Chief Olode Iya Nifa Osun Monife
Iya, as she prefers to be called, was born in New York City on April 25th. She grew up fast, married young and gave birth to her only child, Baba Losa Songo Dara. She knew at a very early age that she had a special connection with spirituality and she started to search for more spiritual knowledge and growth, something that would enrich her Christian beliefs and add to her spiritual frame. She found it in the Orisha religion. There came a time when her spiritual calling took her away from all that she spent a lifetime accumulating.
Iya’s spiritual quest first took her to Santeria, where in 1974 she became a “godchild” in the Ile of Padrino Jose Leon. Still on her journey, in 1976 she was initiated as a Priestess of Osun. Upon completion of the year, she started to learn about the practice of Yoruba was of the religion. She started a book on divination, and it’s interpretation over 20 years ago called Alafia. Wanting to continue with her spiritual elevation and still feeling the place in her heart for Christianity, in 1978 she became an ordained minister. This time now a Los Angeles resident, Iya was the first Priestess ro serve in the newly opened Yoruba temple. In 1984, the Oba of Oyatunji village, His Royal Highness Oseijemon Adefunmi and Babalawo Ifayemi Eleburibon, did bestow upon her the title of Chief Olode.
In 1993, Iya traveled to Nigeria for the first time. While there she was seated as Moremi in the Ogboni society by Kabiyese Oba Opeodu. She then traveled on to Osun State where she was raised to Iya Nifa by Babalawo Eleburibon. This position has finally being seen with the same esteem as the male title of Babalawo. She is one of few women in North America who interpret and work with the Opele.
Iya claims that teaching Orisa worship is her first love. She has established many temples around the country and she boasts of her Godchildren as being amongst the best. Manya re priest and priestess, many are worshippers and all are proficient in divining.
In the over 20 years since Iya first found the Orisa, she knows that her spiritual search is over. From that day to this she has devoted her energies to spiritual growth from herself, her godchildren and those she has been blessed to teach and counsel. She says that it is like the saying that New Yorker’s have: “when you leave New York you ain’t going nowhere”. If you leave the Orisa, there is just no place else to go. The Orisa religion has all that you could possibly need to reach your spiritual goals.
Iya claims to be a very happy woman who says that the greatest thing that you could possibly do is have found the direction for the rest of your life and know that you are truly on the path of your chosen destiny.