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Yoruba Ifa Religion and the Sacred Ifa Oracle


One of the characterizing parts of the Yoruba people is Ifa worship. The Yoruba Ifa religion framework involves 3 unmistakable parts; Olodumare (the preeminent maker of heaven and earth), Orisa/Orisha (the spirits that make up the components of each and every living thing), and the predecessors.

The Yoruba Ifa religion has been practiced for millennia and is seemingly quite possibly the broadest religion in West Africa.

What does the Yoruba Ifa religion involve, how can one join, and what are its basics?

The set of experiences, runs and intriguing realities about the Yoruba Ifa religion

Here is all that you need to know about the Sacred Ifa Oracle.

Yoruba religion Ifa: history, rules and interesting facts

History of the Yoruba Ifa religion

Like different religions and customs, Ifa’s set of experiences is woven with various folktales, fantasies, and legends, all well established in the rich Yoruba culture.

The primary hypothesis places that the Ifa prophet was established by a grand priest, known as the Orunmila. As indicated by Yoruba folklore, the amazing prophet was sent to earth by the preeminent maker to carry regulations into the world.

Orunmila then established the principal Ifa centre in a spot known as Ile-Ife (broadly accepted to be the cradle of the Yoruba people). He then initiated his first students, known as Akoda and Aseda.

The subsequent folklore expresses that Ifa was brought by a man known as Setiu, who got comfortable Ile-Ifu. The last hypothesis expresses that Ifa was brought to the Yoruba nation by Arugba, the eight Alaafin (proprietor of a castle) of Oyo.

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Where is Ifa practiced?

While the Yoruba Ifa religion dominatingly had a place with the Yoruba people, it was likewise practiced by little gatherings in other West African nations, the Canary Islands, and some parts of the Americas. A few parts of the religion are likewise incorporated into different societies, customs and otherworldly frameworks like Umbanda, Vodou, Palo, and Santeria.

How is Ifa organized?

What is Ifa religion? It is a profound framework in light of confidence in three significant parts: the preeminent being (Olodumare), the spirits (Orisa), and the predecessors. Olodumare is additionally known by different names, including Eleda, Eledumare, and Olorun.


As indicated by Ifa, there is just a single incomparable God known as Olodumare. The name is gotten from the expression ‘O ní odù mà rè’ that freely means ‘he who owns all creation so that it does not become empty.’

The Yoruba people accept that Olodumare has no gender and is barely engaged with the exercises of people here on the planet. The Yoruba Ifa religion places that Olodumare made a complete universe that has all that human beings need to live a cheerful and satisfied existence.

Ifa’s creation hypothesis expresses that Olodumare made the whole universe, planned the seasons, night and day, and set the fates of people. At the point when some setback occurs for an individual, the Yorubas say that the said individual is ‘under the lashes of the Olodumare.’


As indicated by the sacred ifa oracle, each component of nature and each living thing has an internal power that feeds its source. This incorporates everything from the breeze, thunder, flowers, storms, mists, rocks, streams, humans, and animals. The regular powers that involve and take care of the universe are known as the Orisa/Orisha.

Each Orisa has specific obligations. The whole human race is supposed to be in steady correspondence with these normal powers, regardless of whether mindful of them — moreover, the Orisa go about as the delegates among people and the preeminent being.

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Most well-known Orisas


Yoruba religion Ifa: history, rules and interesting facts

The Yoruba Ifa religion expresses that there are 201 powers of the right side, generally known as Iborra or Irumole, and 201 powers of the left side, known as Ajogun. The right-side powers are the Orisa, while the left side powers are the evil presences.

The Orisa safeguards and works with humanity’s prosperity, while the Ajogun gives humanity deterrents and ceaseless difficulties. Eshu’s position in the soul is special since he is both Ajogun and Orisa. He can be on the two sides simultaneously.

As the head of demons, Eshu has control over the eight specialists of mischief distinguished in Ifa. These are Iku (death), Arun (affliction/sickness), Egba (paralysis), Epe (curse), Ewon (imprisonment), Oran (extraordinary difficulty), Ofo ( incredible misfortune) and Ese (any remaining problems.

For his capacity to be both terrible and great, Eshu is adored and feared by all. During Ifa sacrifices, Eshu is typically offered the sacrificial item before some other Orisa.


Ogun is known as the expert on the blade and is firmly connected with sacrifices in Ifa. While Eshu ordinarily gets the penance/sacrifice first, Ogun is supposed to be quick to feel the blood of the penance/sacrifice since he has command over the blade.

Ogun addresses the existing power of the sacrificial being. He is said to prepare and eliminate impediments for individuals, consequently making it more straightforward for them to accomplish otherworldly development. He is additionally the wellspring of the power that supports life in all creation.

Yoruba folklore expresses that Ogun condemned himself to an existence of no rest as long as the world was turning. This is on the grounds that when one portion of the world is snoozing, he is occupied with the other around 50% of that is conscious.


Oshosi is said to direct people to their spiritual goals. This Orisa’s essential obligation is to assist humanity with building good character by taking them on an intricate profound mission known as ‘Iwa-Kiri.’ It is said that spiritual development and otherworldly development remain closely connected.

This implies that Oshosi offsets people’s profound development with that of nature’s insurance and development.


Ozun is one of the primary Orisas that any devotee of the Ifa religion gets. She addresses the tribal soul that directs an individual and cautions them of looming hurt. Ozun is hence seen as the gatekeeper of men.


Obatala is said to be the second in command after the supreme creator. His position signifies his significance on issues connected with the existences of individuals. It is said that this Orisha is the ‘owner of all heads on the planet.’ Since Olodumare never meddles in the existence of men on the planet, Obatala must look after them.


Yemaya is a female Orisha and is supposed to be the most remarkable of all powers of nature. She was given territory over the oceans and seas and moved from left to right, making the notable development of the waves.

Yemaya is said to dress in fluctuating varieties, including pink, white, blue, and green. At the point when Yemaya’s kids become sick, they are said to convey containers of roses to the coastline and call out to the Orisa while tossing her white roses.

Algayu Sola

Algayu Sola is said to have been brought into the world at the center of the earth, giving him control over the planet and the strength to look toward his eyes can see. This Orisa addresses the world’s mountains, streams, and other high places.

His normal power is said to control individuals’ aspirations, the seasons, day and night, vocations, misfortune, and battles throughout everyday life. Subsequently, he is both dreaded and regarded and is very near two other Orisas known as Oya Yansan and Ochun.

Oya Yansan

Oya Yanshan is the second female Orisa and is the leader of Stream Niger, markets, lightning, witchcraft, and the storm. As per Ifa, Oya Yansan is the normal power behind the shades of the rainbow.

Since Oya Yansan controls a few terrifying climate components, she is viewed as very callous and frequently sends fear into the hearts of men.


Ifa folklore expresses that when Olodumare started to lose his memory, he showed Shango the whole laws of Ifa and had him record them in stone so he could always remember them. Thus, this Orisa is supposed to be the overseer of the Ifa religion.


Orula is viewed as the future advocate and prophet of mankind. The people who practice the Ifa religion wear green and yellow globules to honor Orula. As a prophet, Orula is said to offer insight and, on occasion, even impact looming fates.

Orula’s power over men is supposed to be enormous to the point that he might in fact impact adherents of other Orisas to leave their lords and go along with him. His presence is supposed to be felt in the earth through disciples and Babalawos (fathers of secrets).


Oshun is supposed to be the goddess of the Oshun waterway that runs southwards through center Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria into the Lagos Tidal pond. She is said to hide and live in Ijesa.

Yoruba folklore expresses that Oshun was raised by Yemaya and is Shango’s subsequent spouse. She controls satisfaction and love. Osun is celebrated yearly at Osun oshogbo festival.


Osain is the Orisa that claims and controls spices and restorative plants that are an essential piece of Ifa. He is said to have been brought into the world of no mother and father except for the marriage of the water bodies and the earth.

Osain is said to go through his time on earth without help from anyone else, a reality owing to his appearance. He has one arm, one leg, lopsided ears. The bigger ear is supposed to be large to the point that it can’t hear anything. The more modest one is supposed to be great to such an extent that Osain can hear a leaf tumbling from a tree that is miles away.

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As indicated by the sacred ifa oracle, speaking with progenitors/ancestors is everybody’s inheritance and requires no unique services or consents. For the vast majority, this correspondence is through recognition of a progenitor or discussions through dreams.

Worship in the Ifa African religion

Yoruba religion Ifa: history, rules and interesting facts

One of the main parts of the Yoruba Ifa religion is divination. The Orunmila (grand priest) uncovers predictions and divinity to the world. Male clerics are known as Babalawos, while their female partners are known as Iyanifas.

These clerics utilize a divining chain known as ‘Opele’, a divination plate called ‘Opon Ifa,’ and kola nuts are known as ‘Ikin.’ These things are completely used to understand divinations and predictions.

An individual’s divination permits them to check whether they are living as one with nature and following the way they are intended to.

Other than managing people, the clerics likewise uncover predictions including whole networks and towns, and guide rulers on the vital.

Worship in the Ifa African religion

One of the most important aspects of the Ifa religion is divination. The Orunmila (grand priest) reveals prophecies and divinity to the world. Male priests are known as Babalawos, while their female counterparts are known as Iyanifas.

These priests use a divining chain known as ‘Opele’, a divination tray called ‘Opon Ifa,’ and kola nuts known as ‘Ikin.’

These items are all used to read divinations and prophecies. A person’s divination allows them to gauge whether or not they are living in harmony with nature and following the path they are meant to.

Besides dealing with individuals, the priests also reveal prophecies involving entire communities and towns and advice kings on the necessary sacrifices and rituals to partake in from time to time.

Odu Ifa

Odu Ifa is a literary compilation that forms an essential part of worship in Ifa. The compilation contains 16 books with a total of 256 Odu. The Odu references all situations, circumstances, actions, and consequences based on the Ese Ifa.

Yoruba Ifa religion beads meaning

Those who practice Ifa often wear necklaces and bracelets as a bridge to the Orisa world. These objects act as personal shrines meant to protect the wearer. The beads are also used during initiation into the Ifa religion.

A person’s beads are known as Elekes and should never be touched by anyone else except the owner and a priest.

Yoruba Ifa religion sacrifice

There are two forms of sacrifice in Ifa; a large one known as ebbo and a small one. Ebbo requires the sacrifice of an animal to the Orisa and is basically used to appease the spirits when there are huge problems.

The smaller sacrifice is the more common one and can be carried out using common items such as candles and fruits.

How old is the Ifa religion?

The Ifa philosophy and spiritual system are said to be about 8,000 years old. It is said to have originated with the West African Yoruba people and was later taken to the Americas during the slave trade.

How to join Ifa religion?

Here is how to become part of the Yoruba Ifa religion. First, a person must be initiated into the religion, a process that involves the priests. Secondly, one must change their lifestyle and begin adhering to the guidelines set by the religion.

When talking about how to practice the Yoruba Ifa religion, a believer noted that he had to change numerous aspects of his life after joining Ifa. He had to stop eating pork and had to begin praying every morning and night.

It is said that one has to do some reading upon initiation, after which your Orisa chooses you. Different people are said to attract the attention of different Orisas.

Ifa religion rules

There are 16 rules that underline the Yoruba Ifa religion beliefs.

Law 1: There is a single Supreme God.

Law 2: There is no Devil.

Law 3: Except for the day you were born and the day you are supposed to die, there is no single event in your life that cannot be forecast and, when necessary, changed.

Law 4: It is your birthright to be happy, successful, and fulfilled.

Law 5: You should grow and obtain wisdom during this process.

Law 6: You are born through your blood relatives.

Law 7: Heaven is home, the earth is the marketplace, and everyone is constantly between the two.

Law 8: You are part of the universe in a literal sense, not a figurative way.

Law 9: You must never initiate harm to another human being.

Law 10: You should never harm the universe of which you are a part.

Law 11: Your temporal and spiritual capacities must work together.

Law 12: You are born with a specific path, and it is your goal to travel it. Divination will be there to provide your road map.

Law 13: Your ancestors exist and must be honored.

Law 14: Sacrifice guarantees success.

Law 15: The Órisàs live within us.

Law 16: You need to have no fear.

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Books on Ifa religion

With its fascinating concepts, beliefs, traditions, and traditions, the Yoruba Ifa religion is undoubtedly worth reading about. Here are some Ifa religion books for beginners that break down the complex concepts of Yoruba Ifa religion for beginners:

The Way of Orisa: Empowering Your Life Through the Ancient African Religion of Ifa by Philip J. Neimark Fundamentals of the Yorùbá Religion (Òrìsà Worship) by Chief Fama

The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts by Baba Ifa Karade

The Sacred Ifa Oracle by Afolabi A. Epega

Ifa: The Ancient Wisdom by Afolabi A. Epega

The Adventures Of Obatala by Ifayemi Eleburuibon

Esu-Elegba: Ifa and the Divine Messenger by Awo Falokun Fatunmbi

Iba’se Orisa: Ifa Proverbs, Folktales, Sacred History and Prayer by Awo Falokun Fatunmbi

Egun: The Ifa Concept of Ancestor Reverence (The Metaphysical Foundations of Ifa) (Volume 3) by Awo Falokun Fatunmbi



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