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					 V O I C E S O F I . F. A .                                     O
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                                                                                           é O g bè W
  The Monthly Newsletter of the Indigenous                                0     I
                                                                          I     I
                                                                                                        Volume III, No. 4
  Faith of Africa & the Institute for Yorùbá                              I     I                       Spetember 2000

  Diaspora Studies, Inc.                                                                                $2.50 tax-deductible contribution

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Honor To The Mothers and The Fathers                                                                                   Ask
Chief Adédoja E. Àlùko

    T     oday we are talking about
the Égún. Égún is simply a word
                                       to take place in order to elevate
                                       one’s ancestors, especially for
                                       those ancestors who where crimi-
that means bones. The bones of         nals, or killed in accidents: there
our ancestors are what we give         are usually many sacrifices to be                                              C h i e f À l ù ko
homage to. Many people are con-        performed to achieve this. Even
fused about the difference between     when family members, such as our
                                                                                                                      Q: Baba, is it okay
the bones of our ancestors and the     mothers and fathers, die in terrible
                                                                                                                      to have your ances-
bones in Palo pots. Many people        accidents we do not erect altars for
                                                                                                                      tor shrines and
associate the bones in Palo pots       them immediately. We elevate
                                                                                                                      your Òrìšà shrines
with ancestral reverence.         In   them through prayers, and sacri-
                                                                                                                      in the same room?
essence it is not ancestral rever-     fice, so that they may be in the
ence.                                  realm of the elevated ancestors
                                                                                                                      A:        It really
     In the Kongo, where they take          All of this is a part of ancestral
                                                                                                                      depends on what
the bones of the ancestors and         reverence.
                                                                                                                      kind of space you
build a shrine, they put the shrine         People ask why do we revere
in a pot. It is very different than    our ancestors. The answer is sim-
                                                                                                                      have at your home.
getting a bone from somebody who       ple when we think about it. We
                                                                                                                      Generally,       we
died in a car wreck, or was shot up    can recall anyone who has died
                                                                                                                      would want to sep-
or cut, or from someone who was        and we can recall their names and
                                                                                                                      arate the shrines,
burnt up in a house. People who        we can recall their existence with                                             giving the Òrìšà
die those kinds of deaths are not      us. My grandmother died forty-                                                 and the ancestors
considered elevated ancestors. As      seven years ago, but I can hear her                                            their own spaces.
a matter of fact if a person did not   teachings today as if she had never                                            But, if all you have
live an honorable life we do not       died. She has left this earth, but                                             is one room, then
give them elevated ancestor status     what she taught me, and the feel-                                              one room is all you
until they have evolved. There are     ings that I have for her have never                                            can give.
a number of things that would have     left me. My father died about four
                                                                                              See Ancestors, Page 2
              Voices Of I.F.A.                         Vol. III, No. 4 September 2000

              The Ègún Are All Around
from Page 1

 years ago and what he has         and they come to give us          that the negative ones will
 taught me has never left me.      messages. And there are           not come. Only the positive
 My experiences with him           other times when we literate-     ones will manifest them-
 have never left me.               ly see them. We can almost        selves if we give respect, and
     When we think about this      reach out and touch them;         pay homage to our ances-
 we say that the Egúngun is        and sometimes we actually         tors. Our ancestor look after
 present in our lives. But we      have conversations with           us, their children, with due
 do not worship them as if         them. But most of us are          diligence. And we are to give
 they are Òrìšà. We do not         afraid of our ancestors. We       them, as our elders in
 worship the Égún like we do       are afraid of the spirit world.   Heaven, honor in kind.
 Obàtálá. We do not worship             Things in our tradition           In our Yorùbá tradition
 the Egúngun like we do            can be so complicated,            the ancestors play a very,
 Òrúnmìlà, but we recognize        because sometimes a visita-       very important role. The
 the Egúngun, because they         tion can be from a good spir-     ancestors tell us who we are,
 are a part of our tree. Our       it, and sometimes it can be       and what we are going to be,
 Égún are the root of our tree.    from a negative spirit.           and what we are going to do.
 Our beginning is with our         Sometimes there are spirits       Ifa determines our every
 ancestors.                        that come to us at night that     need and want, but it is our
     In    most      traditional   really want to do us harm.        ancestors who anchor us on
 homes, we do a naming cer-        We are at odds, because we        the face of this earth. It is our
 emony on the seventh,             do not know which ones to         ancestors who give us the
 eighth or ninth day, perform-     believe, and we do not know       stability on earth. It is the
 ing divination for the child to   which ones to trust. We have      reverence of our ancestors,
 establish what ancestor has       spirits that are being sent to    and paying homage to our
 returned. We do divination to     people, but they are not a        ancestors that gives us the
 determine which ancestor          part of their ancestry. If we     strength that will keep up on
 has returned so that we can       practice giving homage and        the face of the earth for a
 prepare ourselves to help         giving respect to our ances-      long, long time. When we
 them learn and grow, to aid       tors then our ancestors will      disrespect our ancestors, we
 them in any unfinished busi-      weed them out. The negative       disrespect ourselves.
 ness.                             ones will not be able to
     There are times when we       come, because our ances-
 dream about our ancestors,        tors will put up a blockade so

      Voices Of I.F.A.              Vol. III, No. 4 September 2000

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           Voices Of I.F.A.                          Vol. III, No. 4 September 2000

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SUN   MON   TUE   WED   THU   FRI   SAT   MONTH                                NOTES
                                     1     JUL
 2     3     4     5    6      7     8                  OBATALA ITADOGUN
 9     10    11    12   13     14   *15
 16    17    18    19   20     21    22                 IFA / OSHUN ITADOGUN
 23    24    25    26   27     28    29
 30    31    1     2    3      4     5     AUG          OSE OBATALA
 6     7     8     9    10     11    12
 13    14   *15    16   17     18    19                 OSE IFA / OSHUN
 20    21    22    23   24     25    26
 27    28    29    30   31     1     2     SEP          OSE SANGO
 3     4     5     6    7      8     9
 10    11    12   *13   14     15    16                 OSE OGUN
 17    18    19    20   21     22    23
 24    25    26    27   28     29    30
 1     2     3     4    5      6     7     OCT    NOTE FROM CHIEF ALUKO:
 8     9     10    11   12    *13    14           OYA CAN BE CELEBRATED ON
 15    16    17    18   19     20    21           THE DAY WITH OBATALA
 22    23    24    25   26     27    28           OUT OF RESPECT TO OUR
 29    30    31    1    2      3     4     NOV    TEMPLE PRIESTESS MOREMI
 5     6     7     8    9      10   *11
 12    13    14    15   16     17    18             ∗   FULL MOON
 19    20    21    22   23     24    25                 15-Jul
 26    27    28    29   30     1     2     DEC          15-Aug
 3     4     5     6    7      8     9                  13-Sep
 10   *11   12    13    14    15     16                 13-Oct
 17    18    19    20   21     22    23                 11-Nov
 24    25    26    27   28     29    30                 11-Dec
 31                                        JAN

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