“Olódùmarè has several wives,” my father said. “Do you know that?”
We were strolling back home from his writing workshop that evening, and I was seventeen. I always accompanied him to his writing workshops where he taught playwriting
I was a freshman undergraduate at the University of Ife at that time.
I was taking a university class on Ifa taught by Professor Wande Abimbola who later became the Vice Chancellor and internationally famous. At that time, the professor was not yet famous.
For the first time, Professor Abimbola was introducing us in class to the subject of Olódùmarè.
Throughout my primary and secondary school days, we learned about all sorts of foreign Gods, but nothing about Olódùmarè.
As we returned from the playwriting workshop, I began to tell my father about what I learned in the Ifa course from my professor.
“Did your professor teach you about the wives of Olódùmarè?” my father asked.
“Ask him. The wives of Olódùmarè are countless. Anybody who came to Olódùmarè, Olódùmarè accepted. Ìwà, came, and Olódùmarè accepted her. Sùúrù came and Olódùmarè accepted her. Ajé came, and Olódùmarè accepted her. Àláfíà, Ayọ̀, Ìrètí, Àánú, they all came, and Olódùmarè accepted each and every one of them.”
I listened attentively because my father often spoke in parables to me.
“Even Ọ̀bùn, and Ọ̀lẹ came and Olódùmarè accepted them. Ọtí too came, and Olódùmarè accepted her,” baba continued. “Do you know the only one Olódùmarè rejected?”
I shook my head. “No,” I said.
“Àṣejù,” baba said. “Olódùmarè kọ àṣejù. Rejected her immediately. Do you know why?”
“Àṣejù kò dára. Àṣejù is nasty,” I replied.
“You are the true son of your father,” baba said, patting my back. “You too, in whatever you do, be like Olódùmarè. Reject Àṣejù. Accept everything; everything is fine. You can handle anything with everything, as long as you don’t add Àṣejù to it.”
I nodded my head to show my understanding of his parable.
“The most beautiful woman in the world is Ìwà,” baba concluded. “But once you add Àṣejù, everything turns nasty. May Àṣejù not enter our house.”
Iwa is the title of the final painting I completed this year 2021. I just finished painting it.
In the year 2022, may Àṣeju not tarnish our Ìwà.
May 2022 be abo (female) and not akọ (male).
2022 will bring us all sorts of great opportunities. We should accept them. But we must reject Àṣejù.
Those who understand this parable, please explain to others who don’t.