Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Oshun (pronounced [ɔʃún]) is a spirit-goddess (Orisha) who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum.



Oshun is beneficient and generous, and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, though it is difficult to anger her. She is married to Chango, the god of thunder, and is his favorite wife because of her excellent cooking skills. One of his other wives, Oba, was her rival. They are the goddesses of the Ọṣun and Oba rivers, which meet in a turbulent place with difficult rapids.

In Santería, Oshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with the Catholic Saint: Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba’s patron saint.

She is associated with the color yellow, metals gold and copper, peacock feathers, mirrors, and anything of beauty, her favorable day of the week is Saturday and the number she is associated with is five. In one story, she had to become a prostitute to feed her children and the other Orishas removed her children from her home. Oshun went insane from grief and wore the same white dress every day; it eventually turned yellow.

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore she is omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba scripture which reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun , as well as her followers.

Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. Osun according to the ancients was the only female Irunmole amongst the 401 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “YeYe Cari yamori yeyeo” – the sweet mother of us all.

When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Oshun due to her femaleness she removed her divine energy, called ashe by the Yoruba, from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain.

It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging Oshun pardon under the advice of Olodumare that the world could continue to be created. But not until Oshun had given birth to a son. This son became Elegua, the great conduit of ashe in the Universe and also the eternal and trickster.

Oshun is known as Ya-lorde- the mother of things outside the home, due to her business acumen. She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers she dances, flirts and then weeps- because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.

Yoruba Fokelore

A Favorite Elegua story

One day Echu began a journey wearing a hat, red on one side, white on the other. Making not a sound he walked between two friends, one seeing the white side of his hat, the other seeing the red. Later in the day the two friends spoke to one another about the mysterious man in the hat.
Immediately, they began to argue about the color of the hat. White! Red! The quarreling turned to blows, as each man professed to know the right answer and demanded to be acknowledged as the victor in the violent discussion.The Trickster Eshu chuckled at the sight and walked over to the men, now bloodied and angry, and showed them his hat – red on one side and white on the other.

He was delighted by the fact they would fight about something as ridiculous as the color of another mans hat, ruining their long-standing friendship in the process. Taking pleasure in testing the strengths and weaknesses of mankind, he provides the lesson of making the right choices in life.

He is found at the crossroads, can see in all directions, watchs what people do, good and bad. His punishment is swift but he is also kind.

Eshu sits at the threshold to your home, guarding the entry.

Choice of Destiny

Oriseeku, Orilemere and Afuwape , These three were about to begin their earth-bound journey from their pre-natal existence. The last rite to perform was the choice of ori (destiny). They had a warning from Orisa-nla to go straight to the house of Ajala without changing course. The first two did as they were told while Afuwape, the son of Orunmila decided to see his father before making a choice. It turned out to be a good decision because in his fathers house, he met two of his fathers divination priests who advised him to offer some sacrifice. He did, and the result was good for him. The other two were not assisted in their choice, but Afuwape was assisted because as a result of the sacrifice he performed, he had directions on what to do to receive favor from Ajala, the maker and custodian of inner heads. On their arrival in the world, the other two noticed that things were going well for Afuwape while they were having difficult times. They reacted with a song:

Emi o mo bi olori n yan ri o
M ba lo yan temi
N go mo bi Afuwape yan ri o
M ba lo yan temi

I do not know where people with good destiny picked theirs
I would have picked mine there too
I do not know where Afuwape picked his good destiny
I would have gone there

To which Afuwape replied:

Eyin o mo bi olori n yan ri o
E ba lo yan teyin
Ibikan na la gbe yan ri o
Kadara o papo ni.

You do not know where good destiny is picked
You would have gone there for yours
We picked our destinies from the same source
Only their contents are not identical.

Orisha and Syncretized Catholic Saint

Olorun/Olofi, God the Creator
Obatala — Our Lady of Mercy *
Oddudua — Saint Anne, Saint Claire *
Aganyu — Saint Joseph
Yemaya — Our Lady of Regla, Virgen de la Regla
Orungan — The Infant Jesus
Chango — Saint Barbara *
Oya — Our Lady of La candelaria and St. Theresa *
Oshun — Our Lady of Charity, La Caridad del Cobre *
Ochosi — Saint Isidro
Oggun — Saint Peter *
Babalu-Aye — Saint Lazarus *
Eleggua — Holy Guardian Angel and The Child of Atocha *
Orunla — St. Francis of Assisi *

Ifa Related

Los Igbos - The Igbos

Los Igbos

Dentro del oráculo del diloggún, se emplean objetos que son manipulados para obtener las respuestas e indicar si la persona va a recibir un bienestar (iré), o por el contrario, se le esta señalando un mal (osobbo), así como todas las demás preguntas que se realicen. Estos objetos tienen por nombre igbo, es decir, agarre, camino o alternativa.
Existen diferentes clases de igbos, pero los más comunes se han concentrado en cuatro de ellos, como los más utilizados:

Cascarilla (efún). Símbolo de pureza, de paz y bienestar. También se utiliza para marcar larishe o remedio para cualquier osobo. Es utilizada para sacar el iré, para preguntar al pié de quien está y si es yale o cotoyale, también para hablar con Obbatalá. Como contraparte se utiliza el otá o el aye que siempre dan una respuesta negativa (no).

Piedrecilla (otá). Simboliza la inmortalidad, larga vida, ya que proviene de la naturaleza y no se corrompe. Se utiliza junto con la cascarilla para marcar ire y responde en negativo en ese instante. También se utiliza para los demás osogbos.


Caracol de babosa (ayé). Se utiliza para preguntar todo lo relacionado con enfermedades, matrimonios, para hablar con Oshún puesto que fue a ella que orunmila le regalo el caracol, su respuesta es positiva (si), usando como contraparte el otá que como significa vida contestará (no) a las preguntas. En osobo representa enfermedad.

Hueso de chivo (orunkún/egungun). Simboliza la muerte, ya que es lo que queda de nuestro cuerpo después muerto. Se utiliza para preguntar Ikú o cualquier pregunta que se refiera a egungun (espíritus).

También se encuentran los siguientes igbos optativos:

Semilla de guacalote (sesan/osan). Simboliza los hijos, pero también enfermedad, cuando viene osobbo. Generalmente se utiliza para preguntar por los hijos del consultante en particular para el iré omo.

Cabeza de muñeca (ori agbona). Representa la cabeza. Se utiliza para preguntar por la cabeza de la persona.

Pedazo de loza (apadi). Según algunas creencias simboliza: vencimiento, matrimonio y pérdida. También se pregunta con todo lo que tenga que ver con discusiones. En iré, representa el vencimiento del enemigo y en osobbo, perdidas para siempre.

Dos cauríes atados (owo). Simboliza dinero y desenvolvimiento cuando viene en ire. Cuando viene en osobbo: pérdida, pobreza y problemas.


The Igbos

Within the Oracle of the diloggún, use objects that are manipulated to get the answers and to indicate if the person will receive a welfare (go), or on the contrary, are you this pointing out an evil (osobbo), as well as all other questions to carry out. These objects are igbo name, i.e., grip, road or alternative.
There are different kinds of igbos, but commonly have been concentrated in four of them, such as the most frequently used:

Quinine (efún). Symbol of purity, peace and well-being. It is also used to mark larishe or remedy for any osobo. It is used to get the go to ask to the foot who is and if it is yale or cotoyale, also to speak with Obbatalá. As counterpart uses the otá or the aye which always give a negative answer (no).

Pebble (otá). It symbolizes immortality, longevity, and that comes from nature and is not corrupted. Used together with quinine to mark ire and responds in the negative at that moment. It is also used for other osogbos.


Slug snail (Aye). Used to ask everything about diseases, marriages, to talk to since Oshún that was her that orunmila gave her the snail, his response is positive (if), using the otá as a counterpart as it means life will answer (no) questions. Osobo represents disease.

Bone of goat (orunkún/egungun). It symbolizes death, because that is what is left of our later dead body. Used to ask Ikú or any question that relates to egungun (spirits).

Also include the following optional igbos:

Seed of guacalote (sesan / dare). Symbolizes the children, but also disease when it comes osobbo. Usually used to ask for the children of the consultant in particular for the go omo.

Head of wrist (ori agbona). It represents the head. Used to ask for the head of the person.

Piece of earthenware (apadi). According to some beliefs symbolizes: maturity, marriage and loss. She also asked with all that it has to do with discussions. In go, represents the maturity of the enemy and osobbo, lost forever.

Two tied cauríes (biqi). It symbolizes money and development when it comes in ire. When comes in osobbo: loss, poverty and problems.

Ifa

Ifa, god of divination, who is usually termed the God of Palm Nuts, because sixteen palm-nuts are used in the process of divination, The name Ifa apparently means something scraped or wiped off: he has the title of Gbangba (explanation, demonstration, proof). Ifa’s secondary attribute is to cause fecundity: he presides at births, and women pray to him to be made fruitful; while on this account offerings are always made to him before marriage, it being considered a disgrace not to bear children. To the native mind there is no conflict of function between Ifa and Obatala, for the former causes the woman to become pregnant, while the latter forms the child in the womb, which is supposed to be a different thing altogether.

Ifa first appeared on the earth at Ife, He tried to teach the inhabitants of Ife how to foretell future events, but they would not listen to him, so he left the town and wandered about the world teaching mankind. After roaming about for a long time, and indulging in a variety of amours, Ifa fixed his residence at Ado, where he planted on a rock a palm-nut, from which sixteen palm-trees grew up at once.

Ifa has an attendant or companion named Odu (? One who emulates), and a messenger called Opele (ope, puzzle, or ope, palm-tree). The bandicoot (okete) is sacred to him, because it lives chiefly upon palm-nuts. The first day of the Yoruba week is Ifa’s holy day, and is called ajo awo, “day of the secret.” On this day sacrifices of pigeons, fowls, and goats are made to him, and nobody can perform any business before accomplishing this duty.

A priest of Ifa is termed a babalawo (baba-ni-awo), “Father who has the secret,” as the natives never undertake anything of importance without consulting the god, and always act in accordance with the answer returned. Hence a proverb says, “The priest who is more shrewd than another adopts the worship of Ifa.” As Ifa knows all futurity, and reveals coming events to his faithful followers, he is considered the god of wisdom, and the benefactor of mankind. He also instructs man how to secure the goodwill of the other gods, and conveys to him their wishes, His priests pluck all the hair from their bodies and shave their heads, and always appear attired in white cloths.

The general belief is that Ifa possessed the faculty of divination from the beginning, but there is a myth which makes him acquire the art from the phallic god Elegba. In the early days of the world, says the myth, there were but few people on the earth, and the gods found themselves stinted in the matter of sacrifices to such an extent that, not obtaining enough to eat from the offerings made by their followers, they were obliged to have recourse to various pursuits in order to obtain food. Ifa, who was in the same straits as the other gods, took to fishing, with, however, he had small success; and one day, when he had failed to catch any fish at all, and was very hungry, he consulted the crafty Elegba, who was also in want, as to what they could do to improve their condition. Elegba replied that if he could only obtain the sixteen palm-nuts from the two palms -that Orungan the chief man, had in his plantation, he would show Ifa how to forecast the future; and that he could then use his knowledge in the service of mankind, and so receive an abundance of offerings. He stipulated that in return for instructing Ifa in the art of divination, he should always be allowed the first choice of all offerings made. Ifa agreed to the bargain, and going to Orungan, asked for the sixteen palm-nuts, explaining

to him what he proposed to do with them. Orungan, very eager to know what the future had in store for him, at once promised the nuts, and ran with his wife Orisha-bi, “Orisha-born,” to get them. The trees, however, were too lofty for them to be able to reach the palm-nuts, and the stems too smooth to be climbed; so they retired to a little distance and drove some monkeys that were in the vicinity into the palms. No sooner were the monkeys in the trees than they seized the nuts, and, after eating the red pulp that covered them, threw the bard kernels down on the ground, where Orungan and his wife picked them up. Having collected the whole sixteen, Orisha-bi tied them up in a piece of cloth, and put the bundle under her waist-cloth, on her back, as if she were carryino, a child. Then they carried the palm-nuts to Ifa. Elegba kept his promise and taught Ifa the art of divination, and Ifa in his turn taught Oruno-an, who thus became the first babalawo, It is in memory of these events that when a man wishes to consult Ifa, he takes his wife with him, if he be married, and his mother if he be single, who carries the sixteen palm-nuts, tied up in a bundle, on her back, like a child; and that the babalawo, before consulting the god, always says, “Orugan, ajuba oh. Orisha-bi ajuba oh.” (“Orungan, I hold you in grateful remembrance. Orisha-bi, I hold you in grateful remembrance.”

For the consultation of Ifa a whitened board is employed, exactly similar to those used by children in Moslem schools in lieu of slates, about two feet long and eight or nine inches broad, on which are marked sixteen figures. These figures are called “mothers.” The sixteen palm-nuts are held loosely in the right hand, and thrown through the half-closed fingers into the left hand. If one nut remain in the right hand, two marks are made, thus | |; and if two remain. one mark, |. In this way are formed the sixteen “mothers,” one of which is declared by the babalawo to represent the inquirer; and from the order in which the others are produced he deduces certain results. The interpretation appears to be in accordance with established rule, but what that rule is is only known to the initiated. The following are the “mothers”:

This process is repeated eight times, and the marks are made in succession in two columns of four each.

No. 6 is No. 5 inverted; 8 is 7 inverted; 10, 9 inverted; 13, 12 inverted; and 14, 11 inverted. Meji means “two,” or “a pair,” and the following appears to be the meaning of the names:–(1) The close pair (buru, closely). (2) The removed pair (Yekuro, to remove). (3) The street pair (Ode, a street). (4) The closed-up pair (Di, to close up, make dense). (5) The squatting-dog pair (losho, to squat like a dog). (6) The cross-bow pair (oron, cross-bow). (7) The striped pair (abila, striped). (8) ?Vulture-pair (akala, vulture). (9) The pointing pair (sha, to point). (10) The pair ending downward (Ku, to end, da, to upset on the ground). (11) ?The top-heavy pair (Dura, to make an effort to recover from a stumble; opin, end, point). (12) The tattoo-mark pair (ture, name of certain tattoo-marks). (13) The edge pair (leti, on the edge of). (14) The folded-up pair (Ka, to fold or coil). (15) The opened pair (shi, to open). (16) The alternate pair (fo, to pass over, pass by, jump over, skip).

From these sixteen “mothers” a great many combinations can be made by taking a column from two different “mothers,” and figures thus formed are called “children.” Thus (13) and (2) and (11) and (10) make respectively-

The initiation fee paid to a priest for teaching the art of divination is, it is said, is very heavy, and moreover does not cover the whole of the expense; for the Oracle is, like Oracles generally, ambiguous and obscure, and the neophyte finds that he constantly has to refer to the more experienced priests for explanations of its meaning.

When a man is initiated the priest usually informs him that he must
henceforward abstain from some particular article of food, which varies with the individual.

Ifa figures in connection with a legendary deluge, the story of which, now adapted to the Yoruba theology, Some time after settling at Ado, Ifa became tired of living in the world, and accordingly went to dwell in the firmament, with Obatala. After his departure, mankind, deprived of his assistance, was unable to properly interpret the desires of the gods, most of whom became in consequence annoyed. Olokun was the most angry, and in a fit of rage he destroyed nearly all the inhabitants of the world in a great flood, only a few being saved by Obatala, who drew them up into the sky by means of a long iron chain. After this ebullition of anger, Olokun retired once more to his own domains, but the world was nothing but mud, and quite unfit to live in, till Ifa came down from the sky, and, in conjunction with Odudua, once more made it habitable.

Opinions to Our Asociated Practitioners

Directive issued by Cuban Ifa/Ocha Cuncil's

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.

Signed:

(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.
 
This article is reprinted with the permission of the Cuban Yoruba Cultura Association. I invite you to visit their website directly at CubaYoruba