The following question was recently posed:
"When we select our Ori's in orun our destiny begins. Is this to say that the many
Nigerians and other countires selected ori's that brought them into servitude?
Help me out Babas. Why was this option even present for us?"
To which I responded:
We should clarify what it means to select one's desiny. As I understand it, it does not mean that you can choose to be born to a rich family, or that you can choose to be white or black, or that you can choose to be born during a time of peace and prosperity vs. during the holocaust or other times of atrocities. What it means is to choose what one will do with one's life once here on Aiye. It's about choosing character, choosing what type of life one will lead, even what one might try and accomplish while here.
The Yoruba have a clear concept of the idea of freewill, which is reflected in this idea of destiny. While our Ori has chosen its destiny, we do not remember it, and it is through our actions, our search and our attempt to discover it that it can be can achieved. We do that through Iwa pele, we do that through leading a good life, we do that by being kind and giving, we do it by being humble, we do it by serving Orisha, we do it by seeking their council and abiding by it, and we do it through sacrifice.
The concept of sacrifice is one that I feel often gets twisted. We think that sacrifice only means giving the blood of an animal, or leaving food. But sacrifice also comes through one's actions, by adhering to ewoo (taboo), by giving to others and serving the community and by helping your neighbor. This is far too often forgotten, and many in the Orisha traditions get caught up in the "business" of Orisha, or simply the idea that leading a good life means being rich and having material things. Choosing your destiny means just that, but it still requires getting there, and it is up to each and every one of us to do what we need to do to both understand it and achieve it.
I believe that our Ori understands the human conditions under which it incarnates on this earth. Due to some peoples poor choices, egotism and wickedness, earth is not always a great place to be. With that understanding, Ori makes it choice, which we hope was one filled with goodness, and it is up to us to fulfill that destiny. Some people are born under the hardest of conditions, and fulfilling their destiny will be very difficult. But we must not fall into the trap of thinking that a good destiny is one filled with material things and money. A farmer with only his land and a little savings can lead a happier and more fulfilled life then the richest and most powerful of men. A slave can fulfill his destiny and lead a happy life by seeing that his/her children do not have to go through what they went through. A poor person can fulfill their destiny by seeing their children have an education and opportunity to succeed. Long life, with good friends and family that support us, with enough to ensure we are always fed, clothed and sheltered can be more fulfilling then a 5,000 square foot house and 5 mercedes benzes. Those things might seem like they will make you happy, but more often then not, they don't.
I hope this shed a little light on my perspective on this,