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Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) - Culture - Nairaland

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Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:31pm On Dec 11, 2012

Book Serial - Ile-Ife - City of 201 Gods

Jacob K. Olupona, scion of an Anglican priest, winner of Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM), Professor of African Religious Tradition, African and African American Studies at Harvard University unveils the mysteries of Ile-Ife and the Yoruba history, cosmos and the deities in a new book CITY OF GODS: Ile-Ife in Time, Space and the Imagination, Thursday at NIIA, Lagos. We publish exclusive excerpts of this Yoruba book of identity.


Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:32pm On Dec 11, 2012
In The Pivot of the Four Quarters, Wheatley indicates that no place in sub-Saharan Africa has such cosmic significance as the Yoruba city of Ile-Ife. Known as the City of 201 (or 401) Gods, Ile-Ife is the base of the entire Yoruba civilization and culture, and its significance goes far beyond the immediate geographical and national boundaries of Nigeria. The religious culture of Ile-Ife has influenced the development and growth of new African religious movements as far off as Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States.
Ile-Ife, a city of about half a million, is situated at the geographical centre of the Yoruba city-states. To the west lies Ibadan, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, and to the east lies Ondo, gateway to the eastern Yoruba city-states. Ile-Ife is about two hundred kilometres from Lagos, which was Nigeria's coastal capital city for over a century.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:33pm On Dec 11, 2012
Pre-eminent sacred place
Unlike the political, commercial, and administrative cities of Ibadan and Lagos, contemporary Ile-Ife is a ceremonial city par excellence; like the cities of Banaras, Jerusalem, and Mecca, in the people's imagination it is the preeminent sacred place, beyond the secular and profane.
I begin with Ile-Ife's various sacred place names, because epithets vividly show the significance of sacred cities. Stephen Scully argues in his book Homer and the Sacred City that "human centers such as Troy are richly and complexly described through the epithets attached to them." Citing an earlier study by Paolo Vivante, Scully contends that "city epithets, whenever they occur, bring out the essential aesthetics and contextual quality of place names." These epithets serve "as a resource of power and a medium of signification in their own right." They are "visual and concrete in nature, and thereby evocative of an essential and generic quality" of whatever they qualify.
Ile-Ife's inhabitants have conferred numerous sacred Yoruba names on their city. It has been called Ife Oodaye, "The Expansive Space Where the World Was Created," referring to the cosmogonic myth asserting that ritual creation occurred in this very place, and as Ibi Oju Ti Mo Wa (Where the Day Dawns). In Yoruba creation myth, Ile-Ife is conceived of as the place where the sun rises and sets, the center of origin of the universe. Ile-Ife is also called Ife Ooye, the place of survival or the city of life, because, like Noah's ark, it was a place of refuge from a primordial deluge that destroyed earlier settlements and left survivors to establish a new era. Various oral sources refer to Ile-Ife as the place where the 201 gods came down from heaven to live and interact with humans on earth.
Though Ile-Ife is the city of the source of life, it is, paradoxically, also the city of the dead. The Yoruba believe that those who die immediately return to Ile-Ife, the starting point for their pilgrimage to the other world. Several years ago, I was in my own hometown, Ute, in Owo District, a town located at the extreme eastern end of the eastern Yoruba territory, to conduct research on death in Yoruba thought. In an important song sung in the Owo tradition during the burial, the deceased is enjoined to "go on the straight road that leads to Ile-Ife and not stray by the wayside" (Onayo r'ufe ma ya o). Ile-Ife is regarded as the only stopping place before the dead pass into the underworld, so the rite of passage must ensure that the deceased not tarry on the way to the ancient city.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:35pm On Dec 11, 2012
In ancient times, it was the practice of those who had lost a loved one to travel to Ile-Ife to see if they could find the deceased person and learn from him or her about the cause of the death so that they could avenge a wrongful death or hear about unfinished business on earth that the deceased wanted living relatives to see completed if possible.
Ile-Ife attained primacy on the basis of its hallowed status as the source for all the crowned cities (ilu-alade). An important Yoruba myth refers to the dispersal of Oduduwa's sixteen royal children, who went out from Ile-Ife to found new kingdoms.
Each was assigned a sacred crown, or ade, a symbol of authority. (In 1903 the colonial administration determined that the Ooni of Ife was the most qualified to say who ought to own and wear this crown.) Each was assigned a sacred sword representing the divine power to take possession of new territories. Stories of the origin of several Yoruba kingdoms are filled with anecdotes about the royal princes' and princesses' encounters as they conquered aboriginal groups in their newfound lands and ruled with the sacred insignia of office: the crown and the sword.
I should add that in several cities the Ife cosmovision serves as a model for other lesser but equally significant sacred centers in the Yoruba world. A case in point is Idanre, an important city in the eastern Yoruba region of Ondo State, Nigeria, where I have also carried out field research. Idanre's inhabitants lived for a long time on an isolated mountain, Oke-Idanre, and they have always maintained a connection with Ile-Ife. The ancient name for the present-day city of Idanre was Ufeke (Ife on the Mountain). Legends of Idanre migration argue that their founders, Olofin and his followers, were immigrants from the ancient city of Ile-Ife. The founders claimed that they possessed the ancient crown of Oduduwa and other royal garments. They hid on a mountain, where they were constantly assailed by other Yoruba groups who wanted to seize these royal treasures.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:36pm On Dec 11, 2012
Ooni with the sacred crown.
Renewal of kingship
During the annual Iden, or King's Festival, the Owa of Idanre dons the ancient crown of Olofin (also regarded as Oduduwa) in the dark of night. Putting on the ancient crown signifies renewal of his kingship and celebrates his valor and military strength in conquering all intruders who pursued the Idanre to steal his crown. Indeed, Idanre is one of the most revered cities of southwestern Nigeria. Its inhabitants are particularly famous for their control over and use of traditional medicine and the spoken word (ohun), the magical or sacred formulas to make things happen. The Iden Festival that bears the signature of Idanre sacred kingship is similar to the Olojo Festival in Ile-Ife, the festival of sacred kingship and of Ogun, the god of war, in which the Ooni wears his own sacred are crown. Thus the legend signifies that the lie cosmovision is duplicated by other Yoruba cities whose inhabitants share in Ile-Ife's sacred myth and history.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:39pm On Dec 11, 2012
The structural organization of Ile-Ife and its special religious, political, and spatial form symbolize the sacred cosmology behind the city's origins. The most important section is the center, the Ooni's palace, or aafin, often called oke-ile (the high or big house), located on an elevated site, and the five principal quarters that constitute the old city of Ile Ife radiate out from it. Three major roads leading from these sections converge in front of the palace at an intersection called Enu Owa,
literally, "Mouth of the King." They function as an orita (crossroads), an imporant phenomenon in Yoruba religious life. Orita are not mere crossroads; they are "ritually potent spaces where sacrifices may be offered to spirits or evil forces (alajo ogun) and messages maybe conveyed to witches, wizards, and spirits of the underworld or heaven. The royal palace is protected by the city's concentric layout around its center. As one moves from outermost to innermost circles, degrees of power and sacredness increase. Located close to the palace are the sacred precincts that cradle the three most important ritual centers in the city, the grove, the shrine, and the temple.
The grove belongs to Oduduwa, cultural hero and founder of the city; Oke-M'ogun is the shrine and hill of Ogun, warrior god, patron deity of the sacred kingship; and Oke Itase, Ifa hill and temple, is the abode of Araba Agbaye, chief diviner of the universe. Sacred sites of Yoruba cities are determined by the divination process. Each principal city underwent a divination ritual to determine the best site for its origin and growth (odu ti o te llu do). When I asked one of my consultants to name the odu (chapter of the corpus of oral texts on divination) on which Ile-Ife was founded, he exclaimed in surprise, saying that all sixteen principal odu talked about the city's origin, an indication that this city was greater than any other city in Yoruba territory.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:41pm On Dec 11, 2012
I turn now to the significance of place for nationalism and identity construction in contemporary Yoruba society. One lacuna in the history of religions is the general lack of in-depth analysis of the relationship between religious phenomena and the social order within which these phenomena exist. The danger of overemphasizing the social context of religion at the expense of the phenomenon itself has encouraged many to avoid exploring the possible social consequences of religious behaviour. If historians of religions were to take more seriously Peter Berger's suggestion for analyzing religious phenomena, that we should view religion in terms of its origin, functions, and intrinsic and substantive value, we would produce a more rounded interpretation of religion that did not privilege one aspect at the expense of the others.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:42pm On Dec 11, 2012
Political dynamics
Recently, Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht have contended that there is a strong connection "between the construction of sacred space and the social organization of power" and that "ultimately, an adequate theory of sacred places must take cognizance of the political dynamics that play a key role in how it is appreciated, controlled, interpreted, and contested." According to these two authors, "Because they undergird identities and ethical commitments, because they galvanize the deepest emotions and attachments, material and symbolic control over the most central sacred places are sources of enormous social power." Ile-Ife is a prime example of how this social power shapes notions of identity, nationalism, and place.
I will examine the role of the Ile-Ife homeland and territorially in the construction of ethnic nationalism, patriotism, and community identity among the Yoruba. By nationalism, I refer not to the contemporary nation-state context (Nigeria) but to the Yoruba nation as a cultural group with a homeland, a language, a religion, and a shared culture.
Three related themes should be considered as a template for understanding how sacred cities function in the context of modern nationalism. First, Ile-Ife, as a hallowed land of religious and cultural traditions, was used to mobilize the Yoruba as a unified patriotic and nationalist group. Second, symbols of sacred place were used in the development of a homeland of subcultural identities and to galvanize the Yoruba community into a patriotic and national group. Third, the Yoruba mark their boundaries of sacred space in what have been called rituals of "hallowing the land."
The study of sacred places in Yoruba religious experience may help answer puzzling questions about Yoruba identity and the role the Yoruba religion plays in modern Nigerian politics. Why are the ethnicity and ethnic identity of forty million Yoruba people so strong that their cultural and political lives are difficult for outsiders to penetrate?
Part of the answer lies in the role of place, and particularly the role of Ile-Ife as a centralized sacred place, in "creating a religious, communal, and political identity" and mobilizing people politically. A second relevant issue, borrowed from Kunin's argument, is that a centralized model of sacred place not only constructs identities but also creates boundaries that establish the relationship of "insiders" and "outsiders" to the sacred center.
The Yoruba origin myth discussed above is normally followed by another equally powerful myth: that of the dispersion, migration, and odyssey of the children of Oduduwa, who left the sacred city of Ile-Ife to conquer, inhabit, and establish new dynasties and new cities and towns. With this odyssey, new city-states similar to Ile-Ife, such as Ondo, Owo, Benin, Ado-Ekiti, Ijebu-Ode, Ketu, and Oyo, were created. In the context of space and land, the migration myth from Ile-Ife "provides for a plan of cosmological relatedness."'
The Yoruba historian Adeagbo Akinjogbin describes this relationship between the Ile-Ife center and the new city-states as one based on ebi (lineage) ideology: semiautonomous kinship groups with defined territorial boundaries are joined in a sacred pact. The sociologist Akinsola Akiwowo has described their alliance as being based on what the Yoruba call ajobi (principles of kinship and religious association). Though Ile-Ife provides a unifying myth, an equal element of decentralization of sacred space is evident in Yoruba mythology. Multiplicity of sacred space does not negate our thesis of a centralized sacred space.
The significance of Ile-Ife in Yoruba political life is especially revealed by two incidents: the visit of the Ooni, paramount ruler of Ile-Ife, to Lagos in 1903; and the formation, in the 1940s and 1950s, of a centralized pan-Yoruba cultural and quasi-political association based on the Oduduwa myth, Egbe Omo Oduduwa (Society of the Descendants of Oduduwa) and its political successor, the Action Group Party.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:43pm On Dec 11, 2012
The unprecedented visit of an Ooni to Lagos was chilling to all the other Yoruba Oba, including the Alaafin of Oyo. Before this visit, it had been taboo for an Ooni to leave the city of lle-lfe. The other Yoruba Oba viewed the announcement of his journey with such great alarm and seriousness that they decided to vacate their palaces and stay outside their city for the duration of his visit until they could con firm his safe return. Although the Ooni's visit can be interpreted as a sign of the capitulation of the traditional center and society of Ile-Ife to the new colonial center in Lagos, the visit also signaled a reinvention of tradition.
Under the British system of indirect rule, the colonial government had created a new city legislative council in charge of the affairs of the new region. In 1903, a dispute between two Yoruba rulers, the Elepe of Epe in Ijebu Remo and the Akarigbo of Ijebu Remo, was referred to the state legislative council for adjudication. The Akarigbo protested the Elepe's wearing a beaded crown, which by tradition could be worn only by an Oba claiming direct descent from Oduduwa, who had been authorized to wear the crown by the Ooni of Ile-Ife.
The reigning Ooni was Adelekan Olubuse I, the grandfather of the incumbent Ooni. At the suggestion of council members, the Ooni was invited to Lagos in February 1903 to rule on the matter.
Hidden behind a screen (since it was forbidden to behold the face of the Ooni), the Ooni answered all the questions the council put to him. He denounced the Elepe, lamenting that if it were the old days, the Ooni would have summoned the Elepe to lle-Ife and had him beheaded.
What happened between the Ooni and the British governor after the meeting must be the subject of another work. In short, the Ooni was entertained by the governor in a private meeting, and upon the Ooni's safe return to Ile-Ife, the Yoruba Oba returned to their palaces. By reinventing the traditional power, the British colonial government was able to wend its way through turbulent issues such as this dispute between the two rulers. Ile-Ife, the Yoruba place of origin, played a significant role in this process.

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by Nobody: 9:47pm On Dec 11, 2012
What I have read so far sounds to me like a fetish godless city full of idol worship and juju
A land teaming with evil spirits and backwardness
It is this holding unto idolatry that causes ritual killings and sacrifices for these gods when there is a better way
The land needs to turn to Jehovah to have those covenants broken and the people set free in the mighty name of Jesus
The king of kings and Lord of Lords


Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 9:47pm On Dec 11, 2012
Next on:
Imagined sacred city, findings of Western explorers,the Ile-Ife and ancient kingdom of Benin connection stories.

To be continued....
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by ijigbamigb(m): 12:18am On Dec 12, 2012

Can we discuss more on Odu and Ese of the Ifá literary corpus. How they came into being. How we have allowed it to be partially extincted from our present day life.

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 1:30am On Dec 12, 2012
ijigbamigb: @Osun*Ife

Can we discuss more on Odu and Ese of the Ifá literary corpus. How they came into being. How we have allowed it to be partially extincted from our present day life.

Not a professional in history of gods but here is a write up that I think suit the explanation for the Odu and Esu of Ifa Literary corpus.

(Note: ÷s÷ for Ese)
The Ifá literary corpus consists of two parts, namely, Odù and ÷s÷. The corpus is divided into 256 distinct volumes, which are called Odù, and each Odù is sub-divided into numerous chapters, which are called ÷s÷. While the number of the Odù is known, the number of ÷s÷ in each Odù is unknown. This is due to the constant growth in the content of ÷s÷ Ifá, a growth which certainly does not affect the form of the text.

There are two categories of the Odù. The first category consists of the Ojú Odù (The principal Odù), sixteen in number. The second category consists of the Æmæ Odù or (Minor Odù), two hundred and forty in number.

The Odù are regarded as divinities in their own right. Ifá divination myths tell us that before the final return of Örúnmìlà to heaven, he promised his children and his followers that he would send to them certain divinities who would perform some of the functions he used to perform when he was on earth.

He promised that these divinities would be known as Odù and they would come down from the sky. When Örúnmìlà finally returned to heaven, his children and his followers began to make preparations for the corning of the Odù from heaven.

For the sixteen principal Odù they made sixteen thrones one of which was well decorated and placed in an open place while the other fifteen thrones were arranged around it in the form of a circle. The people then started to watch the sky for the coming of the Odù.

When the sixteen principal Odù were coming down from heaven, Òfún Méjì, also known as Öràngún Méjì, was their leader. The ranks of the principal sixteen Odù in heaven was as follows:

1. Òfún Méjì 000006. Ìká Méjì 00000000012. Ìrosùn Méjì
2. Ösê Méjì 0000007. Ösá Méjì 0000000 13. Òdí Méjì
3. Ìr÷të Méjì000000 8. Ògúndá Méjì 000014. Ìwòrì Méjì
4. Òtúá Méjì 0000009. Ökànràn Méjì 000 15. Öyëkú Méjì
5. Ótúúrúpön Méjì 010. Öbàrà Méjì 0000016. Èjì Ogbè
11. Öwônrín Méjì

But when the principal sixteen Odù came to the frontier gate separating heaven from earth, they reversed their order of procession so that the 16th and the most junior Odù, Èjì Ogbè, went through the frontier gate first. He was followed by the 15th Odù and the 15th was followed by the 14th and so on until the first Odù came last.

Immediately Èjì Ogbè went through the frontier gate he entered into space and descended into earth. When the large gathering of expectant people saw him, they hailed him as the king of the Odù. They carried him shoulder-high and placed him on the big throne prepared for the leader of the Odù, thinking that he was the most senior of all.

The second Odù to descend from the sky was also hailed as the deputy of the king of the Odù. In this way, the ranking of sixteen principal Odù was completely reversed, giving the following new order:

1. Èjì Ogbè 00007. Öbàrà Méjì 00013. Òtúá Méjì
2. Öyëkú Méjì 008. Ökànràn Méjì 0014. Ìr÷të Méjì
3. Ìwòrì Méjì 00009. Ògúndá Méjì 0015. Ösê Méjì
4. Òdí Méjì 0000010. Ösá Méjì 0000016. Òfún Méjì
5. Ìrosùn Méjì 00011. Ìká Méjì
6. Öwônrín Méjì 0012. Òtúúrúpön Méjì

The order of seniority of the sixteen principal Odù has since remained thus till today. Èjì Ogbè is regarded as the most senior Odù, but whenever Ifá priests cast Òfún Méjì, they hail him as king, saying héèpà (We hail you)!

As mentioned above, the sixteen principal Odù are more important than the minor Odù. The sixteen principal Odù contain the most important ÷s÷ Ifá and it is considered a duty by all Ifá priests to know as many ÷s÷ Ifá as possible from this part of the Odù corpus. As a result of the greater attention paid by Ifá priest to the sixteen principal Odù, most of the extant ÷s÷ Ifá belong to this part of the Odù corpus.

The Æmæ Odù are also regarded as divinities. As their name implies, they are regarded as the children of the sixteen principal Odù. They are also known as Àmúlù Odù because each of them bears the names of two principal Odù. For example, the first and most important Æmæ Odù is known as Ogbèyëkú. This name is a combination of the names of two Odù, namely, Ogbè, the first Odù, and Öyëkú, the second Odù. The two hundred and forty minor Odù are arranged in twelve groups.

Each group is known as Àpólà (Section). The twelve groups bear the names of twelve of the sixteen principal Odù.

They are arranged as follows(from the image below):


Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 1:33am On Dec 12, 2012
Each one of the two hundred and fifty six Odù has its own specific divination signature. Both the sacred palm-nuts and the divining chain are used alternatively by Ifá priests to arrive at the signature of each Odù.

The sacred palm-nuts are used in the following manner. The Ifá priest puts the sixteen palm nuts in one of his palms and tries to take all of them out at once with his other hand. If two palm-nuts remain in his hand, he makes one mark on the divination board containing the sacred yellow powder of divination. If one palm-nut remains, he makes two marks, but if nothing re-mains or if more than two palm-nuts remain in his hand, he makes no mark at all.

Each mark or pair of marks is made, one below the other, four times. When four marks or pair of marks have been made, the whole pattern thus formed is the signature of a particular Odù. The following are the signatures that may be obtained by using the sacred palm nuts.

Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 1:36am On Dec 12, 2012
When the divining chain is used, the Ifá priest holds the chain in the middle and throws it before himself. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the divining chain has four half-nuts of the öpëlè tree tied to each side of it. Each one of these half nuts has a concave and convex surface.

When the divining chain is thrown forward as described above, all or some or none of the half-nuts may come to rest with their concave or convex surfaces facing upwards.

The pattern so formed on each occasion by the half-nuts on the chain is regarded as an Odù. For example, when all the öpëlë half-nuts present their convex (' surfaces, the pattern is regarded as the signature of the first Odù (Èjì Ogbè). When all the half-nuts present their convex surfaces, the pattern is interpreted as the signature of the second Odù (Öyëkú Méjì).

When the middle two half-nuts on each side of the divining chain present their concave surfaces and all the other half-nuts present their convex surfaces, the pattern is taken to be the signature of the third Odù (Ìwòrì Méjì) Each of the two hundred and fifty-six Odù has its own character.

Broadly speaking, one Odù may denote evil while another one denotes good. The same Odù may also stand for both good and evil. One Odù may stand for prosperity while another one stands for disease and death.

When an Ifá priest performs Ifá divination and arrives at the signature of an Odù, he recalls to mind the character of that particular Odù and pronounces whether it is good or evil.

If a good Odù appears in the process of divination for a client, it means that the client can expect a good omen on the subject of his enquiry to Ifá, and if an evil Odù appears, it means that the client should expect evil. If an Odù which signifies disease and death appears to the client, it means that he should expect these two evils.

The characters of the sixteen principal Odù are paraphrased below:

1). Èjì Ogbè: This Odù denotes plenty of good and plenty of evil.
2). Öyëkú Méjì: This Odù denotes that death and all other evil will disappear. Red cloth should be used for sacrifice.
3). Ìwòrì Méjì: Enemies are around. This client’s heritage is about to be taken away from him.
4). Òdí Méjì: Evil is close to this client. He will have many wives including a princess.
5). Ìrosùn Méjì: this Odù belongs to »àngó. This client should heed his wife’s advice.
6). Öwônrín Méjì: This person will be victorious over his enemies. People will try to injure this client by saying untrue things about him.
7). Öbàrà Méjì: This Odù denotes poverty and want but at last prosperity and happiness.
cool. Ökànràn Méjì: this Odù denotes good fortune. This person should beware of enemies.
9). Ògúndá Méjì: This Odù denotes victory. This Odù relates to Ògún. All of this client’s good fortune is with his Orí. There is a certain barren woman close to this client.
10). Ösá Méjì: This Odù relates to Òò«àálá and the witches. It denotes prospect of many children and plenty of riches.
11). Ìká Méjì: This client will live long. People will always think of harming this client but they will not be able to do so.
12). Òtúúrúpön Méjì: This Odù denotes prospect of twin babies. It relates to Egúngún. It also denotes that attacks of witches is imminent.
13). Òtùá Méjì: This Odù relates to Ifá and deserters from his cause. It denotes victory over enemies and prospect of many children.
14). Ìr÷të Méjì: This Odù relates to »ànpönná. It denotes death, enemies and evil.
15). Ösê Méjì: This Odù denotes plenty of children, victory over enemies and plenty of good fortune.
16). Òfún Méjì: This client will be great. The people of his household should not mock strangers. Enemies will not be able to do this person any harm.

What has emerged so far is that the two hundred and fifty six Odù are very important in the Ifá divination system. The whole of the literary corpus known as ÷s÷ Ifá is based on the Odù. What a priest of Ifá tells his client is therefore taken directly from the Odù corpus. This is contrary to an opinion popularly held that Ifá priests are clever psychologists who read the problems of each client from his general appearance.

We must now turn our attention to the second category of the Ifá literary corpus, the ÷s÷ Ifá. As mentioned above, each Odù contains an unspecified number of ÷s÷.

While the Odù are important for the divination aspect of Ifá, the ÷s÷ form the main bulk of chants in the Ifá literary corpus. At the same time, the ÷s÷ are quite important for the divination aspect of Ifá because the pronouncements and predictions of the Ifá priest are based on the content of ÷s÷ Ifá. ‘¿s÷ Ifá is the central and most important part of Ifá divination system’.

The form of ÷s÷ is predominantly poetic. The poems of ÷s÷ Ifá are of varying lengths, some being as short as only four lines while others are as long as six hundred lines. It is the long poems of Ifá greatly treasured by Ifá priests that are referred to as Ifá Ñláñlá. ¿s÷ Ifá, whether long or short, make use of very interesting poetic devices e.g. personification, play upon words and repetition. ¿s÷ Ifá pervades the whole range of Yoruba thought and action throughout history.

¿s÷ Ifá deals with all subjects. It deals with history, geography, religion, music and philosophy. ¿s÷ Ifá may be a simple story about a man going on a journey and asking for advice on how to make the journey successful. It may be a highly philosophical story showing the merits and demerits of monogamy. It may deal with the foundation of a particular town. There is certainly no limit to the subject matter which ÷s÷ Ifá may deal with.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 1:43am On Dec 12, 2012
For detailed Ifa story:

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OsunIfe: 1:52am On Dec 12, 2012
ijigbamigb: @Osun*Ife

How we have allowed it to be partially extincted from our present day life.

It is sadden how our definition of "civilization has".
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by OgbuefiNegro: 6:10am On Dec 12, 2012
Good job my brother. very educating
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by PaulJohn1: 8:02am On Dec 12, 2012
Lovely, learning from this.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by AdaNri1(f): 12:19pm On Dec 12, 2012
Ok! I have to start from the begining again.
Done! Is this myth or fact?
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by Nobody: 12:23pm On Dec 12, 2012
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by franksunny(m): 12:25pm On Dec 12, 2012
hope it add value to our nation like jerusalem, mecca and others that you mention
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by Chedarking: 12:35pm On Dec 12, 2012

The Odus seem to be some sort of early binary system.

The stories about the odus descending from the sky strongly resonates with numerous other religions/cultures where deities descend from space...

Are we really alone on earth?

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by ijigbamigb(m): 12:39pm On Dec 12, 2012
Yes Osun.Ife
Civilization to us seem to mean the relegation of our culture to the background.
A close observation of the Odu and Ese shows that the study of Corpus is a prerequisite for the Yoruba religion and culture which is not as practiced in the yoruba land as it is in the Caribbean.
The yoruba religion stands for Peace, Honesty, and many more good virtues of life.
But our people now believe prophets who create situations and solutions in our imagination where we have a more problem solving culture where You don't need a special prophetic talent to learn the corpus, you only need to study and memorize all Odu and Ese in it which may take years.


Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by aribisala0(m): 12:39pm On Dec 12, 2012

Against the wall is not the correct place
to wish an older person a long life; coming in
straight but vaguely looking in another direction
is how a greedy person distinguishes himself; perhaps
it looks like I have nothing good in mind, followed
by all of you; stay home, that's what the snake
said to its hungry children" was the one who cast Ifa
for "Little Left Overs", tiny fellow who will live
for two thousand years in this world, if he offers
ten pigeons, a begging rooster, and ten bags of cowries.
He sacrificed, and they made ewe for him, and he did not die...
in clear contrast with the broom that fell apart into tiny twigs,
he remained in one strong piece. We have
sacrificed, with a succesful outcome.

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by omowolewa: 12:40pm On Dec 12, 2012
Good documentation of our rich culture.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by aribisala0(m): 12:41pm On Dec 12, 2012

Irete was cast for Orunmila,
Ika was cast for Orunmila,
on the day that he was looking for work.
They said that Orunmila would always be busy
doing the work of an Awo, that people
would call on him all over the world
to do Awo's work for them.
They instructed him to sacrifice
four pigeons and 8000 cowries.
He listened and made the sacrifice.
Orunmila has not been without work
ever since. Ebo: 4 pigeons and money.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by ijigbamigb(m): 12:41pm On Dec 12, 2012
franksunny: hope it add value to our nation like jerusalem, mecca and others that you mention
Yes it should. But we must first appreciate that which is ours.
Currently, IFA as a religion has around 500,000 worshipers in Brazil alone and around 2 million scattered across the world. But still very unpopular in our Nation.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by ijigbamigb(m): 12:43pm On Dec 12, 2012
aribisala0: IRETE IKA

Irete was cast for Orunmila,
Ika was cast for Orunmila,
on the day that he was looking for work.
They said that Orunmila would always be busy
doing the work of an Awo, that people
would call on him all over the world
to do Awo's work for them.
They instructed him to sacrifice
four pigeons and 8000 cowries.
He listened and made the sacrifice.
Orunmila has not been without work
ever since. Ebo: 4 pigeons and money.

LOL. What's your source please? I mean the uninterpreted one.
Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by aribisala0(m): 12:45pm On Dec 12, 2012

He said rudeness, I said insolence,.
He said stubbornness, I said impatience.
He said that you can't use
a snake for a trouser belt.
Nobody is rude enough to hit
the Chief's son over his head.
Let me be respected and
honored today" were the ones
who cast Ifa for Loudmouth,
on the day that he got himself
into trouble on account
of his rude behavior. They told him
to see the error of his way: when Ika falls,
and Ogbe falls - it is there that Ifa
tells us to be the wisest of the two.
Ifa says that we shoulde rather bite
our tongue than get involved in a
yelling contest. For although we are
probably right and the other is probably
wrong, we'd better leave them alone and
let them sort it out all for themselves.
Ifa says we will soon be tested for
good character: somebody whom we trusted
has abandoned us, and we would like
to shout that from the rooftops, giving in
to our indignity. Don't do that, Ifa say,
Good character also consists of silence,
of keeping ones mouth shut, when
speaking would just become hate speech.
Ifa says something went wrong
between a teacher and his student.
And Ifa says that, when all is said and done,
there aren't so many bad students after all,
but lots of bad teachers... unfortunately.
When Ika falls and Ogbe falls, we may be
a student with a failing teacher, but just
to make sure, we will also ask whether
we ourselves don't fail as teacher.


Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by Chedarking: 12:49pm On Dec 12, 2012
aribasala I hail your knowledge!

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Re: Ile-ife - City Of 201 Gods. (Yoruba Ancestral Home) by aribisala0(m): 12:49pm On Dec 12, 2012
Odu Ika Ogunda
"Something painful that is done to us,
we must not do to others"
was cast for Ogun, on the day
that he was fighting every day,
and broke many weapons fighting.
The offering was made, and they
told him to stop fighting.
"Something painful that is done to us,
we must not do to others"
was cast for Ogun, on the day
that he was fighting every day,
and broke many weapons fighting.
Ifa says this person should learn
to pick his fights; not everything
is worth fighting over. And Ifa says
that we often do ourselves more harm
while fighting, than we do the other.
Think, before you hit a person: how
would you like being hit?

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