A Lesson in PATIENCE


When we work and communicate with spirits or Deities like the Orisa, the essence of TIME works differently.  Spirit and the universe does not operate per the human CLOCK.  Time is an illusion.  A matter of fact, there is no time in the invisible world at least not the way we would perceive it.  The universe and nature operate in cycles.  There are many cycles like planetary cycles and environmental/nature cycles that have to do with, for instance, the four seasons:  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  And within nature/the universe there are energies and spirits that are more productive and beneficial depending on a particular cycle.  Humans operate the same way — for instance:  some people are productive during Spring vs. Winter.  So these energies within the universe, the atmosphere, and in your environment will need attending to and these energies (like Nature) depending on its cycle can either support you or seem to go against you.

So when you make any type of ritual, ebbo (offering), or even something as big as initiation to the Deities (like Ocha), you will want energies in the universe, the atmosphere, the environment, and the spirit realm to support you and benefit you.  During different cycles, did you know that there are times when the planets are aligned in such a way that you should not start anything new because you will not receive the full benefit of what you are trying to achieve?

This is where patience comes in.  First of all, what is patience?  Patience is the ability to “keep trying” in the face of delay without getting frustrated or pissed off.  So when we relate this to spirituality, patience can mean waiting for the right time to get the best benefits but in the meantime, you continue pushing forward without anger.

In the Yoruba religion, Ifa says in Ogbe-Iyonu (Ogbe-Ogunda), “there is benefit in patience, level-headedness and the ability to control one’s temper in the face of opposition, oppression, provocation, and outright intimidation.  Ifa followers also need to exercise constraint at all times.  It will benefit them in the end.  Even though it is difficult to see others cheating one and for one to keep quiet, nonetheless, Ifa has a way of righting all wrongs.  In Ifa, no wrong shall go uncorrected.  It is good for one to fight for one’s right, but one must not be oversensitive to one’s right.  Ifa is the greatest and most effective protector of people’s rights.  Ifa says that with patience and level-headedness, all good things of life shall be inherited by Ifa followers.”1 Ifa – The Key To Its’ Understanding by Fasina Falade

In the case of being spiritually initiated like to the Orisa, or to the Lwa in the Voudou Religion or receiving some type of ceremony – some would say that you are being married to the energies that represent nature.  When you partner with these energies, you must learn that there are universal laws operating in the background naked to the human eye.  Once you commit to this type of relationship, you must train yourself to see through the eyes of spirit so that you can respond accordingly.  Do not react to what is seen by the human eye for it can be deceiving and will make matters worse.  This is what makes divination so important; it allows us to get proper and clear sight on a matter.

For instance, when we go through important ceremonies and rituals particularly in nature-based spiritual systems like Orisa or ancestor worship, we receive sacred shrines that belong to the Orisa/orisha.  (The Orisa are Deities that represent forces of nature).  Through divination it is revealed which Deity will oversee your destiny and then you plan for your initiatory ceremony.  Now, the universe or God (Olodumare) knows what you are preparing for so the universe/nature needs to be in the proper alignment with your Ori (soul) and your human form needs to be ready to partner with it.  In addition, there are sometimes delays that will make sure that things in your ancestral line, things in your atmosphere and environment are promising so things go well for you.  If things around you or within you are off and not benefiting you, then these supporting energies have to work to clear the way for you – this means it may take more time than you originally thought it would.  When things are not going as planned, it’s just a matter of timing and if you are working with a supportive group of people you don’t need to frustrate yourself because in the end you know you will eventually get what’s due to you.

From another perspective, patience may enter your life when time is delayed for the purpose of assisting you in building your character.  And how you deal with “patience” will depend on your personality and how you view situations in your life:

For instance, I needed to get a ceremony done and it took a year to get it done.  The problem was not that it took a year, the problem I had was that it was divined to be done in three weeks.  When I tell you I was pissed off, I was pissed mainly because I was told to have my ceremony done in 3 weeks and it actually took a year. I am making a very long story short but every time I would ask the Orisa and egun (the ancestor spirits) if it would get done, they kept telling me ‘no’ so I was practically losing my mind.  BUT I have to tell you – there were many things that I learned during that year.  First, I was looking at the situation from an unclear perspective and didn’t realize that the universe (the Orisha) had to set the stage for me to receive this ceremony and it would take a year to set that stage irregardless of my godparents involvement.

In not knowing how long it would take, I basically said to myself that maybe there are other things that I need to get done during the time.  Maybe there are things that I need to work on within myself. I knew there was a reason I needed to be patient but that wasn’t making me feel any better.  So one day I said to spirit I just want to understand why it’s taking so long.  I had already thrown obi (divined) and I had already spoke to the ancestors but I didn’t have the clarity to why I had this delay.  I don’t know the depths of  Odu in Ifa or how to throw dillogun which would have most certainly given me clarity, so one day in my personal moment, I decided to pull my rune stones out.  I keep them at my ancestral shrine/altar and I picked a stone called Jera.  This is the stone that actually means “One Year”, it means Harvest and Fertile Season.  Remember what I said earlier about the cycle of the Seasons.

Let me write to you exactly what this stone means:  Jera applies to any activity or endeavor to which you are committed. Be aware, however, that no quick results can be expected.  A span of time is usually involved; hence the key words “One Year”, symbolizing a full cycle before the reaping, the harvest or the deliverance.

You have prepared the ground and planted the seed.  Now you must cultivate with care. To those whose labor has a long season, a long coming to term, Jera offers encouragement of success.  Know that the outcome is in keeping with destiny so continue to persevere.  There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest.  Be mindful that patience is essential for the recognition of your own process which, in its season, leads to the harvest of the self.

I wanted to type the exact meaning of “Jera” because it was so befitting of my situation and being patient can actually help you to build your character.  Understand, although I’m speaking of patience in a spiritual/religious context, you can apply this scenario to any situation in your life.  The flip side of this is that your situation may not have to do with patience at all but the irresponsibility of others.  Sometimes other people (priests or priestesses) may be irresponsible in not upholding there end of the agreement.  However, you will need to clarify this with spirit, Orisha, or Ifa.  You would have to ask (divine) if your delay is of a natural occurrence and is there something you could do (like ebbo, adimu, ritual) to move/influence the energies in your favor, or is there something you need to work on within yourself or in your environment, or if the person who is doing your ceremony simply bull shitting?  Once you have that answer you will know how to maneuver and proceed.

In my case, while being patient, I had to work on some things within myself.  With patience there is an element of work (the part about continuing to try) and self-discipline. During that time I did meditation to build my mind, I learned to be more self-reliant and independent.  So your character building may have to do with reflection, faith or trust building within self.  Your time of wait can be a germination period (developmental phase) or gestation (growth) period, or there may be a lesson that’s letting you know that you can’t have everything you want when you want it and you can’t push the river (force the outcome). The time of delay can also be about sacrificing or changes you need to make.  So how one deals or responds to patience will all depend on your personality, your temperament, and your situation.

I don’t remember where I got this but here is another view:  Patience binds, heals, and supports relationships. Impatience is divisive. It severs friendships, dissolves marriages, breaks up families, and breaks hearts. So, patience is also about maturity. Patient people do not throw away pets and possessions or relationships and responsibilities simply because things aren’t working out as originally expected. Patient people bring out the best in them. Impatient people bring out the beast in them.

I hope this lesson has helped you and given you some clarity, but “a lesson in patience” is not always easy to acquire so you will need to think about what Patience means for you.  Be well and in peace.

Ase o


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