Yoruba Personality Guide

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San Francisco: Pacific Phoenix Press.


The Yoruba traditional belief in the spiritual realm is much stronger than their physical environment. The belief is that, the spiritual controls the physical and this is the reason why, before the engagement of any important activity, they seek the opinion of the spiritual custodian(s) on such matter. The whole of creation both human, non-human, and the entire universe have their spiritual composition, which to the Yoruba prompts how events and human activities play-out in the long run. Hence, the Yoruba holds firmly, that it is crucial to be sensitive to what the spiritual domain says about our universe. Furthermore, the Yoruba believe that there are two entities within the unseen domain and these are the malevolent and the benevolent forces. The malevolent agents are primarily concerned about chaos, pain, confusion, wars and all sorts of tragedies that characterise the human world; while the benevolent beings are there to assist humanity away from the snares of the malevolent forces. The choice to accept or reject assistance from the benevolent agents depends on the individual human being. A reliable, diligent, potent and ever-ready indwelling invisible personality, to help humanity navigate the difficult terrain of human life-course and to accept assistance from the benevolent forces is Ori. The Yoruba believe that Ori is placed within the human person by Olodumare (God), as a guide through life journey. The individual person’s disposition to his/her Ori determines the outcome of the person’s destiny. Hence, Ori is not destiny in Yoruba religious belief. I have already hinted at this elsewhere. The Yoruba believe that an individual Ori was present before Olodumare in heaven, when the choice of destiny was to take place and Orunmila, Yoruba god of wisdom and the oracle divinity was an eye-witness. The constant check with Orunmila, by the Yoruba when there is a personal and communal challenge is for assistance, to revert an ugly situation back to its normal state. Ori is to be reverend because of its unique position in Yoruba religious thought. Hence, people worship their Ori. Ori is so important that it is present at judgement, to account for the compliance of the carrier of Ori to its prompting before Olodumare.



Yoruba, Traditional Belief, Spirituality, Humanity, Destiny, God