Picture retrieved from http://www.drclaudia.net/blog/winter-solstice

By Iyalemole Dr. Queenchiku Ngozi-Fabuluje

January 2nd, 2020

US, Florida: Firstly, the History Channel (2010) indicated that New Year’s around the world does not fall on the same day nor occurs at the same time due to time zone differences. Booth (2017) stated that December 21st is the 355th day which makes one year and on a leap year it is the 356th day. The other ten days towards the end of the Gregorian calendar remain for transitioning. Many babas and iyas in the Orisa- Ifa religion are stressing that people are obligated to follow a tradition upon seeing the 5th annual American Ifa reading which came out on December 21st in America. It is a tradition, simply one they do not share.

Let’s begin by defining traditions and discuss why these broken traditions in Orisa and Ifa-Afa practices in the United States or Diaspora are the norms and religious customs. Many Lucumi/Santeria and kitchen top spiritual practices battle with others who are following the original traditions before slavery or before Christ. Google dictionary describes “tradition as a belief or behavior [that is] passed down within group[s] or societ[ies]” with similar ideas, social norms, and practices. Oderinde (2018) article stated that traditions such as religious practices, ceremonies, or festivals were the vital parts of cultural heritages. It is understood that different groups believe these activities are part of the essential fabric to their culture’s survival and circulation. These events provide perspective and help to see the differences in various regions and their traditions (Oderinde, 2018). According to some, if a person leaves their adopted communities; they have severed themselves from either their roots or kinships. It is possible the person severed the ties that chained them to roots that were not theirs in the beginning. Those roots may have been the closest roots they could adopt due to slavery displacement and it was time for them to grow and follow their own roots.

On December 21st, the world has both the shortest day and longest day on the first day of the winter solstice (Booth, 2017). It depends on what hemisphere you live in. The winter solstice has long hours of darkness, the birth of the sun, and is considered regenerating, renewing and self-reflecting (Booth, 2017; Explore Deeply, 2019: National Weather Service, 2019). To illustrate, the “Ifa letter for the coming year.” Technically, there is no odu that states the letter for the coming year is set to be pulled down officially on December 31st. All the same, December 21st is the most powerful day of the year. National Weather Service (2019) stated that this is the time that the world at the same time is affected at once.

In 2010, the History Channel stated that civilizations around the world have celebrated New Year’s as far back as 4 millennia ago. Over time, civilizations have developed their own calendar to establish their first day of the year in coordination to their agricultural or astronomical activities. Not all cultures celebrate December 31st as the New Year’s and or January as the 1st of the New Year. In the 8th century B.C. Januarius and Februarius were added by King Numa Popilius (History Channel, 2010). This caused the calendar to not be in alignment with the winter solstice – sun (e.g. Olorun). Julian Caesar decided to add 90 extra days to the calendar to introduce the new Julian calendar which is very similar to the Gregorian calendar (History Channel, 2010). Caesar established January 1st as the first day of the year to honor that month as Janus. Christians leaders rejected this and replaced the January 1st to December 25th to have more spiritual and religious appeal and religious significance (History Channel, 2010). This idea didn’t last long. Christians used the winter solstice to declare that the moon (Orisa Osupa) gave birth to the sun and the birth of the sun or son was Jesus (Booth, 2017: National Weather Service, 2019).

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII revisited the idea of January 1st as New Year’s Day. Since 1907, the US celebrated New Year’s traditions by dropping a giant ball in Times Square at the stroke of midnight in accordance with the Gregorian calendar (History Channel, 2010). This was started for a few reasons centered around the economy, unification, and remembrance. The Farmers’ Almanac (2019) stated that the Druidic tradition believed that on the winter solstice, December 21st, the death and rebirth of nature power occurs as well as the renewal of the human soul. The Newgrange, also known as Stonehenge in Ireland, was built around 3200 B.C. and is a large circle of stones baring a semblance to the opon of Ifa. This was associated to the “light of winter” (Farmers Almanac, 2019). The Chinese see the winter solstice as the Yang (positive) which is the opposite of Yin. For many centuries, different indigenous cultures and religions have celebrated December 21st and its unique energy by applying rituals and festivals on that day (Booth, 2017; Explore Deeply, 2019: Farmers Almanac, 2019). The winter solstice has a large spiritual effect (Booth, 2017). It signals a milestone and the change of power on December 21st.

Explore Deeply (2019) indicated that the winter solstice changes the energy and redirects our daily life. The changes can affect the cycle and nature. For instance, the ideas of the end and beginning of life and preparation of a new year, changes in the weather, changes in the oceans, agriculture, and human reflection and rest (Explore Deeply, 2019).

History Channel (2010) said that in “many parts of the world, [the] traditional New Year’s is death [and is] featured with the legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; ex: lentils in Italy and Black-eyes peas in Southern U.S., because pigs represents progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, and other countries. In Spain, people would eat a dozen grapes to symbolize 12 months of their hopes for each month ahead of them.”

Meanwhile, it becomes more and more amazing when people are trying to do the right thing in Ifa practices. Several male only babalawo council societies are developing corporations all over the America-Diaspora in order to push and pull their misogyny, domination, and controlling (Ika meji) masculinity to the mass of practitioners and devotees online. Some babalawos have ordered and demanded to know who gave American Ifa- Ile Ikoko Ata the rights to break from the Cuban traditions by pulling an odu for the coming year on December 21st and not on December 31st. In Yorubaland tradition, annual ifa reading for the year is not done on December 21st or December 31st. Generally, Yorubaland Ifa is celebrated in June (Edimomi, 2017). This is the time of harvest of Yam, which is very important to Ifa and the people. The Yoruba people have been practicing this custom since after the arrival of the Christian missionaries during the 17th century (Edimomi, 2017). The Cuban babalawos societies letra del ano (the letter of the year) is an annual proclamation of predictions that falls on December 31st (Meyers, 1999). The Spanish babalawos in the Lucumi/Santeria culture give advice for the coming year and they follow the Gregorian calendar. As a matter of fact, letra del ano practice was started by Adeshina (Remigio Herrena) on December 31st, 1899 in Cuba (Meyers,1999). There were only six of his godchildren present at that time. The tradition was invented in the early 19th century (Meyers,1999). Adeshina was recorded as the first Cuban babalawo to do a ritual to get the odu for the New Year. Adeshina died in 1906 and Bernardine Rojo continue organizing the tradition – letra del ano. In addition, some recorders show that Tata Gaytan was an assistant to Rojo behind the scenes (Meyers,1999). Until his death in 1986, the Comisión Organizadora de la Letra del Año by Miguel Febles Padrón performed the tradition for Cuba and the world. It is no different than the Yorubaland Ifa festival. There the odu pulled in June in the Yorubaland is also for the world. Lele (2012) declared “on the eve of the Cuban Revolution, we must turn to this custom…December 31st, 1958 babalawos gather together to call down the odu” (ch. 4).

At the end of the day, different regions have different governments, social problems, and economic issues. Ngozi (2019) stated in the article “Practicing Ifa Afa in America”: “in the 1860 United States Census, there were 3,953,761 African slaves that represented 12.6% of the total American population” (Johnson, 2012). The concept of diversity creates assimilation for American/Diaspora cultures and beliefs which brings a special type of unity, ideas for harmony, a unique mechanical design for spiritual growth and plasmatic substance for long life and the spread of Ifa. In 2010, a creed for a divorce was publicly posted. Lukumi babas stated:

“…….devotees (lucumi vs traditional) are incompatible with each other (Lele, 2010). Lukumi says that they are a separate entity from their Mother (Yoruba West Africa) by their actions. Reminding what Oluwo Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode (2015) wrote in the Facebook Ifa-Orisa-Egun Talk group that “many stories we hear today about most of our Orisa are mere fabrications… it is high time we wiped out the fallacies that have overthrown the real history … Let us do away with stories that are not firmly rooted in Ifa…… what is sure is that the destiny of our `religion is in our hands. It is high time we started rewriting the stories of our Orisa for the coming generation to have documents to lay hands on. Let us encourage ourselves to write books of our religions by ourselves.” In Odu Ejiogbe says that the basis for understanding the beginning is knowing the end of all things towards the essence of life… within the Lucumí Religious system (Lele, 2010) has forced their now orphans to develop a new way of life – American Ifa.”

Therefore, it is wise and practical for each region to have an approach that is equal to or in harmony with the people’s government, spirituality, economics, and health. To my fellow male challenging Babas and supporting Iyas who are in need of an explanation of why American Ifa calls down odu on December 21st and not December 31st, it is simple. We are living in a country where an individual has the freedom of religion and has the freedom to pick and or choose their religious practices and ways to worship. Let’s find a commonality in the ways we can share the same water fountain to lower the barriers of criticism and narcissistic anti-socialization. American Ifa is interested in how we view our government, spirituality, economics, communities, families, and health and finding solutions through ifa and orisa to struggles that affect us in the American-Diaspora.


Abimbola, W. (1976). Ifa, An exposition of Ifa literary corpus. London, UK: Oxford University Press

Booth, J. (2017). What does the winter solstice mean spiritually? It’s celebrated in tons of religions and cultures (356th leap years). Retrieved from www.bustle.com/

Meyers, S. (1999). A timeline of lucuma history. Retrieved from https:/sitrs.google.com/site/bstartmeyers/atimelineoflucumihistory

Edimomi, V. (2017). Nigeria: Ifa festival-celebrity age-old Yoruba deity. Retrieved from https://allafica.com/stories/201007280462

Explore Deeply (2019). The spiritual significance of the winter solstice. Retrieved from https://exploredeeply.com/

Farmers’ Almanac (2019). Winter solstice 2019: when is it, and what is it?. Retrieved from https://www.farmeralmanac.com/winter-solstice-first-day-win…

History Channel (2010). New Years History. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years.

Idowu, E. B. (1970). Olodumare: God in Yoruba belief. London, UK: Longman

Lele, O. (2012). Sacrificial ceremonies of Santeria: A complete guide to the rituals and practices. USA

National Weather Service (2019). The winter solstice. Retrieved from https://www.weather.gov/

Oderinde, O. (2018). The lore of religious festivals among the Yoruba and its social relevance. Lumia, 22(2), 2094-1188. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/

Picture retrieved from http://www.drclaudia.net/blog/winter-solstice

American Ifa Review the War of Orunmila: Why two yearly reading Odus in Nigeria

Aboru aboye abosise, greetings to all;

“War of the Roses” or may I say the “War of Orunmila”; or better yet, the “War on life”. The different Odus out of West Africa in the past weekend reminded me of a movie called the “War of the Roses”. The movie was about a married couple who has out grown each other, but together they have accumulated knowledge, material wealth, and children. This scenario is now playing out for the worshipers of Ifa. For instance, Solagbade Popoola, the assumed President of ICIR (2015-8) statedgun


“Ile Ife (WAS NOT) where the Odu of the World has always been cast, [because] a great Awo called Orisasona [in 1956] gathered all Awo in Yorubaland together and pleaded for cooperation …to build a Temple for Orunmila [called] Oke Itase Temple … in Ile Ife” (Popoola).


In the ‘War of the Roses’, the couple had out grown each other’s company, and wanted to go their separate ways. Yet, there were financial and ownership issues. The Roses sought advice from their friends, but no one wanted to compromise and equitably divide the wealth they had accumulated. In the case of ICIR, for instance, Popoola continued to state in that same document that Professor Wande Abimbola (Christian), Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon (Ifa), and Professor Odeyemi,


“…wanted to see Ile Ife become great again [since], So the festival being international is really a recent thing. Up till today, the Ife people still celebrate their own Itase rites. As late as 1980, there was nothing like a International Annual Ifa Festival in Ile Ife. There was no such thing. By that time, the Ife people were still insisting that the Itase festival should remain an Ile Ife ceremony and were insistent against outsiders being involved” (Poopla 2015).


In relationships, there are always signs of trouble before the final separation. On June 6th, ” Popoola’s camp made a pilgrimage to land of Orunmila and divined for the Odu of the year. The Odu was Ogunda Masa (Osa). At this point, it doesn’t matter if it is ire or ibi (osogbo). It will not make a difference because of the energy of the Odu OGUNDA and the energy of OSA. In the War of the Roses’ the couple did everything they could to disgrace and humiliate each other. It was a game theory tactic, which did not work. This same point is illustrated in Ogunda Masa, which says that Ifa speaks about “monetary gains by spiritual fidelity”. Spiritual fidelity means, there is a “faithfulness to a person, cause or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support” (Dictionary). Both scenarios, “War of the Roses” or may I say the “War of Orunmila”; and even better, the “War on life” lacked the understanding of life; not just for themselves but for the population in which they claim to have in their best interest. In other words, Ogunda Masa states that a relationship between people becomes separated because they abandon and throw away their principles to the Orisa and others. In the “War of the Roses”, the estranged couple continue to break the law to win the battle. They used unethical behavior and had friends spy and lie. For example, the two ICIR factions have the Iya, Olomitutu and her unethical behavior cause destruction in the main area of support – America/Diaspora. In Ogunda Masa, Ifa speaks of how Ogunda crossed, which is the story of how Ogun trespassed on Olofin’s road and Olofin said that Ogun broke the law. Olofin said, “I let him do it if he wants to lose the meanings of life, I find the meaning of death” (Ogunda Masa). In the ‘War of the Roses” Mrs. Rose consultants a lawyer (Ifa) about her dilemma and the lawyer told her the same thing that Ifa told Popoola’s camp in Ogunda Masa. Ifa said, “Pat your belly and blow the sickness away.” He added, “This is simply to be honest with yourself”. Why? Because it reflects your life destiny and leads others to think that the situation is more difficult than it is; that the situation is more about the debt you need to fix than the shoddy action which is a pending situation that you must rectify.


Osa as Ogunda calls you to care for every detail in your life as a shield to the problems that are occurring. Because Orunmila has emphasized the religious procedures since this astral certifies that the instruments of Ifa that you used to guess by not having the proper consecration may not be effective to the needy; therefore, being honest to the world as a state of consciousness into your processes of life, and we all know that actions have consequences.”


In other words, Ogunda Masa is saying the damage is staying directly in your brain as an imbalance or mental illness that is a psychological, psychic and spiritual condition. It is important to understand the malevolent and malicious actions, arrogance, coldness, pride and any other negative acts that you did and or do effects the lives of others. So Mrs. Rose…expect tragedy.


Meanwhile, Mr. Rose has consulted a lawyer (Ifa) as well. This other camp in Ile Ife, has initiated many people in the diaspora and has placed an “American” Araba named Adedayo Ologundudu in the ideology of governance over the American/Diaspora’s Orisa Ifa practitioners. (This Araba is NOT an American). Odu Ofun Osa came to tell this camp that Ifa said, “Pat your belly, hands behind your ears, over your eyes and blow the sickness away” (Ofun Osa). This is about a person whose life is becoming confused and that the only solution is spiritual redemption. While everything seems fine in the present, disaster lies ahead. In addition, Ifa suggests, “understanding why there is a war between the sun and moon”. Ifa states that your whole life which you stand for will be turned upside down. You will not know what or who to trust because you have been blinded from the truth or lied to by the same person who smiled at you through tiny eyes…Now it is a mess. As soon as you think things are going good, all hell will break loose and disaster will present itself. Ifa continues, it speaks of weakness, misdirected energies, illness, in consequence, ignorance and treason. For instance, Popoola (2015-6) stated that if he “chose [NOT] to stay silent… Ile Ife would not be in its position today.”


In all scenarios, Ofun Osa states if the world becomes rotten and destroyed it will be because no one no longer knows how to behave with one another. The ‘War of the Roses” ends with death; both camps have created their own suicidal plans, which makes all their fears (American Ifa, P. Neimarks, and Awo Falokun) look like hope and enlightenment [lol].


Personally, they (both ICIR camp/ Ile Ife) have proven that they are incompetent to lead any of us in the Diaspora into the new stages of Ifa/orisa and egun practices. They must thank Olomitutu for her contribution to us learning about the imperfections of the people we here in the Diaspora trusted and believed. If she wouldn’t have pushed others of like minds to defame and declared Ifa wars with us; this may would had continued flying over our heads, we would have never learned about the 1% rule and no cuts.

The movie clip: War of the Roses (<<<<<https://youtu.be/5ebv3i_9Ltc>>>)