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The following was written by Fajuitan, one of our Ifa Priest initiates from Ola Olu. Prior to his Ifa initiation, Javier was an initiated priest of Osun. As a Godchild as well as a friend, I can truly say that having him as part of our spiritual family has been both a pleasure and a blessing. We, as Oludumare, see personal preferences only as reflection of character/Iwa Pele. If the individual is of good heart and character, their sexual orientation, gender, nationality or color will always express in a positive way. I could only wish that all our godchildren displayed the love and good character of Fajuitan. Hopefully, you may learn from his message.

Philip Neimark
Oluwo Fagbamila - Ola Olu

A Gay Babalawo Speaks Out

We live in a society were everything is conveniently categorized and labeled. Everything has labels ...people have labels which defines who they are, their ethnicity, their religion, and so on. We collect these labels throughout our lives and display the ones we want like merit badges. We fight to loose the ones we dislike, particularly when they induce a negative stereotype. Myself, I'm Gay. I'm Hispanic. And, I'm a Babalawo. Three unique "labels" that I wear proudly.

I'm also known by many others, each that say something about me, each giving out a clue, a glimpse into who I am, but none that truly capture how I feel, what I dream, what I think, what I believe. That's the spirit behind those labels, the real me , the me that few get to see, or venture to know. That's the essence of my message, and the reason for writing this piece. Labels only give you a superficial and stereotyped image, and only by looking past them can you get to the true meaning, .who the person really is.

I'm not much different than everyone else, unique in some respects but a regular guy all around, with hopes and dreams. shortcomings just like the next person. I have two dogs "Niko" and "Bronte", and Bobby, my "significant other". now there's one label I could have done without, but it's politically correct. To me it sounds too much like None Of The Above, or Miscellaneous relationship. There are other labels people use to refer to their significant other, like lover, partner, boyfriend . The truth is, it's all of the above and much more. I think of Bobby and I as two kindred spirits who love each other, and choose to experience life together. There is no label to really express that.

I can only imagine that in the earlier times of human history, as civilizations began to evolve, we as a society began to experience life collectively, benefiting from each other's experiences, and labels were essential in propagating this knowledge. But in today's fast paced world, with so much information to filter out, we have become too reliant on labels for making judgement calls. That's the inherent danger in labels, people cast quick judgements based upon them. The act of judging someone is not in itself wrong, but it should be for the right reason. like their character.

We could learn so much from each other if only we could remember to slow down, and not be so quick to judge. If we were more open to what life offers us and be open to the infinite diversity around us. We rush through life the same way as we watch TV, switching channels incessantly. Never quite getting the full experience. In life, there are no re-runs, once the moment is gone. it's gone.

Gay people, especially young people coming to terms with their sexuality often turn to their religion to make some sense of how they feel. They look to their religious support system for an acknowledgement that they are not a bad person, instead they often find betrayal. Torn between their emotional/physical longings, and their spiritual inclinations, they are often forced to choose one over the other, denying a part of themselves, and who they are. I hope that gay people find more good role models. I hope that by being true to myself I can be one. It's my affirmation that I choose to be open about who I am. I believe that hiding my religion, like hiding my sexuality, is wrong. It reinforces those negative stereotypes. It's who I am, it's my energy, and it's my path.

I believe we choose our destiny and our path before we're born. We choose the guiding Orisa that will help us express our energy, and we choose the life experiences that can help us achieve good character, "Iwa Pele". I pray for good character, I pray every day. I ask for the usual things one would expect to ask. good health, prosperity, happiness, spiritual growth, protect me from this. protect me from that. and because my character can sometimes trip me up too, I also ask. protect me from myself!

There is really no difference between a gay babalawo and a straight babalawo, except maybe a different awareness. It's too easy to get hung up on the labels, their character is what really matters.

Fajuitan

"Live life to the fullest, make every moment count, be yourself"