During one of my conversations with an elder in the Christian faith, I was told that when someone goes through the process of Òrìsà initiation “the spirit is put into them”. But as Christians one is born with the spirit “already in them”. I paused for a moment to think about what she said. I then received a revelation.
I have the utmost respect for this person and I knew that the statement made was not meant to be offensive; so I didn’t take offense. What I admire about her is that she respects my path and accepts me for who I am and is very supportive; however, in that conversation I realized that she doesn’t have knowledge of Yorùbá culture that I thought she had and more so, that she herself believes she has.
What she doesn’t understand is that Òrìsà has always been there. Initiation or not, a specific Òrìsà has already claimed us. Initiation is the process of marrying us to that Òrìsà, making that connection much stronger. We become Iyawo – wife of that Òrìsà. Through initiation that Òrìsà is able to better teach and support us with our path in life. Your commune with that Òrìsà is amplified. The concept is actually not that different from the essence of a Christian baptism. In the Spiritual Baptist faith, for example, baptism is seen as being married to Jesus. Does it mean that He wasn’t with the person before baptism? No. It simply means that that individual is now positioned for a closer communion with Him.
We form opinions and perspectives based on the information we have. The more information we have the more likely we are to have greater understanding which will lead to an evolution of our perspectives. It is so important to understand someone’s practice, spiritual path, way of life or whatever you want to call it before drawing conclusions. When don’t have enough information we will most likely make wrong assumptions. Again, bless her sweet and loving heart, this elder did not mean to be offensive. In fact, she started on the path of Òrìsà but was told that her path is in the Christian faith.
At the end of the day, for me, no matter the diverse paths we might walk, we are all connected through that same one source, who some of us refer to as Olódùmarè or God Almighty. And we are all born with that oneness within us. Knowledge brings wisdom…we must be open to knowledge. It will better position us to form perspectives that are not based on assumptions.