About the Creator

Ifa says we should be thankful, 
I say we should be thankful!

Ase Ire was created by Iyalorisa Fúnláyò Easter Wood. Funlayo (pronounced “Foon-lah-yo”), a native New Yorker, is an Iyanifa, Orisa priestess, scholar of Africa and the African Diaspora, traveler, researcher, writer and public speaker. A doctoral candidate in African and African American Studies with a primary field in Religion at Harvard University, her dissertation project focuses on the uses of kola nut in Ifá-Òrìsà religion and her wider research focuses on philosophical and theological aspects of the tradition as practiced in Nigeria and in the Americas, and cross-cultural analysis of Yoruba religious concepts and practice – within all of which she privileges Yoruba language as a conduit to understanding. Funlayo has dedicated her life to the Ifá-Òrìsà tradition and is proud to add her voice to the scant chorus of religious scholar-practitioners within the tradition.

Funlayo holds an Associate of Arts in Psychology from Bronx Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in the African Diaspora in the Americas from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Degree for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, a Master of Arts in History from the City College of New York and a Master of Arts in African and African American Studies from Harvard University. Throughout her post-secondary career, she has conducted independent research on African Indigenous religious systems including research at the University of Legon in Ghana, Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and at various cultural-historical sites in Nigeria and Egypt.

Funlayo is the founding director of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association and the creator of Orisa-Focal (tm) Meditation, a form of guided meditation that uses concepts and imagery from the Ifa-Orisa tradition. As well, she serves as an executive member and member of the board of the Orisa Community Development Corporation and is a certified nonviolence facilitator with Creating a Culture of Peace, a national organization dedicated to social justice and community peacemaking. Funlayo is additionally affiliated with the Harvard Committee on African Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the National Council for Black Studies and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, among other organizations and institutions. 

Ever fascinated by concepts of spirituality, Funlayo has studied and practiced within several spiritual traditions over the years. After much seeking and searching, she was moved to become initiated into the Yoruba indigenous Ifá-Òrìsà tradition. 
In June 2008, she was initiated an Olobatala and Iyanifa in Isara Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria. Her initiations were conducted by Awo Chief Efuwape Olusegun Olatunji, the Ajugbona of Isara Remo, of Ajigbotifa Ifa Temple and Yeye Olasuinbo Olomowewe of the Rokodo/Ogunsere Compound. At home, Funlayo is under the guidance of Awo Chief Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu, where she is being intensively trained on the Ifá oratory corpus, Orisa worship, egúngún  (ancestral) veneration and divining practices.

An avid traveler, Funlayo has visited much of the United States as well as countries in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. In her relaxation time, Funlayo enjoys reading, playing cards and board games, attending cultural activities, cooking, creating visual art and crafts and spending time with her loved ones.