In the tradition of Ifa/Orisha the traditional practice of the Yoruba People of South Western Nigeria sacrifice is important, it is the most important of this tradition. The Yoruba’s believes that with sacrifice all problems can be solved and it is through the consultation with Ifa that the solution is meted out. Babalawos with whom I have spoken to in Nigeria have all told me the same thing, that sacrifice is the most important and that it must be performed immediately after divination is completed. Sacrifice is an offering made for a higher purpose. These offerings could be anything ranging from objects, food or the life/blood of an animal (s).
OUR TRADITION DOES NOT,( IFA/ORISHA), INDULGE IN HUMAN SACRIFICE, NOR DOES ANY OTHER PRACTICE WHICH I HAVE BEEN PRIVY TO SEE HERE IN AFRICA!!!
In the Ifa/Orisha traditional practice, when Ifa is consulted and Odu, which is one of the 256 possibilities of the binary coded language of the universe, comes down, verses of the holy Odu which has appeared are chanted by the Babalawo’s and his students (Awo’s in training) who are in attendance of this very important meet.
An Odu is live energy, and before it can come down or appear, the Babalawo, will invoke it through his Oracle which is prayed upon by the person seeking consultation in the case of the Opele or if ikin are being used, the seeds are held in the hands of the Babalawo while he prays invoking Ifa , and when the Oracle opens up the Holy Odu appears which the Babalawo will mark in a series of strokes resulting in eight strokes having being marked from right to left.
The Odu is interpreted through a range of patakis (stories) belonging to that particular Odu and the Babalawo after he has established the Orientation of the Odu, whether it came with Ire (positive) or Ibi (negative ) for the client, he now have to ask through said Oracle what is the sacrifice needed to bring about balance/harmony to this persons life.
All Odu’s requires sacrifice, regardless if they come Ire (positive) or Ibi (negative). Most Babalawos will not even invoke/consult Ifa, open their oracle, if the client seeking this service is not willing to perform the sacrifices right away. The thought within the tradition is that there is solution to all problems, it is only if God says no, when the solution does not show within the Oracle, there Orunmila will communicate with the Babalawo that it is time for that person to leave this world, for them there is no solution.
Recently Ifa was divined for someone, the Odu which came down was Eji Ogbe, (Eji-ugg-beh, the word Eji is a derivative of Meji which means two, while Ogbe means light, broken down it literally means Two Lights), this Odu, (Odu is often times referred to as Ifa (ee-fah), is the oldest Odu of the 256 Odu’s. When this was divined for the person, it came down Ibi (negative) and the person was warned by the Babalawo not have unprotected sex as some terrible sexual transmitted disease was on its way to meet that person.
Ifa prescribed that he should perform sacrifice right away as to remove the threat of this possibly incurable disease which could bring about his demise, and Ifa also told him that there were people monitoring him to point him out so that he may be killed, but if the sacrifice were to be performed, all these would by pass him. He heard and the sacrifices were performed and accepted.