The Yoruba Tradition is so beautiful and has so many benefits that many times people rush in and go way overboard. I cannot even count how many times that I have met people who think that they are going to learn everything that there is to know immediately. I must admit, I myself was enamored with it when I first came around it years ago. There are many lessons to learn and it takes a lot time, dedication, appreciation, and tough skin.
The reason that it takes a lot of time is because this system is so vast that no one person has all the information. For this reason, it is important to spend time with the elders in the tradition in order to learn. Participating in events such as ceremonies, cultural gatherings that consist of the community coming together to portray different aspects of the traditions through art and music, and just hanging out with each other.
The dedication consists of just being reliable and doing what it is that you say that you will do. Put all of your efforts into whatever task that you are trying to complete. Appreciation is such a critical part of the learning process but it is probably one the aspects of this discussion that I must acknowledge is very fleeting here in the States. Many times people want Priests to do things for them to help them make their life better but they don’t understand that there is much involved when serving others. People will talk about you behind your back and then say they need help with something or that they need a reading. Sometimes, people don’t even listen to the advice that the Orishas give to them because they are busy being critical of the person that they actually sought out to help them. The bottom line is that many people don’t really appreciate the efforts that go into helping them. What I am asking anyone who is interested in this tradition or wants to become a Priest is to fully invest yourself and give respect to those around you.
Last but not least, it is important to have tough skin sometimes. I say this because sometimes you will seek advice and you will be told something about how you walk through the world. You might be told that you need to change your attitude or the way you are living your life. An elder might scold you about something that you did or did not do and trust me….it is their responsibility to do so. I have been scolded before and I didn’t enjoy it but at the end of the day you have to understand that your Godparent or your Counselor is there to help you and to tell you the truth. It may be the very thing to save your life.
All and all, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own limitations, downfalls, and also good attributes. It is important to recognize all of who you are and be willing to work on the things that need some refining. Understand that learning doesn’t come without putting in the work and it would best work out for all of us if we appreciate each other and gather with good intentions.
Remember we can only survive as a community if we work together, give reverence to our ancestors, and listen to the advice of the Orishas!
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