Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Orunmila is an Irunmola and deity of destiny and prophecy. He is recognized as “ibi keji Olodumare” (second only to Olodumare (God)) and “eleri ipin” (witness to creation).

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.

Yoruba Fokelore

How the Leopard got his Spots

At one time the Leopard was colored like a lion, and he had no dark markings; but he was pursued by Akiti, the renowned hunter, and feared that he might be slain.

To avoid this he ate the roots of a certain magic plant, which had the effect of making him invulnerable to any of the hunters weapons.

Soon afterwards Akiti saw him as he slipped through the dense undergrowth of the forest, but though he shot his poisoned arrows, Leopard escaped.

But where each arrow struck him, there appeared a dark mark, and now, though hunters still pursue him, he is rarely caught, but his body is covered with the marks of the arrows, so that as he goes among the trees he looks exactly like the mingling of the sun and shadow.

Another Story about Leopards Spots……………………

ACCORDING to another story, Leopard once had a very dark skin. He was prowling one day in a beautiful compound, when he noticed a little hut in which a lady was taking her bath.

Round and round the hut Leopard walked, waiting for an opportunity to spring into the hut and seize his victim, for he was hungry.

But as he passed the opening of the hut, the lady saw him, and, uttering a scream of terror, she threw at him her loofah, which was full of soap.
She flung it at him and he fled,
But to this day the Leopard still
Is flecked with soap from foot to head!”

Son of Sticks

A Great King sent his various sons to rule over different parts of his kingdom, and all were satisfied but one, the youngest and most ambitious, who returned to his father after some time with the complaint that his territory was much too small and his subjects too few.

The King was displeased with his son, and sent for a large bundle of sticks, which he converted into human beings.

“Here are some more subjects for you!” he said to the astonished Prince.

From that time the tribe was famous for its strength and stupidity, and went by the nickname of “Sons of Sticks,” or “Ọmọ igi”!

Yoruba Traditional Religion

To examine the Yoruba religion, one must look at the entire area of Yoruba cultural existence. Yorubas are located basically in the southwestern part of Nigeria and in some parts of Benin and Togo. The history of the Yoruba religion seems to be somewhat of a controversial subject in most sources that deal with this topic. There was really no mention of when the religion started or much about the origin of the people because the beginning of their existence was always noted as being in Ife, the center where the Yoruba people descended from heaven. Ife is said to have been founded around a thousand years ago and there was some mention that the Yorubas might have descended from some Middle Eastern heritage.

As far as dealing with the actual origin of the religion itself, it is only referred to as a surviving religion of a “higher” religion. That religion is said to be from the Ancient Egyptian–Religion otherwise known as Khamet or Kemet. Being that the language of the Yorubas is so strongly tied to the culture there are many comparisons analyzed as to why there is a belief that Yoruba religion has been derived from Ancient Egyptian religion. For example, in Lucas’ “The Religion of the Yorubas” word comparisons are made. Such a comparison is made with the Ancient Egyptian God Amon: “The God Amon is one of the Gods formerly known to the Yorubas”. The Yoruba words mon, mimon, “holy or sacred,” are probably derived from the name of the God” (p.21).

Many of the sources which I encountered did not attempt to even approach the topic of the origin of the Yorubas Orisa (Orisha). The Orisa is one of the key spiritual elements of traditional Yoruba religion. It is an example of the many deep rooted meanings of the religion of the Yorubas. The Orisa, according to Baba Ifa Karade’s “The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts,” are a series of Gods or divinities under the Yoruba’s main–God, Olorun or Oludumare. Karade also argues that there are many striking similarities between the ancient Egyptians and the Yorubas. The Orisha are “… an expression of the principles and functions of divine power manifesting on nature”(p.23).

The actual word “Orisha” has a deep meaning itself. For example, the word ori is the “reflective spark of human consciousness embedded on human essense, and sha which is the ultimate potentiality of that consciousness.” This gives a strong example of how strong language is tied to religion. This Ori is the aspect of the human that is in a sense in control of their spiritual actions. The ori is divided into two which can be known as the ori apari and the ori apere. The ori apari represents the internal spiritual head and the ori apere represents the sign of an individuals personal protector. The common Orisa which seem to come up time after time are these major ones: Obatala, Elegba, Ogun, Yemoja, Oshun (Osun), Shango (Sango), and Oya.

Each of these gods has a specific purpose when dealing with the human spirit. Each of the orisas has a specific color and natural environment associated with them. Obatala represents the embodiment of true purity of one’s soul. Obatala is also said to represent ethical purity. Such purity is represented by pure whiteness. There is great measure taken to carry out the importance of this pure whiteness because the temples which worship the divinity Obatala have the color of white in all the instruments of worship. For example, the clothing of those involved with the worship in the temples are white. In addition, all the emblems are kept in white containers and the ornaments are white as are the beads for the priests and priestesses. Obatala is said to be the father of the Orisha and the divinity in charge of the carving of humans out of clay into the form they are today. He is worshiped or appeased by his followers when they want children, revenge for wrong doings, cures for sickness and so on.

Yemoja is the divinity that governs over all the waters or oceans. Yemoja is said to be the mother of all the Orisha. She is the water or ambiotic fluid in the mother’s womb and the breasts which nurture a new born child. She is the Matriarchal head of the entire universe. Her natural environment are the salt water–oceans and the lakes and the colors associated with her are blue and crystal. There is much confusion concerning the subject matter as to who is the chief female divinity because the different sources represent different view points on this subject matter and this was really unclear.

Sango or Shango to non Yoruba speakers is said to be a human that was made into a deity. He was said to be the ruler of old Oyo that was hung (legend has it that he committed suicide by hanging himself to a tree after his failure to amass all the political powr to himself) because of his greed for power. Sango is the god of lightning in addition to being the Orisha of drum and dance. He is also known to change things into pure and valuabe objects. His followers come to him for legal problems, making bad situations better, and protection from enemies. His natural environment happens to be any place that has been struck by lightning, and the base of trees. It is said that no god is more feared for malevolent action than sango.

Ogun is said to be the god of iron and basically everything that becomes iron. He is known for building or clearing paths for the building of civilizations and is the divinity of mechanization. Ogun is considered to be the holder of divine justice and truth. He is also said to be the executioner of the world. Natural environment are in the woods, railroads, and forges.

Oya is the divinity that is associated with the death or the rebirth into a new life. She is considered to be the wife of Sango. Oya is also known as the god of storms and hurricanes and has power over the winds. She is also the deity that is in charge of guarding the cemetary. Osun (Oshun) is the deity of diplomacy and all giving or unconditional love. She is a river deity because she symbolizes clarity. She is the divinity of fertility and feminine essence. Oshun is said to represent the strenght of feminine love and the power of motherhood. It is she who is appeased when it comes time for a mother to give birth.

Elegba is the messenger of the deities and his major role is to negotiate between the other orishas and the humans and is very close to all the forces of the deities. He is in charge of giving from the humans to the divinities. Elegba is the one who tests the human souls. Even when worhsipping other divinities, he is also worshipped because of his important role in the Yoruba religion. Elegba can both punish and reward and is known for having great wisdom. He is also the divinity who takes the body upon death and the divinity that saves. Although he does not match the role exactly, he is what the western world would call the devil. Elegba is not evil.

It is particularly important to discuss the dieties because they represent such an important aspect of Yoruba traditional religion. The Yorubas have a deep and symbolic meaning attached to each of the divinities which is exhibited through prayer and worhsip. These divinities give the reader some idea of the powerful belief system of the Yorubas. Many scholars or anyone not familiar with the Yoruba system of worship which is based in the belief in more than one god, may see this religion as “superstitious” or “pagan”.

The Yorubas have many festivals to give honor and praise to the many divinities within the Orisa system of belief. The Yoruba festivals are extremely elaborate and have much deep rooted meaning in practice related to them. Certain Yoruba towns have certain orisas which are honored. This is extremely important because it shows the diversity of Yoruba culture and futhermore the facets of traditional Yoruba religion. It would be tedious and quite boring to examine and give an account of every single festival and the villages in which they take place because the Yoruba religion covers so many (actually all) towns in Yorubaland. The discussion could go on forever. However, I will give one account of this widely practiced aspect of Yoruba religion.

Among the people of Osogbo, the Orisa Osun is the center of the town’s attention even though it is worshipped by the people in all areas of Yorubaland. The reason for this vast diversity may be due to the fact that there are major differences in the landscape of each of the villages where the Yorubas settled. Each orisa has a natural environment and a different emphasis may be put on a different orisa. For example, the reason why the people of Osogbo worship osun may be because their town was founded near a river and osun’s natural environment is in fresh rivers and lakes. The historical legend or belief behind the worship of osun is that the people of Osogbo found it hard to find any fresh drinking water for the village. It was the divinity osun who gave the people of Osogbo fresh water. Osun has also been credited to give infertile women children.

In Yoruba traditional religion, life is circular. What is meant by this that in the Yoruba religion, there is no such thing as death. Death is seen as a transition from the physical plain to the spiriitual plain. The life cycle of the Yorubas is very complex. Before an individual is born into the world, they choose a destiny with God (Olodumare) in heaven. The goal is to fulfil the destiny. There is one exception, once a child is born he or she forgets the destiny he or she has chosen. The purpose of this is for the individual to learn and gain wisdom for life in the spiritual plain. The Yoruba traditional religion believes in predestination. It is also important to point out that there is no hell in traditional Yoruba religion. The Yoruba believe that all of one’s wrong doings will be paid for and all good deads will be rewarded. Under the orisa system, the early cycle of life is called “morning”. Morning of one’s life spans from the time of birth to the age of fifty. It is in this time period that the individual learns and experiences life’s most difficult lessons. This also is the time when the Yorubas raise their families. The Yorubas believe that no one is a master in any area of life until they reach age fifty. The time period from the age of fifty until the transition into the spirit realm is called the evening. It is in this time period that individuals enjoy life the most. By this time most Yoruba men and women would have raised their children and have much free time to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The evening is a time period when the Yorubas prepare for their transition. Long life and family are the two most important blessings in Yoruba religion.

The Yoruba believe that there are three types of people: achievers, people who assist achievers, and bystanders. Whichever role one chooses dictates the type of life that the person will live. The babalawo is the most important figure in Yoruba religion on the physical plain. His role is one of great respect and experience. The Babalawo’s training is long and indepth. It is said in some temples of Yoruba divination that Babalawos are said to stay in their temples for seven years before being released into the world to pracitce Orisha. The babalawo, by his knowledge and training, is the link between the divinities and man.

Ifa Related

Counsel of Yoruba Elder Ifa Priests

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
Ifa everywhere.

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. D¡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
necessary corrective
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 Aworeni
Chief Prof.. Wande Abimbola
Chief Oyewole Obenmalcinda
Chief Prof. Odutola Odeyeni
Chief Iquyikwa Odutola
Chief Adeboye Oyesanya
Chief Awodirian Agboola.

Plantas de los Orishas

Hierba Orichas Nombre Científico Propiedades
Aericola (Hierva de pozo) Elegua, Ogun, Orula, Ochun Avericola  
Abre camino Ochun, Asogwano Eupatorium villosum Baños, catarro
Abrojo amarillo Ogun Tribulus terrestris infertilidad e impotencia,tratamiento de la cardiopatía isquémica
Acacia - paraíso blanco Obatala, Asogwano Moringa oleifera antioxidante anti-inflamatorio, anti-envejecimiento, promueven la salud cardiovascular,  endocrina, repara y sana tejidos, mejora el sueño y la claridad mental, la digestión,capacidad desintoxicadora
Ácana o Nispero Ogun Manilkara albescens  
Aceitunillo Orula Beilschmiedia pendula  
Aguacate Yemaya, Chango, Ogun, Oricha Oko Persea americana Dolor de muela, hemorroide
Aguacate blanco o cimarrón Changó Dendrocereus nudiflorus  
Aguinaldo blanco Obatala, Ochosi Rivea corymbosa  
Aguinaldo morado Orula Ipomoea crassicaulis  
Ají de china Ogun Solanum havanensis  
Ají dulce Yemaya Capsicum frutescens  
Ají guagua Ogun Capsicum frutescens L. Hemorroides
Alacrancillo Elegua, Ochun, Ogun, Aña, Ochosi, Osun Heliotropium indicum Dolores musculares, eczemas, hemorroides y el ácido úrico, cálculos, hemorroides, limpieza de heridas y úlceras.
Álamo Chango, Ogun, Aña Ficus religiosa  
Albahaca Ochun, Yemaya, Aña Ocimum basilicum  
Albahaca cimarrona Asogwano Ocimum gratissimum  
Albahaca mondonguera o Hierba la bruja Asogwano Ocimum basilicum  
Albahaca morada Oya Ocimun sanctum L. Catarro y afecciones relacionadas.tos
Algarrobo Chango Samanea Saman  
Algodón Obatala, Aña, Orduwa, Osun Gossypium barbadense L. Afecciones de oído
Almácigo - Indio Desnudo Ochun Bursera simaruba L. Catarro y afecciones
Almendro/ Almendrón Ochosi, Obatala Terminalia catappa  
Anón Obatala, mellis, oduduwa Annona squamosa citrica y curativa
Anamú o Mapurite Ogun Petiveria alliaceae L. Antiinflamatorio, catarro y neumonía
Añil o índigo Yemaya, Ogun Indigofera tinctoria Antiespasmódico, febrífugo, purgante, antiséptico, estimulante, astringente. En dosis altas es emético.
Anón o Riñon Obatala, Ochun, Jimaguas Annona squamosa  
Apazote Asogwano Chenopodium ambrosiodes L. Gastrointestinales parásitos, Opresiones al estomago . Estimulante. Digestivo. Cura el empacho en los niños. Casos de histeria, Cólicos, Nerviosidades, y calambres.
Aroma Elegua, Ogun Acacia farnesiana  
Arroz   Oriza sativa L. Hepatitis
Artemisa Yemaya Ambrosia artemisifolia  
Ateje (corteza sin masa) Ogun Cordia collococca La familia es potencialmente toxica. Hidropesia y presion alta.
Atiponla blanco - Tostón Elegua, Obatala, Chango Boerhaavia erecta caribaea Higado, hepatites, icterícia, males de la vesícula biliar
Ayua   Zanthoxylum martinicensis Lam Dolor de muelas
Bayoneta Obatala Yucca gloriosa  
Belladona Obatala Kalanchoe brasiliensis  
Bejuco de canastas Ochosi Trichostigma octandrum  
Bejuco leñatero   Govania polygamaLRadalk Afecciones oftámicas
Bejuco Parra   Vitis titiifolia Humb-Bonpl Hepatitis
Bejuco raíz de china   Smilax Sp. Diurético
Bejuco ubí Obatala Cissus sicyoides L. Asma y catarro
Bergamota, Lima, Limon dulce   Citrus aurantifolia Christm Presión alta
Berro Ochun Nasturtium officinale R.B. Gastrointestinales
Bija, Onoto   Bixia orellana L. Afecciones de la piel quemaduras
Bledo blanco Elegua, Obatala, Aña, Osun Amaranthus viridis L. Gastrointestinales
Bledo carbonero, Jaboncillo Ogun Phytolacca icosandra  
Bledo de clavo Obatala Amaranthus polygonoides  
Boniato -Batata Dulce Oricha Oko Ipomoea batatas  
Botón de oro Ochun Abutilon indicum  
Caimitillo Oya Chrysophyllum oliviforme  
Caimito morado Oya Chrysophyllum cainito  
Caisimón Yemaya Piper peltatum L. Gastrointestinales
Caisimón de anís, Hoja santa Asogwano Piper auritum  
Calabaza - Auyama Ochun, Oricha Oko Cucurbita moschata  
Cambia voz, Amansa guapo Yemaya Schaefferia frutescens  
Campana blanca Obatala, Orduwa Datura arborea Planta Toxica y/o puede ser mortal.
Campana morada Ogun Ipomoea crassicaulis Planta Toxica y/o puede ser mortal.
Caña brava Orun Bambusa vulgaris  
Caña mejicana   Costus speciosus Smith Parásitos, diurético
Caña santa Obatala Costus spicatus bronquios, riñon, diuretico, cicatrizante, fiebre, corazon
Canela Ochun Cinnamomum cassia  
Canistel Ochun, Jimaguas Pouteria campechiana  
Canutillo blanco Obatala Comnelina elegans y Comnelina longicaulis  
Canutillo morado [Canutillo] Yemaya, Chango, Aña Commelina elegans  
Cardo santo Ogun, Ochosi Argemone mexicana  
Cardón Asogwano Euphorbia lactea  
Carolina Oya Pachira insignis  
Cebolla   Allium cepa Asma
Ceiba Chango, Aña, Orduwa Ceiba pentandra  
Cerraja Ochun Sonchus oleraceus  
Chaya   Iatropha aethiopica Muell. Afecciones circulatorias
Chichicate   Urera baccifera L Gaud Cálculo
Chirimoya Obatala, Asogwano, Jimaguas Annona Cherimolia  
Ciruela huesito Yemaya, Chango, Asogwano Spondias purpurea  
Coco Asowano Cocos nucifera L. Dolor de muela
Colonia Asogwano Alpinia speciosa  
Copal   Protium cubensisRoxbVib. relacionadas
Coquito africano Orula    
Coralillo Ochosi, Changó Antigonon leptopus comestible
Corazon de Paloma Elegua    
Cordobán Chango, Ogun, Aña, Oya Rhoeo discolor spathaceasw Catarro y afecciones relacionadas
Cuaba amarilla Ochosi Amyris balsamifera  
Cuaba negra Yemaya Erithalis fruticosa  
Cuajaní   Pruno occidentalis SW Catarro
Cucaracha Oya, Yemaya Zebrina pendula  
Cucaracha morada Yemaya, Oya Zezrina purpusii  
Culantrillo de pozo Ochun Adiantum tenerum  
Culantro de monte Yemaya Eryngium foetidum  
Cundeamor Ochun, Asogwano, Orula Momordica charantia L Gastrointestinales
Curbana, Palo malambo   Canella winterana L. Afecciones reumáticas y artritis
Curujey Elegua, Chango,Aña Hohenbergia penduliflora  
Diez d día, Bella a las 11 Yemaya Portulaca pilosa  
Don chayo Obatala Jatropha urens  
Doradilla   Polypodium polypodioides Hepatitis
Dormidera Ochosi Mimosa pudica L. Dolor de muelas, piel
Embeleso, Celestina Ochosi, Ochun Plumbago capensis  
Escoba amarga Asogwano Parthenium hysterophorus  
Estropajo Asogwano Luffa cylindrica  
Eucalipto Obatala, Ogun Eucalyptus resinifera Catarro, tos
Filigrana Chango, Aña Lantana camara  
Flor de agua Obatala, Ochun, Yemaya, Aña Eichhornia azurea o Eichhornia crassipes  
Flor de mármol Obatala, Orduwa Sedum monregalese  
Flor de muerto Ochun, Ogun Tagetes erecta  
Fosforito Obatala Cuphea ignea  
Framboyán - Acacia Oya Delonix regia Diarrea
Frescura Obatala, Ogun Pilea microphylla  
Fruta bomba (Papaya) Ochosi, Ochun, Oricha Oko Carica papaya De aqui se extrae la papaína para cura de enfermedades estomacales
Fruta del pan Obatala Artocarpus altilis  
Galán de noche Obatala Cestrum nocturnum  
Geranio Chango Pelargonium graveolens  
Girasol  Ochun Helianthus annuus  
Granada Obatala Punica granatum L. Úlceras, catarro
Grénguere Chango Corchorus olitorius  
Guacalote  Chango Canavalia cubensis  
Guacamaya francesa Ochun Cassia Senna alata Afecciones de la piel
Guaco   Mikania sp. Gastrointestinales
Guajaca   Tillandsia usneoides L. Diabetis
Guamá Ogun,Ochosi Lonchocarpus sericeusPairDC Afecciones renales, antimicrobial, antinflamatorio
Guamá de costa Ochun Lonchocarpus latifolius  
Guanábana Obatala, Asogwano, Jimaguas, Oricha Oko Annona muricata Lea Aqui
Guanina Orula Cassia tora  
Guásima Yemaya Guajuma tomentosa ulmifolia Lam. Granos, diarreas, antiinflamatorio
Guayaba Elegua, Jimaguas Psidium guajaba L.  
Güira   Crescentia cujete L. Catarro y afecciones relacionadas
Guisaso de caballo   Xanthium occidentales B. Afecciones renales
Guizazo de Baracoa Ogun Xanthium chinense  
Helecho hembra  Ochosi Asplenium Filix-Foemina, Pteris aquilana  
Helecho de Rio Ochun y todos los Orichas    
Heneken o Sisal   Agave fourcroydes Hacer Yute, y mecatillo
Hiedra Obatala, Orduwa Ficus pumila  
Hierba buena Chango, Asogwano Mentha nemorosa  
Hierba de garro Oya, Orun Spermacoce teniuor  
Hierba de la niña Ochun, Aña Euphorbia hirta, Phyllanthus swartzii  
Hierba de la vieja Ochun Flavería trinervia  
Hierba de sangre, Rompe Camisa Asogwano Cordia globosaJackH.B.L. Intoxicaciones. sus hojas se emplea para contener las hemorragias y los esputos de sangre.
Hierba de sapo [Oroazul] Ogun Phyla strigillosa  
Hierba del pasmo   Teucrium cubense Jack Gastrointestinales
Hierba fina Elegua, Obatala, Ogun, Aña, Ochosi Cynodon dactylon  
Hierba gomosa Aña    
Hierba hedionda Chango, Orula Cassia occidentails  
Hierba la pascua Aña, Oya    
Hierba Luisa o Flor de España Elegua Lippia alba Gastrointestinales
Hierba mora Ogun Solanum nigrum Culebrilla, catarro, hemorragias, heridas
Higuereta Obatala, Chango Ricinus communis minor Purgante
Hino macho Ochun Dryopteris tetragona  
Hojas de ero africano Chango    
Hojas de kola Chango Cola acuminata  
Incienso   Artemisia abrotamum L. Gastrointestinalesincluye parásitos
Incienso de costa Yemaya, Ogun, Ochosi Tournefortia gnaphalodes  
Itamo real (otro tipo) Yemaya, Elegua Ephedra nevadensis Catarro, antibacterial
Itamo real (principal) Yemaya, Elegua Potentilla candicans L. Catarro, antibacterial
Jaboncillo Ochun Sapindus saponarius  
Jagua Yemaya Genipa americana  
Jagüey Chango Ficus Bengalensis  
Jengibre Chango Zingiber officinale gastro-intestinal
Jiquí Yemaya Pera bumeliaefolia  
Jobo Chango Spondias mombin L. Afecciones de la piel
Larolito   Cadiospermum halicabum L. Catarro
Lechuga   Lactuca sativa L. Migraña
Lechuguilla  Yemaya Pistia commuttata, Pistia occidentalis  
Lengua de las mujeres Obatala Pilea nummularifolia  
Lengua de vaca Ogun Sanseveria guineensis Antitusigeno.
Lima   Citrus limon L. Albúmina, presión
Limonero   Citrus bergamia Risso Circulacion, presion arterial, activa sucos gastricos
Lirio de agua - Ashibata Ochun, Yemaya Zantedeschia Aethiopica Anafrodisíaco
Lirio de sierra   Plumeria sp. Dolor de muela
Llanten Llanten, Obatala, Orduwa Plantagu majon L. Gastrointestinales, catarro
Maboa   Cameraria latifolia L. Dolor de muela
Macurije   Matayba apetalaMacfRadik Hongos
Maguey   Agave sp. Afecciones de la piel
Maíz Oricha Oko Zea mays L. Diurético
Majagua   Hibiscus elatus SW Hepatitis
Malanga - Ocumo Yemaya, Asogwano, Aña, Oricha Oko Xanthosoma sagitufolium L. Afecciones oftálmicas
Malva Blanca   Waltheria índica L. Afecciones de piel
Malva té Chango Corchorus siliquosus Asma, anticelulitico
Mamey colorado - Sapote Ochun, Chango, Oya Pouteria mamosa L Cranquist. Calocarpumx Catarro y tos
Mamey Sto.Domingo Jimaguas, Orula Pouteria mamosa  Afecciones de la piel Mamea americana
Mamoncillo Jimaguas Melicocca bijuga  
Manajú   Rheedia aristata griseb Para adelgazar, hemorragias heridas
Mandelamina   Belamcanda chinencisLDC Cálculos Renales
Mangle rojo Chango Rhizophora mangle L. Hongos, hepatitis, gastrointestinales, cáncer
Mango Obatala, Jimaguas, Oricha Oko Mangifera indica  
Maní  Asogwano Arachis hypogaea  
Mano de San Francisco Orula    
Mano poderosa Orula    
Manto Oya Coleus blumei  
Manzanilla   Matricaria recufita L. Gastrointestinales y de la piel
Maravilla Ochun, Chango, Orula Mirabilis jalapa L. Hemorroides, piel
Marilope Ochun Turnera ulmifolia L. Gastrointestinales
Marpacífico  Chango Hibiscus rosa-sinensis  
Mastuerzo Elegua Lepidium virginicum L. Afecciones renales
Mazorquilla Chango Blechum Brownei  
Mejorana Elegua, Obatala, Ochun Majorana hortensis, Origanum marjorana Antiespamodico
Meloncillo Ogun Melothria guadalupensis  
Menta   Mentha piperita L. Gastrointestinales
Menta Jamaiquina Ochosi    
Millo o Sorgo Obatala Sorghum vulgare Emoliente y protector de la mucosa intestinal,frenador del metabolismo.
Mostaza cimarrona   Brassica juncea L. Catarro y afecciones relacionadas
Ñame Oricha Oko Dioscorea cayenensis Digestivo
Naranja Jimaguas Citrus sinensis Sedante nervioso, digestivo
Naranja agria Ogun Citrus aurantium var. Amara Asma, catarro
Naranjo Amargo   Citrus aurantim L. Asma, catarro
Nitro   Boldoa Purpuracea Cav exleg Hepatitis, cálculos
No me olvides  Ochun Duranta repens  
Nogal de Cuba   Iunglans jamaicencis CDCinDC Abortiva
Orégano cimarrón   Ocimun gratissimum L. Catarro y afecciones relaciondastos, Antigotosa, Antirreumática, Antiinfecciosa, Diurética: (raíz
Oro azul Ochun Phyla strigillosa  
Oruzuz   Phyla scaberrima AGJuss M. Asma, catarro y tos
Palma real Chango, Orula Roystonea regia  
Palo de caja   Allaphyllus comineaLSW Diabetes, Gastrointestinales
Panetela Ochun, Xylophylla angustifolia  
Papito de la reina Yemaya Centrosema plumieri  
Para mí [Ponasí] Yemaya Hamelia patens analgésicas,  antiinflamatorias
Palo de arco Yemaya Tecoma stans cura disfuncion sexual
Palo Moruro   pithecellobium arboreun  
Paragüita Yemaya Cyperus alternifolius  
Paraíso Elegua, Obatala Melia azederach  
Paraná   Panicum purpurancens Raddi Parásitos
Parra Ochun Vitis vinifera Afecciones circulatorias, hemorragias
Pata de gallina  Ochosi, Aña, Orula Dactyloctenium aegyptium  
Pega pollo Yemaya Priva lappulácea  
Pendejera Asogwano Solanum toruum sp. Dolor de muelas
Peonia - Guereyeye Ochosi (mata y hojas), Chango, Aña Ormosia monosperma - Abrus precatorius Anti Cancer
Peralejo   Byrsonima crassifoliaLHBK Dolor de muelasneuralgia
Peregún Elegua, Ogun Dracaena Fragans  
Pimienta Cimarron o Guayabita   Pimienta dioca L. Merr. problemas nerviosos, Dolor de muelas (aceite)
Piña Jimaguas Ananas comosus Antiinflamatorio,
hipolipemiante,diuretico, vitaminico
Piña de ratón Orula Bromelia pinguin  
Pino   Pinus caribaea Morelet Dolor de muelas
Piñón de Botija Obatala, Chango, Aña Jatropha curcas (Venenosa)
Pitahaya Chango Hylocereus triangularis  
Platanillo Ochun, Chango Piper aduncum L. Infección renal
Platanillo de Cuba Chango, Jimaguas canna coccinea  
Plátano Chango, Elegua Musa paradisiaca L. Catarro, dolor de muelas, hepatitis, afecciones oftámicas, cáncer
Ponasí Ogun, Shangó Hamelia patens antihemorrágico  cicatrizante, antiinflamatorio, analgésico, febrífugas y antifúngicas
Pomarrosa Ochun Syzygium jambos  
Prodigiosa - Siempreviva Obatala, Aña, Ochosi, Orduwa Briophyllus pinnatumLamKurz Catarro y afecciones relacionadasdolor de garganta
Quiebrahacha Oya Copaifera hymenaefolis  
Quimbombó Chango, Oricha Oko Hibiscus esculentus  
Quita maldición Obatala Caesalpinia major  
Rabo de gato   Achyrantes aspera L. Afecciones renales
Rabo de zorra Ogun Trichachne insularis  
Remolacha Obatala Beta vulgaris Remineralizante, vitaminico
Resedá - Resedá francesa Ochun Lawsonia alba  
Romerillo Obatala, Elegua, Ochun Bidens pilosa L. Gastrointestinales
Romerillo amarillo Ochun, Orula Weddelia rugosa tenuis  
Romero Ochun Rosmarinus officinalis L. Dolor de oídos
Rompe camisa Asogwano Damianaturnera diffusa willd Tonificante nervioso,estimulante de los organos genitales, diuretico suave
Rompesaragüey Yemaya, Ogun, Asogwano, Jimaguas, Ochosi Eupatorium Odoratum L. Afecciones de la piel
Rosa francesa   Nerium oleander L. Afecciones de la piel
Ruda Egun Ruta graveolens Afecciones de oídos, Emenagoga, oftálmica, antiespasmódica y rubefaciente
Sábila   Aloe barbadensis Mill Hepatitis, hemorroides
Sacu sacu Chango   Riñones
Saiao Obatala,Yemaya Kalanchoe brasiliensis hoja marchita:callos, erisipelas, aftas, quemaduras, tumores, picadas insectos. Infusion: tos, dabetes
Salvadera o Jabillo Chango Hura crepitans  
Salvia Asogwano, Orduwa Pluchea odorata dolor de cabeza, tos, diarrea
Salvia de Castilla   Salvia officinalis L. Catarro
Sargazo Orun Sargassum  
Sarnilla   Casearia sylvestris SW Gastrointestinalesresfriados
Sasafrás   Bursera graveolens Triana et Afecciones oftálmicas
Sauco Elegua, Obatala, Ochun Sambucus simpsonii canadensis Afecciones oftámicas Rehder Ex Sarg
Seso Vegetal Obatala Blighia sapida, Cupania sapida Rogaciones de cabeza contra locura o problemas de la cabeza
Seso vegetal Obatala Blighia sapida  
Siguaraya Elegua, Chango Trichilia glabra  
Tabaco   Nicotiana tabacum L. Hemorragias, heridas
Tábano   Povonia fructicosa Mill. Afecciones de pielhongos y granos, reuma y artritis
Tamarindo Oya Tamarindus índicu L. Hepatitis
Tengue   Peoppigia procera pres. Catarro y afecciones re lacionadas
Tilo   Justicia pectoralis Jacq. Catarro y afecciones relacion. con  nervios
Toronja Obatala Citrus paradisi Presión alta
Toronjil Asogwano Melissa officinalis Resfriados, Gripe
Túa Túa Yemaya Latropha gossypifolia L. Afecciones circulatorias
Tuna Chango, Ogun Opuntia sp. Hepatitis
Tuna brava   Opuntia dillenii  
Uva caleta Oya, Ogun Coccoloba uvifera  
Uva gomosa Yemaya Cordia alba  
Vencedor, Sauzgatillo o Arbusto de la pimienta Obatala Zanthoxylum pistacifolium Anti Hongos, Amenorrea (falta temporal de la menstruacion), nervios
Verbena Ochosi, Yemaya Verbena officinalis Depresion
Verdolaga Elegua, Obatala, Yemaya Portulaca Oleracea Ulceras
Vergonzosa o Dormidera Asogwano Mimosa Pudica dolor de muela
Vicaria  Ogun Vinca rosea Antiinfeccioso ocular
Vinagrillo o Trebol Obatala Oxalis violacea Antidiarreico
Yagruma Yemaya, Chango, Oya Cecropia peltata L. Presión baja, afecciones renaleshematurias, hemorroides
Yaguna   Imperata brasiliensis Trin. Hematuria, Diuretico
Yamao o Cedro Macho Yemaya Guarea quidonia L. Sleumer Hemorroides y heridas
Yaya   Oxandra lanceolataS.WBail Gastrointestinales
Yuca Oricha Oko Manihot sculenta crantz Gastrointestinales
Zapote Ochun, Jimaguas Achras sapote Vitaminas A y C, tonifica la digestion, normaliza los intestinos
Zarzaparrilla Ochun, Jimaguas Smilax medica Diuretica

La Historia De La Letra del Ano

Historia de la Ceremonia de la Letra del Año

La Ceremonia de la Letra del Año es el evento religioso más importante que se lleva a cabo por los Babalawos, tanto en Cuba como en Nigeria, aunque en fechas diferentes, por lo que debe ser del conocimiento de todas las personas que se preocupan por la cultura Yoruba.

No cuestionamos, ni cuestionaremos jamás lo que hacen los hermanos de las diferentes ramas religiosas dentro de su Ilé Osha, tanto en Cuba como en el mundo; pues merecen todo respeto y consideración hacia la identidad y diferenciación que puedan tener según sus códigos culturales.

Cuba es el territorio donde mejor se conservan las tradiciones culturales de esta religión que nos fuera legada por nuestros ancestros esclavos traídos desde África a finales del siglo XVIII. Esto se debe en gran medida a los esclavos pertenecientes a la etnia Yoruba, en específico los de las religiones de los Orishas e Ifá. En nuestro país esta religión es considerada como Religión Cubana de Origen Africano teniendo en cuenta, a través de la historia, los elementos tradicionales rescatados por nuestra población religiosa; elementos que han sido conservados y revitalizados y que por su apego popular han llegado a formar parte de nuestra cultura y de nuestra identidad nacional.

Esta religión, como la vida ha demostrado, se ha trasladado desde Cuba a cualquier región o país del mundo, de una forma natural y espontánea sin perjudicar la religión en general. Por el contrario, ha tenido un intercambio que le da riqueza a la religión y a la cultura, pues exportar una tradición como esta que se caracteriza por no hacer proselitismo "la convertirá en la religión del Siglo XXI", como expresara el Prof. Wande Abimbola (AWISE ABAGE, Inspector general de la religión Yoruba en el mundo), expresión con la que estamos completamente de acuerdo.

Nuestra Institución ha estado luchando desde hace muchos años por la unidad de todos los practicantes de la Regla Osha e Ifá del mundo en los aspectos más importantes y generales donde la Letra del Año tiene un papel fundamental.

En cuanto a este último aspecto hemos tratado de unificar a todos los religiosos sin lograr hasta el presente un resultado final. Esto es debido a que los patrones de cada practicante en ocasiones se vuelven absolutistas y es posible que no se haya pensado en que al rechazar la unificación y no tomar una decisión positiva no se hayan tenido en cuenta las dificultades que ocasionan. Y no sólo atañen a una persona, a un grupo institucional o familiar, sino que se daña una religión que nos fue legada por nuestros antepasados y forma parte del patrimonio que debemos respetar y preservar seriamente.

Se ha tratado de hacer un trabajo de unificación para llegar a un consenso en cuanto a la Letra del Año. Nos referimos a un sistema adivinatorio de probabilidades y es por esta razón que cada ceremonia da por resultado la regencia de distintos Orishas y odun en el año. Las personas, creyentes y no creyentes, se ven confundidas, no saben en quien creer, ni por cual letra regirse. Lo que hace que pierda credibilidad, prestigio y se considere que a nuestra religión le falta seriedad, respeto y la unión por la que luchamos.

Desde sus inicios las investigaciones cuentan que la Letra del Año comenzó a sacarse a finales del siglo XIX, sin poder precisar la fecha exacta. Por datos y documentos se nos revela que Babalawos procedentes de las diferentes ramas religiosas existentes en el país comenzaron a reunirse para efectuar con todo rigor las ceremonias establecidas, que concluían el primero de enero con la apertura del la Letra del Año.

A través del Oráculo de Ifá se daban a conocer las orientaciones y recomendaciones que debían cumplirse durante ese año, con el fin de evitar o vencer los obstáculos y las dificultades. Por esta razón la primera Letra del Año que se realizó en Cuba la efectuó el Babalawo Remigio Herrera, Obara Meyi, Adeshina, de origen africano, apoyado fundamentalmente en cinco de sus ahijados, a saber:

Marcos García Ifalola Baba Ejiogbe
Oluguere   Oyeku meji
Eulogio Rodríguez Tata Gaitán Ogundafun
José Carmen Batista   Obeweñe
Salvador Montalvo   Okaran Meji
Bernardo Rojas   Ireteuntendi

Es bueno señalar que algunos de los ahijados de Adeshina tenían como Oyurbona a Oluguere que era también de origen africano.

En el año 1902, por problemas de salud de Adeshina, Tata Gaitán asume la responsabilidad de la Letra del Año apoyado por los Babalawos antes mencionados y participando además:

SecundinoCrucet Osaloforbeyo
Bernabé Menocal Baba Ejiogbe
Quintín Lecón García Oturaniko
José Asunción Villalonga Ogundamasa

Igualmente contó con la participación de casi todos los Babalawos de esos tiempos. Aunque la ceremonia siempre se realizaba con la mayor discreción posible y en privado; ya que en el gobierno imperante, todo este tipo de prácticas de creencias africanas estaban consideradas como un delito común dentro del código penal. Por esta razón en algún que otro año se trató de disminuir la participación masiva de Babalawos y se invitaban a los jefes de familia con sólo uno de sus ahijados.

El 9 de mayo de 1959 fallece Bernardo Rojas y su sucesor, el Dr. José Herrera, hereda las deidades de Adeshina y la responsabilidad de la Letra del Año. Tomando en consideración que Joaquín Salazar era el Babalawo mayor y Obá de la rama, el Dr. Herrera le cede la dirección de la apertura del año; llevándose a cabo con la misma efectividad y rigor religioso que las anteriores ceremonias correspondientes a la Letra del Año.

Las actividades en estos años fueron realizadas bajo la dirección de Joaquín Salazar y la rama Adeshina, representada por el Dr. José Herrera.

Posteriormente Joaquín Salazar y otros mayores se dieron a la tarea de reorganizar nuevamente las ramas tradicionales existentes. De esta forma se volvió a ampliar la participación en la Letra del Año a todos los Babalawos. Es así como fueron llamadas, entre otras, las ramas que siguen a continuación:

Rama Nombre Signo Representación Signo Ifabi
Francisco Villalonga Ogunda Kete Ángel Villalonga Ogundaleni
Adeshina Remigio Herrera Obara Meji Fernando Molina Baba Eyiogbe
Ño Karlo Adebi Ojuani Boka Ángel Padrón Baba Eyiogbe
Pericón Pérez Ogbe Yono Alejandro Domínguez Osa Guleya

La letra que se interpreta en la ACYC hace ya algunos años, es la realizada por los Babalawos del país con mayor cantidad de años de iniciados y que desde su comienzo lo han hecho de forma ininterrumpida hasta la actualidad.

Las ramas más tradicionales del siglo XIX y del comienzo del XX estuvieron dirigidas por Babalawos africanos que después delegaron esta responsabilidad en sus sucesores cubanos.

No pretendemos centrar ni establecer tradiciones, sino defender la legitimidad de las ya existentes, transmitidas de generación en generación.

Nos satisface sobremanera que la Santería, "Regla Osha e Ifá, fructifiquen en cualquier territorio del mundo, con la misma fuerza que lo han hecho otras Religiones Cubanas de Origen Africano, que son las que hoy constituyen su fortaleza, como son por citar algunas, el vodú y el palo monte, siempre y cuando no exista en su trasfondo una base de proselitismo y el ánimo de lucro y comercialización.

Aprovechamos la oportunidad para dar a conocer nuestra inconformidad con el sacrificio público de animales, que realizan muchas personas en cualquier latitud en distintos festivales, eventos, espectáculos, videos etc., por una razón muy sencilla pero fundamental, no creemos que para llevar a cabo estos menesteres públicos de envergadura sea necesario llegar al sacrificio de animales, máxime cuando nuestra religión cuenta con tantas bellas manifestaciones y expresiones culturales posibles de exhibir..

Somos de la opinión que aquellos que se han prestado para ofrecer este tipo de actividades, no tienen bien definida su religiosidad, pues debemos tener muy presente que no todos los elementos de la cultura y la religión de un pueblo son comercializables, así como que no todos los habitantes del planeta deben tolerar la realización de un tipo de espectáculo de esta envergadura, pues su visión sobre esta cuestión es bien diferente y en ocasiones muchos son afiliados de asociaciones protectoras de animales, lo que conlleva a que su opinión sobre estos actos sea denigratoria, lo que en lugar de enriquecer nuestra cultura la lleva a su detrimento.

La Historia de la humanidad refiere, que todas las religiones en sus inicios sacrificaban seres humanos, pasando posteriormente de acuerdo a su mitología y patrones al sacrificio de animales, los que posteriormente fueron sustituidos por algún elemento que suplantara este sacrificio, no siendo el caso de las religiones de origen africano que hasta nuestros días siguen utilizando en su ceremonial secreto el sacrificio de animales.

Muchas son las personas que equivocadamente o erradas se aprovechan ahora de la popularidad que ha adquirido esta religión en Cuba y nos atrevemos a decir que en el mundo, para utilizarla como medio de lucro y de enriquecimiento, cuando anteriormente estás mismas personas la consideraban como cosas de negros, de personas atrasadas y de oscurantismo.

Sepan que le reservamos gran respeto a todas las religiones con las que cuenta la humanidad, que no nos preocupa que alguien que no se respete, hable mal de otra religión para que la suya prevalezca, al contrario nos da pena de que alguien tenga que utilizar este medio para que su religión florezca pues eso deja mucho que desear y se puede interpretar que su religión no está lo suficientemente fuerte ni tiene principios sólidos que sustentar.

El respeto es la base de la vida y cada persona es libre de escoger su credo y su línea a seguir ya que entre los seres humanos debe primar el respeto y no el intrusismo en la vida de cualquier semejante sea profesional o no, y en mayor medida si se trata de su fe religiosa.

Somos creyentes de una de las religiones más antiguas con las que cuenta la humanidad, ya que hoy en día se conoce que el lugar donde hubo vida humana por primera vez en la existencia de la humanidad fue en el continente africano y precisamente en la ciudad sagrada de los Yoruba (Ilé Ifé), procuraremos que esta no sea manipulada y ni sea objeto de espectáculo sólo porque a algunos les interese hacerlo.


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