is too distant from mortal thought and yet most intimate of every creature, a highly individual archetypal self and thus an incomprehensible mystery. Each individual Orí is a spark of transcendent energy. The Yoruba understands Orí to mean immortal value, including that of the mortal creature. One brings offerings and the smaller ritual of the kola nut to his own Orí (which can also be understood as the superego and the silver ribbon of the spiritualists). Orí coconuts and fish are sacrificed, namely the catfish (Silurus glanis), whose overdeveloped skull contains most of its organs and whose antennae are multipotent. The fish is - interhumanitary - symbol of God and was the sign under which early Christians recognized themselves. The ritual for Orí is carried by the exclamation

"Orí imi, Eléèdá àmi" (My head, my creator). Orí means head in common usage. The head, orí, is the physical abode of the sacred principle. The brain, the most complex organism, is in fact an ideal switching center for the innumerable sacred energies united in us.

In the Yoruba translation of the Bible, the devil is called Èsù. This is misleading. One could say that the devil is also Èsù. Sympathetic Europeans flirt with their flair for Èsù, because he always makes things turn out differently than you think. They confuse the apocalyptic Punch and Judy, who is a mystical great power, with the pointed divan doll, which can also be used as a pillow.

Preconceived plans and anticipated dispositions fall over with Èsù. The sympathy that is due to him also drops. He doesn't want her. Èsù gets dangerously angry if he is forgotten in the course of any godly ritual, but he gets angry just as much when given priority. Wherever he - or one of his priests - shows up, he is greeted with a psychopathic sort of joke and laughter. This rejoicing, stranded on dry land, is brought about by the fact that Èsù, who is neither God nor Òrìsà, is indispensable to all of us - including God - in everything we do. It is the principle that operates with all physical-metaphysical, intellectual-meta-intellectual affinities and reactions. It is indispensability that gets on our nerves even in the most intimate fate. Because he, the "little guy in the cosmos", is - if he can be characterized in any way - the communicative principle, the catalyst in the meta-chemistery of being. Èsù's meta-instinct acts as the divining rod of the oracle Ifá. He is God's jealous assistant and friend. From the carved frame of the divination board (Opón) he looks the priest (Babálawo) in the face and into the mind. The horn-shaped knocking instrument (Ìroké) in the hand of Babálawo, carved from ivory or very hard wood, symbolizes Èsù, riding or kneeling on a horse, with its horn-like elongated back of the head, which still ends in a forelock. Plaited in a braid, this bush of hair covers the fontanels pulsing wildly with magical potencies. With the Ìroké, the Babálawo knocks on the Opón and the sky of transcendent intercommunication of the oracle Ifá. The fact that Èsù is represented with a prominent phallus is not so much because of its physical-procreative potency, but rather because the phallus provides the metaphysical and - in - Ifá meta-intellectual thrust into the transnuclear dimensions. This shock is the first and actual breakthrough that precedes all physical - and even the (Òrìsà associated) metaphysical - procreation. Preeminent and sacred, the club in Èsù's hand is the instrument of manslaughter through which we die into life. Inconsistent - as one must expect from him - Èsù is often depicted kneeling, in the posture of the giving birth (Yoruba) woman (ikünle abiamon). In Yoruba parlance, this attitude stands for every urgent request. (Mo fi ikünle abiamon be o - I ask you on behalf of the woman giving birth.)

Èsù is shown showing the gesture Ògbónis - fist over fist. This gesture is interhumanitary that of the Trinity (which is by no means an invention of Christianity). It represents the relative identity of heaven and earth. Or one depicts Èsù with the club of death (Ògo), the symbol of the reciprocity of death-orgasm. Èsù's prayers are negative. You pray for what he shouldn't do. “Èsù má sè mi - do not harm me, Èsù!”: Until recently, this prayer was reinforced with more human sacrifices than any other Yoruba deity ever demanded. An Èsù-Oríki says that it is small where it is expected to be large, and that it is large when it is thought to be tiny. You stare up at his size as he crouches under the peanut leaf. You look for him under the mat while his skull pierces the roof. But big or small - Èsù's most distinguished epithet is Elégbara, "the one who has violence".

The holy oracle Ifá is of all-encompassing importance for the ceremonial and profane life of the Yoruba. The spiritual world of the Yoruba is a huge metaphysical jungle, vegetatively cruel and of hardly imaginable vitality. A wild order prevails in which all life, closely intertwined, holds one another by asserting itself most intensely. This jungle secret is metaphysically projected into a huge world-tree giant, and Ifá, the oracle, is not a root, trunk, branch or twig, but the network of veins that runs through it everywhere. The "waters of life" - as they are already called in the Apocalypse - have transcendent status in God. Òsun is the goddess of the water of life and according to the mythical tradition of her city, Òsogbo, the wife of Ifá. Òsun herself has - obtained from Ifá or, according to her own claim, láé-láé and possessed before Ifá - her own oracle system of 16 cowrie shells (Ajé), which she lends to all priests of all cults. In the never-interrupted mandala cycle of being, Òsun is water (of which we consist almost exclusively). In the whole universe it is - according to scientific statements - only present in liquid form on our earth. This also explains that Òsun has the highest female title in heaven in the transcendent dimensions of Ògbóni, the cult of the earth.

Ifá is the sacred principle of "remembering forwards and backwards", clairvoyance and fortune-telling, which Aristotle, who is known as a sober thinker, says that it is an "innate quality of the soul". With the help of this innate ability of transcendent humanity, Ifá operates a meta-algebraic world of formulas, which manifests itself in the poetic corpus of Odù Ifá in 4096 symbolic poems. These poems, which are a great metaphysical symbol-word architecture, are called Odù, after the goddess Odù, who actually represents and personifies "the word" that "dwelt in God at the beginning" (S. Juan de la Cruz). Odù represents within the Ifá cult life - according to Èlá - the most sacred principle. Every Babálawo performs - before performing his Ifá ritual - one for Odù, not collectively, but alone, at most assisted by his best friend. Odù is the feminine principle of Ifás, is both the mother and "Aya", the main wife and lover. With regard to the relationship in which the oracle priest stands to Odù, it becomes very clear how Èèwò (taboo) sublimates the deep primal instincts in the human or all-creature archetype and increases them to the most sacred principle, in contrast to psychoanalysis, which the "Oedipus complex" found as trauma in civilized Europeans. The alienation from the mystical original qualities through compulsive forgetting has perverted the explosive power of Èèwò into a symptom of metaphysical deficiency disease in the course of Christianization.

The oracle priest knows these 4096 Odù (16 times 16 times 16) so perfectly by heart that they easily come to mind - in a completely self-controlled trance - as soon as a number composition appears in the oracle. In the ritual night watch of the annual festival for Ifá, a - mostly younger - Babálawo recites the first 16 Odù, with the entire congregation of the city's cult group answering him in chorus and controlling him. Neither in the wording, nor in the melody, and especially not in the rhythm, he must make a mistake. On the third mistake, he would be eliminated and replaced by another priest. He must have gone through the initiation rites in the Ilé Awo (cult house) and especially in the Igbófá. Merely memorizing the Odù corpus does not make a babálawo. It is above all the fleeting but correctly indicated rhythm that the Ifá principle, inherent in the Ifá priest, interprets itself. The priest is just a vessel; without his own initiative he arranges archetypal connections and interprets them - not rationally, but as physiological manifestations. According to Aristotle, rhythm is sacred symbolism of numbers. In a metapsychically very different context, the Yoruba oracular system is sacred number symbolism.

The dignities of an Ifá cult group, with the exception of the dignity of Ojùgbòna, are a ladder that the priest climbs. When he dies, the next one moves up. The highest dignity, Àràbà, is certainly only achieved in old age. Every step up is associated with a new initiation. Only the highest five degrees reveal the most intimate mysteries of Ifá to the priest, that is, only in old age. The initiation into the mysteries of Odù requires a baptism of fire, which is not passed through very often nowadays. The symbolism that replaces them, however, is still potent enough to allow our Babálawos to enter the word cathedrals of Odù, that is, into the meaning of Ifá, although certainly not on the scale of bygone times. According to the meta-logisms of clairvoyance, which circumvents rationalization, it is determined with the help of sacred poetry which metaphysical power zone the individual has crossed, i.e. which mystical boundary determinations were violated by Èèwò. Since the ratio is completely useless in such problems, it is instruction and correction, the implementation of the symbol, which is difficult to handle, into the world of familiar terms is necessary. Problems are not explained and solved rationally - as in psychoanalysis - but eliminated with physically-metaphysically potent atonement for the offended and angry Òrìsà. So the problem is not brought to light, but rather edited in its archetypal primal beginnings. Mostly Ifá is addressed in the Odù by the name Òrunmiìlà. Òrunmiìlà is an epithet that comes closer to the anthropomorphic aspect of the deity, while Ifá - also an epithet - corresponds better to its abstract and esoteric character. The Yoruba often name the principle by the name of the individual embodied to perfection - and on the other hand, the individual is often called like his god. Òrunmiìlà is usually described as "Heaven knows who, or how, or what saves or will be saved" (Òrun mon eni tí yiíóò là).

Ifá's helpers and constant companions are Èsù and Òsonyìn. Òsonyìn is the magical-mystical-powerful experience of the plant, is its transformative potency in medicine. As in the sacred groves the trees are meta-intellectual priests and masters of ceremonies, so is not so much the Babálawo (the doctor) the recipient of the oracular recipes, but Òsonyìn, who cooperates with Ifá in the plant and through the plant. The Babálawo is always himself a doctor, but the consulting person is free to reimburse the god in question for the offerings that are not directly due to Ifá in their own shrine. The cryptesthetic diagnosis is made by Ifá.

CG Jung writes: "In order to understand an individual, one has to put scientific [rational] knowledge aside for the time being, has to switch off stagnant theories in order to always arrive at an understanding in an new and unbiased way [from the archetypal roots]." Jung also says: " Absolute truth [we prefer to call this reality] has the predominant character of irregularity. «Jung also speaks of synchronisms that determine fate. We have now come back to Ifá. Both science and the oracle are based on polydimensional world experiences. Òsonyìn is one-legged like the plant and represented as an iron, forged rod. The Babálawo has such a grandpa Orere eléye kon (aphsonyìn's staff, carries a bird) as Òsonyìn altar paraphernalia. The owner of a grandpa Orere is very careful that it never falls over or lies on the ground, as this would symbolize the end of its being a plant: the plant that lies on the ground is dead.

The most sacred and mysterious aspect of Ifá is Èlà. Èlà is the young man, the child-man Ifá, the ideal of Odù, the mother-lover. Èlà is hardly ever mentioned and is not given a ritual program. It may emerge from the Odù constellations that Èlà is the author of a meta-intellectual disorientation: Èlà in us, Èlà in heaven, Èlà in the nucleus, a taboo violation. The Babálawo recites the corresponding Odù, but there is no individual interpretation, not a word suggests the synchronisms of human fate with that of God. After the appropriate recitation, there is only a list of the offerings that the client has to make. These offerings consist of animals or food - and of course kola nuts in the number-symbolically related quantity to God - as in every case of a divination. But to talk about Èlà, to point out its properties or - which would be so typical of the metaphysical aggression of the Yoruba - to ritually get the god going with apocalyptic, gruesome wit: nothing of this kind happens in Èlà's transcendent presence. Èlà is fate, vulnerable and infinitely shocking, is the string that is stretched in the arc of world events. The arrow is, as it is its flight and the goal - everything - in the ritual archery of Zen, in the Equilibre Dynamique of being also Èlà again.

The paraphernal tools of divination are: the divination board (opón), from whose carved frame Èsù stares into the inner context of the given problem; the wood powder (Ìròsùn) scattered on this divination board, the residue of a redwood tree eaten by termites and Ìroké, the knocking wood that, carved from ivory or the hardest wood, represents Èsù. The actual divination is carried out either with the help of 16 whole nuts from the Òpefá palm or with the Òpèlè. The Òpèlè consists of 8 half Ìkin palm nuts strung on a chain. The Babálawo holds the chain in its center and throws it down in front of him, whereby the number combinations that indicate the Odù in question result from the ratio between concave and convex halves. The other, older and more intimate method of the 16 whole nuts has the Babálawo throw the nuts from one hand to the other, with the nuts left in one hand and the nuts moved into the other hand indicating the number symbols of Odù. Every possible combination of numbers corresponds to a certain Odù. Each Odù is followed by a "smaller" Odù, and each of them is followed by another. This results in 16 times 16 (= 256) times 16 = 4096.

Oh you
The word is Odù, the eternally virgin mother of the oracle (Ifá), who is privately cared for by the oracle priest (Babálawo) with emotional ritual. 16 times 16 times 16, that makes 4906, derived prophetic poems loaded with satyrical laughter from the gods, through which Ifá proclaims itself, are called Odù after her, since these are understood as the goddess' word epiphany. S. Juan de la Cruz, the Christian mystic, also says of the word in his stanza addressed to God (whose sublime eroticism is not inferior to that of the great pagan-Greek poet Sappho): “Far away, where there are beginnings, the word and God abide. «(Poems to the Trinity.)

Most of the time, the rituals for Orí and Egbé are performed together. Egbé is also Olódùmarè in us. Egbé means group, community, society and, as a religious instance, represents God's emotional spectrum as the multiplicity and complexity of every individual emotional world. Hence the symbolic personification - Epiphany - of Egbé is not a dove, but a flock of doves. Female pigeons lay two eggs at the same time. The boys crawl out at the same time and grow up together. Later they stay together, mate and produce new generations of twins who only marry each other. If one dies, the other remains alone until death. Incest never occurs among Yorubas. Old people, however, testify that they remember times when twins, stray celestial dwellers, exclusively married each other or - in the case of homogeneity or death - waited for their parents' next heterogeneous child.

Ibéjì are twins. Even now they are still regarded as »Ará Òrun«, as dwellers in heaven. They (or their parents) have to make sacrifices at regular intervals to the sacred Ibéjì authority, to which all twins belong. If one dies, the other has to carry around a small figure representing the dead child or worship it at the house altar. A copy of all of his new clothes will be donated to the doll. The twins are always called Táyéwò and Kéèhìndé (taste the world, come after). Both are called Edun, like the sacred monkeys in the sacred grove. Any of them can also be called Omo Méjì (two children).

Abikú are a different kind of ghost children. Abikú means "born to die". They usually die young to return to their playmates (their Egbé) in heaven. But they only do this so that they can soon be born again by the same parents. Tormented and embittered by this childlike cruelty, parents are in the habit of cutting a mark on the little corpse. Reborn with this scar, they usually stay alive. I know some people who were born with such scars or even brought mutilations into their lives. Adíja, who died ten times as a toddler and was thrown to the ground and mutilated by her mother, confused with grief, was born without a chin at her eleventh birth because it had been shattered.

Susanne Wenger on orishas
The Yoruba know that the divine can manifest itself in many different ways, that trees, animals, rivers, rocks and people can serve as a medium for an Orisa. They know that the Orisa, with their different temperaments, are all aspects of a single divine power, and that people can only lead a meaningful life if they live in harmony with the Orisa according to their own temperament. No holy book regulates the relationship between God and man - this has to be worked out anew every day. Through the kola nut oracle, which every person performs every day on his own altar, he gropes his way to the god, deals with him and clears up small discrepancies through offerings. As in a marriage, neither partner can take the other's love for granted. The uninterrupted preoccupation with the Orisa, the “almost non-stop ritual”, requires a lot of strength and integrity, at the same time it enriches people's lives to the extent that they work on the relationship with their God.

Life becomes extremely difficult and at the same time very ecstatic for those who have been chosen to "carry" and embody God. The initiation of a priest is a stress test for the human spirit that can break the unprepared. Susanne Wenger was subjected to such a stress test when she met the Obatala priest Ajagemo. After all, the meeting between Susanne Wenger and the Ajagemo took place at a time when the Yoruba religion was being oppressed and threatened from all sides. The Ajagemo probably suspected that no priest of the same format would follow him. It was precisely this knowledge of the impending demise of a great culture that gave this person tragic greatness, wisdom and almost superhuman intuition. At the annual Obatala Festival, an old “Passion Play” had to be performed in the royal palace, in which a war is represented by dance that ends with the capture of Ajagemo. He is then dragged before the king, who - unlike Pontius Pilate in that other Passion - does not condemn him to death, but buys him free. I have seen this festival over and over again for years. At every festival the Ajagemo, who did not play his “role” but lived it, became more tragic and spiritualized. Ancient myths came to life here, the spiritual energy of the Yoruba was recharged like an accumulator through this ritual, through this incredible person who really became a god at these moments.

During these festivals, the priest is usually carried by the collective focus and energy of the community. The Ajagemo had to experience that this community got smaller every year, that the great old people slowly died away, that a young generation grew up whose "school wisdom" became more and more superficial and cynical. Every year the Ajagemo had to find and invest more of its own strength in order to be able to hold the festival at all. In this difficult situation, the appearance of Susanne Wenger meant a significant strengthening of his position: not only because she rebuilt the crumbling Obatala shrine on the market, or because the king had to show her a certain respect, but above all because she was her own spiritual Allowing energy to flow fully into these rituals.

Ajagemo seemed determined from the start to initiate her into the mysteries of the cult and make her a true Olorisa. It is not clear whether he knew what he was asking of her. Could he have guessed how much more difficult such an initiation was for an outsider? Was he aware of the fact that this intellectual process could be dangerous for Susanne Wenger? The artist can only hint at the experiences of these years until today.

The core of the Yoruba religion is not everyday morality; Ordering the social relationships between people is a matter of ancestors, not of the gods. Initiation, ritual and trance of the Yoruba religion serve to break through the boundaries between this world and the other world in a flash. “Through the trance, the limits of human existence are exceeded for a brief moment. Through this bold crossing of boundaries, man creates the certainty that he is part of the creative process, that he is a part of God. And his pride rests on the fact that he is able to be more than human, and in this he sees his greatness, that he has the courage to break through the natural limits of his nature. The trance is like an invasion by human beings into the realm that normally belongs to the gods. From these short forays they returned with divine booty ... "

In the years that followed, the artist was only able to maintain her spiritual balance by always immediately converting the religious experience, the “metaphysical adventure”, into creative activity. The oil paintings she painted during these years were of an almost unbearable intensity.

They represent energetic rituals and are executed with an almost wild spatula technique in dark, bright colors. The mental tensions of those years can be clearly seen in these pictures. The initiation, which extends over years, was not carried out - as was once the case - in the total seclusion of an initiation house, but Susanne Wenger had to live in a spiritual and emotional isolation for years. She practically did not receive any European visitors during this period. The Ajagemo believed in Susanne Wenger's mission, he knew that through her the Orisa had a chance of survival in a completely different form. As he was dying, he seemed to be in a great depression. It was as if he had suddenly lost all hope, as if he actually saw himself as the last Ajagemo. At that time he wanted to “take” Susanne Wenger with him into her death, as often happens in the Yoruba culture. With the Yoruba, death does not need a purely physical cause: it can be brought about through spiritual forces, through a "spiritual decision".

We had no idea of ​​the whole colonial situation in Nigeria, we were only given a slip of paper with what we should take with us. Ulli didn't have any of that and said: "Somehow we will be fooled by it". The vice chancellor of the university gave us a guesthouse in his compound because he had heard that I was an artist and said I needed “solitude”. The colonial European clique was helpful to one another, and even I benefited from that. The English have completely isolated themselves in the colonies, so they seem to have done less culturally damage than the French. The pogroms against traditional religion that were carried out in 1917, however, show the tremendous psychological tactics and brutality with which the empire was held together. When independence came, it was found that the colonial rulers gave the natives of all colonies the necessary self-confidence, i.e. H. the ability to manage oneself, had carefully weaned. But poorly trained or not trained in mission schools, the people who formed the first governments were even better politicians and better people than any later.

Ulli Beier had switched from Phonetics to the Extra Mural Department (now Adult Education) and, an enthusiastic teacher without conceit that he was, drove on a truck on very bad roads in many Yoruba cities and helped with all kinds of educational needs. We both hoped for Nigeria's political independence. When she came in 1960, Ulli's former students sat in many offices who, in return, had answered his questions about traditional life and thought during the second half of the lesson. They couldn't do it these days. After all, they were only the first generation to be lured away by tradition. And through his enthusiastic interest he gave them back pride and insight into the ethical beauties of their world. These men from Ulli's many, many classes had then become district officers and other authorities who were occasionally useful and helped me a lot, even for my life, which was scarcely polluted by progress. We then wanted to get away from Ibadan and the artificial university compound and ended up in Ede, where I was already part of the culture after four days.

These old people, who fascinated me above all, knew in advance what I was going to do. The love that was instantly there between my first ritual mothers and fathers and me is a phenomenon of deepest importance. They “remembered” in advance what I did not yet know and what I would do in four years' time Ede, four years Ilobu and then Oshogbo.