Destiny. Not religion

April 13, 2014 by · Comments Off on Destiny. Not religion
Filed under: Rituals and practice 


There’s a BIG difference!

Time to bring my “Omolet” Brenda Beeks’s brilliant statement to your attention once again! People need to be reminded of these things every now and then!

Destiny - not religion!

Make your own Igba Ori

August 2, 2013 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Rituals and practice 


The House of the Head

Ilé OriMy Omolet Brenda Beek, who not only looks slightly better than her Blabla but is also the more creative of us two, will as a good Independent Practitioner be making her own Igba Ori, which for us exiles here in The Netherlands prompts questions like “Where can I get a few kilos of cowrie shells for a decent price?” and “Does anybody have a clue what the basic construction usually is made of?” An Igba Ori, by the way, is also called Ilé Ori although, due to many different languages, colloquialisms and lineages, I am not sure if the concepts are always exactly the same. Anyway, the Igba Ori is the physical representation of the metaphysical Ori. On the picture you see one from Nigeria.

When you look at the impressive piece of home crafts, it’s clear that it will be, as Brenda says, “quite a challenge to get it done 😉 one for Jaap, one for me; but I will succeed ;-)”! Well, I’m pretty sure she will!

Now if you want to make a container, it reasonably should contain something (grin)! So the next (and quite sensible!) questions was: “Brenda, do you know what goes inside the Igba Ori?” The faithful Omolet, who just like her Blabla feels no obligation to follow any particular tradition that was developed by other cultures in other times in other countries (in fact we are generally forbidden by Ifa to do so!) simply (Members: click to read on)

An end to animal sacrifice

March 26, 2013 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Rituals and practice 


GoatI kinda felt it coming for months if not years, possibly even a couple of decades: Ifa finally considers it time that, at least in my house, my country, my culture and my circumstances, animal sacrifice goes the same way as human sacrifice… to wit extinct, and simply taboo.

It took the venerable Spirit of Divination long enough to make it clear to me… on account of yours truly having quite a thick skull, and regardless of me having felt it coming for a long time, some divination with the impact of a sledge hammer was needed to (Members: click to read on)

Herbs AKA “ewe”

March 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on Herbs AKA “ewe”
Filed under: Rituals and practice 


Some herbs (ewe) and other ingredients that are used in Ifa-Orisha practice. It’s a growing list, and at some appropriate moment I will also add alternatives that are, although not traditional, quite effective.

Amunimuye: Senecio Abessynicus (leaves)
Asunwon: Senna Alata (leaves)
Ata Iyere: Piper Guineense (seed)
Atori: Glyphaea Brevis
Daji: Gongronema Latifolium (leaves)
Ela: Epyphytic Orchidaceae (leaves)
Epo Agbon: Coco Nucifera (bark)
Esin: Blighia sapida (ripe fruit flesh)
Ewe Iyeye: Spondias Mombin (leaves)
Idi igi Orosun: Baphia Nitida (root)
Itala: Socoglottis Gabinensis (bark)
Iteji: Gongronema Latifolium (leaves)
Ojiji: Dalbergia Lacteal (leaves)
Odundun: Kalanchoe Crenata
Olode: Markamia Tomementosa (bark)
Pepereku(n): Alternanthera Sessilis (leaves)
Peregun: Peperomia Pellucida
Rekureku: Alternanthera Sessilis (leaves)
Rinrin: Peperoma pellucida (leaves)
Tete: Amaranthus viridis, Amaranthus Spinosus

Head feeding

March 23, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Rituals and practice 


Head feeding“Feeding the Head” AKA “rogacion”, “feeding the Ori” or “Ibori” is a common treatment/ritual in the life style of Ifa, in fact for me it is one of the most common. Often the need or the advisability is indicated by divination, but this is not always necessary: I’ve seen my Yoruba friends go for a good Ibori both inside and outside their own Ile whenever they get the chance. Both your own Head and the Orisha are pretty flexible, more so than is often realized in the West; the very basic rituals are not easily overdone.

The way I perform this particular ritual of course is not the only “right” one, nor are others “wrong”. What works is right, what doesn’t work is wrong. In other words: what’s good for life is good, the rest is un-good. The way of feeding the Head that is described below has proven to be good for life. So have many other ways.

In this contect the issue of “taboo” is interesting. Each and every person may (or may not) have taboos against any sort of substance, like children of Obatala having a taboo against eating, indeed even touching, red palm oil or epo pupa. Odly enough one of my friends, a Nigerian Obatala priest with nearly three decades of initiation behind his immaculately white belt, completely ignores this taboo when it comes to “feeding the bonce”: he lets me happily plaster his head with all seven ingredients, including red palm oil. His argument: “Ori and Obatala are completely different Orishas. I wouldn’t feed any epo pupa to my Obatala, but my Ori needs it and so does the Ori of just about everybody else”. Well, the opinion of an experienced African Obatala priest from a centuries old Yoruba family of Ifa and Obatala worshippers is good enough for me!

Seven ingredients

Seven ingredients are commonly used: cool water (omi tutu), honey (oyin), gin (oti), dried mud fish (eja aro), bitter kola nut (orogbo), red palm oil (epo pupa), and kola nut (obi abata).
The client kneels to the left of the priest, who says a prayer over the Head of the client. I have found that the prayer Aborisha use to greet the Ori in the morning, works very well.

Emi ma ji loni o, o, mo f’oribale f’Olorun.
Ire gbogbo maa’ wa’ba’ me, Ori mi da’mi da’iye.
Ngo ku mo. Ire gbogbo ni t’emi.
Imole ni ti Amakisi. Ashe.

Now that I am waking up, I give respect to Olorun.
Let all good things come to me, my Ori give me life.
I shall not die. Let all good things come to me.
The Spirits of Light are in the East. So be it.

The translation is not perfect, nor is the Yoruba version. One of these days I’ll get myself a good Yoruba font with all the accents and dots and bells and whistles, but in the meantime the above seems to do the job quite nicely. If you feel uncomfortable with ill-pronounced Yoruba, by all means pray/invoke in any language you master the best.

Dip the middle finger of the left hand into the stuff (or take a small piece of it) and softly rub/pass it over the head of the client, from right to left and from front to back. While repeatedly doing this, express the characteristics of the particular offering.


Omi tutu: “Ori, please accept this offering of cool water. Just like water flows around obstacles without being bothered by them, make the life of this child flow without being bothered by obstacles. Just like water is cool and refreshing, make the life of this child cool and refreshing for herself and for those she meets. Just like water always wins and erodes its own path through even the hardest rock, make the life of this child find its own path and carve out its good ways into the memories of this Earth. Ashe!”

That’s the format; for the other ingredients it goes like this:


Oyin: “Like honey is the sweetest of things, make the life of this child sweet. Just like honey symbolizes the sweet juices of sex, make the sexual life of this child sweet and fulfilling to her, and to her partners. Honey is the sweetness that attracts bees who fertilize flowers and make them bear fruit; just like that make the life of this child fertile and let it bear fruit.”


Oti: “A good drink in fine companionship has no enemies but is universally loved. Make this child loved by all, make her attract good companionship to her. Just like gin has a strong spirit, make the life of this child full of spirit, and make her use it to the benefit of self and others.”

Dried fish

Eja aro: “Just like the mudfish is at home in water, deep in the mud and even on land, make this child feel at home wherever she is. The mudfish is supple and can bend its body without breaking; make the life of this child supple, and let it bend instead of break. Just like the mudfish is a calm and cool animal that goes about its business without much fuss, make the life of this child cool and calm, without undue fuss.”

Bitter kola nut

Orogbo: “Just like orogbo is both tasteful and bitter, make the life of this child tasteful and bitter, for even in bitter is much good to be found. Like the eating of orogbo makes the blood bitter to insects so that they don’t sting, make the life of this child bitter to her enemies so that they don’t sting her.”

Red palm oil

Epo pupa: “Just like red palm oil lubricates friction, make the life of this child so that she can lubricate friction wherever she encounters it. Red palm oil is among the best things to offer; make this child realize that offering frequently is the way to fulfilment.”

Kola nut

Obi abata: “Like the kola nut is used in divination and gives us Ifa’s wisdom, grant the wisdom of Ifa to this child, and make her a source of wisdom for others. Like the kola nut is a delicacy shared with visitors and friends, make the presence of this child a delight to her friends and visitors.”

Stay on top

Of all the offered foodstuffs a little should remain on top of the head of the client. The sequence generally is not important; the kola nut (split in four pieces) however is always the last and, after one or all four parts having been passed/rubbed over the client’s head, should be used as divining tools on ground or mat to find out if all offerings have been accepted. If not, ask which ingredient has to be re-applied, or whether other ingredients must be added to the mix. This might or might not need to be repeated several times. Once the answer turns out to be “yes”, place the four pieces of nut in the shape of the relevant Odu on top of the client’s head. Then a white cloth or shawl should be wrapped around the head, and it all stays on during the night. This is the reason why the best time to do a head feeding is during the evening.

The client shouldn’t go out that night or do anything exhausting, especially no sex – not even with oneself (grin)! This is a time of quiet and meditation. On account of a head feeding being a quite intense experience, the client should preferably stay at the diviners house (or the other way around, depending on where the treatment takes place) until the next morning to provide support, if/when needed. Usually some relaxed small talk develops before sleep takes over. If this is not possible, the client should definitely not drive home alone, in that case it’s a good idea to bring a trusted friend to do the driving, and to stay at the client’s home during the night.

Feed ones own head

After each offering has been applied to the head the client, the priest and all others present should eat/drink just a little of the remainder. In the morning the client can remove the white cloth with the remains of the foodstuffs (including the Odu); usually they can be cast away without any particular ceremony. Of course the above formulas are just formats: about all ingredients many more things can, and often will, be said. It is the distinguishing mark of the good Awo that he/she defines exactly what this particular client needs, and emphasizes the relevant aspects.

Basically the above can also be done by initiated/capable individuals to feed their own Ori. Of course the combined Ashe of diviner and client is stronger and more effective, but there’s not always a diviner around in which case a self-feeding is the way to go.

A small note for the dedicated worriers:

Some Aborisha like Omo Obatala may be uncomfortable with some of the ingredients like red palm oil… in other words: every now and then a taboo (eewo) may be involved. I have a very realistic and equally traditional view on this subject. A taboo against for example food stuff is often because said stuff will help you in case of illness or crisis. It’s like antibiotics: never use them if you don’t need them, because you will develop a resistance and they won’t help you when suddenly they are needed. But when they are needed, don’t hesitate! Same goes for many religious taboos – a taboo against eating or touching this or that is fairly often in place because, in case of emergency, touching or eating that or this will be your “antibiotic”!