IFA’S ACCOUNT OF THE EARTH'S (AYE) CREATION
There are many stories about the creation of this part of the planetary system called AYE (earth). This work is not going to challenge all other accounts of “the creation”, but, it is merely going to narrate the IFA’S (ORUNMILA’S) version.
According to ancient oral tradition i.e. the Holy Sacred Verses of IFA called ODUS, the earth (AYE) have no ground to tread upon in the beginning. The whole place was full of water and had one special palm tree in the middle of the water. Then OLODUMARE summoned all the ORISAS through his chief maid ARUGBA to go down and inhabit the earth.
All the Orisas without exemption owe total and unflinching allegiance to OLODUMARE as they were brought to existence by him to assist in the management of the planetary system.
IFA revealed to us that the Orisas were the first creation of OLODUMARE. They were the first inhabitants of ORUN (Heaven) and they all lived normal lives there, each in the image which was taken from OLODUMARE. Some of them play different roles in the molding of the human image in clay before OLODUMARE gave life (breath) to the images. It was only ORUNMILA that witness that process of giving life to human images, hence, his name ELERI IPIN or ELERI ORISA i.e. Witness of human destiny or GOD’S own witness.
The creation of man brought about the need to inhabit earth, OLODUMARE chose to send the ORISAS to earth using their own knowledge. Unwritten records have it that ORUNMILA poured down loose dirt from snail shell unto the watery earth, immediately water began to bubble and heaps of sands pilled up around the foot of the special palm tree. The hen (5 legged hen) was sent down and it scattered the loose dirt over a large area. The hen is still performing same operation till today. The chameleon was sent down to inspect and test the firmness of the earth. The chameleon walked about stealthily in the ground. The chameleon still treads softly on the ground till today.
When the earth (aye) was created, ORUNMILA descended with other items in the APO ABIRA (Divine bag), followed by all other ORISAS under the leadership of ORISA NLA. They were all given a particular function to perform as the “Minister” or “Intermediary” of OLODUMARE and MAN.
The creation of the earth was completed in 4 days while the fifth day was set aside to worship OLODUMARE through various ORISAS by their followers and faithfuls.
The sacred spot where creation began is called ILE-IFE, which means (widening ground) and today ILE IFE is the spiritual center and cradle for Humanity for all OLORISAS and BABALAWOS.
There is however, another saying that it was ORISA NLA that took the lead in the processes of creation of AYE and not ORUNMILA. The school of thought that says ORISA NLA took the lead further explained that ORUNMILA was sent later by OLODUMARE to administer and manage all other ORISAS after series of serious crises that put the ORISAS against one another. This explain the reverence, honour and respect given to ORUNMILA (BABALAWO) by all OLORISAS (be it Ogun, Sango, Oya etc) as the only witness of Human destiny and creation, pathfinders and chief custodian of all ORISAS.
The Divine bag (apo abira) contain many things some of which were: – plants, animals, money among other things. The honour and respect given to ORUNMILA by the ORISAS then and to BABALAWO by baba- and iya-lorisas now, was borne out of the fact that ORUNMILA (then) and BABALAWO (now) with their knowledge through divination followed by sacrifice and the use of leaves and herbs (EWE IFA) have the capability of changing things/events/ situations etc from misfortune to fortunes and vice versa.
ORUNMILA (babalawo), also make food among other things available to the ORISAS according to revelation in different divinations to people. A knowledgeable BABALAWO knows the fundamentals of the liturgy and other things of all the ORISAS while OLORISAS only master ways of their own ORISAS and probably at best know few things about one or more ORISAS.
We are of the opinion that it was ORUNMILA that took the lead and not ORISA NLA for it is only Babalawos that carries apo abira around till today