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A dear friend who is very ill

The names have been changed to respect the privacy of the individuals.

It would be very easy to present only those case histories with a successful conclusion regarding those who have come to Ifa for help and guidance. Yet, it would not be totally true. While divination, performed by a competent Babalawo, whose world view matches your own, will always be accurate, it will not always be able to provide solutions that please the client.or, more important, that the client wishes to follow. The following is one such example..

It was early one morning when I received a call from a long time client Jane. "I have a favor to ask", she began, "I would like you to read an old a dear friend of mine who is very ill." Of course, I agreed, and told her to have her friend call me for an appointment. Strangely, it was Jane who called back several minutes later to ask if I could see her friend at 1:00 PM that day. Again, I agreed, but was somewhat puzzled by why the woman herself had not called, as well as to why Joan, an internationally famous and successful business woman was making the effort for her. I figured I would find out when the woman showed up.

At 1:00PM I buzzed an elegant, fashionably dressed, woman into my office. She introduced herself, and it was quite easy to see she was exceptionally ill at ease in what, to her, was a strange and unfamiliar setting. I attempted to put her at ease by asking about her friendship with my client. It turned out they had been friends since childhood, and while their lives had taken widely diverse paths, their friendship had remained intact. My client had built one of the most successful high fashion businesses in the United States, regularly was featured in National Magazines, traveled constantly with names that were genuinely part of the Jet Set. Her friend, who sat quietly on the far side of my desk, had married a college sweetheart, moved East, and been a dutiful wife and mother to her daughter, while her husbands career and fame skyrocketed. He had reached international prominence in the field of Law, and was a powerful man in government. What then was the issue she had come to discuss?

With candor and firmness, she described to me how, three years before, she had had a malignant tumor removed from her breast. This was followed by chemotherapy and radiation. All seemed well until about two years later. Then, suddenly, the cancer reappeared. More Chemotherapy was tried, but the cancer remained. She was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in two months which was, by her own account (as well as the available modalities 8 years ago) the "last resort" or hope for stemming the inexorable progress of her disease.

That, however, was NOT what she was concerned with!

What she was concerned with, was her 24 year old daughter, a beautiful, talented, and brilliant graduate with honors from American university, who had been diagnosed two years before with a malignancy of her brain! The mother haltingly recounted the radiation, the experimental proton therapy, the chemotherapy etc. that the daughter had undergone. As if to underline her husband and her commitment to the daughter, she explained that they had spent over 1 million dollars over and above the 80% of the major medical policy the Husband's firm provided. The daughter was currently in a period of remission, but the prognosis was bleak. Could I help?

Quietly, I began to divine.

Within a few moments it became clear. There was something that could be done for the mother. There was nothing I could do for her daughter.

Then, as now, when confronted by that rare situation where I am unable to find a solution, I wonder "why?" Is it because I have not yet learned enough? Or, is it simply that sometimes, when problems or issues are brought to us, they have progressed too far... accumulated too much negative energy, to be undone. Twenty seven years of devoting myself to studying Ifa, I begin to think both answers are true.

At any rate, I realized how badly the mother would take this. Still, as a Babalawo, it is my duty to tell the client what "is", not what they would "like" to hear. So, I explained to the mother that it was quite clear to me that an intricate cleansing ceremony would allow her to maximize the bone marrow transplant and be well.BUT, there was nothing that I could offer for the daughter.

Her eyes filled with tears, and she steadied herself long enough to ask briefly about what the ceremony would entail. Then, thanking me for my time and help, she said she would "think about it" and get back to me.

It was less than an hour later when my Client Jane called to see how the reading went. When I described the alternatives to her she was both sad and excited. Sad for the woman's daughter, but elated that her friend could live a long and productive life. But Joan, I interrupted, "she is never going to go ahead with it." "What do you mean?." Joan said " It will make her well, why do you say she won't do it?" "Because", I replied, "she and her husband have so much invested, so much time, love, behavior etc. in trying to save their daughter, that, if she sees that she could get better, and the daughter can not, she would spend the rest of her life berating herself for not seeking our kind of help sooner, when it could still have saved the child." "Oh Philip, that would be so tragic," Jane replied. "Jane, I promise you she would rather die believing they did everything possible for the child, than wondering if they could have done something different to save her."

The woman never called or returned. A year later I saw the obituary for her daughter. Six months after that I saw the needless obituary for the mother.

Sometimes this is a hard profession...


Oluwo Philip Neimark