Most people who are more than a novice when it comes to studying the
Yoruba/Lukumi tradition have a basic understanding of the term Iwa Pele. It
means good character but good character is not just a catch phrase; it talks about
the way in which you conduct yourself in all of life’s situations, not all of which are
very easy. Iwa Pele says that in the presence of nobody watching you that you are
executing what it is in your own spirit that you know to be the right thing to do.
Therefore, you are compelled and embracing this, not to do what you feel you
have convinced yourself as something that is possible, or plausible, or feasible but
to something that is definitely poised towards the communal good. Iwa Pele
speaks of the good you do for yourself, the good you do for those that are around
you, and the good that you do for those who you might not be able to see
because of what it is that you are doing.
Understanding Iwa Pele can be somewhat paralleled to the understanding in
science that the beating of a butterfly’s wings on one side of the globe could
actually be the catalyst for a tornado on the other side of the globe. In life there
are a series of events that happen because of the impact of what it is that you do.
Iwa Pele speaks of your character which is an amalgamation not only of your
actions from one second to the next but to the spirit of how it is that you are
directing your life and pushing yourself forward through this present incarnation;
this is in fact the embodiment of Iwa Pele. If you are to embrace what is
essentially good character, all of those things have to be in place and you will
naturally be in the movement of exercising that which is the divinely correct thing
to do. Of course, we are human beings so we are always struggling with exactly
what the right thing is but the movement towards it…….the honest movement
towards it, is really what the execution of Iwa Pele is about. It is not just a daily
minute to minute practice, it functions as a beacon of light in the goal that you
are trying to reach. There is the way in which to do things and there is a way to
achieve the greatness that you were born to embrace; this core of goodness is the
active manifestation of Iwa Pele. Let’s try to take this journey together to reach a
truly character filled way of living with each other and nature.
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