Center For Community Knowledge
Study Series 1
Center For Community Knowledge
Study Series 2
EXPLORING CONCEPT OF UNIVERSAL UNITY IN LUKUMI
Much discussion takes place regarding Unity in Lukumi which insistently revolves around a perspective of finding practical reconciliatory features that may bring together varied Diaspora forms of Yoruba religious expression. It is an ambitious dream. This presentation approaches Unity from an over simplistic philosophical framework corresponding to fundamental sacred symbols within Lukumi. Universal Unity, or Monad is language used in this presentation referring to the One-Monad Olodumare, i.e. the One Substance, as God, and the Self-perceptions connecting to the One Monad. Concepts of unity are found in many religious symbols and gestures, far too many to mention in this presentation, but some are referenced to provide familiar context.
Features of unity can be found everywhere if one looks for it, depending on how one chooses to approach it. Symbols like Dharma Chakra wheel of law consist of eight spokes, each representing one tenet of Tibetan Buddhism, therefore, earth directional divisions within a circle. The circle represents the completeness of the Dharma, and the spokes represent the eightfold directions leading to enlightenment: right faith, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right mindfulness, and right meditation. It is a symbol of overcoming obstacles.
The Lukumi divination tray has the identical features of the dharma chakra. It has the primary structure of circle and one point at center of the tray that is identical to the astrological symbol of sun. Lukumi tray has the four earth directional cross that further divides in eight, within the circular tray. A division of four spokes or lines is the symbol of the Greek cross that predates the Latin cross. The solar cross which is one of the oldest religious symbols, has the form of a circle with the four earth directional lines. This esoteric division forming a cross [earth] is a basic structure of many alchemical symbols, as well.
The symbol of Infinity is worth noting. It is a symbol that forms the figure eight. The number eight, or symbol of eight is the represented sun avatar of odu baba ejiogbe. In cowrie shell divination, the value of eight is the number associated with ejiogbe. Gesture and hands signs also form part of religious symbology. In Lukumi, the gesture of crossing arms when ejiogbe appears in divination, or in salutation among peers, the figure eight is formed which is a representation of sun. All of its attributes takes us to Universal Unity which emanates from the formless One- God, or Universal Monad.
There are two additional symbols that can be considered. The familiar Thinker symbolic statue of a bent man, depicts turning inward in a separate individualistic or intellectual contemplation. Many of the ancient Mediterranean cultures believed that inward can produce understanding of oneness. This is a belief that ultimate truth can be achieved through inborn self-knowledge and inner contemplation. In summation, the modern reference all controlling is at the core of the thinker, and psychology of Western society. The human influences of the Thinker within each person in Western society, that enters Lukumi, brings with them conscious and subconscious traits capable of reconstructing, or adapting Lukumi, to Western thought principles. Some aspects may be reconcilable, others are not.
A second method for approaching unity is the Buddha statue which is closest to Lukumi. It is a representation of Awakened being. Buddha's sitting position is the awareness of removed barriers that create the impression of an individual's separateness from the environment, and realizes the greater consciousness flowing through all things. It is a concept of dwelling where observance of occurrences without the interference of internal voice is practicing paying attention to manifestations. The thought of practicing is found in Lukumi divination where the diviner using methodologies of form ejiogbe reaching the greater outward consciousness flowing into the realm of formless manifestation -Universal Unity, One-God monad, is natural to Lukumi. A closer symbol representation can be appreciated in head rogation ritual. The individual sits in erect posture, not bent, with both palms facing upward like the Buddha statue. The energy of ritual ingredients are placed from feet upward ending at the head point vessel called ori, or Crown chakra; representing enlightenment, the source of God consciousness. It's where the physical form transcends in to the sphere of formless manifestation.
A PROPOSED PATHWAY OUT OF DISENCHANTMENT
Feelings of disenchantment may be a psychological state of mind in which overwhelming external negativity osobo govern our daily mental health. Constant exposure to toxic environments produces not only a complex toxic mind, but a toxic group culture, typically expressed through the delusion of victimization. Individuals enter Lukumi without being aware they suffer from toxic mind. Others become afflicted. Their worldview and conduct function as a revolving door. Typically, when they attend a ritual or ceremony they project their disenchantment with provocative or malevolent interpretations of harmless comments, observations, or behaviors. As victimizers they rarely maintain a positive outlook in discourse among peers.
The osobo forces of disenchantment afflict the mind, incrementally, creating new victims. The overwhelmed victim may become victimizer without awareness, effectively swaying group psychology and conduct, i.e. establishing or sustaining a collective idiosyncrasy of negativity. Entering the Lukumi way of life should repair, or transform, the affliction osobo of disenchantment into the ire blessings of merriment. This is achievable when the forces of disenchantment surrender to genuine Lukumi, not, however, to some adapted form of Lukumi, reconfigured to conform to negativity under the pretext of illuminated modernity.
It is observable that the victim role-players can be found not only among the popular members of the religion, but also among the authorities, i.e. godparents and officiating ceremony leaders who act as provocateurs, progenitors, or sustainers of negative idiosyncrasy. Their leadership renders efforts towards a healthy individual or group psychology nearly impossible, and an atmosphere of grievances arises.
Einstein's reference to repeating the same and expecting a different result, as not, a rational proposition for change seems logical. The odu ogbe osa addresses the dichotomy between repetitive error and attempt at correction within the error's framework. Correction begins with awareness of error, however, proactive measure is required which yields correction.
In genuine spirit of correction, a proposal for individual and group character change that transforms toxic mind could germinate and produce a beneficial environment. A good starting point for correction may be a personal assessment from the perspective of ingratitude vs. gratitude. Let's take the example of a person going to a store and buying a beautiful flowering plant that exudes merriment. The person buys the plant and plants it outside to be enjoyed daily. Time passes and the person's recognition of the flower's scent and beauty diminishes. Soon enough the person begins to ignore the plant altogether, and it dies of thirst and neglect. Every morning it has waited to greet the person and share its merriment, but that divine and freely offered gift has been disregarded. Instead of recognizing the lesson in the plant's death, the person simply buys another plant, feeling victimized by the previous purchase that did not last, and the cycle of appreciation/distraction/neglect/death begins again.
The teachings of odu ogbe odi which refers to the birth of love and death of love, and obara meji's dynamics of emotional or intellectual stimulation and deprivation of both apply. Both odus highlight the human error and teach a pathway of change as the means to sustain merriment. For collective change to occur, authority figures suffering from toxic minds must first recognize their own ailment and actively transform themselves in order to become role models of enlightenment and conduct. In this manner like-minded authorities may enable respectful, definable, systemic modalities where one-ness structure predominates. The hierarchal role play of power politics - which is achieved through means of coercion, contention of possessing superior ritual or ceremonial knowledge, presenting false premise and conclusion, and sharing corrupt values for mass consumption through any means, does not appear to be a viable systemic of one-ness -only reinforces osobo. The transformation of toxic psychology begins with changes in conduct that, in turn, render an open pathway for deeper spiritual ritual and ceremonial Knowing vs. Ego Serving Knowledge. Enlightenment and knowing must be experientially tangible; otherwise, it is living a disorderly imaginary. Lukumi is not about quantity of knowledge; it is about quality of knowing. One's light from within self must be lightened, if not, the mundane operational knowledge is worthless.
Mysteries of Olodumare
Here's where nature worship begins....principle of -- as above, as below.
It is the Magnificence of Life
Study Series 3
A JOURNEY OUTWARD FACING THE WITHIN
Extensive work on Western mystical symbols deriving from specific geographies are widely available. Ancient mathematical modalities are used to decipher hidden meanings where correlations can be made, if one takes the time to find connecting features. Many people throughout history have been dedicated to deciphering and making the comparative connections. At a glance, Marty Leeds [videos on Youtube] provide a sample of theoretical modalities and mystical correlations related to groups of historically associated cultures. The impression that most complex symbolism originate in Egyptian, Mediterranean, and, historically associated cultures, is inescapable. Evidence regarding their symbols are generally projected exotic truism, or as some may argue to be their illusion of reality, which preoccupied ancient philosophers giving life to modern scientific constructs. Moreover, the constructs that govern their logic highly influence intellectual precepts and psyche of the masses, deeply effecting the consciousness of every person born, and living, in Western cultures.
Although the philosophical nature within associated cultures appear to underline the basis of borrowing from each other, their mysticism fragments into layers of ology and isms, where each group separate and assert their respective beliefs. The respective points of departure that establish each identity appears to hide on surface the universal principles that bind them. Their nature appear the same, where they may differ is in how they manifest or practice their mysticism, which may best be deciphered through the tedious scrutiny of power politics. However, the broader challenge for Lukumí is to find correlations by focusing on orisha symbols. Lukumí may tentatively accept the universal principles used by Leeds and others to ascertain a working hypothesis that may invalidate the myth of mystical superiority compared to Lukumí. A simple examination of primal symbols reveal interesting coincidence.
Cosmic egg or Orphic Egg is a silver egg shape symbol. Greek Orphic religion defines it as the “universe originated from within a silver egg.” The egg is surrounded “by a coiled serpent”. It is the “personification of light” [symboldictionary.net]. An ivory egg, coiled serpent, and silver, are orisha Obatala symbols, and Obatala is associated with emanation of light, or the personification of light.
Kara [Kada] Bracelet:
The circle symbol is primal. This symbol is worn during priesthood ordination rite [Iyawo] regardless of the neophyte tutelary divinity in the form of a silver bracelet, on the left wrist. The bracelet is an Obatala symbol. The metal bracelet is used by Sikh initiates. It is “a symbol of commitment to truthfulness, strength, and unity.” The bracelet is further defined as a “deterrent to wrongdoing, and worn to “remind the faithful that their duty is to god” [symboldictionary.net]. These same values are represented by the archetype orisha Obatala.
The circle symbol is also found among Lukumí in the form of eleke/ileke ceremony, i.e. where the person enters a new spiritual life and ritually receives several consecrated beaded necklaces. Each necklace correspond to a divinity and have the form of an uninterrupted circle. Beaded bracelets are also worn. This simple review of the Cosmic Egg and Kara reveals a close relationship to Lukumí in terms of universal principles. Moreover, it sets the direction for a review of origination, or primal cosmic symbols connecting them to first earthly level of emanation.