The Ifá tradition did not just survive the Maafa it adapted and thrived as a consequence of the brutal experience, becoming a diverse tradition with multiple manifestations throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert authors of Creole Religions of the Caribbean: An introduction from Vodou and Santería to Obeah and Espiritismo argue that “the development of religious and healing practices allowed enslaved African communities that had already suffered devastating cultural loss to preserve a sense of group and personal identity. Having lost the connection between the spirits and Africa during the middle passage, they strove to adapt their spiritual environment to suit their new Caribbean space.” This adaptation took place over centuries, solidifying the cultural link between African people and their culture. Meaning, given all the horrors of the Maafa one thing that it did ensure is the spreading of African religion and philosophy in many diverse forms across the globe.
While it would be foolish to argue that Africans retained all of their respective cultures throughout the enslavement experience, I do however contend that the Yoruba were prepared for displacement. To explain, the Yoruba divided the world into five cardinal axes of which they view and understand human history and culture, the regions are as follows: Ike Awusi (the Americas), Idoromu Awuse (Africa), Mereetelu, Mesin Akraaruba (Europe and Asia), Iwonran nibi ojumoti I moo wa (Australasia). By this it seems the Yoruba have a keen understanding of the larger world that surrounds them and see themselves as a global entity. Such a perspective may provide clues as to how the Ifá tradition was able to survive the process of enslavement in the manner that it did. Meaning, the Yoruba religion is highly adaptable as a syncretic belief system that allows practitioners to easily acclimate to any given religious environment. Cultural capitulation therefore was at a minimum for those of the Yoruba belief system. Olmos and Paravisini-Gebert agree: “The flexibility, eclecticism, and malleability of African religions allowed practitioners to adapt to their new environments drawing spiritual power from wherever it originated.”
To elaborate further, each of the small land masses throughout the Caribbean basin as well as various locales in South and Central America developed their own unique manifestations of Yoruba Ifá. As previously discussed, the Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda traditions are just two manifestations of the Yoruba Ifá religious system in the New World; Santería and Lucumí are two expressions of Ifá which occupy the island nation of Cuba. Santeria, or “way of the Saints”, is a syncretic spiritual system often referred to as La Regla de Ifá, or The Rule of Ifá. Like Candomblé and Umbanda, Santería combines Catholicism with the Ifá tradition as well as other philosophical and religious elements. Its’ pharmacopeic branch, Lucumí, centers on the art of traditional healing practices with herbs called ethnomedicine. The indigenous Yoruba healing art is called Egbogi; Lucumí is the same healing practice of the Yoruba tradition but in the Cuban context. By all indications it is the same type of healing discipline, save for the fact that Lucumí practitioners do not have the same herbs at their disposal as they would have had in Yorubaland. Egbogi healing practices were adapted to the New World context using the available herbs of the Cuban countryside as well as the botanical knowledge of Spanish and French colonists, resulting in what is now known as Lucumí. This method of syncretic herbalism reinforces the notion that Yoruba Ifá is a highly adaptable belief system with a built-in mechanism for self-preservation.
In league with Yoruba Ifá and Spanish Catholicism, French Spiritism is also an element of the Santería mystical system. French Spiritism was developed in the 19th century by Allan Kardec and centers on the belief that human beings are eternal souls that reincarnate numerous times in human bodies in order to gain spiritual perfection. Spiritism’s synergy with Ifá is quite congruent with this notion as both belief systems are centered on the understanding that human experience is what’s most valuable within a human life. That is to say, it makes sense that there is a syncretic connection with Spiritism and Ifá as is the case with Catholicism. Furthermore, this is also congruent with the history of the region. To explain, French Spiritism in Cuba is a by-product of the mid-19th century and was developed several decades after the Haitian revolution which ousted thousands of French colonists. Consequently, not all of the French who fled Haiti went back to France or escaped to New Orleans, many (about twenty thousand people) simply went to the closest island nation who would have them, Cuba.
Given this, Santería of Cuba is a unique manifestation of the Yoruba Ifá belief system because it incorporates different elements than Candomblé for its syncretic base. Once the Ifá tradition became a parcel of European exploitation that moved human cargo, it was inexorably set on a path of syncretic collision with different religions and cultures that would ultimately create a diverse array of spiritual philosophies. Moreover, though Candomblé and Santeriá both have a Yoruba base they are entirely different believe systems because one was set in a colonial Portuguese context in South America, while the other was set in a colonial Spanish and French context in the Caribbean Basin. What this demonstrates is the development of Yoruba Ifá as a religious system with a global presence. George Brandon, author of Santeria from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories, states: “In global context Santeria belongs to the transatlantic tradition of Yoruba religion, a religious tradition with millions of adherents in Africa and in the Americas, and should be seen as a variant of that tradition, just as there are regional and doctrinal variants within the Christian, Buddhist and Islamic religious traditions.” Furthermore, occupying this space as a variant tradition of syncretic molding Santeriá, as well as all other manifestations of the Yoruba Ifá religion, is a regional manifestation of Ifá just as the American Southern Baptist tradition is a regional (and temporal) manifestation of the ancient middle-eastern sun cult commonly known as Christianity.
Interestingly, while Santería has a dominant presence in Cuba, over many decades the movement has grown to encompass parts of the US as well as particular locales in the Caribbean and Latin America, due in large part to the migration of exiles out of the Cuban populace during Castro’s regime. This makes for an interesting development within the religion itself because it allows for the creation of a syncretic religion from one that is already syncretic thereby developing “a complex fusion of religious cultures.” Meaning, American Santería will have a different look and feel than Cuban Santería as it grows and adapts to the American context with American sensibilities and philosophies. Thus, the ease with which Yoruba Ifá survives and adapts again demonstrates a functional malleability which promotes growth and diversity.
 Margarite Fernández Olmos, and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Creole Religions of the Caribbean: An introduction from Vodou and Santería to Obeah and Espiritismo. (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 3.
 Ọlabiyi Babalọla Yai. “In Praise of Metonymy: The Concepts of Tradition and Creativity in the Transmission of Yoruba Artistry over Time and Space.” Research in African Literatures. (1993) 24, No. 2, 30. This perspective was developed before colonial entities began to interact with the Yoruba people.
 Margarite Fernández Olmos, and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Creole religions of the Caribbean: An introduction from Vodou and Santería to Obeah and Espiritismo. (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 3. While the authors use the very general term “African” to describe the efforts of syncretism evident in the Americas and the Caribbean basin, I contend that each of the belief systems named in the title and described throughout the text were either greatly influence or firmly anchored by the Ifá tradition.
 Brian M. du Toit. "Ethnomedical (Folk) Healing in the Caribbean". In Margarite Fernandez Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gerbert. Healing Cultures: Art and Religion as Curative Practices in the Caribbean and its Diaspora. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 19-28.
 Tariq Sawandi. Yorubic Medicine: The Art of Divine Herbology. African Journal of Agricultural Research. (2008) 3, No. 6.
 Jacob Kehinde Olupona and Terry Rey. Ōríşá Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yorùbá Culture. (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2008), 359. “In the Yoruba religion, the use medicinal herbs and plants for magical and curative purposes is important… In many instances, contemporary access to modern medicine has detracted from the exclusive use of plants for curative purposes.”
 David J. Hess. Spirits and scientists: Ideology, Spiritism and Brazilian culture. (State College: Penn State Press, 2010).
 George Brandon. Santeria from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 1.
 Ibid., 355.
 Ibid., 356.