Are clairvoyants or mediums able to prevent, express or change the course of something? Of course not! They can only see. Why is this?
According to the story told in an Ifá verse of the Odu Òbàrà Òfún, once upon a time in Ile Ife located in the state of Osun, Nigeria, the clairvoyants thought they were more powerful than the Babalawos and tried to humiliate and underestimate their knowledge. Based on their wisdom, teachings, patience and tolerance, the Babalawos set aside, dismissed and ignored the provocations made by those disrespectful mediums or clairvoyants because the Babalawos knew from Ifá that it was useless and futile to try to prove to a person or group of persons their knowledge. Through Ifá, a person knows what to do by himself or herself in each moment to solve a personal problem or a problem of mankind. The mediums or clairvoyants believed in their theory for a long time, until the King (Ooni) demanded explanation and spiritual guidance due to an unexpected event.
It just happened that one beautiful and sunny morning, the King was taking a bath in his palace when two birds, a bat and a Koródi (àdán àti Koródi) came down upon him, an unexpected and extraordinary event. The King took the birds and put them in a bowl (calabash or Igba) and did not tell anyone about the event.
While this was happening with the King, in another part of the palace one of the princes was killing a snake which had jumped on him. The prince did as his father and put the snake in a bowl (calabash or Igba) and closed it. As soon as the prince recovered from the attack, he took the bowl and brought it before the King explaining what had happened. The king was shocked and told the prince about the birds, just concluding that the event had not been a fortuitous one.
Considering the events which had taken place, the King ordered a thorough spiritual investigation and called for the palace messenger to summon all the clairvoyants and Babalawos immediately and it was announced to the whole town for people to attend the meeting.
Before this event, the King had been advised by the clairvoyants, but in this moment he announced that anyone from either group who was able to guess what was inside the two calabashes would be officially proclaimed as superior. After been urgently summoned by the King, the members of both groups came before him and were told to be ready for the night. The clairvoyants left happily because they saw an opportunity to ridicule and embarrass the Babalawos, and show they had more power. On the other hand, the Babalawos saw this challenge as an opportunity to make clear and put an end, once and for all, to all the smear actions made by the clairvoyants.
As a tradition since remote times, any Babalawo must consult Ifá before going to the palace and giving an answer to the King. Thus, the three Babalawos asked Ifá and they were instructed to tell the Oba (King) exactly what Ifá would tell in the consult that night at the palace. That night, the palace was crowded with anxious and excited people eager to know the final result. Both calabashes, one containing the snake and the other containing the birds, were placed discreetly on a throne of sand each. Six clairvoyants and three Babalawos took their places at either side of the calabashes and only then the King arrived and was saluted with Kááábîyèsí (traditional salute to a King)). He made his entrance yielding an ìrùkèrè (royal object) in his hand and took his seat. The king took the floor and announced that considering the strange, extraordinary and unheard-of events which had occurred, he had made the decision to consult the Babalawos and clairvoyants to get absolute answers to the causes of the events, and thus determine which group was superior to put an end to the long-lasting dispute that had existed. As soon as the King had finished his speech, the clairvoyants looked at the calabashes and told the King that his riddle was not weird or unreasonable and that it lacked any spiritual connotation. The first calabash has two birds, Àdán and Koródi and the second one has a snake. The clairvoyants returned to their seats in total silence leaving everyone overwhelmed by such response to the King. Then, the King turned to the Babalawos and asked them for their spiritual explanation to the event.
The Babalawos bowed to Olodumare and the Irunmoles, then saluted the King in the usual way and also saluted the other people in the room. After their ìbà (bow), the Babalawos took their Opele (divination chain) and consulted Ifá. Òbàrà Òfún was the Odu that appeared and automatically the Babalawos told the King that the events of the morning were warnings of imminent death. They said that the clairvoyants were right about the contents of the calabashes but they were wrong when they said that there was not a spiritual explanation to the strange events. The Babalawos said that both the King’s and prince’s lives were in danger and an Ebo (sacrifice) had to be made within the next seven days after the King had cut up the two dead birds and the prince had killed the snake, in order to prevent a sudden a sudden death. They told the King that the prince might die.
At this point, the King addressed the audience confirming the contents of the bowls, both groups were right, but he did not say anything about Ifá’s interpretation of the events or about the instructed Ebo. The clairvoyants were filled with joy and told the King that there was nothing to the events beyond mere coincidence between both. They ridiculed the Babalawos saying to all present that the Babalawos had a personal interest in prescribing the Ebo or sacrifice. There was divided opinion; some supported the Ebo while others did not. As a result, those in charge of finding the necessary resources for the sacrifice did not do anything and the advice from the Babalawos was taken lightly and left unattended. The Babalawos begged the King to listen to Ifá’s advice and warnings, but he refused to do so. This dialog caused additional stir among the clairvoyants who saw an opportunity to continue insulting and belittling the Babalawos. They even suggested another meeting, to be held after the seven days announced by the Babalawos had elapsed; to show that there was not such an esoteric meaning in the event with the birds and the snake. The meeting was scheduled for the following week.
The first six days of that week went by without noteworthy incidents in the palace, but on the seventh day, at about one a.m. in the morning, the prince became ill and died before dawn, thus confirming the seven days announced by Ifá. The impact of the prince´s death brought about havoc and pandemonium broke in the palace. The King, making ends meet, told his mourning family to conceal their grief because that was the day when the clairvoyants and Babalawos were going to meet. The King ordered food and drinks for that day and gave instructions for the prince’s nails to be cut and put in the food. As usual, the Babalawos consulted Ifá and they were advised not to eat or drink anything in the palace. At the set time, the clairvoyants arrived first boasting and happily talking about their success; the Babalawos arrived later when the palace was already crowded.
The King announced that he would soon join them but in the meantime they should eat and drink. The Babalawos declined the invitation saying they were full, but upon the servants’ insistence the Babalawos said they were not going to eat since Ifá had advised them not to do so. The disappointed servants informed the King that the Babalawos had refused the food. The King sent a message to the Babalawos ordering them to eat, but they insisted on not going against the instructions of Ifá and apologized to the King. On the other hand, the clairvoyants ate and praised the quality of the food and drinks. At the end of the banquet, the King came out and addressed the Babalawos as if he was mad at them, demanding to know why they had not eaten or drunk. The Babalawos gave the same answer that they would not go against Ifá’s instructions. A this point, the clairvoyants started to make fun of the Babalawos saying that they had not eaten due to their misguided prediction, even telling them that the seventh day was precisely that one and asking if their prediction about the prince had come true.
We can affirm that the prince is alive! The Babalawos did not answer, despite being upset, thanks to their prevailing capacity for tolerance and wisdom. The clairvoyants took this silence as acceptance of defeat and continued insulting the Babalawos. They were feeling on the top, but the expression on the King’s face revealed that something was wrong. The Oba (King) did not take long to say in a trembling voice filled with grief that the prince had died in the morning and without hesitation asked the clairvoyants to say in public what kind of food they had eaten. Since they could not find an answer, the King told them that the food had the nails of his son, the deceased prince. Everyone looked at them and the clairvoyants only managed to cover their faces from such shame.
The King then turned to the Babalawos and apologized to Ifá. In addition, the King asked the Babalawos to consult Ifá in order to get whatever it was necessary to clean the palace from any malevolent or negative energy. The clairvoyants, in turn, were put in jail until a decision was made on their final destiny.
In conclusion, it can be said that the clairvoyants have the ability to know things at a superficial level but only Ifá has the actual knowledge about the meaning and root of everything. Ifá must always be consulted in order to ratify any decision to be made or any solution to be sought for the existing problems. Thus, Ifá is superior! Ifá must always be consulted about messages in dreams, ratification of important decisions or other issues in general. The destiny of every living thing is in Ifá.
Finally, the Babalawos abandoned the place reciting again the verse of Òbàrà Òfún which says:
Ahere oko a b'idi jeere jeere
Agbalagba ejo ni i fi idobale ara re wo'le
D’Ifa fun Babalawo meta
A bu fun Olumpran mefa
Ni'jo ti won njija agba lotu Ife
Nje ta ni agba
Ifa l’agba – Ifa es superior
Imoran ni a nko da, ki a to da Ifa