Performing an Ifá divination is the first step that every person must take to solve their problems or improve their luck thanks to the message transmitted by Olodumare through the Ifá signs. Ada Ifá or dáfá is the Yoruba name for Ifá divination. It literally means “throw Ifá” because, regardless of the divination that is made, you have to throw the Ikin, the Opele or the Obi abata. Divination has many nicknames; It is known as thrown, consults, among others. In this section you will be able to know who can make a divination, when and what should be done after knowing the Ifá message. You will also be able to know the different methods that exist in the Yoruba religion.
Who performs an Ifa divination?
The babalawo is the person who performs the Ifá divination. To do this you must have sufficient knowledge or, if not, have a teacher to guide you with divination, since the lack of knowledge will make the difference between whether the person consulted sees results or not.
When to do an Ifá divination?
Ifá says: “Eni ti or nwa iwa-kuwa, ni i ri iri-kuri, Imoran la a koo da ki a to da´fa” (A stupid request deserves stupid advice, common sense precedes Ifá divination) . This means that the Ifá divination must be carried out for important matters.
What to do after the divination?
In the Ifá divination the recommendations will be given and it will tell us what are the offerings to Ifá and the Orisa that must be made to achieve our objectives. It is important to know that if we do not have the ability to make these offerings, it is better not to make the divination.
Types of Ifá divination
Divination with Ikin (Ifá seeds)
Divination with Ikin (Ifá seeds) is the safest among all divinations. It is the one that any person who is initiated as a babalawo or an initiate in his first steps in traditional religion should do. Is also recommended if the situation in which the person comes to Ifá is extremely serious, even if it has not started.
Consists of throwing the seeds and marking the stripes on the Iyerosun (Ìyèròsùn) that rests on the Ifá board, depending on how many seeds are left in our hands. If one ikin remains, two lines are marked, and if there are two seeds, one line is marked until completing the eight that make up the Ifá sign. You can learn in detail how to perform this divination in Ifá Tradicional Pro.
Divination with Opele (Òpèlè) or Ifá string
It is the most common used for people who do not have any type of Ifa initiation or for initiates who come to Ifa for a case that is not of great importance. There are several types of Opele: beaded, bronze, with Opele seeds or other types of seeds accepted for making.
Consists of launching the Opele and, depending on the way in which the eight seeds that make up the chain fall, the Ifá sign will be marked. After, Ifá offerings should be made for the different matters that Ifá recommends, as in the case of Ikin’s divination.
Divination with Obi (Obì àbàtà)
It is the simplest within the Yoruba culture. It is used to ask the different Orisa if the offerings being made are accepted. This type of divination is also valid to ask the Orisha very simple questions that are not of great importance. Usually, people tend to mistakenly mistake Obi (Obì) for coconut, however they are totally different from each other.
This type of divination consists of dividing the Obi abata nut (Obì àbàtà) into four parts and, after the offering is made, the obi is thrown to the ground. Depending on the way the nuts fall, the orisa will respond as to whether or not the offering was accepted.
The signs of Ifá (Odù Ifá)
Olodumare transmits its messages through the Odu Ifá or Ifá signs. The babalawo who performs the divination must know by heart each one of these Ifá signs, which are what indicate to the person what are the recommendations and offerings to Ifá and the Orisa that must be performed to achieve the expected results. There are 256 signs of Ifa: 16 of them older – better known as Oju Odu Meindilongun -, and another 240 that arise from the combination of the meji. In each of the Ifá signs there are verses in the form of parables, in which Olodumare’s message is organized.
It is the babalawo in charge of interpreting these Ifá verses, which always have the same structure, allowing us to recognize if an Ifá verse is true or false. These verses are the ones recited when the offerings and ebo are made. To facilitate access and learning these verses, at Ilé Awo we offer the followers of the traditional practice of the Yoruba religion the Ojú Odù application, with 80 verses of the 16 main signs of Ifá.