Ifa Divination Lesson 12

October 30, 2015 by
Filed under: Ifa divination lessons 

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Getting rid of those irritating “no but” answers

Part of Ifa divination is, next to the reading of double Odu Ifa, the asking of questions that can be answered with either “Yes” or “No”. As explained in previous lessons, Ifa divination with four cowries contains some uncertain answers, to wit “Yes, but…” and “No, but…”. The various patterns with three mouths up produce a “Yes, but…”, the patterns with three bellies up mean “No, but…”. The first is called Etawa, the second is called Okanran – this we all remember from the previous lessons, of course. Just to refresh your memory, I’ll give you a couple of pictures.

Etawa

Etawa: yes, but…

Okanran

Okanran: no, but…

Now the interesting part is that, as you become more and more proficient with casting Ifa, the system kind of begins simplifying itself. I hesitate speaking about “shortcuts” because Ifa generally doesn’t offer those – it’s more that your Ori begins to increasingly understand what the system is trying to tell you. You could, with some delightful exaggeration, call these “quantum leaps of the Spirit” instead of shortcuts. I know, I know… I’m being melodramatic (wide and wicked grin)!

One such quantum leap is that you can completely get rid of the “but” in the “no, but…” in Okanran. Sure, that’s heresy in the eyes of organized branches, but we’re not organized… we’re Independent and that’s what we want to stay. So here’s the very simple way for you to dump the “buts” in Okanran and (Please become a member and/or log in to view this article.)

Comments

11 Comments on Ifa Divination Lesson 12

  1. Nanette Furman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 18:34
  2. yay, more good data- I may even get back to work with the Odu… hangs head in shame

  3. Jaap Verduijn on Wed, 4th Nov 2015 12:10
  4. G’donya, Nanette 😉

  5. Roberto Baglini on Sun, 22nd Nov 2015 01:05
  6. Thank you Baba Jaap. It is interesting and deep. However, the maybe of etawa is a way to indicate an implication: if the question is for a binary yes or no answer, a maybe is strongly implicating a no in many cases. I guess that etawa does exist because the system is looking for a balance between the different ways to define a yes or a no. I mean if alaafia is yes with a blessing and ejife is a yes while only okanran is a no, the system appears out of balance. Oyeku in fact may be in the majority of cases a further yes coming from an ancestral approval. That is the reason why I tend to consider etawa a no nonetheless. For example when I have to choose some Ese Ifa. It always appears to me extraordinary the way 4 cowries are able to speak in a so sophisticated way.

  7. Jaap Verduijn on Sun, 22nd Nov 2015 13:24
  8. Yes indeed, Roberto, the “maybe” of Etawa often turns out to be a paraphrase of the old saying: “When in doubt, don’t!” 😉 AKA “No”!

    I’m not too worried about the need for “balance” in the system though. Not only do follow-up questions usually clear up any “maybe” in no time at all, but also does a spirit-inspired reading produce the most remarkable NON binomial distribution results imaginable! If it were a game of chance (no invocations, no opening of the oracle), it certainly would need some balance to arrive at sort of “even chances”. I don’t see the need for that in “invoked” divination, because it will wipe the floor with probability and statistics anyway (grin)!

    I experience this quite often with Oyeku, when the Ancestors wish to VERY strongly emphasize the importance of the question (and its eventual answer): it’s not rare for two, three or even four Oyekus to appear in a row, before the final answer comes! That’s a statistical impossibility, which amuses and amazes me even after 33 years of practice!

    As for simply treating Etawa as a clear “No”… there’s nothing against it, nothing at all. Any way of interpreting, when consequently used, works! In fact what you do with Etawa is one step further on the road I descibed in this lesson: making it simple and clear!

  9. elac123 on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 04:12
  10. Hello Baba Jaap,
    More often than not, when I throw the shells, one lands on its side– too often to be a coincidence! I can say that it’s because of the woven mat I use– or is it. . . 😉
    How do I read this? Do I throw again?
    Thanks

  11. Jaap Verduijn on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 14:24
  12. G’day! If it literally happens “more often than not”, I’d consider using a different mat or another more even surface. The cowries should be as random a generator as possible, so we should do whatever we can to make it possible for them to fall on either side.

    If it only happens every now and then though, it might indicate that the answer is very shaky. What I usually do is giving a firm bang with my fist on the floor or table I am casting on, and watch the reluctant cowrie topple over. Due to their shape they tend to fall mouth open… but Ifa kind of wipes the floor with these things and every now and then such a cowrie defies it all and falls belly open.

    It’s often useful to rephrase the question and ask again, but not always. Sometimes the reason for the odd position of such a shell hits us like lightning (wide grin)!

  13. elac123 on Tue, 12th Jan 2016 18:32
  14. Hello Baba Jaap,
    Well, I took your advice and eliminated the mat, throwing the shells directly on the desk top. . .and I’m still gettiing the one shell that lands on its side! I banged the desk and it refuses to budge. Like you said, because of the angle of the shell, it should fall mouth up, but–like you said– maybe not. Suggestions? Thanks!

  15. Jaap Verduijn on Mon, 18th Jan 2016 12:52
  16. Interesting (amused grin)! It could still be a “mechanical thing”, possibly solved by making the shells “thinner”, in other words polishing away some more of the “belly” side.

    On the other hand it may be that Ifa is alerting you to some message in this way. What does Ifa say about it when you ask?

  17. elac123 on Mon, 18th Jan 2016 20:52
  18. Hi Baba,
    I’m just starting out, only doing simple “yes/no” questions.
    I just tried to ask Ifa as best I could and now I got TWO shells on their sides!!
    maybe I need I reading from you? suggestions?
    Thanks!!

  19. Beek Brenda on Fri, 29th Jan 2016 02:10
  20. elac123 Would it be possible to send us a picture of your cowries? Kind of getting curious about their shape ;-)… Send it to brendabeek@gmail.com if necessary I’ll send it over to Jaap.

  21. Jaap Verduijn on Fri, 29th Jan 2016 13:57
  22. That’s a good idea! Elac123, send a pic please!

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