top of page
  • Writer's pictureAwo Ifasola Sangobolade

What is ORI?

The Yoruba Concept of ORI

Ori, or head, in the Yoruba concept of creation, is far beyond. The mundane meaning of just “ physical head” that we can see with our eyes. Ori is literally the Yoruba word for head this is true. But within Yoruba spirituality, it is strongly believed that what is called “Ori” is the existence of one supreme GOD and creator of worlds within you!

The Yoruba people of south west Nigeria believe that. Olodumare has a team of subordinate deities at its beck and call who carry out the “leg work” for it . During the spiritual creation of human beings in heaven. There is a divine entity named Ajala Mo’pin the celestial head molder in heaven.

The outer physical head:

The head that is visible to the naked eye can be referred as Ori-Ode, or commonly known as the physical head.

The inner spiritual head.

When a spiritual being is being slated to be incarnate into to its human physical body. Which awaits in its mother’s womb he/she proceeds to the domain of . A celestial being known to the yoruba as Ajala Mo’pin, where he/she now chooses his/her Ori, the spiritual head or inner you or GOD spark within .

The spiritual Ori consists of two parts, namely that will be intertwined with each other during this earthly journey it has been slated for . Which has one overall objective, which is the evolution/elevation of that divine GOD spark with in you.

One part is referred to as Ori-inu and the other is known as Ori-apere. Ori apere is the divine spark of GOD with in. The ‘I am “ which is latent in the physical body before Ori –inu begins to cultivate and have it’s presence be over laid onto. That pure essence which you are. Before you knew yourself , as what you take yourself to be.

In and around after the age of 1 years old a toddler baby will start to associate itself as so and so person. Which has so and so name etc. OrI-Inu is none other then what is more commonly referred to as EGO separate self. Which is basically acquired conditioning which include :/knowledge/ and perceptions of world of self and other. Again what the mind takes itself to be . Do to its erroneous thinking . Of taking what has been seen heard and experienced thus far as the truth. Of what you now take yourself to be! Which is true to a sense . But isn’t , the ultimate truth to who you really are.

Ori-inu basically consist of the character of each individual/behavior and how he/she sees and exhibits his/her self with self and other in the world at large. This can also be summed up in what is known as inherent conditioning. Meaning the way you perceive the world to be. Through upbringing in your specific part of the world you may have found yourself in. This can also fall under the category of EGO separate self to categorize it more clearly.

This includes but not limited to, all those attributes that comprise the separate self . Which are all the elements that comprise the so called individual. Ifa states that if you have acquired a bad ORI INU through erroneous and absurd conditioning, you will throw away your chosen destiny . Even if it is a prestigious one filled with all the good things of life.

And why IFA and orisa is a lifestyle and spiritual practice of self development . Which the better you start to act, do , and say in the world. The better things will go for you in the over all long run. This is the “ iwa pele” IFA speaks of and re-peats over and over and over and over again. For it is through good gentle character that all ire of life can be had. And alignment with you destiny can be attained.

This is why ifa states the character is destiny and destiny is character. Pointing to the fact that when you character is in line . With that which can be considered good character. Which is nothing more than doing and being inherently good. Not for the sake of “being good” but…. Because “good” is what you are! Your very being is that which emanates good .

By virtue of these character corrections one then can more easily secure the blessings that are within the spectrum of you chosen destiny. The desinty we all pick kneeling down in front of GOD which Orunmila is witness of . And which Ajala Mopin molds for us. Said destiny which was picked by the real you in the celestial realms in heaven, before we descend down to the earth plane .

So to re- cap a bit here . Ori apere is a term that is is used in reference to point to that which, encapsulate one’s destiny in the over all general sense . In IFA philosophy , we believe everyone has a destiny. Chosen by the higher self or each individual . Which is unknown to the unconscious mind and separate self . And why only IFA can help us understand what we can to this earth plane to do be and experience.

Ori apere further sub-divided into three subsections, which are the following:

Akunleyan, Akunlegba and Ayanmo.

As soon as a man is created, he proceeds to the domain of the celestial being Ajala Mo’pin to choose his spiritual head aka: destiny as has already been mentioned.

Ifa literary corpus or the traditional Yoruba scripture sates in its holy odu verses the following under holy odu of ogbe ogunda the following ,which confirms this process

of going to Ajala Mo’ pin.

Odu Ifa Ogbe-yonu:

“Ebiti epake ni ye di pee, A di’fa fun Oriseku ti se omo ogun, Ebiti epake ni ye di pee, A di’fa fun Ori Ilemere omo Ija, Ebiti epake ni ye di pee, A di’fa fun Afuwape ti se omo bibi inu agboniregun, N’ijo ti won nlo ile Ajala Mo’pin, Ajala Alamo t’orun Lati lo ree yan Ori Won ni ki won o ru’bo …”


It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed. This is the Ifa’s message to Oriseku the off-spring of Ogun, It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed. This is the Ifa’s message to Ori-Ilemere the off-spring of Ija, It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed. This is the Ifa’s message to Afuwape the off-spring of Agbonniregun, When they were all going to the domain of “Ajala-Mo-Ipin”, the celestial molder to choose their Destiny, They were asked to offer sacrifice…

First aspect of Ori-apere: is known as Akunleyan this is the request we make to Ajala Mo’pin regarding some specific things we wish to accomplish during our sojourn here on earth. This includes how long we wish to live and what we want to become during this life time.

Second aspect of Ori- apere: In order to realize our heart’s desire as we have chosen under the process of (Akunleyan) as mentioned above. We as our higher spiritual self also request to Ajala Mo’pin that it provide us with the tools to assist us on our earthly sojourn .To better be equipped to fore fill said earthly journey. These tools requested to Ajala Mo ‘pin fall under the second category known as Akunlegba.

An example of what Akunlega is a child who chosen to be a great warrior within in a specific lifetime. Will be provided with the opportunity to live at a time when his/her country is constantly at war . With its neighbors, so as to provide him the opportunity to live out his merit.

The third aspect of Ori-apere: Ayanmo is that part of your destiny that determines where you were and what gender you were born. I.e as a man or woman, as an African or a European, Hispanic, Asian, etc, etc,etc,etc . It is the belief of the Yoruba that this part of one’s destiny is unchangeable once agreed upon in the heavenly realms.

Both Akunleyan and Akunlegba can be altered to certain degrees after being incarnate into a physical body . The agreements made under the terms Ayanmo portion of destiny can not be changed. Once the higher self and the celestial beings in the heavenly realms. Have agreed, upon this portion of ones individual destiny. It is as the saying goes, written in stone. So , nothing is by chance or by “accident”. That you were born to whom you were born to. And the circumstances you were born under. Know that you or the real you picked this . For your evolution and elevation of your spiritual self. This is why , also no two destinies or circumstances of life are exactly identical in every way.

This is further more explained in the following verse of Odu Ifa Ogbe-Ogunda .

“A o mo’bi Olori gbe yan Ori o A ba ma lo yan tawa Afuwape ba da won loun pe Ibikan naa lati gbe yan Ori o Ayanmo o papo ni”


“We do not know where Afuwape has chosen his prosperous destiny We would have gone there to choose ours. Afuwape replied them that We choose our destinies from the same source It is just that we have chosen different destinies”.

I stopped here !!!!!!!!!!

The above stanza give us the verse which tell us . How we all come to earth with a different destinies . Although we all pick our heads/ destiny from the same molder of heads . We all have different paths to walk and missions to hopefully fulfill. I say hopefully because a lot of things hinges on . How well you are able to align your ego self with your higher divine self.

Or to better say it in the contexts we have now stated above align ori –inu with that of a Ori –Apere If we can manage to align ori inu with our ori- apere. You will reap all the full spectrum of the destiny,,you have chosen in the heavenly realm before agreeing to come into a physical body.

You can compare different destinies to fingerprints if you will . Everyone of the 7 billion plus human beings have one. Although similar in structure they are all individually different. So to is our destinies form one another during our journey through this seemly physical realm.

These above explanations are the basic concepts of the yourba belief of destiny or the ori being seen as each destiny . Just keep in mind no destiny is better than the next. All destines no matter how bleak they may seem to us. Is the best one for that specific individual . For that particular incarnation being lived out.

For example the life of a man of humble means financially . Is not any less valuable then that of a rich man. Human value systems have nothing to do with that which is of the divine construction.

What we should all do is try our very best , to live our chosen destinies in the highest possible path. Within the paths allowed . Which will ultimately be determined by the alignment and or dis-alignment with out ori. This is why we consult the IFA oracle. For the only real question we take to IFA. Should be iam I in alignment with my destined.

Written by

Awo Ifasola of visit the site to learn more about IFA philosophy and book a reading today.

934 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page