Home / News From Nigeria / Breaking News / There’re Sixteen Major Odu (‘books’) In the Odù Ifá literary corpus.
ifa odu

There’re Sixteen Major Odu (‘books’) In the Odù Ifá literary corpus.

When combined there are total of 256 Odu to solve all problems, situations, circumstances, actions and consequences in life based on the uncountable ese (poetic recitations) attached to the 256 Odu coding. These form the basis of Ifa traditional spiritual knowledge and are the foundation of all Yoruba divination systems.  Where I is an odd count or a “heads” result, and II is an even count or a “tails” result, the sixteen basic patterns and their Yoruba names are set forth in the sidebar.

(Please note this is only one way of ordering them, this changes depending on area within Nigeria, or the diaspora. An alternative order used in Ibadan, and Cuba is: Ejiogbe, Oyekun meji, Iwori Meji, Idi Meji, Irosun Meji, Oworin Meji, Obara Meji, Okanran Meji, Ogunda Meji, Osa Meji, Ika Meji, Oturupon Meji, Otura Meji, Irete Meji, Oshe Meji, Ofun Meji. Heepa Odu! This is important to note as it changes the outcomes of certain parts of the reading).

The babalawo recites a series of poems with proverbs and stories from the Ifa poetry that go with that choice. The final interpretation is made by the person seeking guidance, who decides how the verses that the babalawo has recited should be applied to the problem at hand.
(This may be one style, however other schools of thought with Ifa have the Diviner interpreting what Ifa says and not simply chanting and leaving it to the client)

Ifa poetry is not written down but passed down orally from one babalawo to another. Today, there are many texts that are designed to help Babalawos to learn and retain the huge corpus of knowledge. Initiation into Ifa requires rigorous study. An aspiring Babalawo must learn AT LEAST four verses from each of the 256 chapters (Odu) of Ifa. The minimum of four verses will of necessity include ebos and ooguns (medicine) that are embedded and relevant to each of the verses, plus other issues that complement divination.

An accomplished Babalawo must know about ten verses of each of the 256 chapters of Ifa (256 Odu Ifa). Regardless of gender, whoever aspires to practice Ifa must have this qualification. In essence, Ifa practice does not preclude a woman provided such woman acquires the required qualification.

A special Orisa can only be received by a Babalawo who decides to perform the special initiation that will allow him access to Odu. In essence, initiation into
Ifa is the first step towards initiation into Odu. A woman cannot be initiated into Odu.
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