Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's
This is a place you can study Ifa Divination, the Orisha's and Palo Mayombe. You will not be sold anything or asked to contribute any money. There are very few secrets not shared here, there are no charges for joining us, Ifa has helped me live a better life, and I hope to spread his words to as many as I can. Be careful of those who claim to be the keepers of the new Ifa traditions, first discover the ancient writings. Always ask your Padrino/Godfather if the ceremony your paying for is the same as what he received. Or if it is some new creation.
I received Ifa in 1984. In Miami Florida with the traditions brought to Cuba in the 1800's. An interpretation of Ifa that recognizes that the teachings of Ifa allow that only a man can be initiated as a Babalawo. A women or homosexual is excluded by the Ifa odu's.
I have no animosity towards any gender or sexual orientation. It's just that a women or a gay man can never fulfil all the requirements and obligations of Ifa Priesthood. This is been affirmed by the Cuban and African Council of Elder Priests of Ifa.
No matter where you received your Ifa, or if it's just a curiosity, feel free to read and comment.
Below are a couple of random articles : Or choose from the Menu to the right.
For those who haven't yet discovered the Cuban Yoruba Association website, I suggest you visit them directly.
The site is in Spanish, but it has extensive articles regarding Ifa and the Orishas. It is a site I visit regularly and in my opinion it is one of the most comprehensive and authoritative on the internet.
We are fortunate to be able to use the internet to visit a site such as this.
Give them a try and leave a message for the association, they might reply if it's not a foolish question.
Might I also suggest you use 'bing' to translate since I have found that 'bing' does a better job of translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa than the other alternatives available.
The association has also been kind enough to allow me to republish their articles on this website, and I am very grateful for that permission. Maferefun Ifa
Cuban Yoruba Cultural Association.
I invite you to visit their website directly at CubaYoruba
Adechina Remigio Herrera (Obara Meji)
Adechina (“Crown of Fire”) is credited as being one of the most important founding fathers of Ifa in Cuba. A Yoruba born in Africa and initiated as a babalawo there, he was enslaved and taken to Cuba as a young man in the late 1820s. Legend has it that he swallowed his sacred ikin ifa used in divination in order to take them with him across the ocean. An intelligent and gifted man, He worked at a sugar mill until his freedom was paid for in 1827. He later became a powerful property owner in the Havana suburb of Regla. In addition to his large African and Creole religious family he had many influential godchildren from Havana’s Spanish, white elite and had important high society connections. He set up a famous religious institution, the Cabildo of the Virgin of Regla (the Cabildo Yemaya) in around 1860, which became a powerful center of Ifa and Orisha worship. Along with his daughter, the famous Ocha priestess Echu Bi, he organized the annual street procession on the feast day of the Virgin of Regla, every September 7th. Each year seminal Afrocuban drummers like Pablo Roche Okilakpa would sound the mighty Ilú batá in honor of Yemaya as they processed around the town. Incredibly, Adechina is also reputed to have returned to Africa, the land of his birth, in order to acquire the sacred materials needed to initiate babalawos. He returned again to Cuba with these sacred items in order to build Ifa there.
All the mojubas (prayers and recitals of lineage to honor the ancestors) of babalawos in Cuba include Adechina.
A great man who helped carry African profound spiritual knowledge to the Americas.
Orisas are best understood by observing the forces of nature they rule over and the endeavors of humanity. They can be natural phenomena, such as mountains, hills, and rivers. They can also be recognized through numbers and colors which are their marks. The devotees to each orisa can usually relate their past to their respective god. The deities are worshipped either annually or at fixed times.
Olodumare, also known as Olorun, is the central force of the Yoruba traditional religion. He is said to have established land and given life and breath. Myths say that Olodumare asked Orisanla’s brother, Oduduwa to descend from the sky to create the first Earth at Ile-Ife. Then, sixteen other orisas came down from heaven to accomplish the task of creating human beings to live on Earth. All the Orishas are said to have transcended from Olodunmare.
Ogun is the god of iron and war. Blacksmiths, warriors, and all who use metal in their profession are said to be patrons of this orisa. Ogun also presides over deals and contracts; in fact, in Yoruba courts, devotees of the faith swear to tell the truth by kissing a piece of iron or a machete that is sacred to Ogun. The Yoruba consider Ogum fearsome and terrible in his revenge. A legend that illustrates Ogun’s importance tells of the orisas trying to carve a road through a deep jungle. Ogun was the only one with proper implements for the task and won the right to be king of the orisa. He did not want the position though, and it went to Obatala. Ogun is identified by the colors green and black.
Sango, the god of thunder, rules over lightning, thunder, fire, drums, and dance. Sango’s storms and lightning being a purifying moral terror with bodlness. He is a hot blooded and strong-willed orisa with a quick temper and wit. His colors are red and white, which resembles his virility. One myth about Sango tells of when he ruled as the fourth king of the ancient Yoruba. He had a charm that could cause lightning, with which he inadvertently killed his entire family. To be forgiven for his sins, he hanged himself, and became deified. He tried to exceed his own limits and thereby destroyed what he cherished most. Sango’s devotees regard him as the embodiment of great creative potential. His dedication to power over life is evident in his shrines.
Obatala is the god of arch divinity of Yorubaland. Known as the “King of the White Cloth”, Obatala represents the spiritual unity and interrelationship of all things. He is known to be the creator of the world and humanities. Obatala is the source of purity, wisdom, peacefulness, and compassion. Everything on Earth that is pure belongs to him. As the sculpture-god, Obatala has the responsibility to evolve human bodies. He is responsible for the normal and abnormal characteristics. Therefore, the Yorubas say that human deformities are often a result of his errors. A pregnant woman who speaks negatively of Obatala is likely to have a defective child. These children are called Eni Orisa, or the children of Obatala. His followers appeal to him for children, the avenging of wrongdoing, and the cure of deformities.
Elegba (Eleggua) is the god of crossroads, meaning he is the owner of opportunity and the roads and doors into the world. He is a child-like messenger between the orisas and human beings. Without his approval, nothing could be done. He is always honored first before any other orisa because he opens the doors between the worlds and opens the door for life. He is said to be the force in nature who brings magic into reality. Devotees give offerings and honor to him on mondays and on the third day of every month. With his child-like behavior he is known as a trickster, yet his tricks are simply opportunities to learn lessons. His colors are red, white, and black which exemplify his contradicting nature.
Yemoja (Yemalla) is the goddess of the sea, moon, and motherhood. Her name, a shortened version of Yeye Omo Eja means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” reflects the fact that her children are unaccountable. She is said to be the mother of many Orisha, generous, and giving. All life started in the sea, the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb, is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. She represents the mother who gives love, but does not give her power away. Yemalla also owns the collective, subconsciousness. Her worship is indeed ancient and annual or at fixed times.
Sopona (Shokpona), the god of smallpox, apparently became an important god in the smallpox plagues that were transmitted by various inter-tribal wars; the Yoruba also blamed Sopona’s wrath for high temperatures, carbuncles, boils, and other diseases that resemble small-pox symptoms. Sopona once terrified some Yoruba so greatly that they feared to say his name;they used instead such names as Elegbana (“hot earth”) and A-soro-pe-leerun (“one whose name it is not propitious to call during the dry season”). Priests of Sopona wielded immense power; it was believed that they could bring the plague down on their enemies, and in fact the priests sometimes made a potion from the powdered scabs and dry skin of those who died from small-pox. They would pour the potion in an enemy’s house or a neighboring village to spread the disease. Today, however, smallpox has been all but eradicated; the priests of Sopona have lost power and the cult has all but vanished.
Opinions to our associated practitioners of the rule of Ocha and the Cuban IFA cult.
1. Do not allow anyone to change what was achieved with so much sacrifice in any ceremony performed, Whether in Cuba or our brothers anywhere in the world.
2. Make sure the people who you share knowledge of the secrets of Ifa have actually been initiated under the Cuban religions traditions which are of African origin, or if they have been initiated in some other method which is not what was bequeathed to us by our ancestors.
3. Do not perform or participate in initiations whether IFA or Ocha that are less than 7 days of rituals.
4 When Oba (Oriate) says during an Ocha ita, acting as the intermediary of the odu, "acquitted for lack of evidence" you have to immediately dismantle the throne and the person who is being initiated should stay all 7 days normally required for ceremony.
5 Please do not enter into discussions or raise questions that will cause disagreement with people who wish to follow other methods of initiation.
6. Do not allow in our homes in the days of rituals, opinions or people who do not agree with our faith inherited from our ancestors.
7. Respect all the ceremonial which we have been doing for our higher education.
8 Only be guided by your elders and in the lack of them by those people you designate for this purpose.
9. this section and those following pertained to Cuba and are not worth translating, if you wish to read it. It appears fully in the Spainsh Version.
(a) Council of priests of IFA of the Republic of Cuba.
(b) Council of priests Obateros (Oriate) of the Republic of Cuba.
(c) Council of priestesses Iyalochas elders of the Republic of Cuba.
(d) Council of priests Babalochas elders of the Republic of Cuba.
(e) Council of priests heads of Councils of the Republic of Cuba
(f) Council of Arara older priests of the Republic of Cuba.