Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Yoruba Fokelore

Kabo Kabiosile

King Chango was acquainted with many deadly charms, and he once happened to discover a preparation by which he could attract lightning.

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!”

The Head

THERE is a certain country where the inhabitants have heads but no bodies. The Heads move about by jumping along the ground, but they never go very far.

One of the Heads desired to see the world, so he set out one morning secretly. When he had gone some distance, he saw an old woman looking out of the door of a hut, and he asked her if she would kindly lend him a body.

The old woman willingly lent him the body of her slave, and the Head thanked her and went on his way.

Later he came upon a young man sleeping under a tree, and asked him if he would kindly lend him a pair of arms, as he did not appear to be using them. The young man agreed, and the Head thanked him and went on his way.

Later still he reached a river-bank where fishermen sat singing and mending their cone-shaped net. The Head asked if any one of them would lend him a pair of legs, as they were all sitting and not walking. One of the fishermen agreed, and the Head thanked him and went on his way.

But now he had legs, arms, and a body, and so appeared like any other man.

In the evening he reached a town and saw maidens dancing while the onlookers threw coins to those they favoured. The Head threw all his coins to one of the dancers, and she so much admired his handsome form that she consented to marry him and go to live with him in his own country.

Next day they set out, but when they came to the river-bank, the stranger took off his legs and gave them back to the fisherman. Later they reached the young man, who still lay sleeping under the tree, and to him the Head gave back his arms. Finally they came to the cottage, where the old woman stood watching, and here the stranger gave up his body.

When the bride saw that her husband was merely a Head, she was filled with horror, and ran away as fast as she could go.

Now that the Head had neither body, arms, nor legs, he could not overtake her, and so lost her for ever.

Orunmila meets Echu

One day Orunmila decided to journey to the city of Owo. Before beginning his trip, he cast sixteen divining nuts to see what lay ahead. Twice he cast the nuts, and twice they told him nothing, which was odd, since Orunmila was the father of divination. But he ignored the matter, and began his journey.

On the first day, Orunmila met Eshu, the orisha of chance, whom he greeted as a friend. On the second day, and again on the third, Orunmila met Eshu, coming from the opposite direction. “I am coming from Owo,” Eshu said simply. Orunmila thought it very odd to have met Eshu three times. But Eshu was rather odd in any case, and Orunmila was in a hurry to reach Owo, so he ignored the matter.

On the fourth day, Eshu took some fresh kola fruits and left them in the middle of the trail just outside of the city, where Orunmila would be certain to find them. Once more, Orunmila and Eshu passed one another. This close to his journey’s end, Orunmila did not feel the need to consult his divining nuts.

Orunmila found the kola fruits, and picked them up and began to eat. As he did so, a farmer came out onto the path. “Those kola fruits are from my tree.”

“That is not possible,” Orunmila said. “I found these fruits here, in the middle of the trail, and there are no trees nearby.”

But the angry farmer did not believe Orunmila, and tried to take back his fruit. In their struggle, the farmer cut Orunmila’s palm with his bush knife. Orunmila turned away from Owo, and slept by the side of the road that night. He despaired that he would always be known in Owo as a thief, though he had never in his life taken another man’s property.

During the night, Eshu entered the house of all the people of Owo–including the Oba and the farmer–and cut everyone’s palms. The next day, Orunmila decided that he would complete his journey. Once again, he met Eshu.

“Eshu, I always considered you a friend, but I think you have made my trip to Owo difficult.”

“Quite the contrary,” Eshu replied. “Enter the city without fear. If there is any trouble, I will speak for you.”

The kola farmer saw Orunmila when he entered Owo with Eshu, and he went to complain to the Oba, who ordered the stranger brought before him. Again, the farmer accused Orunmila of the theft.

Eshu then spoke for Orunmila, as he had promised. “This stranger has come to Owo only today: how can he already have enemies? What evidence do you have that this man stole your fruit?”

“We struggled outside the city,” the farmer said, “and I cut the palm of his hand. If he opens his hand, we will see the evidence of his crime.”

“And why should he be the only one examined?” Eshu demanded. “I am sure that many of the people in Owo had the opportunity to steal your kola fruit. Let them be examined as well.”

The Oba consented, and had all the people of Owo come forth and display the palms of their hands. And across each one, there was a fresh red cut.

“If a cut is a sign of guilt, then all of Owo is guilty,” Eshu said, and the Oba agreed, and proclaimed Orunmila’s innocence. The people of Owo brought the mistreated stranger gifts of goats and wine and kola fruits.

And so it was that, both despite and because of Eshu’s actions, Orunmila was welcomed in Owo.

Ifa Related

UNESCO Proclamation

Ifa Divination System in Nigeria The Ifa divination system, which makes use of an extensive corpus of texts, is practised among Yoruba communities. The word Ifa refers to the mystical figure Ifa or Orunmila, regarded by the Yoruba people as the deity of wisdom and intellectual development. In the twelfth century, the city of Ile-Ife, located in the Osun region of the South-west of Nigeria, emerged as the cultural and political centre of this community. It is also practised by the African diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean. img In contrast to other forms of divination in the region that employ spirit mediumship, Ifa divination does not rely on a person having oracular powers but rather on a system of signs that are interpreted by a diviner, the Ifa priest orbabalawo, literally “the priest’s father”. The Ifa divination system is applied whenever an important individual or collective decision has to be made. The Ifa literary corpus, called odu, consists of 256 parts, which are subdivided into verses called ese, whose exact number is unknown as it is in constant growth (ther are around 800ese per edu). Each one of the 256 odu has its specific divination signature, which is determined through a procedure held by thebabalawo using sacred palm-nuts and a divination chain. The ese, considered as the most important part of Ifa divination, are chanted by the priests in poetic language. The ese reflect Yoruba history, language, beliefs, cosmovision and contemporary social issues. The knowledge of Ifa has been preserved within Yoruba communities and transmitted among Ifa priests. Under the influence of colonial rule, traditional beliefs and practices were discriminated. The Ifa priests, of whom most are already advanced in age, have only little means to maintain the tradition, to transmit their complex knowledge and train future practitioners. Thus, there is an increasing lack of interest among the youth and the Yoruba people in practising and consulting Ifa divination, which goes hand-in-hand with growing intolerance towards divination systems in general.

UNESCO website

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

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.