Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's
Tortoise was delighted with this arrangement, and at first he duly placed the sum of money on the ground every time he asked the Cloud for fine or wet weather.
One day, the occasion of a Chiefâ€™s wedding, the sky was very cloudy, and it seemed likely to rain. Tortoise heard the Chief complaining: â€œWe have promised the drummers a great deal of money, but if it rains nobody will come to see the maidens dance at my wedding!
Tortoise went to the Chief and said: If you will give me a certain sum, I will hold up the clouds on my hard back and there will be no rain.
The Chief readily agreed to pay the cowries Tortoise demanded, and Tortoise stood at the back of his hut and cried to the Cloud: Pass! Pass! The Cloud rolled back, the sun shone brightly, and the wedding took place with much rejoicing.
But Tortoise did not lay any money on the ground, and instead, he kept the whole amount for himself.
The next day a man came to Tortoises house and offered him much money if he would cause the rain to fall. For, he said, my fishing-stakes are too high, but if it rains the river will swell and the fish will come into my baskets.
Very well, replied Tortoise. I will throw a spear into the clouds, and the rain will fall.
Then he stood at the back of his house, where he could not be seen, and cried to the Cloud: Fall! Fall! It began to pour with rain.
But again he neglected to lay money on the ground and kept it all for himself. Soon, in this way, he grew rich and famous, and almost every day someone asked for fine or rainy weather. He stored many bags of cowries in his house and gave nothing to the Cloud.
When two people asked him for rain and sunshine on the same day, Tortoise pretended that he had grown tired with holding up the clouds on his back, and so the rain fell.
But after some time, seeing how rich Tortoise became, the hard-working Cloud was angry and decided to punish him.
One day Tortoise wished to set out on a journey with his family, so he stood outside his house and cried: Pass! Pass! Let the sun shine on my journey!
But as soon as he had set out, the Cloud rolled back again and rain poured down in torrents, causing a great flood in which Tortoise and all his famiIy were drowned.
One night when Tortoise was asleep in his hut, they set fire to it, and as they saw the flames leaping up, they said to one another:
He cannot escape. He will die.
But Tortoise drew himself into his shell and was untouched by the fire, and in the morning his enemies were astonished to see him walking about as usual.
Soon they made another plan and threw Tortoise into a pool of water.
The pool is deep. He will drown, said his enemies to one another.
But Tortoise had drawn himself into his shell and was secure, and at noon the sun shone fiercely and dried up the pool.
That evening Tortoise walked about the village as if nothing had happened, and his enemies were astonished.
The next day they made a third attempt to kill him. They made a deep hole in the ground and buried Tortoise, and this time they were quite sure he could not escape. To mark the place, they put a bamboo stake in the ground.
Meanwhile a man who was passing saw the bamboo stake, and thought, Someone has buried a treasure here! He called his friends, and they began to dig, but all they found was Tortoise fast asleep inside his shell.
Tortoise walked about the village again, looking very happy, and his enemies were filled with astonishment.
He has a charm, and we shall never be able to kill him, they said to one another, and from that day they left him in peace.
clubbing and hacking his way in the jungles searching for food, but
with his aggressive manner would only scare the prey away. So he
pined starving and frustrated in the forest with only his ability
of his forge with which he could make knives and tools. Oshosi on
the other hand with his mysterious efficacy to hypnotize his would
be victim, would prize numerous catches. But without the tools with
which he could butcher them he also remained alone and starving with
numerous unopened carcasses that were of no value to him rotting. One day
Eleggua came about, hungry and curious and having seen Ogun not far
off in a similar predicament he said;
“Why don’t you and Ogun live together? Certainly you would be
formidable room mates. For you can catch to your hearts desire and
Ogun can open the prey”.
Eleggua then went to Ogun and proposed; “Why don’t you and Oshossi
move together and work with each other instead of quarreling or
being so exacting in your differences? Certainly if you live with
each other while one can hunt the other can make use of that which
Then Oshosi and Ogun said; “But we cannot guarantee that we will
always find what we are looking for. If we then both become hungry
then in our frustration of the best of friends we will become the
worst of enemies.”
To which Eleggua answered; “Not so, for if you share with me your
catch, for I only need very little as you see, I will show you
where to make the paths, where to find the grounds where at, you
will be successful in getting good catch and that way we three can
not only be friends but an indefatigable threesome that none can
And it is said that from that day forward Ogun and Oshossi share
the same cauldron and Eleggua…well, he comes and goes as he
pleases, so long as he is taken care for he will always at least
let the hunters know where to go for their success.”
Agogo ishere agbara
Elese kan sare ju ese meji lo”
`God of herbs
Dance bell of power
One-legged man running faster than men on two legs.’
Document of the International Council of Ifa in Nigeria
For: The Ifa World Order
This counsel has been up to date with the growing worries generated by the
current controversy that surrounds the report that is found circulating and that
alleges that a Mrs. D' Haifia who is also Yeye Araba, affirms to be in
possession of Orisa Odu (Igba Iwa) which was given to her OLo-Irese, The Araba
of Ife, and Chief Makonranwale Adisa Aworeni.
This fact has generated an anxiety and unprecedented uneasiness inside and out
of the community of Ifa World. The counsel, with a view to clarify the facts, by
this manner gives the following explanations;
1- It prohibits that any woman of any religion or spiritual extraction be in the
possession of, management or vision of Orisa Odu. This is not by any means
discriminatory against the woman, but is in pure and strict harmony with the
dogmas of Ifa according to itself expressly train in Ofun Meji 16:4, in Irete
Bear 221:8, in Irete Ofun 226:18 and in Otrupon Irete.
2- Any woman that affirms to be in possession of or manipulate or see Orisa Odu
has consequently broken a fundamental dogma of Ifa and she will be responsible
for physical as spiritual consequences of her actions.
3- The council likewise reports that neither Mrs. D' Haifa nor her associates
are registered or recognized as members of the International Counsel of the
Religion of Ifa, the governing body and uniting power of all the followers of
The Council makes the following statements.
1- It warns all women in interest of their spiritual and physical welfare to
never acquire, touch or to see Odu (igba iwa). This will do them no well, since
to not possess it does not deprive them of its spiritual essence in any form.
2- If some woman affirms to possess Odu (Igba Iwa), said woman does it against
the commandments of the dogmas of Ifa. In this manner those women in possession
of Odu (Igaba Iwa) in any manner or aspect should consider it as something that
is lacking of spiritual value, since those people which affirm to have received
it, are aware of the inexorable fact that is an abomination for a woman to
possess or to see Odu (Igba Iwa)..
3- For having stained the name of Ifa and of the women and by dragging in the
mud the venerated name of Ifa, and by generating a controversy that could have
been avoided, the International council of the Religion of Ifa, (of which the
Arabaof Ife is President, board of directors) in this manner withdraws the title
of Yeye Araba from Mrs. DÂ¡Haifia effective immediately.
4- The Counsel in this manner warns all charlatans, impostors, false and
practioners of Ifa to desist since we will no doubt be invoking all the
measures on anyone regardless of their position in the community of Ifa.
5- To all the temples and associations dedicated to the worship of Ifa all over
the world, in this manner it is advised to be registered officially and as quick
as be possible with the Council and so avoid having rights and privileges of
said membership are denied to them.
Nigeria, March 25 of the 2003 Signed by:
Profesor Idowu B. Odeyemi Balogun Awo Agbaye & Presidente.
Chief Solagbade Popoola, secretario General
Chief Fasina Falade Olobikin Of Ile â€"Ifa
Member (board of directors, depository:
Chief Prof.. Wande Abimbola
Chief Oyewole Obenmalcinda
Chief Prof. Odutola Odeyeni
Chief Iquyikwa Odutola
Chief Adeboye Oyesanya
Chief Awodirian Agboola.
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.
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 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.