Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Yoruba Fokelore

Tortoise and Cock

One day Tortoise and Nyanribo felt very hungry, but they could not afford to buy food, and while they were discussing what might be done, Tortoise heard a cock crowing, and it gave him an idea. He went to the cock and said:

I have come to warn you. I heard the farmer asking his wife to prepare chicken for dinner tomorrow.

At this all the fowls were in great distress and wondered which of them was to be killed.

Tortoise replied:

I heard the farrners wife say that she will kill the first of you which she hears crowing or clucking in the morning.

Naturally the fowls decided to be absolutely silent.

Very early in the morning Tortoise went creeping among the fowls and stole all the eggs from the nests, taking them one by one to his house; but the cock was afraid to crow and the hens were afraid to cluck, and when the farmers wife came to collect the eggs, she found that they had all been stolen.

At this she flew into a rage, and killed all the fowls instead of one, and while the farmer and his wife had a feast of chicken, Tortoise and Nyanribo invited their friends to a feast of eggs!

Son of Sticks

A Great King sent his various sons to rule over different parts of his kingdom, and all were satisfied but one, the youngest and most ambitious, who returned to his father after some time with the complaint that his territory was much too small and his subjects too few.

The King was displeased with his son, and sent for a large bundle of sticks, which he converted into human beings.

“Here are some more subjects for you!” he said to the astonished Prince.

From that time the tribe was famous for its strength and stupidity, and went by the nickname of “Sons of Sticks,” or “Ọmọ igi”!

The Warriors

The Guerreros (warriors) are a set of orishas that an initiate receives usually after having received their Elekes and it is usually an indication that the person is on their way to Kariocha. The warriors consist of Elegba, Ogún, Ochosi and Osun. The warriors are received in a person’s life in order to protect them, strengthen their spiritual framework, teach them the importance of hard work and to open their spiritual road.

This is strictly a Lukumí initiation in that it evolved out of the environment that the Lukumí people were subjected to when they were brought to the new world as slaves. Originally, in the motherland, these orishas were worshipped and propitiated in communal outdoor shrines that belonged to the entire village or tribe. The exception would have been Elegba, which was received as an Eshu (a stone) by individuals when they were crowned, along with their crowning orisha. Elegba’s shrine was a large stone or collection of stones, Ogún’s shrine contained his iron implements, Ochosi’s included animal horns and the like, and Osun was a special staff that was much taller than today’s version and it was kept outside the home, staked into the ground – yet its function is still preserved in the modern version. All of the modern warriors are usually kept behind the front door, near the front door or facing the front door – indicating their importance in opening a person’s spiritual path, protecting the home from negativity and intruders, and still hinting at their closeness to the outdoors.

The modern Lukumí version evolved because the tribes of Lukumí people were split up and intermixed with other tribes and there was no possible was of having an outdoor public shrine at which offerings could be given without making it known to the slave masters. Thus each individual was to receive their own Elegba – which consisted of an otán (stone) and usually a cement head packed with magically charged substances that is essentially used like Elegba’s tools with which he can affect the physical and spiritual worlds. Here is a typical depiction of an Elegba to the right. But Elegbas vary from road to road, and each is unique and personal to the initiate in its own way. Usually Elegba that is received with the warriors is not a complete Elegba in that he does not have diloggún shells – usually these are added and empowered at the Kariocha. (But I have heard of ilés where they give diloggún with the warriors version of Elegba, but the diloggún are not yet fully empowered to speak.)

Ogún that is received in the warriors set is actually a smaller, less complete version of Ogún. This does not mean that Ogún is less effective, merely that he still has room to grow. He is received in an iron cauldron, with his otán, his tools that quite literally look like the tools that a blacksmith or a warrior would use and other iron implements. He does not usually come with diloggún either – these are usually received either in a separate ceremony, or at the time of Cuchillo. Inside of Ogún’s cauldron living with him, is Ochosi (his best friend or brother depending on which version of the legend you have heard.) Ochosi is also received in a very scaled down form, with the warriors. He is merely a metal crossbow that is empowered and lives within Ogún’s pot. Ochosi is received in complete form, in a separate ceremony. Often when Ogún is made full – by giving him diloggún and feeding him four legs, Ochosi is given full at the same time. Often this occurs at Cuchillo if it has not yet been done for an individual to that point.

Osun is a small staff that is packed with magical substances that acts as a person’s personal guard or watchdog. Many people say that he is your spiritual head, or the foundation for your higher self or Orí. He is lidded and sealed metal cup with a stem and is about 9 inches tall. on top of the lid is a metal rooster – the symbol for Osun. Hanging from the lip of the cup’s lid, are four jingle bells hanging from little chains. Osun is supposed to be placed in a high place in the house – preferably above the initiate’s head with the rooster facing the front door, so that he can watch for danger. He is supposed to remain upright at all times, and if he ever falls over, it is an indication that something very bad has either been thrown at the initiate or is on it’s way to harm the initiate. Osun should be immediately turned upright and the primary godparent should be notified of what happened. This is the scaled down modern version of the original that was found in Africa. There are human-sized Osuns but they are received for different purposes and in a separate initiation.

The warriors, when received into a home for the first time, or when the initiate moves into a new home, have to go through a special ebbó called the ebbó de entrada (the offering of entry.) This involves eyebale to Elegba, Ogún, Ochosi and Osun at the door to the house (Shilelekun.) This not only empowers and strengthens the door to the house for protection, but it also strengthens the presence of the warriors in that home and in effect lets them know that it is their new home and they are bound to protect it from any enemies or negativity. The initiate is then to tend to his new orishas in his home by cleaning them from time to time, coating them lightly with epó (palm oil), and a bit of honey, offering them rum, and occasionally cigar or a candle. Some ilés offer candies to Elegba, or fruits and toys. In my ilé we do not give candy to Elegba until he has completed something for us, as a reward.

Now that the initiate has received Elegba, the orisha can guide them spiritually, open their psychic senses and their doors to evolution and in general assist them through life. Many ilés call the initiate an Aborisha (follower of the Orishas) after having received the warriors.

Ifa Related

Orunmila

Orunmila is an Irunmola and deity of destiny and prophecy. He is recognized as “ibi keji Olodumare” (second only to Olodumare (God)) and “eleri ipin” (witness to creation).

Orunmila is also referred to as Ifá (“ee-FAH”), the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and the highest form of divination practice among the Yoruba people. In present-day Cuba, Orunmila is known as Orula, Orunla and Orumila.

Orunmila is not Ifa, but he is the one who leads the priesthood of Ifa and it was Orunmila who carried Ifa (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth. Priests of Ifa are called babalawo (the father of secrets)

Olodumare sent Orunmila to Earth with Oduduwa to complete the creation and organization of the world, to make it habitable for humans.

A woman will not be allowed to divine using the tools of IFA. Throughout Cuba and some of the other New world countries, Orula can be received by individuals regardless of gender. For men, the procedure is called to receive “Mano de Orula” and for women, it is called to receive “Kofa de Orula”. The same procedure exist in Yoruba land, with esentaye (birthing rites), Isefa (adolesants rites) and Itefa coming of age. Worshippers of the traditional religious philosophy of the Yoruba people all receive one hand of Ifa (called Isefa) regardless of which Orisa they may worship or be an Orisa Priest, it is that same Isefa that will direct all followers to the right path and their individual destines in life.

The title Iyanifa is in suspect since it is not used by either the Cuban or most of the West African practitioners of IFA.

Among West Africans, Orunmila is recognized as a primordial Irunmole that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst them as a prophet that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics, during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples.

The Story of the Irde

Death (Iku) was gathering humans before there full time on earth had passed.
The Orishas worried about this, until Orumila said he would resolve this matter.

One day when Iku was busy, Orumila went and took his hammer
Iku became furious when he discovered the Hammer missing.
He rushed back to Orumila’s house, and demanded the hammers return.

Orumila said, Oludumare had assigned you the task of gathering humans when thier time had come,
but you are gathering them when you want, prior to thier predetermined death.
Iku answered, if humans do not die, the earth will die.

Orumila answered “you are not right to take humans before their time.
After a long discussion, Orumila began to see the logic of Iku’s task
Orumila aggred to return the Hammer, But Iku must swear not to take any of Orumila’s
children before there full time has passed.

Iku answred, When I see the Irde Ifa on a persons left wrist, I will pass over them, unless it is there predetermined time to die. Orumila and Iku aggreed, and from this day, Ifa devotees wear the Irde on the left wrist, as a sign of the pact between Iku and Orumila.

Ebo en el Ate

How to do an Ebo on the Opon Ifa
According to way Miguel Febles Padron performed the ritual
Translated by Ogbeate

this page is not yet completed,
I intend to add images or drawings soon to correct misaligned Odu


Table of Contents

1 Preparation of the required material for Ebo on the Opon
2 The 4 different tablets used on the Opon during the Ebo
3 Instructions pertaining to the first tablet on the Opon
4 Instructions pertaining to the second tablet on the Opon
5 Instructions pertaining to the third tablet on the Opon
6 Instructions pertaining to the fourth tablet on the Opon
7 Conclusion of the Ebo

Part One: The preparation of the Ebo

1 Find a square piece of strong brown, shopping bag paper. about a foot square, and place inside a smaller square of paper. This now become the Ebo any reference to ebo means that the items are added to the paper square

2 Take the leaf of the Malanga remove the central stem on the leaf, and the three points. place it in the ebo at the center of the 2 sheets of paper.

3 Take an eko remove the paper wrapping. and place some on the leaf

4 Take some Epo and spread liberally over the Eko then add three pieces of Ekute and three pieces of Fish

5 add also toasted corn, and some dirt from the doorway of the home. If the home has more than one entrance, add dirt from every doorway. bring the dirt in both your hands, first adding to the paper ebo with your right hand and saying the words INLE LALHELU and
then with your left hand and say INLE LALHELA

6 After the dirt is added , combine with all the items specified for the particular ebo. If an item is to large, keep it outside of the ebo so that you can better perform the ritual.

7 Lastly add Oti and honey, then you are ready to begin the ritual at the Opon Ifa.

8 At the place where the ritual will be performed, you should already have the mat with the Opon Ifa in the center, the Irofa and the okuele to the left and to the right the brush, container of water and a sheet with the odu for the particular ebo. any animals that might be required and those items that might be too large to include inside the ebo

9 The ebo, now having been prepared, should remain to the right of the mat, in front of the Opon Ifa

Different Arrangements of Odu on the Opon Ifa to perform an ebo

To perform the Ebo in such a way that it meets all the required rituals and ceremonies the babalawo needs to place on the opon Ifa certain odu of Ifa at different times during the procedure. These different parts of the entire ritual have been called Tablets of Ifa. Since they are placed upon the Opon Ifa . A through understanding will make it easier to explain the ebo completely.

Tablet number 1
This is the most important of all, although not diminishing the other tablets used during the process. Without which the ebo would be incomplete. This tablet is begun by placing the odu. Baba Eyiogbe in the center. Starting from the bottom upwards. dividing the opon ifa into two equal parts. to the right of the lines, place the combination signs of Ifa. to the left place the melli sign of Ifa. after adding the melli signs to the left side, also place the odu’s of Iwori Ojuani and Iroso Umbemi
An example of the first tablet of the Opon Ifa follows below.

Tablet number 2
This tablets is used so the person that is receiving the ebo can symbolically wash the hands with the feathers of the ebo. The hands are washed with the feathers and then they are deposited in the ebo itself. place in the center of the Opon Ifa the sign that brought about the ebo, and also Ogbe Iroso and Otura Oche

Tablet number 3
This tablet is used to seal the ebo, after all the required rituals are performed and the final destination for the ebo is determined by the ebo. just as you did in tablet number 1, place the odu Baba Eyiogbe so that it divides the opon ifa into sections, but this time also draw a line across to divide the opon into four parts. DO NOT CROSS THE SIGN IN THE CENTER

Tablet number 4
This tablet is used to dismiss the ebo,

remember that every time that the odu Ika Melli is invoked, the opon ifa should be encircled with the two middle fingers to build a house around ifa and the iroso that remains in the finger tips should be added to the ebo.

First tablet

II II OO OO II II XX IO
II OO II OO II OO XX IO
OO OO II OO II II XX IO
OO II OO OO II IO XX IO

OO II OO II OO II II II II OI OO
II II OO OO OO II II OI IO IO II
II II OO OO II II II OI IO II OI
II OO II OO II IO OI OI IO OO IO

II II II OO OO II OO II II IO OI
OO II OO OO II OI IO IO OI II II
II OO II II OO II OI II II II II
OO II II OO OO IO OI II II II II

OO II OI OI OI II
II OO IO IO II OI
OO II II OO OI OI
II OI II OI IO II

II OO OO II II OO OO II
II OI OO OI IO II II IO
IO II OO IO OI IO OI OI
IO IO OI II IO II II II

these odu should be written left to right

Second Tablet

II XX II
OO XX II
II XX OI
OI XX OI

Feathers and Ache de Ifa are used to break the odus that have been placed on the opon by using a circular motion with the Irofa. Then and place them in the person hands.

The person rubs them with his hands and adds all to the ebo
The odu labeled with an X represents the odu that was cast originally for the person prior to the this ebo.

Third Tablet