Aboru aboye aboshishe,
A recent exchange made me realize that I've not really seen anyone talk about the role of the Orisa priest in consulting Orisa oracles. It seems that such an important topics usually remains in the realm of ritual, where teacher and adept talk about what hands to pick, what prayers to say and what Ebo to offer. Even less is said to the non-priest who sits on the mat to listen to what the Orisa (Ifa or Others via Ikin, Opele, or Dinlogun) have to say, and ask those important questions that must be asked.
So what then is the role of the Babalawo or Olorisha? In my mind, we have simple responsibilities, though they are not easy. We, as priests, are responsible for:
1. Being correctly initiated/ordained and trained
Ethics demand that we portray ourselves as what we are suited and capable of doing, nothing more, nothing less.
2. Knowing the correct ritual and procedure
3. Being skilled in the art of interpretation
4. Understanding that our role is not as personal advsior, but as interpreter of what the Orisa/IFA says
5. Always being impartial (that's why I always give the adherent who's consulting the oracle the option to speak their request directly to the ibo in whispers I can not hear)
6. Facilitating the process of offering Ebo in order to remove obstacles
7. Acting with Iwa Rere and Iwa Pele (cool character and cool head) and suggest others do the same
8. Helping those who need help, and when necessary for those in dire need and without funds, doing it even though your only payment is the knowledge that Orisa, Egbe, Isheshe and Olodumare have seen your act of kindness made in their names for the good of another human being
9. Not puting undue stress on the client, or pressure them into doing things that aren't appropriate or necessary.
10. Making clear that initiations are always the choice of the client, even if the Odu calls for initiations, devotees should never be pressured into initiations or ceremonies. Other than ebo, clients (and their Ori) must be fully prepared before they undertake deeper steps into the religion.
11. Maintaining ethical boundaries, don't over charge, don't take psychological, physica or sexual advantage of your clients, the list goes on, but the point is always maintain your ethical integrity.
12. Keeping your ego in check, we don't know it all, we aren't perfect, and we are not the Orisa
That all said what is the responsibility of the devotee in this process??
1. Do not ask that which you already know the answer to, or ask flippant, trivial or immoral questions
2. Support your Awo Ifa or Awo Orisa with reasonable payment, and don't claim poverty then go out and waste money on unnecessary items or services
3. If you are going to d'afa or have a dinlogun divination, expect there is a good chance you will have an Ebo to perform, and it is your responsibility to perform that Ebo (If you are given an answer to help you, don't expect to be helped if you don't perform the required steps)
4. Understand that everything told to you during D'afa or 'dinlogun divination is advice, your can take it or leave it, but it is meant to help you
5. Ask questions, but think deeply about what you want to ask, and know that the Orisa won't always give your the answer you want to hear.
6. Show respect to the Orisa and to the Awo Ifa/Awo Orisa who are assisting you
7. Don't expect quick fixes or impossible solutions. If you deal drugs, don't expect the Orisa to keep you out of jail. If you are lazy don't expect the Orisa to give you a high powered, high paying job. If you were arrested for embezzling funds, own up to your dirty deeds and don't expect the Orisa to get you out of it (though perhaps they can help you get leniency)
8. Don't follow blindly, it's ok to ask questions, priests aren't perfect, nor are we the Orisa incarnate on earth, we are people, with all the faults that people have
It is Ika Ofun that tells us: