There is a basic fact that if people do not understand the foundation of their religious belief, then there will be a tendency to have little faith or less faith in their culture and tradition. African people's belief system has been, to a large degree, misunderstood and disrupted because of shame, fear and miseducation surrounding African traditional religious concepts. Many Africans in the Diaspora as well as Africans around the world are greatly disempowered because of this ignorance. They suffer because of a lack of faith in their ancestral ways and adhere to the religious beliefs of the dominant society.
The Yoruba-Ifa religion is the faith practiced for thousands of years in what is known today as South Western Nigeria. The advent of the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent enforcement of Christianity have produced a syncretism of Lukumi, Santeria, Vodun, Condomble, Shongo Baptist, etc. In the New World, Yoruba-Ifa tradition was transfigured in order to adapt to the oppressive institution of slavery. Today we see this syncretism in our communities in the many Botanicas, religious stores, temples, initiation houses, public shrines and rituals in the New World.
When we look at Africa with western eyes, we could say the poverty is unbelievable. What we sometimes do not see is the spiritual richness amidst the poverty. Wealth is not determined by material accumulation, but rather by how many people we have in our lives who are encouraging, loving, supportive, patient, faithful, and who embrace our gifts, and out daily relationship with each other. Africans brought to the New World a deep understanding and commitment to community. Today in many of our communities, in the New World, we see the visible effects of people living together without a common spirit holding them together or a spirit as its main source of power. If we are to regain faith in ourselves, our spirit and our community, then we can take this opportunity to enlighten, educate ourselves and then remove the misunderstanding and shame surrounding indigenous traditional religious systems.
"HOUSEHOLD GUIDE FOR YORUBA SPIRITUAL WELLNESS"
by IYALODE IYALORISA YEYEFINI EFUNBOLADE
Published by: IIASK Inc. Copyright 2004 2nd edition
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