Iyerosun = Opon-Ifa…

***The Divining Powder (Iyerosun)***

Iyerosun is a powder used in the Yoruba Ifa tradition mainly by Diviners in Ifa divination practices to mark Odu Ifa. It is termite dust from the Irosun tree, the Irosun tree is a special tree that is said to have a connection to the spirit realm. Iyerosun is sprinkled on the Opon- Ifa  (Divination tray) and scattered on its face to imprint the Odu Ifa. This powder is very important to Ifa and a competent Awo can use it to perform wonders. This powder has blessed by God  and whatever a Diviner wishes to do with it shall come to pass as long as it is properly done. The position of Iyerosun in Ifa is such that Ikin cannot be used for consultation in the absence of this powder.

Tray set up for sacrifice (Ebo) where Iyerosun is applied
Ogbegbarada Adebayo Ebo-Riru

*** The figure of Ifa are marked on the tray in a powder which is scattered on its surface. There are problems in botanical classification and apparently regional variations in the name of the tree, but Iyerosun as the name for the powder is widely recognized. Divining powder Iyerosun is often kept in a bottle or other container. Ifa Diviners bring home a piece of the trunk of the Irosun tree during the dry season and leave it on the ground so that termites can eat it. The termites, they explain eat only the whitish outer parts of the wood.

Diviners in the process of consulting Ifa

Initial Invocations: Before the first divination of the day, prayers and invocations are offered to Ifa and other Deities while the apparatus is being arranged. The Diviner sits on a mat with his tray in front of him. He spreads wood dust (Iyerosun) on the tray, and places the divining cup in the center of it. He draws a line clockwise with his finger in the wood dust (Iyerosun) around the base of the divining cup, saying, “I build a house around you, so you can build a house around me, so you can let children and money surround me.” He erases the line with his cow-tail switch, saying, “I pay homage oh..(3x) Homage come to pass…(3x) He takes a little wood dust (Iyerosun) from the tray and places it on the ground, saying “Ground I pay homage; homage come to pass.”

                    ***Opon = Ifa Divination Board…

***Ifa is not merely a Collection of Verses, Proverbs, Parables and Anecdotes. Ifa is God’s Sacred Message to Mankind. It is the embodiment of the totality of human existence. It is also clear that Religion, Worship and Sacrifice are but few aspects of what constitutes the Divine Message known as Ifa. It constitutes what is also known as the Great Mystery System.  

Tray of Ifa where Iyerosun is applied
Yoruba Traditional Wood Carving

God gave the holy spirit Orunmila a flawless method of communication between himself and the Orishas. Sixteen is the number of Cosmos; it represents the primal order that issued from the unity of God. Sixteen is also a significant number in the world of computers. When the world was first created, it spread out from an original palm tree that stood at the center of the world at Ile-Ife. The palm tree had sixteen branches, which formed the four cardinal points and the sixteen original quarters of Ile-Ife. The number sixteen represents the variables of the human condition, the sixteen possible situations of human life. The sixteen principle signs are called Odu or Olodu, from each of which are drawn sixteen subordinate signs Omo-Odu, “Children of Odu”.

Tray with Iyerosun powder

These are the universal energies that give birth to all given circumstances and situations, all the blessings and misfortunes of the universe are contained within them. It is through the knowledge of these energies, called Odù Ifá, that a Diviner is able to work with individuals to achieve the greatest potential of their destiny. The Odù Ifá are the blueprints to all the energies possible in the Universe. Each has verses of esoteric knowledge associated with it along with Medicines, Rituals, and Sacrifices…

Unique Tray of Ifa where Iyerosun is applied

A Diviner uses the Opon Ifá in order to communicate with the spirits who are able to identify the causes and solutions to personal and collective problems and restore harmony with the spirits. Opon Ifá are flat and usually circular, with a raised outer edge carved with figures, objects, or geometric designs. Opon Ifá  may also be rectangular, semi-circular, or an approximate square. The top of the tray is called the head, and the bottom, the foot – the latter is typically placed closest to the diviner. The diviner, uses several art objects in communicating with the spirit world during divination.   

Rectangular tray of Ifa where Iyerosun is applied

At the beginning of a divination session, the Ifa diviner will draw a cross-roads pattern on the surface of the Opon Ifa as a sign that this is the place of meeting between human concerns – sickness, barrenness, fear of witchcraft and spiritual powers. It is the place of communication between humans and Orisha Orunmila, the God of wisdom who knows the prenatal destiny (Ori) chosen by each person. The diviner will then use his Iroke Ifa, Ifa tapper to invoke the presence of the Ancient Diviners. Tapping rhythmically, he will call upon Orunmila and Orisha Eshu, to be attentive to what he is doing. Eshu is the guardian of the ritual way, the messenger of the Gods and other spiritual powers, as well as the conveyor of the sacrifices of humans to such powers. Eshu’s face always appears at the top of an Opon Ifa.  

Opon Ifa - Tray of Ifa used in divination where Iyerosun is applied

When the holy spirit of Orunmila wants to communicate with you, chances are he’s got what it takes to bypass all the human trappings that people say must be done. Orunmila has so many ways to at his disposal to make an appearance to an individual’s consciousness that it boggles the mind. Conversely, simply because we’ve gone through all the hoops that the community of Ifa worshipers says are necessary in order to become a Diviner doesn’t automatically make us a Diviner. A person can study Odu verses and spiritual text from now until the end of time. However, if the individual s not right in his or her relationship with Orunmila, if they do not embrace social consciousness, if the person does not practice personal integrity, Orunmila would not trust that individual to be his manifestation of spiritual instruction. Only people with the fortitude to maintain their good Character will have his trust to guide others…

Tray of Ifa where Iyerosun is applied

*** No Leaf can fall from the Tree without the Authority, Power and Knowledge of God… 

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = William Bascom =  Ifasola Ogundabe Ajigbotifa = Google Search/Photo = Babalawo Obanifa =

 

 

Opele = Ifa Divination Chain

*** History of Opele -Irere …
The Ancient Name of Opele = Irere…

An Opele (Irere) is a divination chain used in traditional West-African Religions, notably in Ifá. A Babalawo = Bokono (Diviner) uses the Opele in order to communicate with the spirits who are able to identify the causes and solutions to personal and collective problems and restore harmony with the spirits.

The Opele (Irere) consists of eight half-nuts of the Opele tree with convex/concave sides linked at regular intervals by short strands of chain at the ends of which the priest may attach small beads, coins, and cowries. More recent Opele (Irere) have substituted small, oval brass plates for the half-nuts. The Diviner holds the Chain at the center and then swings the Chain gently, lying it on the cloth or mat on which he is seated. In a single motion he creates a pattern, which refers to an Odu of Ifa, the verses of which he then chants. The pattern, consisting of the concave and convex sides of the brass plates or nuts, is equivalent to the pattern of parallel marks made by the Ifa priest in the Iyerosun dust on an opon ifa when using Ikin Ifa (Sixteen Sacred Nuts).

 The Divining Chain is said to “talk more” than the Palm Nuts, but it is regarded as in inferior instrument, less reliable than Palm Nuts for deciding important questions. It is also spoken of as Ifa’s servant. Nevertheless it is more commonly used in Divination, and a number of Diviners employ only the Chain, because they dislike using the Palm Nuts. The reason for this is that the Divining Chain arrives at the same interpretation through the same set of figures and verses more rapidly, and answers more questions than are usually asked when the slower method with Palm Nuts is employed.

Olatona Oyegbade Oyekunle = Ojugbonna Awo Osogbo

The Divining Chains are made by the Diviners for themselves and for their students. The Divining Chain, which is about one foot to two feet long, usually consist of eight halves of Seed shells or Pods joined together by sections of Chain. The middle section of the Chain, by which it is held, is somewhat shorter. The Seed sections are of equal length, so that when the Chain is held in the middle, the four Shells on the right and the four on the left hang down side by side.

The Divining Chain is thrown with the Right Hand only, which is said to be used consistently in Ifa Divination, even by left-handed Diviners. It is tossed away from the Diviner in such a way that the two open ends fall nearest to the Diviner and the two sides fall parallel. Each half Seed shell can fall with either the Concave inner surface (I) or the Convex outer surface (O) facing up. It is essential that the two surfaces of the Shells, or of other materials used in place of them, can be distinguished.

Various objects – including beads, cowries, shells, coins, buttons, rings, small bells, and bits of metal – are attached to the bottom of the pods at either end of the Chain. Their purpose is to enable the Diviner to distinguish the Right half (odd) and the Left half (even) of the Chain, so that the same half is always cast on the same side, and so that the figure will not be misread. Often an odd number of cowries (one or three) marks the Right half and an even number (two or four) mark the Left.

The Type of Divination Chain most highly prized consist of circular brass links set (Swivels) at right angles to each other, permitting the Seeds to fall freely in either the concave or the convex position. With a good Divination Chain the probability of each of the figures appearing is equal (1 in 256). The fall of the Seeds is not left to chance but is controlled by Ifa, the Deity of Divination, and any interference with the free fall of the Seeds, by the instrument or by the Diviner, garbles the message which Ifa wishes the client to receive.

The Shells of a dark-colored Seed (Egbere), said to come from a large tree (Igi-Epu), is most commonly used and most highly regarded. These Seeds resemble almond shells in their general shape and markings but are darker, smaller, and much harder. They are sold in the markets, but they have become increasingly rare and expensive since the early trade in ivory. When Split open, they show a smooth, slight convex, outer surface. A small hole is burned through each end of a half of a Seed Shell with a hot iron, so that the section Chain may be attached.

Most common is the Seed pod known as  “Opele – Irere” from which the Divining Chain takes its name. It comes from the Opele tree, this pod is referred to as Ewe’s foot  (Ese Agutan) these are the only Seeds found in elephant dung, and that they are obtained either from hunters or directly from the tree. This Seed pod has a distinctive pear shape and naturally split open at the base, with the two halves splaying out from the top where they are joined until broken apart.

According to Ife Diviners, when Ogunda Meji died at the town of Oko, a tree called Opele Oga Oko sprang up on his grave, and from it fell a fruit that split open, revealing the figure Ogbe Meji written inside. As Orunmila told us in Ejiogbe: The basis for understanding the beginning and end of all things. Through Ifa is revealed the Great Mysteries of life. Only Ifa explains the reasons for the existence of life, living, death, sickness, success, failure, poverty, wealth, life before birth and life after death. 

Opele is the primordial computer of Yoruba origin, which handle the spiritual data and concerns generated from the in-depth subconscious mind of the client (Cosmic Energy). The activation code is invocation of divine forces from the operator (Diviner) known as process through the unmeasured pool of cosmic consciousness. The output is another form of binary as the language of the holy spirit of Orunmila-Ajana called “Odu”. Multibillion sequence of interpretations and probabilities is possible with Opele depending on the efficiencies of Orunmila during the diagnosis. Opele is a super oracle in nature due to its multipurpose functions as divination and physical therapy instruments. Opele has two arms, tied at regular equal intervals is the four half nuts of the pods of Opele tree, each arm can be distinguished with the number tied to the edge of the arm.

The sacred Odu Ifa “Ologbon Meji” pointed to Opele as the apprentice of Orunmila who was impoverished for been talkative, this is evident when Opele is handled correctly, it naked the truth of past, present and future of the client, even those needed not to know. Opele’s functions is manual not automatic, it can process data through any form of spiritual energy. Ifa – Orisha – Ancestors or Spirit guide, depending on the instructions and data input.

How Did Opele Become A Divination Tool?   (Eji Ogbe)

Today, many people use Opele – Irere without knowing how or why it is used as a divination tool. The Ancient name of Opele when he was still a human being was Irere. Orunmila bought Irere at Ejigbomekun market to serve as a gardener, his main duty is to clear the bushes around and remove refuse from Ifa divination mat, but Irere was a very gifted Diviner. Orunmila now  because of Irere knowledge grant him favor to divine for clients that come when Orunmila is not at home but Irere abuse this privileged. He begins to claim that he is more knowledgeable than Orunmila in divination. It happens one day that Orunmila was on his itinerant divination tour, so king Olofin send for Irere to make divination for him since Orunmila his master is not around Irere begins to boost as usual, because of his knowledge. He did not pay homage to the king and chiefs, they  were angry because of Irere rudeness. Orunmila quickly pay homage to the king and the chiefs and apologies on behalf of Irere.

When Orunmila got to home he called Irere, he tries to rebuke him, but Irere was too proud and not remorseful. Orunmila get angry and he use Iroke Ifa (divination tapper) to knock Irere on head and Irere break into eight pieces of equal sizes. Instead of Orunmila to throw it away Orunmila consider is usefulness he then uses thread and beads to make the eight pieces to Ifa divination Chain. Different types of Opele = Irere that emerge after like Opele Egbere, Opele Igba, Opele Eso, the one that is controversial is Agbigba because of it efficiency it takes blood on itself unlike other Opele, it is been divine with Ashe. Ikin and Opele can be propitiate with food, but Ikin are fed first and separately from Opele. “Slave do not eat along with their master” 

***To conduct Oro Opele: Orogbo (bitter kola) – Obi Abata(kola nuts) – Ataare (alligator pepper) – Emu ( palm wine) – Oti (one bottle of Gin) – Eku Eda (eda rat) – Eja Gbigbe (dry cat fish) – Ogomo (palm frond)

==You will Open all the face of the Opele up, to depicts Odu Ifa Ejiogbe. All the ingredient will be cut into pieces and be place on each of the eight lobes of Opele divination chains that is open on ground. The Awo will ask the person to whom the Oro Opele is about to be conduct for to be kneeling position whit his hands behind his back. While he will be using his mouth to pick the items on each of the eight lobes of Opele divination chains after the other. After he eat the materials if he said he did not know the odu. The Awo will then chants a verse in Odu Ifa Ejiogbe. Similar process of arrangement of items on it and eating of and chanting of Odu Ifa Oyeku meji will then be follow. The same process will be followed till the Oju Odu sixteen principal Odu Ifa  have been follow. Starting from Ejiogbe to Ofun Meji also known as Odu Ifa Orangun meji.

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = William Bascom = King Bolarinwa Olayemi = Google Search/Photo = Babalawo Obanifa = Adulawo TV =

ERINDILOGUN = Cowrie-Shells Divination

 !!!The Language of Cowrie-Shells…

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.

 The order of seniority of Odu is essential in determining the orientation of the Odu.

1. Eji Ogbe 8 cowries = 2. Ofun 10 cowries =3. Irosun 4 cowries = 4. Ogunda 3 cowries = 5. Eji Oko 2 cowries = 6. Okanran 1 cowry = 7. Ejila Sebora 12 cowries =  8. Owonrin 11 cowries = 9. Osa 9 cowries = 10. Odi 7 cowries = 11. Obara 6 cowries = 12. Ose 5 cowries = 13. Ika 13 cowries

***14.   Oturopon 14 cowries    15.  Ofun Kanran 15 cowries     16.  Irete 16 cowries        

Okanran  = Loss, struggle, need for persistence.   Eji Oko =   Ancestors, strife among two.   Ogunda  =  Honesty, hard work, quarrels.  Irosun  = Ancestral lineage, charity.  Ose  =  Sweetness, abundance.  Obara  = Monetary gain.  Odi   =  Completion, reaping what was sown.  Eji Ogbe  = Long life, abundant blessings.  Osa  = Radical changes.  Ofun  = Spiritual windfall – can sometimes mean an ending.  Owonrin  = Leaving behind the past.  Ejila Sebora  = Loss, gossip, capriciousness.  Ika =  Sickness, change.   Oturupon  = Courage, humility.   Ofun Kanran = Peace, knowledge through study.   Irete = Oppression, pressure.

“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.

Reference Sources: Ifadoyan Sangomuyiwa = Awo Falokun Fatunmbi =  Babalawo Obanifa = Adiguna Awoyemi = Asa Orisa Alaafin Oyo = Google Search/Photo = Wikipedia =