«Ifa is the entirety of God’s message to humanity sent through Orunmila». In the Yoruba culture, Ifá encompasses everything: ceremonies, sacrifices, taboos, drums, songs, prayers and initiations. Basically, it is everything for followers of the Yoruba religion. it’s a lifestyle. Here you can find information about Ifá its practice, you will know what a babalawo is, and what is the traditional Ifá practice.
Yoruba culture and religion
The Yoruba (Yorùbá in original language) are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the world. Centered on various populations in West Africa, this ethnic group is made up of about 30 million people. Perhaps the best known of the Yoruba culture is the practice of Ifá, which is its religion, but also its complete way of life. In fact, the word Yoruba is said to be an adaptation of “Yo-ru-ebo” which means “We worship the Orisha (Òrìsà in Yoruba).
This part of Yoruba culture became known outside its territory during the time of slavery, spreading mainly throughout Latin America, especially in Cuba, Brazil or Venezuela.
There is no single way to practice Ifa in Nigeria. There are several lineages that have their traditions and their way of practicing religion and all that exist are valid and respected. Outside Nigeria there are also lineages that have adapted the traditional practice to the characteristics of each country, such as language or materials. It is precisely these drastic changes that the Yoruba religion has undergone during its adaptation is the one that has led many Babalawo or initiates to seek a more traditional practice or a purer lineage.
The Babalawo in the Ifá Traditional
The babalawo (awo) is an Ifa priest. He is the person who through divination deciphers Orunmila’s message to improve people’s lives and allow them to overcome any obstacle.
The life of a babalawo is guided by the search for knowledge and good behavior. This knowledge can be acquired in two ways: either through a family member (as in the case of the Yoruba), or through a teacher. It is a priority that the babalawo dedicates himself to study because without knowledge he must not perform any ceremony or divination. Currently, the Babalawo also have tools at their disposal to facilitate the access of Ifá learning, such as the Ifá mobile applications developed by Ilé Awo with exclusive information on traditional practice that until now was only accessible by traditional Ifá teachers.
In addition, the babalawo must have exemplary behavior, since when this is not fulfilled the awo begins to have difficulties on a religious and personal level. When consulting a babalawo we must take into account some keys to know what we are in good hands. One of them is that the awo is not lacking in any luck and, most importantly, that the offerings that are made obtain the expected result.
The search for traditionalism in Ifá
The drastic changes in the practice of the Yoruba religion have opened the doors to the search for traditionalism.
Practice of the Ifá Traditional
The traditional practice is to receive advice from a babalawo (Awo), who through divination of Ifá is in charge of deciphering the message of Oludumare (Olódùmarè). From divination, offerings are made to improve the problems indicated by the revealed Odu and avoid any negativity. These recommendations are what allow us to improve our lives. Click on the following sections to know the details of the Ifá practice or download our applications.