Ànìké-èmí explores the idea of "nurturing creativity" through SELF-AWARENESS: a seemingly complex yet simple phrase used when addressing the universal question "Who Am I?"
[ "Èmí" = "Breath of life" or the "life-giving essence" ]
Cultural concepts and practices of the Yorùbá people of Southwestern Nigeria (such as Orí, Oríkì and Òrí-Ire), are relevant tools for fostering cultural identity formation. These practices address the question “Who Am I?” while celebrating the individual, community and culture.
According to Yòrùbá lore, the journey from the spiritual realm (Òrun) to the Earth (Aiyé) begins with the “Soul/Spirit Being” choosing a packaged Orí (life-mission: equipped with a gift and a goal) and the knowledge required to fulfill this chosen earthly mission—as the Soul Being transitions to a Human Being—remain inherent. That is, the Soul Being has prior basic knowledge of the ultimate goal but limited knowledge of the experiences that will necessitate, or is required to accomplish the chosen goal as a Human Being.
From the onset, ceremonies that commemorate the birth of the child into this world such as the naming ceremony, incorporate mnemonic practices (Oruko & Oriki recital) meant to “kì” or “nurture” the evolution of spiritual beings whose [re]actions are based on the awareness of self.
ORÍ: The Inner Head
Self-awareness involves discovering the “art” or “innate gift” contained in the Orí;
ORÍKÌ: Artistic/Affirmation Practices
Self-expression is the “act” or “activation” of the Orí through practices that inspire/awaken the creative self, such as Oríkì; (affirmation poetry/rhymes/medium of expression/artistry)
ORÍ-IRE : Abundance
Self-authentication is the state of being in “abundance” through the value placed on the Self. (self-value or value of your artistry to enable wealth creation)
According to Yòrùbá lore, there is a Physical and Metaphysical world/realm. The Physical world is tangible and exists here on earth, inhabited by human beings, animals, nature etc.; while the Metaphysical is intangible and inhabited by the Supreme Being/Creator and other Soul/Spirit Beings. A common depiction of the metaphysical world is that of a place where souls reside and also congregate upon their return from earth, to recount their experiences from the earthly journey. Regardless of the realm, an organized system appears to exist, where every Being has a role and there is a division of labour: In the metaphysical system, Àjàlá the potter, packages Destinies (life purposes /Orí-Inú) for souls to select in preparation for the human experience. Òrìsà-nlá the Architect/Engineer, constructs the physical body. Olódùmarè the Supreme Being/Creator, breathes Life/ Èmí/Breath of Life into the lifeless body to create a human being ready to embark on a journey to the earth through the maternal womb. Accordingly, the ÈMÍ/breath of life, transforms the Soul Being into a Human being: a physical embodiment of the Ori-Inu.
(Though there is a general consensus regarding the myth of creation among scholars and the indigenous Yòrùbá, Àníké’s perspective and philosophy is a slight departure in terms of the sequential process of human creation and it is unique to her reality): (1) Each Soul Being in the metaphysical realm, initiates the process of embarking on a journey to the physical world by selecting an Orí-Inú or life-purpose from Àjàlá’s workshop; (2) Then proceeds to Òrìsà-nlá’s to select a lifeless body specifically crafted/suited to accomplish the purpose yet withstand challenges (bodies are not “able” or “disabled” but customized for the chosen task: the mission of a one-legged Being might be to win a paralympics to challenge known/conventional limitations or invent prosthesis); (3) And finally seeks the ‘stamp of approval’ or ‘seal to proceed’ from the Supreme Being, Olódùmarè , who creates/transforms the Soul Being into a Human Being by breathing life (Èmí) into the lifeless body to activate it. A child is conceived and the journey to the earth through the maternal womb begins…"Aiye L’oja, Orun Ni’ile”