Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's
Creator of Human Form, White purity, Cures illness and deformities.
Messenger of the Orisha, Holder of Ashe (pover) among the Orisha, he is prime negotiator between negative and positive forces in body, enforces the “law of being”. Helps to enhance the power of herbs.
Orisha of Iron, he expands, he is divinity of clearing paths, specifically in respect to blockages or interruption of the flow vital energy at various points in the body. he is the liberator.
Mother of Waters, Sexuality, Primal Waters, Nurturer. She is the amniotic fluid in the womb of the pregnant woman, as well as, the breasts which nurture. She is the protective energies of the feminine force.
Sensuality, Beauty, Gracefulness, she symbolizes clarity and flowing motion, she has power to heal with cool water, she is also the divinity of fertility and feminine essence, Women appeal to her for child-bearing and for the alleviation of female disorders, she is fond of babies and is sought if a baby becomes ill, she is known for her love of honey.
Kingly, Virility, Masculinity, Fire, Lightning, Stones, Protector/ warrior, Magnetism, he possesses the ability to transform base substance into that which is pure and valuable.
Tempest, Guardian of the Cemetery, Winds of Change, Storms, Progression, she is usually in the company of her counterpart Shango, she is the deity of rebirth as things must die so that new beginnings arise.
He foolishly decided to try the effect of the charm first of all on his own palace, which was at the foot of a hill.
Ascending the hill with his courtiers, the King employed the charm: a storm suddenly arose, the palace was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground, together with Chango’s whole family.
Overcome with grief at having lost his possessions, and above all his sons, the impetuous King resolved to retire to a corner of his kingdom and to rule no more. Some of his courtiers agreed with him, and others tried to dissuade him from the plan; but Chango in his rage executed a hundred and sixty of them—eighty who had disagreed with him, and eighty who had agreed too eagerly!
Then, accompanied by a few friends, he left the place and started on his long journey. One by one his friends deserted him on the way, until he was left alone, and in despair he decided to put an end to his life, which he rashly did.
When they heard of the deed, his people came to the spot and gave him an honourable funeral, and he was ever afterwards worshipped as the god of thunder and lightning. So, among all the Yorubas, when people see the flash of lightning followed by the sullen roar of thunder, they remember Chango’s rage after the destruction of his palace, and exclaim: Kabo Kabiosile “Long live the King!”
At the end of the war these three magicians came to the King and humbly asked to be allowed to return home. The King foolishly refused, and at this the magicians said:
We asked your permission out of courtesy, O King, but we can very easily depart without it.
Thereupon the first magician fell down on the ground and disappeared. The second threw a ball of twine into the air, climbed up the thread and disappeared likewise. The third magician, Elenre, remained standing.
It is your turn to disappear, said the King, trembling with anger, or I will slay you.
You cannot harm me, replied the magician.
At this the King ordered him to be beheaded, but the sword broke in two, and the executioners arm withered away. The King then ordered him to be speared, but the spear crumpled up and was useless. An attempt was made to crush the magician with a rock, but it rolled over his body as lightly as a childs ball.
The King then sent for the magicians wife and asked her to reveal his secret charm. At last the woman confessed that if they took one blade of grass from the thatched roof of a house, they could easily cut off his head with it.
This was done, and the magicians head rolled off and stuck to the Kings hand. It could not by any means be removed. When food and drink was brought to the King, the head consumed it all, so that the King seemed likely to die.
Magicians were hastily summoned from all over the kingdom, but the head laughed at all their charms and remained fast.
Finally came one who prostrated himself before the head and cried out:
Who am I to oppose you, great Elenre? I come only because the King commands me.
To this Elenre replied:
You are wiser than all the rest! and the head fell at once to the ground, where it became a flowing river, which to this day is called Odo Elenre, or Elenres river.
The magicians wife was likewise changed into a river, but because she had betrayed him, Elenre commanded the river not to flow, and it became instead a stagnant pool.
One day, as he walked through a grove, he saw two trees close together a small stunted tree and a big tree with thick foliage and spreading branches. What sort of tree are you? he asked the little tree.
I am the Chop-tree, was the reply.
Well, Chop-tree, what can you produce? asked Tortoise. And at the words the little tree waved its branches and a shower of food fell to the ground. Tortoise ate until nothing remained, and then turned to the tall and handsome tree.
And what tree are you? he asked, thinking that such a splendid tree must produce rich fruit. The tree told him that its name was Whip-tree, to which Tortoise replied: Whip-tree, what can you produce?
At these words the Whip-tree bent its branches and beat Tortoise until he cried for mercy. When the beating ceased, Tortoise went home, but, being of a greedy nature, he said nothing of the two trees, and showed his wife only a few poor nuts which he had found.
After that he went every day to the Chop-tree and feasted to his hearts content. While his family and all the people, even to the King, became thin and meagre, Tortoise appeared daily fatter and more prosperous, until Nyanribo, his wife, began to suspect.
One day Nyanribo resolved to follow him into the forest, and great was her surprise when she saw her husband stand under the little tree and say: Tree, do your duty! The branches waved, and rich titbits fell to the ground.
Nyanribo cried out in astonishment and reproached her husband for his greediness. She hastened back to the town and returned with the whole family of children and cousins. She stood under the Chop-tree and said: Tree, do your duty! When the food fell down, they all partook of the feast.
But spiteful Tortoise was displeased, and exclaimed:
I wish you would stand under the other tree and receive your proper reward!â€
Hearing this, they all went to stand under the Whip-tree, and Nyanribo again cried: Tree, do your duty! Alas! The branches began to beat them all soundly until they died.
Tortoise was alarmed at this and hastily returned to his house, but the neighbours soon noticed that his wife and family were absent, and the King ordered Tortoise to account for their disappearance.
Tortoise therefore led the King and all the nobles and the people into the forest, and when they were gathered under the Chop-tree he cried out: Tree, do your duty! and, as before, a feast appeared, which the hungry people soon devoured.
Tortoise then asked them to stand underneath the othet tree, and this they were eager to do. The King himself was the one to cry out: Tree, do your duty! and the branches began to beat all those who stood below until they cried out with pain.
In a great rage the people hunted for Tortoise, desiring to kill him; but he hid inside his shell, in a secret place, and they could not harm him.
He stayed in concealment until the King died and a new King was found, and then he thought it safe to appear in the town. But whenever he hears the two words Chop and Whip, he hides in his shell, thinking himself in danger.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.