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  • Writer's pictureAwo Ifasola Sangobolade


Àború àboyè àbosíse


Special sacred instruments are used to assist in the divination to transcribe Orunmila's wisdom through the diviner via odu ( ifa messages). The items used for divination include but not limited to:

• Sixteen Ikin sacred palm nuts, which are used to create what can be called or seen as a spiritual binary celestial message referred to as odu ifa .

• Termite dust from the Irosun tree aka: (Iyerosun) yellowish fine powder use on the divination tray as a medium to imprint odu .

• A vessel / container for the seeds or sacred palm nuts . Typically this container is referred to as (Ajere Ifa): should be carved out of wood in the image of a women with breast hands held above her head holding a container with a lid.

• A divination tray (opon Ifa).Typically made out of wood although there are some variants.

• A tapper instrument known as (iroke Ifa) a type of phallic shaped raddle made of wood and carved into an image.

• A fly whisk (Irukere Ifa) usually beaded at the handle portion and mainly made of horse tail hair . Which makes the whisk itself .

• Beaded belts that come in multiple designs of all types for the babalawo / iyanifa to wear (this is not typically seen nor is it mandatory to be worn).

• Another divination tool is what we call Opele, or divination chain made of 8 concave/ convex shaped seeds of different types tied or strung together an used to derive messages i.e odu ifa. A from divining that is much quicker than the manipulation of ikin to derive messages . Opele is seen as a slave of ifa, this term of course isa metaphor often used to let one understand that opele is exclusively a ifa divination tool to derive messages or odu ifa .

The (opon Ifa) or tray and (iroke Ifa) or tapper are used in Ifa divination secession .This tray, is usually carved and or adorned with carved images around the edges the center of the tray is left flat and bare . And is sprinkled with iyerosun powder, serves as the template or surface on which sacred signs (odu) will be marked upon or imprinted .

In contrast to those transitory signs called odu, the more permanent backdrop of the carved motifs on the tapper and divination tray constitutes an artistic exegesis of the forces that shape human experience and the universal needs fulfilled by such quests for enlightenment.

To initiate the ritual, the babalawo or diviner places the tray in front of him and taps rhythmically on it with the pointed end of the (iroke) tapper, invoking the presence of Orunmila, the orisas and spirit of the system of divination.

The sacred palm nuts which go under special processes as to be used for divination come from s specific palm tree . In which scientific name is Elaeis guineenis which produces palm oil it is the black seed or blacked kernel that is taken and then used after rituals have been done to them to make them suitable for divination and casting of the oracle .

The ikin or palm nuts which number 16 are grouped in one hand, then the diviner attempts to shift them all to his / her other hand at once, by grabbing as many as he can in one attempt leaving either 1 or 2 palm nuts in the hand in which he originally had them grouped in .

Odu markings are imprinted with either one or two palm nuts left in hand once manipulated as instructed above. As this process goes on, the diviner marks single or double marks in iyerosun powder spread on the face of his divination tray or opon ifa.

Each of these odus is associated with a traditional set of Ese (verses), often relating to Yoruba mythology, which explain their divinatory meaning. These verses represent thousands of years of observation and are filled with predictions, and both mundane and spiritual prescriptions that resolve issues found in that Odu that has been casted for that individual that has come for consultation . Or the consultee for whom which this particular odu 1 out of 256 which can come out during the divination .

Within Ifa, Believers find all the knowledge of the world past, present and future. After obtaining the Odu that governs a situation or event, the diviner then determines whether the Odu comes with Ire (which is poorly translated to mean good luck) or Ibi (which could be viewed as obstacles or impediments to success). Everyone has a slightly similar or dissimilar way of interpreting the ire and or ibi energy . But we can say that both are favorable for if instructions are followed and ebos made all sahall be well with us.

After this process the diviner now determines appropriate offerings, spiritual disciplines and / or behavioral changes necessary to bring, keep or compel success for the person receiving divinatory counsel via the ifa oracle via odu ifa.

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