Awonifa

Study the Teaching of Ifa and the Orisha's

Obatala
Skullcap, Sage, Kola Nut, Basil, Hyssop, Blue Vervain, White Willow, Valerian

Elegua
All Herbs

Oshun
Yellow Dock, Burdock, Cinnamon, Damiana, Anis, Raspberry, Yarrow, Chamomile, Lotus, Uva-Ursi, Buchu, Myrrh, Echinacea

Yemaya
Kelp, Squawvine, Cohosh, Dandelion, Yarrow, Aloe, Spirulina, Mints, Passion Flower, Wild Yam Root

Ogun
Eucalyptus, Alfalfa, Hawthorn, Bloodroot, Parsley, Motherwort, Garlic

Oya
Mullein, Comfrey, Cherrybark, Pleurisy Root, Elecampane, Horehound, Chickweed

Shango
Plantain, Saw Palmetto, Hibiscus, Fo-ti, Sarsaparilla, Nettles, Cayenne

Yoruba Fokelore

Orisha Attributes in followers

Obatala
brain, bones, white fluids of the body

Elegua
sympathetic nervous system, para sympathetic nervous system

Yemaya
womb, liver, breasts, buttocks

Oshun
circulatory system, digestive organs, elimination system, pubic area (female)

Ogun
heart, kidney (adrenal glands), tendons, and sinews

Shango
reproductive system (male), bone marrow, life force or chi

Oya
lungs, bronchial passages, mucous membranes

Tortoise and Crab

Everyone knows that Tortoise and Crab are enemies.

One morning on the seashore they decided to fight to see which was the stronger, but, as both of them are protected by a hard shell, neither could succeed in injuring the other.

Finally they came to an agreement that they were equal in strength.

We are so well protected by our armour, said Tortoise, that no one can harm us.

And thus, said Crab, we are the strongest creatures in the world.

But at this moment a boy passed by and picked them both up. Tortoise was boiled in a pot and his shell was made into ornaments, while Crab was cooked in a stew for the boys supper. Since that day the descendants of the two boasters have always been ashamed to meet, and that is why they always shun one another.

Yoruba Concepts

Five ancient concepts are essential to an understanding of Yoruba aesthetics.

(1) Ase means “power” or “authority”. However, the meaning of Ase is extraordinarily complex. Ase is used in a variety of contexts. One of the most important meanings is the “vital power, the energy, the great strength of all things.”11 Ase also refers to a divine energy manifest in the process of creation and procreation. Ase invests all things, exists everywhere, and is a source for all creative activity. Again, Ase often refers to the inner power or “life force.” Ase also refers to the “authority” by which one speaks or acts.

(2) Ori is the “inner spiritual head” in humans or “personal destiny,” not mind or soul as these terms are used in the West. But Ori can mean the enabling power that represents the potential that life contains.

(3) Iwa can mean “character” or “essential nature.” Two classifications of usage of Iwa are generally recognized: the ontological-descriptive and the ethical evaluative. The ontological-descriptive meaning enables one to identify the quantitative existence of a person as revealed by their behaviour, the “lifestyle” or manner in which they exist in the world. The ethical-evaluative meaning represents a qualitative judgment of how good or bad is their iwa.

(4) Ewa is an aesthetic term as well as an expression of iwa, a person’s essential nature. Ewa means “beauty”, referring in some contexts to physical beauty of a person or object, but mostly to the qualities of beauty of a person or object. The term can be used to describe how a work of art captures the essential quality of the subject.

(5) Ona means “art” or it can refer to an artist’s ability to create or design. In Yoruba “art” cannot be defined outside of the context of the processes of creation, the purpose of creation, and the skill of the artist in capturing the first two contextualities in order to produce a physical object that embodies meaning.

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

The Story of the Irde

Death (Iku) was gathering humans before there full time on earth had passed.
The Orishas worried about this, until Orumila said he would resolve this matter.

One day when Iku was busy, Orumila went and took his hammer
Iku became furious when he discovered the Hammer missing.
He rushed back to Orumila’s house, and demanded the hammers return.

Orumila said, Oludumare had assigned you the task of gathering humans when thier time had come,
but you are gathering them when you want, prior to thier predetermined death.
Iku answered, if humans do not die, the earth will die.

Orumila answered “you are not right to take humans before their time.
After a long discussion, Orumila began to see the logic of Iku’s task
Orumila aggred to return the Hammer, But Iku must swear not to take any of Orumila’s
children before there full time has passed.

Iku answred, When I see the Irde Ifa on a persons left wrist, I will pass over them, unless it is there predetermined time to die. Orumila and Iku aggreed, and from this day, Ifa devotees wear the Irde on the left wrist, as a sign of the pact between Iku and Orumila.

El Primer Babalawo en Cuba

El primer babalawo que hubo en Cuba fue Addeshina (Obbara Meyi), este nació en
Africa Occidental a principios de los 1800, otros Yorubas compraron su libertad ya que reconocieron su rango de rey, Addeshina significa "Corona abre-camino". Se dice que Addeshina logró tragarselos ikines antes que lo capturaran y los defecó en el barco.Unos años despues de el llego otro babalawo conocido como Ño Carlos Addebí (Ojuani Bocá) que logró su libertad en camaguey gracias a que la apostó a su amo a que le adivinaba a los amigos de su amo y estos quedaron sorprendidos. Lo hizo con el primero okpele que existió en Cuba hecho con una soga de majagua y con cascaras de naranja secas.Addeshina y Addebi se encontraron luego en la Habana, en Guanabacoa. Addeshina le hizo ifá a solo dos personas, una se fue para estados unidos y no se conoce su nombre y el otro fue Bernardo Rojas (Irete Tendi). Bernardo cuidó a Addeshina hasta su muerte, y junto a el aprendio todo lo de ifá.De Bernardo Rojas surge la rama mas grande de babalawos de Cuba. Bernardo fue el que mas ahijados consagró. El otro gran pilar fue la rama de Taita Gaitán (Oggunda fun), nacido en matanzas, su padrino fue otro babalawo traido como esclavo llamado Lugery (Oyekun Meyi) que regresó a Nigeria y allá murió, pero antes de irse mandó a Taita Gaitán con su hermano de consagracion que estaba en Matanzas, llamado Ño Cárdenas, que nunca consagró a nadie pero leenseñó todo a Taita Gaitán. Y otra rama famosa fue la de Asunción Villalonga.El primero criollo que se hizo Ifá en Cuba se llamó Cornelio Vidal y de el surge otra rama.Todas estas ramas al final se cruzaron una con otras. Nuestros mayores en ifa en Cuba son Addeshina (Obbara meyi), Addebí (Ojuani Bocá), Bernabé Menocal, Babel Babá Ejiogbe (Ifá Lolá), Taita Gaitán (Oggunda fun), Bernardo Rojas (Irete Tendi), Cornelio Vidal, Asuncion Villalonga, Guillermo Castro, Alfredo Rivero, Joaquin Salazar (Osá Forbeyo), Ramon Febles (Ogbe tua), Panchito Febles (Otura Niko), Miguel Febles ( Odi Ka ), Sevilla Baró (Oshe Yekun), el Chino Poey (Oshe Paure), Felix el Negro (Osa Rete) y Andres Bombalier (Oggunda Biode) .

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