Ori = Destiny & Designator…

Head (Ori) = Inu “Inner Head – Destiny” *** Head (Ori) = Akoko “First Head – Designator” 

Distinction between Heaven (Orun) & World (Aiye) * Heaven contains: Owner – Deities – Ancestors…  * World contains: Human – Animals – Sorcerers…

The Heaven/World distinction is important in understanding Yoruba concepts of Life, Death, Destiny, Reincarnation & Soul. Firstly, Yoruba thought makes a distinction between the physical body & the spiritual elements which inhabit it and give it life & individuality. The characteristics of these two spiritual elements appear as the most important are Breath (Emi) & Head (Ori)

Breath (Emi) is generally thought of as the vital force, without which the body dies. In some accounts it is also thought of as the conscious self. It not only provides locomotion for the body, but can think independently of it, and can travel abroad on its own in dreams. Head (Ori) is more complex it rather than Breath is the seat of the intellect. It is also related to a person’s destiny, as the element which predetermines his success or failure in the world.

Head (Ori) is given to, or chosen by, an individual before his/her birth, creating limits within which success in the world can be expected and within which the Breath is able to act. In contrast to this rather fatalistic model, Head is also to be the Ancestral Guardian Soul – A spiritual entity which can be influenced by humans in efforts to improve life on earth. Each individual has two Ancestral guardians, one on the Head, and one in Heaven which is doing exactly the same things as the individual is doing on Earth. With the support of the Ancestral guardian in Heaven, an individual will live the allotted span of life.

Head (Ori) is believed to be the first and the most important Deity in Heaven. The spiritual and personal Head (Ori) or Divinity possessed by each and every individual. Each person and deity before coming to earth, must visit Ajala – maker of Heads in heaven. If one has the bad luck to choose a less than perfect Head, his/her life on earth will be severely affected. Head (Ori) refers to one’s spiritual intuition and destiny. It is the reflective spark of human consciousness embedded into the human essence, and therefore is often personified as an Orisha in its own right. It is believed that human beings are able to heal themselves both Spiritually and Physically by working with the Orishas to achieve a balanced character, Oriwa-Pele. When one has a balanced character, one obtains an alignment with one’s Head (Ori) or divine self. It is also believed that Head (Ori) be worshiped like Orisha. This is because whatever one becomes or whatever happens in one’s life is as destined by Head (Ori)

A person’s Head (Ori) is so crucial to a successful life that it is propitiated frequently, and its support and guidance is sought before undertaking any new task. Personal Head (Ori) shrines are indispensable and are present in most homes, irrespective of sex, religious belief, or cult affiliation. And in the performance of virtually all sacrifices, Ancestral worship, since it determines their favorable outcome.

As above, so below. Ifa offers the term Head (Ori) to explain the exact path from our “Origin” to us and between us and others. It is our portion of the divine spark that is encoded with our destiny. Its components are seated in certain chakra points within and above us. Above -Below or better yet, simply Without – Within” to describe the path by which the two are connected: Our original form of pure energy or true spirit body that manifested first, from our original energy source. Our Head (Ori) also resides in one of the first realms created by that source. 

Physical Head: This may even refer to our brain. It houses the next three Ori portals.  It is located at the crown of our head. This is the point where our silver cord or chain connects us to our original and true spirit self in Heaven (Orun). The Head (Ori) is vested with great importance in Yoruba art and thought. When portrayed in sculpture, the size of the head if often represented as four or five times its normal size in relation to the body in order to convey that it is the site of a person’s Power (Ashe) as well as his or her essential nature, or Character (Iwa). The Yoruba distinguish between the Exterior Head (Ori-Akoko) and Inner  Head (Ori-Inu). Exterior Head (Ori-Akoko) is the physical appearance of a person, which may either mask or reveal one’s Inner Head (Ori-Inu) aspects. Inner qualities, such as patience and self-control, should dominate outer ones.

The head also links the person with the other-world. The Imori ceremony – Head (Ori) is the first rite that is performed after a Yoruba child is born. During Imori, a diviner determines whether the child comes from his or her mother’s or father’s lineages or from a particular Deity (Orisha). If the latter is the case, then the child will undergo Deity (Orisha) initiation during adulthood, during which the person’s Head (Ori) becomes the spiritual vessel for that Deity (Orisha). To prepare for these ceremonies, the person’s head is shaved, bathed and anointed.

Yoruba do not consider the Head (Ori) symbol really complete without an accompanying container to house, honour and beauty it. This is the most costly acts of honour an individual can do to any Deity. It is hard to imagine a more fitting residence for Head, the cause and essence of one’s being. During consultation or Propitiation, the devotee will place Ibori – House Of Head (Ori) on a well-swept & polished floor which has been covered with a white cloth. Devotee offers standard items of sacrifice to Head like water, kolanut, and is free to add other items of choice. Depending on the nature of the request, a corresponding symbolic sacrifice is made.

Coconut Water – Omi Agbon as Head softener (Ero), makes it work more in favour of the owner where that Head is found to be hard. Snails (Igbin) are offered to ask Head (Ori)to avert an impending disaster. Sugarcane – Ground Roasted Corn & Honey are offered to attract good fortune – happiness or joy…

Consequently the Yoruba Concept of Head (Ori), is always conscious of the duality of his being, namely the material mortal self, and the spiritual one. In actual life experience, the spiritual Head’s qualities such as immortality, ever-presence and insuperable power are employed where human efforts fail or appear inadequate. Thus, in extreme conditions of bad or good health, fortune or misfortune, the Yoruba resort to Head (Ori) for rectification or gratification.

***Because of the circumstances of their creation, all Deities have to pay homage to Head (Ori). Similarly, all cult heads & devotees have to touch the Earth with their forehead as an act of symbolic respect for the first Ori-Akoko in heaven who in turn will roll side to side in reverence to Owner of Heaven on behalf of the appellant on Earth.  (Ofun-Irete)

Ori is the essence of a human being, Ori is the guide and guardian of our life with one specialty – Ori has been with us since before we were even born, he follows us through our whole lives until death and beyond. Consequently, all our accidents, mishaps we encounter, are all reflections of our Ori. We can consider Ori as the source of everything, the foundation of everything we experience in life. It is the energy that motivates us at everything; it is responsible for our dynamic energy, for our achievements, our mistakes, our consistency. 

There are two types of Ori, namely – Ori Ire – good fate, good Ori  Ori Buruku – bad fate, bad Ori. This is all very visible in our life. We can recognize the people who have good luck and certain people with a bad luck or negative fate.

 Ori is an individual choice of a human life. Everybody has the right to own choice, be it bad or good, from experience or without, with risk or without it. Sadly, that same Ori can turn against us. In fact, our most vital energy is what can let us down when we need it the most. When we work for ourselves, it is actually our intelligence that can fail us. Our life resources are also our experiences, our personal security and self-confidence – all the resources we need in order to survive. All this can collapse. That leads us to destruction, to negative experiences. Accidents happen because of this; we make wrong decisions, we get angry for no reason or we fall into a deep depression. We can regard this as failure of our Ori in a certain cycle of life.

 This is beyond the concept of any religion. This is the concept of a human being. Ori is the nature of a human being, the power of fate. Ori is the personal guardian responsible for all our noble deeds, our vitality, our achievements and for our failures. It is our essence. Ori is the principle that serves the basic human needs in order to have a worthy life. The basic needs are: common sense, knowing our own restrictions, responsibility and fear. Fear is also needed because if we did not have it, we would go beyond our restrictions. Every time we go beyond our limitations, we expose ourselves to greater risks.

When people with this kind of energy expose themselves to extreme risks, it often leaves them with irreversible damage. That is when we tend to say: “This was his destiny“. However, fate is actually only an aftermath of irresponsibility towards oneself. Experiences that follow usually are not satisfying. Our Ori is responsible for all the energies that are needed in order for us to protect our lives, to ensure our survival and the possibility of another life. But our Ori is also responsible for all the energies that lead us to our deaths. If we do not use all our natural resources with adding positive things into our lives, we can encounter a large number of negative experiences. The paradox of life is that a lot of people actually do not even care whether they take risks, they do not care if they are protected or not, and that they are actually digging their own graves.

All requests must be sanctioned by Head (Ori) before any other Power, Force, or Divinity can act on them, favourably or otherwise. Head (Ori) is the channel of communication between individuals on Earth and the Deities. 

 

Olokun = Keeper of Secrets

                                 **Ancestral Waters of Life…

To understand Olokun nature we need to look at the nature of the bottom of the sea, a vast mostly unexplored dark habitat. The deep sea floor is a seemingly hostile environment and yet life thrives down there. In fact scientists believe that there is more life in the dark abyss of the Earth’s oceans than in all of the tropical rain forests put together.  

Like her world, so is Olokun the Keeper of Secrets. Anything that falls to the bottom of the sea floor remains intact forever more, never to be laid eyes on by anyone other than herself and her underwater children. Olokun is believed to hold the secrets of the past, the present and the future. She knows all and guards that knowledge well. Olokun holds the key to the mystery of exactly what happened to their Ancestors on those fateful journeys across the Atlantic. Many didn’t make it and thus entered the Realm of Olokun. Olokun is all-knowing, She is the Keeper of Wisdom and Divination. She is the Goddess of the Unknown -Darkness – Realm of Dreams & Unconscious.

Soul Of Africa Museum   www.soul-of-africa.com

Olokun is the Goddess of Death: Her Domain is the Graveyard of the Earth, cold and dark nature being the perfect environment for the suspended animation of Spirits. Olokun is also the Goddess of Rebirth and Renewal: At the bottom of the deep sea from Her Dark Watery Womb new life springs forth every moment, contributing to a vast and incredibly adaptive ecosystem. Olokun is associated with great riches, She is said to be a Goddess of Wealth and Abundance. Women pray to Her to conceive a child as well as for good health and worldly possessions.

Olokun is often depicted as a beautiful black Mermaid. One of the animals that symbolize Olokun is the mudfish… The Goddess Olokun is also linked to the red coral, a beautiful red gem-like colony of tiny animals that are joined together through the skeletons of their dead ancestors. As corals grow they form reefs which purify the water, provide shelter for other sea creatures and encourage the growth of wildlife habitats beneath the sea.

***In the New World: Especially amongst the Lukumi people in Cuba, Olokun and Yemaya are seen as different aspects of the same Goddess. Yemonja  at the surface of the ocean is exposed to sunlight and the pull of the Moon. She is the Goddess’s life-giving and nurturing side, while Olokun in Her impenetrable abyss is the Goddess’s mysterious, dark and unknowable aspect.

When we speak of  the Ancestral Waters of Life , we speak of waters that has a form of Natural consciousness  that flows and nourishes,  that incubates and feeds and the essence of Maternal caring that relates to the protection of children.

Omi Orun – Ancestral Waters: The idea of heavenly waters  may seem symbolic to us but yet holds the ring of truth since the most commonly found  substance is hydrogen particles  throughout  the universe . Science agrees that the combination of earth and water is what created the womb of all living creatures on the earth in consequence of the union of these elements.

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The Olokun was given the title and name of the combined words  OloOkun – Owner of the Oceans of Ode Aye – Earth. As well is her representation of water and birth and in fact a principal part of the human spirit of  consciousness  as well as it makes up part of our bodies. Throughout time and most ancient religions of the east a Female dominate deity took hold of the Title of the owner of the great oceans of earth.

When Olokun is angry she causes the sea to be rough and stirs up a raging surf upon the shore; and it is she who drowns men, upsets boats or canoes, and causes shipwrecks.

Olokun Lord of The Sea

Olokun Sea Goddess – The owner of all the riches under the oceans, the greatest Bead maker, the most powerful Deity whose mantles are the rolling waves of sea water, is a most beautiful divinity to behold. Her long, braided hair flows with the waves of the undulating waters, her ebony dark skin glistening like priceless pearls under the motion of ceaseless seas.

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Olokun heard about the plan to establish human abodes on earth, and became angry.  She was fully prepared to turn down the request to use earth for the human project mainly because she was already using the space for her Bead-making studio. She made Beads of all colors and shapes, but her favorite Bead was the indigo colored, tubular shaped segi bead, so luminously dark that it seems to capture light within its luxurious entrails. It was her love for Bead making that caused her to move her seat to the depth of the ocean, which nobody wanted at that time. But after she succeeded in taming and ruling the vast ocean, after she salted it and stocked it with priceless jewels, after she had transformed the vast and empty space into a home for herself, they began to plot behind her back to take her space from her and turn it into a general home to lodge humans. She found the human project totally unacceptable if it would be at the expense of her own studio work of Bead making.

It was totally unacceptable for the divinities to take her sanctuary away from her, and populate it with strangers. She sat down in a reflective mood in the midst of her vast collection of Beads. She calmly picked up some of the most colorful and exquisite Beads ever made, and slowly rubs the warm gems against her dark brown skin.  She would not give up her craft, she resolved. She would fight for every cup of water in the vast ocean of the earth. It was clear to Olokun that they chose earth because she had developed it so artistically that nobody could take their eyes away from it. But they also thought that she had no fighting power. It was only if the power of the others overwhelmed her that she was going to surrender.

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Olokun & The Chameleon… Her secret contact in heaven informed her that they were sending the Chameleon to her. She considered that to be a sign of their contempt for her because they could not be sending a more inferior fellow as an emissary. She knew that every act is a sign of another thing. They were telling her that she was ugly, slow and contemptible, and the chameleon would be a clear deliverer of the message. They were telling her that she was beholding her own reflection in the mirror when she saw the Chameleon riding the Snail as a horse. Right before her eyes, she saw the Chameleon climb down from the back of the Snail. To her astonishment, the skin of the Chameleon glister with a lustrous light that radiated around it. Olokun, to her surprise, wanted to touch it, but she quickly checked her impulsive spirit.

She went into her chambers and began to attire herself in her gorgeous garments, woven in multicolored patterns, using different yarns and textures. She then looked for various combinations of Beads, both brilliant and dull Beads, large and slim, round and angular shaped gems, and she wore them. She then reappeared before the Chameleon, to show off herself, and display how beautiful she looked. “As usual, you are the most elegant and attractive being alive,” the Chameleon said to her, when she came out looking exceedingly beautiful in her attires. But even as the Chameleon spoke, it began to transform, and its skin began to reflect the splendor of the color of Olokun attires. The only exception is that the mirror even looked more splendid than the original, which puzzled Olokun.

Olokun thought about these things and decided that they were too bizarre for her to deal with. Certainly, things have changed in Heaven, and they were no longer as they used to be, if the ugly Chameleon could look so beautiful, and the Snail could be as swift as a horse… She decided that she had underestimated the power of the forces of Heaven. She told the chameleon “I want no trouble from those who sent you here. But you cannot take all of my space. Tell those who sent you that you can have some of the planet, which you may turn into solid ground for human habitation. But I will still continue to reign over the larger portion covered by the waters.”

***Olokun however remembered her word, because one’s word is what is most important. And her word remained that she consented to the establishment a human colony here on earth. So she has to honor and keep her word, for that is the nature of her own graceful character. At one time She was the Goddess of all Waters and all of the Oceans, for Her name means Owner of Oceans – Lord of the Sea. Today, especially amongst the New World Yorubas, Olokun is generally associated with the dark and cold bottom of the sea.

==Both Olokun & Mami Wata use mirrors which represent water and is used as a vehicle into the other world. White Kaolin is used for the Olokun while Talcum powder is used for the Mami Wata.

 The worship of Olokun deity in Benin may be because the land of the living is surrounded by limitless water into which all rivers flow and that human souls must cross these waters “Olokun realms” either to be born or depart on their way to the spirit world after death.

ERINDILOGUN = Cowrie-Shells Divination

The Language Of  Cowrie-Shells…

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Cowrie-Shells Divination refers to several distinct forms of divination using Cowrie-Shells that are part of the rituals and religious beliefs of certain religions. Though best-documented in West Africa as well as in Afro-American religions, such as Santería, Candomblé, and Umbanda Cowrie-Shell Divination has also been recorded in other regions, notably East Africa and India etc..

In Santería: The Cowrie-Shells, called Dilogun, are used by Priests and Priestesses of Santería, who are called Santeros and Santeras, respectively. Both men and women who have been initiated into Santería can read Cowrie-Shells.

In Candomblé: The Cowrie-Shell, as collected from a beach, has a flattened side with a longitudinal slit, and a smooth, rounded side. Like a coin, the shell has only two stable positions on a flat surface, with the slit side facing either up or down. Most priests, however, use modified shells whose rounded part has been ground away, creating a second, artificial opening. The two stable positions of the shell are still called “open” or “closed” for divination purposes.

In representing Orisha (16 Cowries) with the choice between two alternatives, a small Vertebra (bone) is often used to symbolize bad and a pair of Cowries tied back to back to symbolize good. Any two objects can be used, but the bone is associated with death while cowries were formerly used as money. It is for this reason that the alternatives are spoken of as Ibo, meaning “covered” or “concealed.” Five kinds of good fortune (Ire – well being) and five kinds of bad fortune (Ibi – misfortune) that are to be met in the world.

other6 Good Fortune:  Longevity – Wealth –  Marriage – Children – Victory

Bad Fortune: Death- Illness – Fight – Lack of money – Loss

The art of divination can only be satisfied, if and when all relevant questions are dealt with seeking appropriate answers. No one divination system is capable of giving the total and complete answer and each divination system has its peculiar specialty. For example, the Obi that is a compulsory accompanist of most sacrifice and ritual serves its purpose properly when during and after the preparation of the sacrifice, it is constantly being asked to indicate if the procedure being followed is proper, and later, to check if the sacrifice is completed and where the sacrifice has to be taken to in order for the Deity-Orisha to accept it.

The position of the Erindilogun is total, but not all comprehensive. Its main attribute lies in its ability to respond very accurately to the larger questions and to satisfy the purpose of putting light where darkness clouds the way. No divination is complete without following the process or meeting the obligation that the Odu of Ifa impose to satisfy the efficacy of the divination, which is the sacrifice that is stipulated for most of the divination.

Sacrifices (Ebo) are standard for most of the divination. Cases might arise that these sacrifice might neither be necessary nor adequate. It is the diviner who has the last judgment when it comes to that.

ERINDILOGUN – OSHUN’S DIVINATION SYSTEM:

Oshun is the only daughter of Yemoja. Yemoja was not granted a child for the many years of the her life. So she went to seek the assistance of the Orisha who demanded sacrifice from her and told her to fill the house with water after the sacrifice. Soon she became pregnant. Just when it was clear for her to bring forth her child, the rain started to pour down for many days only to stop on the morning that she gave birth to her child, Yemoja took the child to the back of the house to bath her in the pond. But to everyone’s surprise the water of the pond started to move and then started to flow and they all shouted O-sun, -it moved, O-sun-you moved it. It was this power of the gods that was inherent in Oshun from her birth that made Orunmila to direct the Awo-Merin to initiate Oshun as one of them so that all the hindrance that is holding them back could be overcome. The Awo-Merin are the diviner of the world.

Oshun later became Orunmila wife. Orunmila the master diviner also known as Ifa was always going from his home on very long trips in the course of his job. There came a time when famine attacked the land when Orunmila was away. The rivers were drying up, the greens were no more, the animals and the birds were dying of thirst and the Humans found life too uncomfortable. Everyone was calling at the home of Orunmila to find out what had to be done, only to meet his absence. In the end most thought it fit to sit and wait for Orunmila return, and so Orunmila home was jammed and almost filled to capacity.

It was under this desperation that Oshun found her way to the back of the house and picked sixteen of the cowries which were then being used as money paid to Orunmila. Oshun consecrated the cowries and then cast them in the name of Ifa. For the birds who were the first to come, Oshun directed them towards the east where she told them that they will find the rains and the green. For the animals that came after the birds, she also directed them to the east. So the animals went in pursuit of the birds. When the Human heard the rush they came to be cast, Oshun pointed towards the east and directed them there.

No sooner than the human left Orunmila house the master came. He asked for the reason for all the commotion and mass movements. He was informed about Oshun divination for the birds, the animals and the humans. “What direction did they go?” Orunmila asked, “to the east” Oshun said, “call them back” Orunmila directed, “or else the land will be left with nothing after they all kill each other off.”

= Orunmila Then Put A Curse Upon Oshun’s Divination System =

“Henceforth your divination will only be about 90% accurate. Also you are permitted to borrow only twelve (12) of my sixteen (16) odus for your divination and it is the combination of three (3) casting of the Erindilogun that will be able to give you correct answers to inquiries.” (Ose-Otura)

The Diviner: While the majority of the diviners of the Erindilogun are women, the consecration of the Erindilogun is only done by men, because of the process which involves Odu-Ifa which women are not permitted to cast. Also the process of preparation before casting the Erindilogun is only open to the diviner after Oshun has granted her permission, which is sought in conjunction with any other Orisha that the diviner might be giving attention or using his home.

The Erindilogun can only be cast from dawn to just little after dusk, because it is believed that after sunset Oshun leaves the Erindilogun for her husband’s home and will not return until the early hours of the following morning.

Orisha-Oshun color is white and so Dilogun diviners customarily are dressed in white apparels, while a white piece of cloth is spread on the ground upon which the casting is done or sometimes the Erindilogun is cast in a plate, a raffia tray placed upon the white piece of cloth. While the average diviner would wish to display his or her versatility in eloquently reciting the numerous verses of the Odu as they appear on the tray, the healer is preoccupied with resolving problems and getting curses.

The healer as the active end of the process is the one saddled with the responsibility of validating the divination, but also choosing the ways and manner in which the problems identified are remedied. It is he who not only prescribe the remedy but also states the process through which remedy will become effective. If the remedy involve an sacrifice it is the Healer who will also do whatever the sacrifice entails on behalf of the client.

***It must be stated that jewelries, finger rings and any metallic object are not worn on the body of the diviner of the Erindilogun, because of the belief that such metallic materials coming in contact with the Erindilogun could interfere with the proper functioning of the Erindilogun.

The Erindilogun is an Orisha (Oshun) and so it is also worshiped like all other Orisha. Most diviners would worship their Dilogun on the eighth day. When the Erindilogun is being worshiped, it is placed on the white piece of cloth and showered with cool water. A five carpel Kola nut is placed on her. The diviner then state his request and chant her Oriki. Then he bends forward and touches the Erindilogun with his forehead, thanks the Orisha for granting his request.

He then picks up the kola nut and breaks it. He subtracts the Olufuwa (the double female piece) places it by the side and then removes Kekere obi (little chips of Kola nut) pinched off from the middle lining of each of the four remaining kola nuts. These minute chips are placed on the Erindilogun.The four Kola nut pieces are now cast for the Eindilogun to ask her well-being and other related questions about her needs and state of readiness. It is with this Kola nut that whatever is due for her could be found out. It is not uncommon for the Erindilogun to sometimes make demands from the diviner himself, sometimes during the process of divining for a client. This is indicated by the Odu that is cast on the divining tray. Any good diviner of the Erindilogun gets direct communication from the Erindilogun each time he cast the Erindilogun, and so will have no difficulty in prescribing the sacrifice or remedy.

The Cowrie-Shell = For the Dilogun the type of Cowrie-Shell known as the Owo-Ero, (peace money) is what is consecrated, before it could be used. The Owo-Ero has a broken back while the front tooth like portion must be very complete in form. The Owo-Ero is also usually smaller in size, than the average Cowrie-Shell.

The Cowrie-Shell called Owo-Eyo is usually not as strong as the Owo-Ero that is used for divination. Selection of the Owo-Ero to be used for divination, is usually limited to the middle aged and young Owo-Ero because of the belief that the young owo-ero is relatively innocent and will speak the truth more often than the older one.

The Erindilogun also communicates with her diviner sometime through dreams and on some occasions through trances in visionary forms. The Erindilogun is usually referred to as the Orisha by her diviners and clients alike.

 

 

OBATALA = Owner Of All Heads…

OBATALA =  ORISHANLA =  OBATORISA: Father Of All Orishas & Humanity – The Orisha Of Wisdom, Knowledge & Pureness..Epa Oosha Obatala Alasho Funfun.

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Known as an ancient energy, it embodies the patience, clarity of mind and wisdom that can only be attained through thoughtfulness and careful and sober consideration. Thus, Obatala is also associated with the concept of justice. Those operating in this Orisha’s field are often highly intelligent and extremely thoughtful, possessing lofty yet realistic ideals. They are the observers and intellectuals among us who strive for peace, truth and clarity above all else.

Father of humanity, the right hand of Olodumare, Obatala is the supreme deity of justice, wisdom and life. Obatala’s color is white, which is often accented with other colors, namely red, coral, green or purple, according to the road. His symbols are a single, solid silver bracelet, a white horsetail switch (Irukere), a cane and a silver bell or “Agogo-Oje,” which is used when saluting him.

Obatala is the the Orisha responsible for molding the physical form of humanity before Oludumare gives us life with his divine breath. He’s always perfectly clean and expresses himself with the presence of Efun (white chalk). Liquor and red palm oil are taboo to him and his followers. Obatala is the orisha of logic, thought, and clarity and as such children of Obatala are generally logical and “heady.” In fact, children of Obatala invariably require more “alone time” than most other people as their lives are often ruled by their ability to think quietly and process. Obatala is symbolized by the color white, white doves and the number 8 and Sunday is said to be his sacred day of the week.

Obatalá “King of the White Cloth” and he represents peace, sober decision making, creativity, purity, and divination. The social role associated with him is that of an Elder or Sage and his elements or natural stages are the mountains, clouds, and palm trees. Some of the most distinctive features of Obatalá are the myth of creation that has been linked to him, the traditional offerings presented to him and the location of his supposed home, his “claim over individuals”, and the many associations with others Saints and Gods that he has received through time.

As the myth points out, Obatalá enjoyed drinking palm wine and continued to do so although it had previously led to his shame and humiliation. Due to his weakness for alcohol, he would even drink while carrying out his duties of molding and creating human bodies. Due to his carelessness, some of the beings he created were born with deformities and malformations so he was ordered by Olodumare to abstain from drinking while creating humans. Therefore, people born with birthmarks, albinos, the handicapped, or other children born with deformities are recognized as “Obatalá’s children”. This originates from the belief among people that “Obatalá always marks his children”.

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Traditionally, offerings to “King of the White Cloth” are comprised of coconut, cotton, cocoa butter, cornstarch, and bitter kola. This home of this deity is said to be the mountains, and for this reason gifts and food are carried to these specific regions. The metal of Obatalá is silver and his color is white, hence his name which means “King of the White Cloth”. His priests and priestesses always wear only white in his honor, and the vast majority of the offerings taken to Obatalá are white, such as white food, white clothes, white beads, and white flowers. Obatalá also tends to receive silver jewelry and coins.

 

Obatalá is said to be the Owner of all Ori, which means heads. This is an important concept because it is believed that the souls of people are located in their heads. It has been claimed that Obatalá is one of the oldest Orishas and that he is the “King of Kings”. For this reason, he is also recognized as the father of all Orishas. He is known to have Three wives,Oduduwa, Yemoo, and Igbin. Obatalá is known to be patient and to possess good judgment, he is also believed to cause earthquakes when he becomes infuriated.

Obatala is the father of all children on earth, is the creator of human beings and everything that inhabits the planet. As the creator is ruler of all human body parts, mainly the head, thoughts and human life, the white owner or where it participates essentially white to symbolize peace and purity. Obatala is the owner of the white metals, especially silver. Represents the creation that is not necessarily pristine, so magnanimous and above, also the pride, anger, despotism and those with defects and physical and mental difficulties.

Obatala embraces all her children with patience and love. Among its many qualities is that he brings intelligence, peace and calm to the world. He Intercede with any Orisha for any individual to have difficulty, because it is considered the father of mankind and owner of all heads. When we seek to Obatala, we looked at the top of the mountain. He’s in the snow covering the mountain peak and is seen as the wise old man of the hills. Obatala provide justice, renewal and new beginnings. Their children, “direct” are Albinos and those born with physical and or mental. The unique function of Obatala within the realm of Mysteries of Nature is to provide the spark of light that animates consciousness. To call an Orisha the Chief of the White Cloth is to make a symbolic reference to that substance which makes consciousness possible.

 ***An Altar Is A Symbolic Representation Of Communicating With Your Sub-Conscious Mind.

Gloria Okandekun “Ile Orisa Nla ati Yemoja”

***The reference to White Cloth is not a reference to the material used to make the cloth, it is a reference to the fabric which binds the universe together. The threads of this fabric are the multi-leveled layers of consciousness which Ifa teaches exist in all things on all levels of Being. The ability of Forces of Nature to communicate with each other, and the ability of humans to communicate with Forces in Nature that gives the world a sense of spiritual unity. It is the understanding of this ability which gives substance to the Ifa concept of good character, and it is Obatala who guides us towards developing this understanding.

All Forces in Nature come into Being through the manifestation of energy patterns called Odu. Ifa has identified and labeled different Odu which can be thought of as different expressions of consciousness. But because consciousness itself is generated by Obatala, every Odu contains an element of Obatala’s spiritual power. In metaphysical terms, this means that all of Creation is linked to Obatala as the Source of Being. All forms of consciousness contain a spark of spiritual power from Obatala, and it is this spark that links everything that is, to its shared Beginning.

The name means “Lord of the White Cloth” (Oba-ti-ala.), and is explained by the fact that white is the color sacred to Obatala, whose temples, images, and paraphernalia are always painted white, and whose followers wear white cloths.  The god is always represented as wearing a white cloth.

 Obatala likes dark places. Thus when we find ourselves placed on the altar cloth to keep it away from the light.

Baba arugbo temi ni obamise – Obatala temi ni o bamise
Bi eniyan soro fun e leyin monmongba o… Temi ni o bamise…

Obatala Uses Elephant Teeth….. (Otura-Odi)

 

 

OBI ABATA = Mystical Divination

              General Interpretation Of Obi Abata (Kola Nuts)

For proper use in divination, the Obi Abata must be of four segments, consisting of Two Males (Ako Meji), and Two Females (Abo Meji). These segments represent an equal balance in the forces of “light” corresponding to the masculine force and “darkness” corresponding to the feminine force. To get an accurate oracle in consultation, the four segments should be cast on a clean ground, flat bowl, plate, or tray. Water should be sprinkled on the ground as a means of offering libation to the various Orishas before casting the Obi Abata.

**One thousand and one questions can be asked in a day, but the same question must NEVER be asked twice, or else the questioner will be deceived. The subject of inquiry must be always stated before the Obi Abata kola nuts are cast.

The Obi Abata Oracle can be performed by either a Man or a Woman. Yoruba traditional customs indicate that the Obi Abata is favored among Women as a means of consulting, and assisting in the Ifa system of divination.

The Language of the Obi:  When the Obi is to be used for divination either as a medium in her own right, or for asking procedural directives during the process of or after the completion of a sacrifice, or for asking questions in the presence of another Orisha.  It is important that the Obi to be used must be very clean and a complete whole seed. The Obi that is meant for use should be selected from a pack and should be properly washed and placed in a clean container or piece of clean white cloth.

Casting The Obi Abata:  The Obi for divination or asking questions should first be put into water, and the person to cast her must take a sip of the water in which the Obi is in three times before he/she picks out the Obi from inside the water. Before taking out the Obi from inside the water, the water should be sprinkled upon the Orisha or ebo three times or if it is meant for divination purpose the water should be sprinkled on the ground where the divination will be casted three times. The Obi should thereafter be carefully broken up into its constituent Lobes, allowing for no scratch or bodily damage.

***A knife or any metallic instrument should never be used to break the Obi open, so as not to interfere with her degree of accuracy, which could be altered say for example when she comes in contact with Ogun’s iron.

Reading the Obi: In Obi Abata Divination, about Nine (9) positions of the Obi’s Lobes formation after a throw are each a coded Signature loaded with meaning such as will answer or give explanations to questions asked in response to various and specific enquiries. When the Obi is cast for asking questions in the presence of a Female Orisha,  Oshun, Yemoja, Olokun etc, the reading of the Male/ Female meaning is reversed. Then the Female Lobes are read as mostly positive, while the Male Lobes are read as may-be or less positive.

I. Idiwo/Oyeku:      All Four Lobes Facing Downwards

               Orisha says that this cast could either mean that you are about to come into an abundance of Good Luck or that a fight or quarrel is imminent. It is always presumed that the abundance of Good Luck is what the Orisha is talking about. Because of the double language of the Odu, a recast is always necessary for clarification. So make a second casting. The casting of the four Lobes facing down is also making reference to the possible birth of twins of the taking of special care for the twin children. It also talks about a pregnant woman who needs Orisha’s attention. She should give ebo to Obatala.

***Darkness, death and many obstacles. From it you derive unhappiness, sickness, and great fear. It may also sometimes offer protection, avert sudden death, and dangers.

II. Aje/Ija (Fight):      One Female Lobe Facing Up

Orisha says that this is a may-be negative indicator calling you to give the Orisha what you are owing them, and that is why negative forces are present or surrounding the inquiries. Watch out for sickness or trouble that might be ahead. A second casting is necessary to clarify if the first throw signifies sickness, accidents or bad luck.

***Good fortune, financial prosperity and comfort. It is said that this formation brings good news.

III. Ilera = Ifa Wa:      One Male Lobe Facing Up

Orisha speaks of a reinforcement of the positive influences that are abound now. Orisha says one should make Sacrifice so that the favorable trend can continue. Orisha says that no charm nor medicine have been affected by negative vibrations. Orisha says that you should not put a curse or make negative wish for anyone so that it might not come to pass.

*** Good health, singleness of purpose, and good prospects. Those Lobes which are down may also add more emphasis depending on their positions.

 IV. Ejiko = Ejire:    One Male & One Female Lobe Facing Up

Orisha says that this is a may-be “Yes” indicator, a marriage of convenience. Ejiko is also called the “Twins” and regarded as an indicator of continuity. Whenever this figure appears, it is greeted with thus “Good Luck, & Continuity” Appease the ground with cold water before proceeding…

*** A good omen for all undertakings, also speak of friendship when one Male and one Female Lobe lay open together.

V. Akoran = Ire:    Two Male Lobes Facing Up

Orisha speaks of a reinforcement of the positive influences that are abound now. Orisha says one should make Sacrifice so that the favorable trend can continue. Orisha says that no charm nor medication have been affected by negative vibrations. Orisha says that one should not put a curse or make negative wish for anyone so that it might not come to pass.

*** A quarrel or trouble, possibly relating to a court case. It is often described as a difficult problem.

 VI. Ero = Odi:    Two Female Lobes Facing Up

Orisha says that this is a negative indicator, Iya-Mogun (Witches) are showing displeasure with you. They disapprove of habit/food or interest in the question asked. A Sacrifice should be made for the Orisha on behalf of a sick person. Orisha says “No” to this question is final. Make Sacrifice to appease Iya-Mogun.

*** Everlasting and Peaceful rest…

 VII. Akita = Ishegun:    Two Male & One Female lobes Facing Up

Orisha says that this is a very positive indicator. if your inquiry is about love relation or marriage proposal..This position of the Obi is a sign of victory. the enquirer should neither fight nor put a curse upon anyone. He has overcome all his enemies.

*** Good health, controversy among enemies, joy. May predict the birth of a Male child.

 VIII. Obita = Ota Iwa:    Two Female & One Male Lobes Facing Up

Uncertainties and a very slow trend is abound. Sacrifice and propitiation for Ogun is the key to getting back on a smoother path. Avoid getting into a fight or unnecessary annoyance. Treat loved ones with care and be patient with work mates.

*** Brings peace, happiness, comfort, sometimes this can predict victory over enemies or court case.

 IX. Alafia = Ogbe:    All four Lobes Facing Up

The indicators are that good health and happiness will continue in abundance. Orisha says that traveling is in the air with possible rewarding and gainful outcome. For those who are connected with overseas trading, expected shipments are just arriving at the port. Orisha Ibeji (Twins) is about to look upon the enquirer.

*** Pure light, happiness, confidence, long-life and prosperity…

   When examining the various patterns of formation in the Obi Abata (Kola-Nut), the reader must keep in mind that the direction of the Lobes plays an essential role in understanding hidden messages which are relevant to the ways in which the Masculine and Feminine forces are moving within the Signature cast.

Obi Abata Divination = Serves as a useful guide for decision making in day-to-day activities. Questions and matters affecting one’s destiny, health, love, marriage and wealth can accurately be answered…

The person who desires to have his/her fortune told must first invoke the Obi. Ask The Question and cast The Obi Abata on a clean ground, a flat plate or a tray. This system of Obi Abata Divination can be used by either sex. The individual using the Obi Abata must therefore specify whether the question is personal or for His/Her mate or client. The answers may be altered to fit from husband to wife, children, society, a whole community or country etc…

 Reactivating The Obi Abata (Kola-Nut): The Obi Abata like any Orisha sometimes refuses to function according to expectations. Various reasons may be insinuated for this primary of which could be perhaps unclean body of the caster or sometimes highly charged atmosphere. If after a few casting of the Obi Abata, particularly during the process or conclusion of a Sacrifice or in the presence of an Orisha, there is no positive response from the Obi Abata. Obi Abata might have to be pampered to reactivate…

*** When two Lobes of the Obi Abata stand over each other, it could signify the interest of the Iya-Mogun (Witches) in the matter. If the Female Lobe climbed over the Male Lobe, the reverse is the case, it could signify prosperity and Wealth.

 Orin/Song:  Ojodu Ode O…. Omo Arera (2x)  Ifa Mo Dupe L’Owo…Obi To Yan O

Orishas are fond of the Obi Abata as a tool of communication within the Ifa system of Divination.The word “obi”, as it is used within this module, refers to the fresh kola nut native to Africa, specifically the Obi Abata. Obi Abata, also known as the kola nut, falls under the scientific classification cola acuminata. It ranges from white to dark red in color.

Two Males (Ako-Meji) Bottom Right *** Two Females (Abo-Meji) Upper Left

Obi Abata, the type of Obi used in divination, is made up of four and five lobes that are split open and used as both an Oracle and as offerings to the Ancestors and Orisha. It is the Obi Abata that is a staple ingredient in most sacred Ifa-Orisha rituals and celebrations. Though other configurations of the Obi may be used in various ways, it is the four lobed Obi, also known as Iya Obi (The Mother Obi). Two Males (Ako-Meji) Bottom Right *** Two Females (Abo-Meji) Upper Left.

 

Two Males (Ako-Meji) Bottom Right *** ( Olufua) Double Female Middle *** Two Females (Abo-Meji) Upper Left

Olufuwa / Five Lobes ObiSaid to belong to Oshun, the Deity for puberty, whiteness and cool serene water.  It has the female lobe or the “Ofa” which have a double Female characteristic making her bottom ending look like a delta of a river.  For divination purposes, the “Ofa” is always taken aside and given to Eshu from the lot and only two Males and two Females are used.

This is a 5 Lobes Olufua Obi-Abata top left are 2 females (delta) – center is a double female (belongs to Orisha Oshun)- far right are 2 males (straight lines).

 

OSHUN = Goddess Of Life…

  Oshun Is The Energy Of Attraction On All Levels…

**Oshun Is Depicted As The Goddess Who Not Only Gives Life But Also Takes It. Oshun Saves Earth From Destruction By Calling Back The Waters.

Osun – Oshun, an Orisha (Deity) of the Yoruba people. Oshun is commonly called the river Orisha, or Goddess, in the Yoruba religion and is typically associated with water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. She is considered one of the most powerful of all Orishas, and, like other Gods, she possesses human attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.

Several myths exist concerning Oshun and her significance as a Yoruba deity. In most Yoruba stories, Oshun is generally depicted as the protector, savior, or nurturer of humanity. Oshun has also been described as the maintainer of spiritual balance or mother of sweet things. One myth highlights Oshun as the central figure in the creation of human beings. The Yoruba people believe that the Orishas were sent by Olodumare, who is considered the Supreme God, to populate the Earth.

Oshun, being one of the original 17 sent to Earth, was the only female deity. The other gods, all male, failed at their attempts to revive and populate the Earth. When they realized they were unable to complete the task given to them by Olodumare, they tried to persuade Oshun to help them. Oshun agreed and brought forth her sweet and powerful waters, bringing life back to Earth and humanity and other species into existence. As that Yoruba myth suggests, humanity would not exist if Oshun, the goddess of life and fertility, had not acted.

She is commonly described as the favorite of all orishas by Olodumare, because of her beauty and sensuality. In yet another Yoruba story, Oshun is depicted as the Goddess who not only gives life but also takes it. When angered, Oshun may flood Earth or destroy crops by withholding her waters, thereby causing massive droughts. In one myth, Oshun is incensed by her devotees and sends down rain, nearly flooding the world. Yet once she has been appeased, Oshun saves Earth from destruction by calling back the waters.

Tradition holds that the first interaction between Oshun and human beings took place in Osogbo, Yoruba land. That city is considered sacred, and it is believed to be fiercely protected by the water goddess. Oshun is said to have given the people who went to her river permission to build the city and promised to provide for them, protect them, and grant their prayers if they worshiped her dutifully, making the obligatory offerings, prayers, and other rituals.

Out of that first encounter between the people of Osogbo and Oshun evolved the Oshun festival, which is still practiced today by the Yoruba people. Every year Oshun devotees and other people of the Yoruba religious tradition go to the Oshun River to pay homage, make sacrifice, and ask for a variety of things such as wealth, children, and better health. Although other orishas are honored during the festival, the climax of the festival is centered on Oshun. 

The festival begins with a lamp ceremony in the streets of Osogbo, Nigeria

Oshun is the energy of attraction on all levels. It is through this Orisha that abundance, fertility, laughter and lightness are called forth. Oshun attracts love, sexuality, joy and prosperity. It is the energy of harmony and song, as beauty in all its forms comes through this Orisha. It enables conception in any manifestation, from a child in the womb to the stroke of genius that sparks a fruitful business endeavor or partnership. Those in alignment with Oshun are often perceived to be open, happy, emotional and social beings.

Symbolized by the sweet waters, Oshun demonstrates the power of love itself. Just as a river traverses roots, boulders, curves, and miles of obstacles to reach its destination, love will let nothing stop it from achieving its purpose. Oshun is the river and she whispers to all living things, and animals naturally hear her, without any effort at all. Her favorite are birds like parrots, vultures and peacocks, but She also has command over fish, the water fowl, and the reptiles that come to her river banks. In fact, because we are all dawned to her sweet water to drink. She is the medium that connects all worlds, from the largest animal, to the arid climate vegetable,  the smallest mineral, and we cannot resist her call.

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because, in Yoruba, Oshun is the cosmological forces of water, and attraction. Oshún represents the intensity of the feelings and the spirituality, the human sensuality, the gentleness, the refinement, the love and all related to women. She protects the pregnant; she is a beautiful woman, cheering and smiling but inside she’s very severe, suffered and sometimes sad. Therefore She is omnipresent and omnipotent. Yoruba scribes reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun , as well as Her followers.

“It’s said she lived in a cave that still exists in Ijesa”

** Our mother Oshun carries a mirror not because she is “vain” but because she represents your divine self-image. It is your self-image that determines how you engage the world and your success and failure. While many believe they have a positive self-image they folly because their self-image is still based on an imperfect human identity and not a divine perfect one.

OSUN The Source: Most people think of Osun as river goddess, or a fertility goddess. Her power is multidimensional, Osun (source) from the word “Orisun” the source of a river, a people, of children, of wealth, of life. Oshun represents the perpetually renewing source of life. As the elemental power of water, she makes life possible. Oshun the child giving and curative power of water. She is the birth canal where our Ori is developed.

Oshun: The Owner Of Erindilogun = (Sixteen Cowrie-Shells Divination System) She can be loquacious and beautiful who succeeds by killing you with kindness. or deadly serious old woman, owner of the spiritual eye (mystical power). She is the benevolent mother and fierce warrior. She heals with her cool waters and destroys indiscriminately with her raging floods. She is the creator and defender of her children. She cries when she is happy, and laughs when she is sad. To accentuate her dual natures, Oshun carries a brass cooling fan in one hand and a brass cutlass in the other.

Oshun Owner Of Birds… Osun leader of the Iyami – Is much involved in the politics of Kingship. The King’s crown is topped by a bird, symbol of the owners of birds (Aje) who are members of the “Iyami Osoronga cult”. The King rules at the discretion of the “Mothers” and under their watchful eyes.

Oshun Female & Male Principle – Fierce Warrior – Fertility Goddess…

Oshun is the embodiment of women’s mystical power, the ability to control physical & spiritual forces, to create life through procreation, and the sustenance of life are considered to be ultimate power. it is this secretive power, that men can never understand, that has driven men to try & control women throughout the ages. It is the power of the Mothers (Iyami). To understand Oshun is to know the intelligence, vitality, caring, and nourishing abilities of women. Long-suffering, cheats, overlooked, and overworked, but always committed to the survival of humanity. Besides signifying wealth, brass never rusts, it is eternal. In Oshun we have the embodiment of wealth, prosperity, love, beauty, elegance, sexuality , and a divinely sanctioned feminist…

Omi O… Ota O… Edan O… E Kore Yeye Osun O… Sacred Water…Sacred Stones… Sacred Symbol Of Ogboni… All Hail Benevolent Mother…

Iye wa a ba won pe l’imo Awa f’imo je t’Osun o = We give our reverence to Osun The unseen Mother ever present at every gathering.

 

OBALUAYE = SAKPATA…

** Sakpata – Obaluaye – Soponna – Omolu  **

             Babalú-Ayé =  Father  Lord Of The Earth…

The Deities-Orishas… It is the view of Orunmila-Ifa that all things on earth, and in our entire universe, are conscious and alive. Everything possesses its own awareness and energy. These infinite, natural energies that comprise the universe are called Orishas. Each has its own specific function and its own myriad aspects, as well as its own unique name.

All human beings are in continuous contact with the Orishas. Our bodies and senses are constantly conversing with energy, whether we realize it or not. Much can be learned from honoring this connection and paying attention to the way Orishas work in the universe. Each energy serves its own unique part while still maintaining perfect balance with the whole. Through observing and communicating with Orishas, we come to realize that human beings do play this same active and significant role in the universe. Orishas show us exactly how the energy of our actions and our thoughts affect not only our own lives, but the lives of everyone and everything around us.

Obaluaye-Sakpata God Of Smallpox – Apparently became an important god in the smallpox plagues that were transmitted by various inter-tribal wars. Priests of Obaluaye wielded immense power; it was believed that they could bring the plague down on their enemies, and in fact the priests sometimes made a potion from the powdered scabs and dry skin of those who died from smallpox. They would pour the potion in an enemy’s house or a neighboring village to spread the disease. Today, however, smallpox has been all but eradicated; the priests of Obaluaye have lost power and the cult has vanished.

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When Obaluaye-Sakpata chooses to take a wife, the priest continues, it is something truly extraordinary. It doesn’t happen every day. Today, Sakpata has taken a wife here. Three days ago we showed the corpse of the girl to the whole village. Today, we’re going to bring the corpse out and resurrect her in front of everybody. Sometimes we try to resurrect, but the body doesn’t wake up and we call the family to come and bury it. But if Sakpata truly chose his wife and the priests do the resurrection, the person will come back to life. There is no other way…

An outside individual can only presume it is all fake, an illusion of the mind tricking one to believe the impossible. The community of Vodun believes otherwise and has gathered with the full force of their believe system to help resurrect this young woman. They will be concentrating the power of their belief to help her reawaken into the world of the living.

*** While she was working she was struck down. Sakpata took her as his royal wife.

In Vodun mythology, Sakpata is the God of well being for mind, body and spirit. He is also the God of disease. To honor Sakpata, one will remain healthy throughout life, and if one were to become ill, sick, contract AIDS or a virus, one’s sole survival tactic would rely on Sakpata, worshiping him in every waking hour until one’s last breath. Apparently this woman we’re here to see failed to honor Sakpata. She birthed a child. The child died. She visited a Vodun priest who told her to perform specific rituals for Sakpata. She ignored the prescription. This angered Sakpata and so he was out for payment, which happened to be her.

Obaluaye-Sakpata is most crucial among the Orishas that sent to the planet Earth by Olodumare. He is also known as Baba-Ode, Baba Oye, Oluaye or Olode. Obaluaye is a fantastic Orisha that gives riches, wealth, children, Wisdom, will power and other good things to people as well as conquering enemies for then.

Also Obaluaye has his favorite foods which include palm wine, snail, pounded yam, bearded matured he goat, corn pudding and cooked grinded beans. The cloth Obaluaye uses is cam wood cloth and anybody can be a devotee and get initiated but, he has his chosen mediums. Obaluaye dances to any kind of drum.

Obaluaye-Sakpata used the Ewon (chain) to come from heaven to earth, similar to the other Orishas. Obaluaye fights in the skies. Obaluaye attacks are characterized by small pricks that appear all over the victim’s body. When Obaluaye attacks, he will attack a person in their home. If someone is in a house that is being attacked by Obaluaye, they must use palm wine for protection. When fighting he cannot touch the ground. No one defeats Obaluaye, not even Ogun.

Obaluaye cannot give children but has the power to take them away and sometimes if he give you children they would be a strong one. There cannot be any smoke where he is fighting, corn (agbado), or whistling. He also cannot fight in the rain. Sapona eats alone. When feeding him he must be separated from all other Orisha. Obaluaye likes to eat Emu, Iyan Agbadu, obuko (male goat), asoro, adalu (beans and corn). His color is Red, he wears red clothes.

**Obaluaye taboo is that he cannot share his food**

He demands respect and even gratitude when he claims a victim, and so people sometimes honor him with the praise name Alápa-dúpé, meaning “One who kills and is thanked for it”. In one commonly recounted story, Obaluaye was old and lame. He attended a celebration at the palace of Obatala, the father of the Orishas. When Obaluaye tried to dance, he stumbled and fell. All the other Orishas laughed at him, and he in turn tried to infect them with smallpox. Obatala stopped him and drove him into the bush, where he has lived as an outcast ever since.

He owns the Earth and has strong associations with smallpox and other infections. His worship is very diverse in Fon communities, where many distinct manifestations of the spirit are venerated. Because the dead are buried in the Earth, the manifestation called Avimadye is considered the chief of the Ancestors.

Venerated by the Ewe, there is a similar figure with the praise name Anyigbato who is closely associated with sickness and displaced peoples. He is believed to wander the land at night, wearing a garment of rattling snail shells; the snail shells are also a key feature of his fetish.

In Santería, Babalúayé is among the most popular orishas. Syncretized with Saint Lazarus, and regarded as particularly miraculous, Babalúayé is publicly honored with a pilgrimage on December 17, when tens of thousands of devotees gather at the Church and Leprosorium of Saint Lazarus in El Rincón, in the outskirts of Santiago de Las Vegas, Havana. Arará communities in Cuba and its diaspora honor the spirit as Asojuano. Both traditions use sackcloth in rituals to evoke his humility. The spirit also appears in Palo as Pata en Llaga.

In Candomblé, Omolu face is thought to be so scarred by disease and so terrifying that he appears covered with a raffia masquerade that covers his whole body. He also manifests in Umbanda and Macumba. Some lineages of Candomblé relate myths that justify Obalúayé being the child Nana Burukú who abandons him to die of exposure on the beach where he is badly scarred by crabs. Yemoja discovers him there, takes him under her protection, nurses him back to health, and educates him in many secrets.

Because of his knowledge of the forest and the healing power of plants, Obalúayé is strongly associated with Osain, the deity of herbs. Obalúayé’s worship is frequently linked to the Earth itself, and even his name identifies him with the Earth itself.

  Sakpata – The Ewe Fon Vodun of the earth. His power is feared and terrifying. His attributes are the arm of smallpox, scissors, a chain and black, white and red spots.  

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YEMOJA = Mother of Waters

                  “The Mother Whose Children Are The Fish.”

Yemoja is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. She does not easily lose her temper, but when angered she can be quite destructive and violent, as the flood waters of turbulent rivers. Yemoja is often depicted as a mermaid, and is associated with the moon, water, and feminine mysteries. She is the protector of women. She governs everything pertaining women; childbirth, conception, parenting, child safety, love, and healing. She oversees deep secrets, ancient wisdom, the moon, sea shells, and the collective unconscious. According to myth, when her waters broke, it caused a great flood creating rivers and streams and the first mortal humans were created from her womb.

In traditional Yoruba culture and spirituality, Yemoja is a mother spirit; patron spirit of women, especially pregnant women; She is the patron deity of the Ogun river but she is also worshiped at streams, creeks, springs in addition to wells and run-offs. This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity, and her reign over all living things. In West Africa, Yemoja is worshiped as a high-ranking river deity, but in Brazil and Cuba she is worshiped mainly as a sea/ocean goddess. River deities in Yoruba land include Yemoja,  Oshun, Erinle, Ọbà, Yewa, etc. It is Olókun that fills the role of sea deity in Yoruba land, while Yemoja is a leader of the other river deities. The river deity Yemoja is often portrayed as a mermaid, even in West Africa, and she can visit all other bodies of water, including lakes, lagoons, and the sea, but her home and the realm she owns are the rivers and streams, especially the Ogun River in Nigeria.

In mythology, the West African and Caribbean Goddess of creation, the sea, moon, ocean and healing is Yemoja. She is considered to be a guardian of women and keeper of our mysteries. She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue-green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is Hers, also for the seven seas.

Yemoja = Yemaya is one of the most powerful Orishas in Santeria. She is the mother of all living things, rules over motherhood and owns all the waters of the Earth. She gave birth to the stars, the moon, the sun and most of the Orishas. Yemaya makes her residence in life-giving portion of the ocean – although some of her roads can be found in lagoons or lakes in the forest. Yemaya’s Ashé is nurturing, protective and fruitful. Yemaya is just as much a loving mother Orisha as she is a fierce warrior that kills anyone who threatens her children.

Yemaya can be found in all the waters of the world, and because of this she has many aspects of roads, each reflecting the nature of different bodies of water. Contrary to popular belief she is not just a loving mother. Some of Yemaya’s roads are fierce warriors who fight with sabers or machetes and bathe in the blood of fallen enemies. Other roads are masterful diviners that have been through marriage, divorce and back again. Some roads of Yemaya have been rape survivors, while other roads betrayed her sisters out of jealousy and spite. No matter what road of Yemaya, all are powerful female Orishas and fiercely protective mothers.

Some followers of Santeria say Yemaya is Chango’s mother. The two of them eat together and Chango shares his wealth with Yemaya. She is one of the four pillars of the Santeria religion along with Obatala, Oshun and Chango. Therefore every initiated Olorisha will receive her mysteries at initiation. Yemoja energy is most present in people who are warm, giving, sensitive and kind. However, the Orisha also exudes a strong sense of mystery, as all of its secrets cannot be comprehended.

Goddess Yemoja domain is water, rivers, and what is often considered the birthplace of all of life on earth – the oceans and the seas.  She is specifically associated with the upper part of the ocean, which contains the most life.  Her first gift was a shell so that her people would always be able to hear her voice. Her name Mother Whose Children are the Fish, denotes that her children are countless and further relates her infinite and all encompassing life giving aspect. Yemoja also lovingly assists and supports the rebirth  process, cleansing and purifying the old energy, releasing that which has served its purpose, allowing for renewal and new beginnings.

Yemoja-Mojelewi Ayaba Ogun-Okere

 Most Yoruba myths of origin can be found in the divination narratives knows at Odu Ifa which contains a number of poems called Ese Ifa. An Ese Ifa explains the origins of Gelede as beginning with Yemoja, “The Mother of all the Deities and all living things.”  Yewajobi – Yemoja  could not have children and consulted an Ifa oracle, who advised her to offer sacrifices and to dance with wooden images on her head and metal anklets on her feet. After performing this ritual, she became pregnant. Her first child was a boy, nicknamed “Efe” (the humorist); the Efe mask emphasizes song and jests because of the personality of its namesake.   Yewajobi – Yemoja’s second child was a girl, nicknamed “Gelede” because she was obese like her mother. Also like her mother, Gelede loved dancing.

YEMOJA: Goddess Of Beginnings, Mother of Waters…   

After getting married themselves, neither Gelede or Efe’s partner could have children. The Ifa oracle suggested they try the same ritual that had worked for their mother. No sooner than Efe and Gelede performed these rituals- dancing with wooden images on their heads and metal anklets on their feet- they started having children. These rituals developed into the Gelede masked dance and was perpetuated by the descendants of Efe and Gelede.

The commonality between them all is relatively brief.  She rules the waters and oceans.  She takes the form of a woman with long, black hair, and appears either wearing a flowing blue dress, a flowing white dress, or a flowing blue and white dress.  She wears a type of veil with beaded fringes that hide her face, and holds a mirror in one hand representing her beauty.  Her colors are, as you might imagine, blue and white. She’s always represented as one of the superior divinities, and associated with femininity and fertility, but her exact station changes with the person talking about her.

At the same time though, she is seen as the loving and protective mother of mankind.  She cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow.  She does not easily lose her temper, but when angry she can be like the Sea in a storm—wildly and indiscriminately violent and destructive. However, this aspect of strength that she possesses is as much a part of her character as her role as a mother.  In total, she is the main Feminine Principle of Candomblé, Yòrúbá, and Santería, and all that that entails.

Her dance movements represent the sea’s tumbling waves, these moves resemble the art of sewing nets, but also commonly represent a story line.  Her ocean dancing represents the salty water cleansing the distressed soul, or a newborn. She usually dances with a silver blue dress and something which resembles a fishing net, so as to represent herself as both fetus and fish.  Her metals are lead and silver, and her colors are blue hues and whites. 

Credit==> Iya Ifabunmi Omo Yemi Akinyele Aworeni

ERE IBEJI = Spirit Of The Twins

“Behold Twins, Children Of The Monkey Do Not Die”

Nothing embodies the spirit of cultural transcendence that is the legacy of the African Diaspora quite so poignantly as the exquisitely carved Twin figures, called Ibeji. These figures represent an African tradition that was so heartfelt and deeply ingrained that it was able to survive the Middle Passage.

For the Yoruba, a mother of Twins is indeed doubly blessed. With the birth of her Twins, comes the family’s ability to attain a better life through the aid of these special children who are considered close to the gods. As is often the case in Africa, and in life, good fortune can turn to disaster if it is not handled properly. The Yoruba believe that special ceremonies must be performed, praise songs sung, and special foods be served to Twins so that they can maintain their favor with the gods and hence that of their family.

The Yoruba people are widely known as having the highest naturally occurring rates of Twinning in the world. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for Twins is also high. If the birth of Twins is cause for great celebration, the passing of a Twin is cause for great mourning. If one or both of a pair of Twins dies, the family will consult a diviner who may say that a small wooden figure must be carved to contain the spirit of the lost child. The figure resembles what the child might have looked like in the prime of life had the full promise of its birth been realized.

1235451_541269005927279_1034492811_nTwins double the financial burden of the family; at the same time they are considered to be extremely beneficial in bringing about blessings to the family. Often, Twins of poor families were put to death to ease the family’s financial burdens. Through divination, Ifa discovered the killing of the Twins was offending Shango, the God of Thunder. The oracle informed Ifa that the mother of Twins must dance to Ibeji, the spirit of the Twins, every five days.

“You are the ones who open doors on Earth. You are the ones who open doors in Heaven. When you awaken, you provide money; You provide children; you provide long life; You, who are dual spirits.”

The Wonder Twins powers are activated when they touch each other and speak the phrase, “Wonder Twin powers activate!” Physical contact is required. If the two are out of reach of each other, they are unable to activate their powers. As they are about to transform, they would each announce their intended form.

The association of twins with health-giving powers is widespread in mythology, folklore, and religion. A characteristic set of attributes of twins recurs in different mythologies of wide distribution. In addition to healing, divine twins are often empowered with the ability to revive the dead, increase the fertility of man, animals, and crops, influence the weather, predict the future, and insure victory in battle. In some traditional societies these special attributes are thought to extend to all of the twins and their parents in the tribe.

         

Ibeji re, omo edun ibeji re, omo edun kere-kere-yan “Behold twins, children of the monkey. They do not die”

The last line of the song above is true in that the Yoruba people believe Twins share the same Soul. Upon the death of a Twin, the mother commissions an ere figure. This figure is thought to provide a resting place for the deceased Twin’s Soul. If the ere figure is not provided, the Yoruba people believe the Soul of the deceased will seek vengeance by bringing terrible misfortune to the other Twin, or the entire family. Ere figures are carved as the same sex of the deceased Twin, but as an adult.

The Ere Ibeji are placed on the household altar. There they are fed and clothed just as the surviving twin is fed and clothed. This is thought to placate Shango. Ere Ibeji figures are dedicated to Shango by the application of cam powder. Shango is also known as Oko Ibeji, (husband of twins.)

 The first born Twin, whether a boy or a girl, is always called Taiwo, meaning “having the first taste of the world”, whereas the second is named Kehinde, meaning “arriving after the other”. Although being born first Taiwo is considered as the younger Twin. His senior Kehinde is supposed to send out his partner to see what the outside world looks like. As soon as Taiwo has given a signal by crying, Kehinde will follow. Kehinde is supposed to be more careful, more intelligent and more reflective, while Taiwo is believed to be more curious and adventurous, but also more nonchalant.

In the event that one or both Twins dies in infancy, precautions must be taken immediately, to counteract the danger implicit in such an event. After consultation with the Ifa priest, the Ere Ibeji Twin figurine, is made. A commissioned sculptor carves the small wooden figurine which will serve as a symbolic substitute and dwelling place for the Soul of the departed. The Diviner will then perform the traditional ritual of transferring the Soul of the deceased to the ere Ibeji figurine. 

Legend and Myth

Twins are also called Ejire, or “two who are one.” According to Yoruba tradition, everyone on earth has an Ancestral Guardian Spirit or Soul counterpart in the sky that duplicates his or her actions. This Soul is constantly and cyclically reborn. Twins are thought to have a double Soul. Because there is no way of distinguishing the Twin who is a divine being from the mortal Twin, both are treated as sacred.

*** The Ibeji are not simply the Yoruba “worship of twins.” It deals with the nature of Twins being born in pairs and how this Twin nature is the true nature of creation. Twins symbolize the pairing of two things from creation in order to perpetuate further dual creation. The Ibeji are depicted as Twins (usually Male and Female) because their symbolism transcends a married couple. They are Twin brother and sister. They reflect kinship, equality, and unity in accomplishment far beyond just marriage. This is why nothing we wish to achieve can be done alone. We must work in pairs. It is our true Twin nature. This is the metaphor behind the veneration of Ibeji and other West-Central African twinned divinities…

Ancient and primitive societies supposed that the birth of twins was associated with divine influence, the mother having been visited or otherwise affected by supernatural powers. A frequent explanation was that twins were the result of superfetation, a divine impregnation occurring along with that by the lawful husband. The specific powers of divine twins appear to be a reflection of the particular form of origin of twins through divine interference with the fertilization process. The twins thus share some of the powers of the divine parent, particularly those pertaining to fertility. Their dual paternity and its inherent competition is related to their martial interests as well as their ability to resolve ambivalent or ambiguous situations and predict outcomes.

Twins Do Not Have the Same Fingerprints. Identical twins share a lot of resemblance, and DNA. But one thing about them is always very different — their fingertips. Since fingertips are not only based on a person’s DNA, but on various factors such as nutrition, growth rate and hormonal levels in the womb, two identical twins will have unique sets of ridges and lines that construct their fingertips.

Ere Ibeji LaDonna = Sarita Lee

Twins Can Read Each Other’s Minds. Everyone knows that twins have a special connection between them, and can sometimes posses a supernatural bond. A twin can sense when their sibling is in pain, and they sometimes “share a brain” by reacting to the same situation in an identical way. Furthermore, twins can actually climb inside each other’s minds and gather information. So if twins are studying for the same exam, they can each learn only half of the material and simply share it with their minds afterwards to save time.

One Twin Is Always the Evil Twin of the Other Twin: The famous legend about everyone having an evil twin is not a completely fictional one. When a set of twins are born, one is always a meaner version of their twin. When an egg is fertilized, it always starts developing one single embryo. But sometimes the embryo starts having really dark thoughts that it, at such a young age, cannot contain. This dark mind separates itself from the embryo, to create a new, evil embryo. In early sonograms you can clearly tell one twin has horns and a pitchfork, which are absorbed into his body during the second trimester.

You might have noticed that if you have any friends who have twins, they usually rent or sublet their apartments. That’s because twins are afraid of the rumor that once twins legally own property, their siblings get the power to go through their walls. Much like vampires, who need to be invited in to get access to a house, twins have special abilities that require the permission of a legally binding contract.

 If a Twin Dies, The Other Twin Gets His Life Force and Memories: Death is always tragic, but when it happens to someone who is completely similar to you in every way, it could be impossible to recover from. That’s why with twins, death is not the final chapter. If a twin dies prematurely, their soul will transform into the other twin, giving him dual souls. The living twin will gain all the knowledge and memories of their sibling, so that the dead twin could live on through them. Two souls could be a huge burden on one person, which is why most twins don’t die separately, but have a thoroughly planned out suicide pact.

During Sleep, Twins Roll Into Each Other’s Bodies and Merge Into One Kid, Who Is a Completely Different Being With Their Own Personality. You never see twins in a sleepover party, because that could traumatize the kids who wake up in the middle of the night to pee. A few hours after falling asleep, the twins will merge into one whole new person, that only lives for a few hours each night. Sadly, the twins never get to meet this being, as they can never be awake for it. But the being sometimes leaves them messages, so they’ll know to prepare its favorite midnight snack for it before they go to sleep. If you have a job where you work the night shift, or if you’re just a night-person, you might actually be that merged twins being.

 

OGUN = God Of Iron…

** A Deity That Strikes Heavily. He Has Water At Home, But Bathes With Blood. He Has Clothes, But He Prefers Palm Fronds…

**Ogun, as historical figure, a fearsome  warrior who fought constantly against the neighboring kingdoms. He made war against the city of Ara and destroyed it. He  sacked and devastated many other states, seized the city of Ire, killed  King, installed his own son on the throne and returned all glorious,  even carrying him as Oniiré king of Iré but for reasons unknown to us, he never had the right to wear a crown, made of small beads of glass assembled, and decorated with fringes  of beads conceal the face, symbolizing royalty among the Yoruba.

***Many  years after placing his son on the throne of Iré and to be left to make  war elsewhere, Ogun decided to return to see and visit the scene of his  former exploits. Unfortunately,  the day of his arrival, the people of the city celebrating a festival  during which the participants cannot speak for any reason. Ogun was hungry and thirsty, he lifted jars that had contained palm wine but he knew they were empty. Nobody had welcomed nor had answered his questions. He did not recognize the scene after a long absence. Ogun whose patience is short, was angry, shocked by the general silence he took for a mark of contempt. He  began to break saber jars, then carried away by the action, he began to  cut the head of the closest people, until his son offered  him the foods he likes displaying prominently, dogs and snails, beans washed down with palm oil and a jar of palm wine.

Ogun  regretted his past violence and declared that he had lived long enough. He lowered his arm and directed the point of his sword to the ground and sank into the earth with a terrifying noise. Before disappearing, he uttered some words. When  these words are spoken during a battle, Ogun immediately appears and  helps to the one speaking; but these words cannot be said in other  circumstances because if his appearance.

Ogun is the God of iron, blacksmiths and all who use this  metal: farmers, hunters, warriors, butchers, barbers, carpenters and sculptors. Ogun is the spirit of dynamic creativity –  Often associated with the blacksmith or metalworker, Ogun is the energy of focus and work that brings our tools into form. Ogun often possess an incredibly fierce work ethic and tireless energy. Ogun is the energy that decides to do something and doesn’t stop until that task is completed.

We can learn more of Orisha Ogun from its relationship with Iron. The Iron Age was the beginning of humankind’s quantum leap into technology, which has helped us progress into the modern era. This Orisha is also associated with the spirit of the forest – a fecund and complex ecosystem full of medicines and organisms that sustain themselves and each other. Ogun provides us with the tools, creative ideas, and the sheer force of will that are needed to evolve and achieve our goals.

Ultimately to try to understand Ogun is to try to understand the white hot fire of the Blacksmith’s forge. This fire can create art, tools, weapons, or it can translate flesh into ash in a matter of seconds. This sacred power to create and destroy instantly- both are necessary in this world. Worshipers will go to Ogun’s shrine and honor him, in way of prayers, rituals and sacrifice. Ogun is a very important Orisha and it is said that he created the pathway for the divinities on their journey from heaven to earth. He protects and blesses his devotees. 

To avoid disasters on highways, air , water, war or to expect a great result under surgery among other things Ogun is usually appeased. This is due to him being the divinity of steel. Ogun is responsible for building cities, and towns, he is responsible for houses, bridges and tunnels, his importance to society rivals the air we breathe, Ogun is a very powerful Orisha.

Agbede -Blacksmith, anything which is made of Iron belongs to Ogun and are looked upon as his children, also included are stones, glass, or any sharp object, anything which can draw blood and cause damage. Ogun colors are green and black.

*** The usual sacrifice offered to Ogun is a dog, together with fowls, palm oil, and minor articles of food. A proverb says – An old dog must be sacrificed to Ogun – meaning that Ogun claims the best; and a dog’s head, emblematic of this sacrifice, is always to be seen fastened up in some conspicuous part of the workshops of blacksmiths. The reason of this is that the blood is believed to contain the vital principle, and therefore to be an offering, particularly acceptable to the gods.

In addition to his power over metal, Ogun holds special dominion over the forest. Some view him as the archetypal “Wild Man Of The Woods.” For this reason, shrines to Ogun are often located outdoors, at the base of trees or near a forge. A sacred shrine may also be located on the floor behind the front door. It all depends on which tradition one is honoring. The forced migration of the middle passage is perhaps the most important explanation for the multiple incarnations of the Ogun spirit. Everyone needs a warrior. Ogun is his name among the Yoruba people. Among the Fon he is called Gu. In Cuban Santeria (Lukumi) he is known as Ogun, In Brazilian Candomble Ogum; in Haitian Vodou Papa Ogou.

Ogun, the God of iron and of metallurgic lore and artistry, was the first to succeed in conquering the transition. He crossed the gulf from Heaven to the human world by extracting iron from the earth and thus providing the human world with the source of its weapons and its tools. Ogun is also, the god of creativity, explorer, hunter, god of war, Custodian of the sacred oath.

” Never Say A Thing That Could Not Stand As The Last Thing You Have Ever Said.”

Strength… A River Cuts Through A Rock Not Because Of Its Power But Its Resistance.