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What is Ebó? ...


Ebó translates to “sacrifice,” and to many of us who grew up in Western cultures, the word “sacrifice” stirs up deep emotions and conjures up negative imagery. Perhaps the apprehension comes from years of conditioning by Hollywood horror movies and religious influences. But to the Yorùbá who follow Ifá, it is the normal “give and take” of life; necessary to restore order and maintain harmony and balance with the natural world.

Ebó is central to Ifá; it reinforces the notion that everything in the natural world is connected; like the cells of an organism working in unison for a common purpose; life. Nothing thrives in a vacuum and sacrifice is for the sake of the whole.

Ifá teaches that there’s a consciousness to everything, and the tangible part of Ebó has a vibration or quality that resonates with Òrìṣà and spirit to help us influence an outcome.

Most offerings consist of “adimu” (food offerings). In some cases, if it involves an animal for celebrations and initiations; it is first prayed upon by priests so that the animal spirit is elevated, then lovingly thanked for the sacrifice. Under these situations, life-force offerings are always consumed and enjoyed by the community to receive the Às̩e̩ (life-force blessing).

Ìpèsè are a special kind of Ebó made to appease chaotic energies when they threaten the life of an individual or disrupt the community. Those offerings are not consumed, nor offerings made to remove disease or spirit attachments.

The word “sacrifice” implies that we’re giving up something of value or hold dear, including our time and effort. Much of our focus when making Ebó is in the tangible offerings. But, when divination comes Ibi (off-path), it is crucial that we heed the call for corrective action; a change of behavior; a change of heart.

So, in this respect, when Ibi, part of the sacrifice would likely imply a change of some kind; a “way of thinking” if it’s flawed in some way and impairs good judgment. Perhaps your thinking is unreasonable, illogical, biased, or hampered by ego needs. It may require a “change of heart”; to release emotional baggage, regrets, attachments, and other painful memories.

The Ebó is always accompanied by a prayer and should include an acknowledgment that you understand what led to Ibi. We should approach the ritual with humility and self-awareness so that we can learn and glean wisdom. Did a character flaw cause it? Or what it caused by external influences? Lessons should not be dismissed so quickly, it’s not like paying a speeding ticket, and you’re on your way.

In a personal reading, after making Ebó, it is imperative that you go back to divination afterward to ensure that the sacrifices were accepted. If you have not moved from Ibi (off-path) to Iré (on-path); determine why.

When the reading comes Iré, the Ebó is more about showing gratitude and fortifying a positive direction. We lovingly acknowledge the Òrìṣà or spirit who helped us manifest good fortune and thank them.

Reminder: When making offerings, always offer a taste to Èṣù/Ẹlégbá first who is the divined messenger and takes your prayers and offerings to its destination.
Blessings! … Oluwo Ifájuyìtán
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