How to Become an Ifa Priest

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Babalawo Aworeni

To become an Ifa Priest (Babalawo) one must first submit themselves to Olodumare and Ifa.  The term Babalawo means “Father of the Mysteries/Secrets of the Earth.”  Becoming a Babalawo and Priest of Ifa is a lifetime pursuit for those who take it as a calling and profession.  There are four things that will be asked of the person that wants to become a Babalawo.  First: Do you want to learn Ifa because of the meat you will gain?  If so then you will have plenty of meat.  Second:  Do you want to learn Ifa because of the money you will gain?  If this is the case, then you will have plenty of money.  Third:  Do you want to learn Ifa to have many wives?  If this is the case, then you will have plenty of wives.  Fourth:  Do you want to learn Ifa because you seek the truth?  If so you all of the good things in life, meat, money, and wives will be yours.

There are several procedures necessary to become a Babalawo.  If one does not follow these procedures under a master Ifa Priest they cannot rightfully call themselves a Babalawo.  To become a Babalawo one must go though the ritual of Ounje Oju Opele (the food of Opele).  There are many steps that must be followed and they must be followed in a particular order.  After one eats the food of Opele, a perspective priest must have the 16 Odu Ifa opened for them over five days with the Akaragba.  Akaragba is made from the calabash used to make the sacrifice to Esu.  An omo Awo must use this Akaragba when learning Ifa.  They must keep it for life. However if you are a good omo Awo and your teacher sees you as a good student, he may open the Odu for you more quickly.  After one learns to open the odumerindinlogun, the next step is Amulu, divination.  The omo Awo will practice this and once they can do this well the third step is to learn how to divine “yes” and “no” questions.  Also at this point the omo Awo will gain knowledge about specific odu Ifa that have special meaning during divination.  After this, the next step is to learn how to make Ibo.  Ibo is characterized by particular aspects of “ire” and “ayewo/ibi,” (good and bad).  Next, the Ifa master will teach the omo Awo the elements of “ire” and “ayewo/ibi” and the differences in readings for males and females.  After the omo Awo can perform these tasks well they then must learn how to ask Ifa about “ebo” and “adimu.”  The omo Awo will then learn and memorize all the extensive elements of “ebo” and that of “adimu.”

The next step is to begin learning the Odu Ifa beginning from Eji Ogbe.  Depending on the omo Awo’s memory this step may take a long time.  After the omo Awo has made significant progress in learning odu Ifa, then they will begin learning how to make sacrifice, how to feed Ifa and how to feed all the Orisha.  Then they will need to learn all the elements of Ifa and the associated Odu Ifa.  Next the omo Awo will learn how to make medicine for a myriad of different problems.  This step in the Ifa Priest’s learning is also very extensive and one may use a lifetime to gain this knowledge.  It should also be recognized that all this information is memorized and cannot be recalled using notes or a book.

It is important to understand that this process begins after a person is initiated.  One cannot call themselves a Babalawo simply because they have been initiated to Ifa.  To be initiated to Ifa means that a person has received their Odu Ifa and that they know their destiny. Being initiated is only the beginning of the learning process.  Becoming a Babalawo takes a lifetime of dedicated service to Olodumare, Ifa, the Orisa, the ancestors, your Elders and family.

It should also be noted at this point about those that call themselves “babalawo” but are actually “babalariwo.”  The Babalariwo has not had the proper training, they have to read odu Ifa from a book and in many cases haven’t had proper initiations.  This article is being published in the hope of letting the general public know what is necessary for one to call them self a Babalawo.

If you are interested in more information about being initiated to Ifa, any Orisha, becoming an Omo Awo, becoming a Babalawo or if you would just like learn more, feel free to write us at:

Orishada@gmail.com

Como Convertirse en Babalawo

Para convertirse en sacerdote de Ifa la persona debe primeramente someterse a Ifa y Olodumare. El termino Babalawo significa “Padre de los Misterios/Secretos de la Tierra”. El proceso de aprendizaje y entrenamiento de un Babalawo o Sacerdote de Ifa constituye un trabajo que puede tomar el resto de la vida para la persona que siente el llamado a sacerdocio, siendo esta una vocacion y una profesion a la vez. Una vez que la persona expresa su deseo de convertirse en Babalawo se le hacen las siguientes preguntas. Primero, quieres a prender Ifa para tener de que comer? Si eso es lo que deseas tendras siempre de que comer. Segundo, quieres aprender Ifa para ganar dinero? Si ese es el caso y es lo que quieres tendras mucho dinero. Tercero, si quieres aprender Ifa para tener muchas esposas? Si eso es lo que deseas tendras muchas esposas. Cuarto, tu quieres aprender Ifa porque buscas la verdad? Si ese es su deseo, todas las cosas buenas de la vida la obtendras, comida, esposas y dinero seran todos tuyos.

Para convertirse en Babalawo, la persona debe pasar por una serie de procedimientos o fases. Si uno no sigue esos procedimientos guiados por un maestro Sacerdote de Ifa la persona no puede llamarse a si misma Babalawo. Para iniciar el entrenamiento a Babalawo  la persona debe pasar primeramente por el ritual de Ounje Oju Opele (la comida de Opele). Estos procedimientos constituyen un requisito fundamental en el proceso de convertirse en Babalawo y deben ser seguidos en un orden particular. Despues que la persona come la comida del Opele, se le deben  de abrir los 16 Odu Ifa en un termino de cinco dias con el Akaragba (opele hecho de la calabaza utilizada en sacrificio a Esu).

Un  omo Awo (estudiante de Ifa) debe usar este Akaragba cuando este aprendiendo Ifa,  y debe conservarlo por el resto de su vida. No obstante, si  el maestro Sacerdote de Ifa considera que la persona es un buen estudiante de Ifa, el podria decidir abrirle el Opele mas rapidamente..

Despues que la persona aprende abrir el Odumerindinlogun, el siguiente paso es Amulu o  adivinacion.  En esta fase  el  omo Awo aprendera los pasos necesarios para realizar preguntas cerradas de seleccion  en las cuales  la respuesta sera si o no, asi como los odus de relevancia que tienen un significado especial a utilizar en el proceso de adivinacion.

Luego, el siguiente paso es el de aprender como utilizar Ibo o los determinantes de una  situacion especifica que aparezca en el proceso de adivinacion. Estos aspectos se clasifican en “ire” (buena fortuna) y “ayewo/ibi” ( mala fortuna). Una vez aprendido este paso el maestro Sacerdote de Ifa explicara los elementos que configuran “ire” y “ayewo/ibi”, asi como la diferencia entre una adivinacion para hombres y una realizada a mujeres. Una vez que el omo Awo pueda realizar estas fases de adivinacion muy bien, entonces pasara a aprender acerca delos distintos elementos que configuran “ebo” (sacrificio) y “adimu” (comida) en una adivinacion de Ifa.

En la siguiente fase se comienza el studio profundo de Odu Ifa, empezando por Eji Ogbe. Dependiendo de la memoria del Omo Awo este proceso puede tomar un largo tiempo. Cuando el omo Awo ha realizado un progreso significativo en el eprendizaje de odu Ifa, entonces comenzara a aprender a realizar los sacrificios, como darle de comer a Ifa y a todos los Orisa. Asi mismo, estudiara los diversos elementos de Ifa que se asocian a los distintos Odus de Ifa. En la siguiente fase el omo Awo estudiara como hacer las medicinas necesarias para solucionar una gran diversidad de problemas. Esta fase de aprendizaje es tan extensa que puede requerir  el resto de la vida del estudiante de Ifa para adquirir este conocimiento. Se debe constatar, que toda esta informacion debe ser memorizada y no debe ser consultada en libros y notas.

Es importante entender que este proceso empieza despues que una persona ha pasado por el proceso de iniciacion. Uno no puede llamarse a si mismo Babalawo simplemente porque ha sido iniciado en Ifa. Ser iniciado en Ifa significa que la persona ha recivido su Odu Ifa y que conoce su destino. La iniciacion en Ifa es solo el comienzo del proceso de aprendizaje. El convertirse en Babalawo toma una vida de dedicacion a Olodumare, Ifa , los Orisas, los Ancestros, los Mayores y la familia.

Debe dejarse constancia en este punto que aquellas personas que se llaman a si mismas Babalawos, realmente son “babalariwo”, personas que han pasado por el proceso de iniciacion sin el entrenamiento adecuado; debido a ello deben de leer odu Ifa de un libro al no pasar por el extenso proceso de memorizacion y aprendizaje de Odu Ifa. Muchas de estas personas ni siquiera han tenido una iniciacion adecuada en Ifa.

Este articulo, ha sido publicado con miras a esclarecer al publico en general acerca de los procedimientos necesarios que un Omo Awo debe pasar para poder llamarse a si mismo Babalawo.

Si usted esta interesado en mayor informacion relacionada al proceso de Iniciacion en Ifa o algun Orisa, o esta interesado en estudiar Ifa y convertirse en Omo Awo y Babalawo, o si esta interesado en conocimiento general de la religion de Ifa, usted puede contactarse con nosotros a la siguiente direccion:

Orishada@gmail.com

22 Comments For This Post

  1. nestor mota Says:

    aboru aboye abosise saludos tengo toda la intenciòn de convertirme en un omo awo acreedor de grandes maestros y impulsado por mi infinita inquietud de conocer y adentrarme en las profundidades de ifa guiado por olodumare y orunmila y mi mayor en la tierra me gustaria saber si pudiera ustedes ser mis guias maestros y ultilizar este medio ya que mi viaje a ile ife esta a mediado de el año que viene julio 2011 donde espero encontrarme con la verdad y la realidad de la vida e ifa ogno ato a gbe wa.

  2. OLufemi Idowu Says:

    Aboru Aboye Abosise, Isese a gbe wa o, it is of a great pleasure being on this site to know more fact and understand more about the so call IFA and OPELE due to your interpitation and clear explanation, I as a peson i wish to have the knowlegde of Ifa because i want to seek the truth

  3. Oloye Orawale Oranfe Says:

    Adupe loplopo for the enlightenment

  4. Ifalami Aworeni Says:

    Aboru Aboye Abosise, My congratulations on the great knowledge you are giving thru this website, However, I most bring out a few points and I am certain that you will agreed with me in this subject. It is adbundantly Understood that one must be a dedicated Awo in order to be a full blownout Babalawo,eventhough never completly obtaining all of the IFA Secrets. Unfortunaly not everyone is blessed like you and our Yoruba herritage to be borned within the womb of IFA HOUSE, Over the milleniums Our ancestors have passed on ODU and Ifa Knowledge by words on Mouth Books and records were not really written and we all encarnated and lived by our Faith in the true message from and now passing on Ifa Knowdlege o the new World are a blessing,For a very long time the information given to us was incorret, selfish, and misused, women were descriminated against, Osun portraited as a prostitute and not as a deity the true wife of Orunmila our great Irunmole Mother of the univerce.Ifa is changes and life is changes always maintaining truth and dignity. The distance that exist between ILe Ife and the world is just too big and the resources not always avialable for initiations and training. There are very few places to stay there I want to go and be part of my faith and learn but its so expensive to do it that it is practically impossible. However, I am very lucky to have you as my direct spiritual family and I recieve continue education from Ajalorun every night. Ogbo Ato Ase, Ase, Ase o

  5. Ifalami Aworeni Says:

    Awolabi I am so blessed to have been initiated by Baba Araba Agbaye Ile Ife that there are no words that can start to explain it. The world does not understand That Our Baba Araba Agbaye Aworeni Awoyemi Adisa is truely the Spirit of Ifa, Orunmila on this planet living with us, there is so much taken for granted.
    Even-though,I don’t live there my heart and spirit lives and walks by your side (meaning all the Awos in Ife)I feel so closed that there is nothing that separate me from ILE IFE. Ase Pupa O

  6. babalawo ifayemi aworeni Says:

    abrou aboiye baba e fico feliz en saber esas coisas, mais eria muinto bom para todos os wos, tremos um gia que nos ajudase, tipo um livo um arquivo, elaborado pelos baba awos de ile ife, paraq eu todos eguisimos, uma tradiçao obrigadoa boru aboiye baba

  7. ifayemiaworeni Says:

    e meu baba aboru aboiye , seria muinto, bom se houvese,m estudo mais profundo de rituais,de isefa itefa ori, orisa, esu ifa ,ebo etc que so asim todossegueriam uma linhagem geral vindo deile ife, so assim todos iriam esta realizando rituasi, iguais os que se fazem em ile ife, e nao estariam fazendo de varias formas chegando ate a confundir, oque ecoreto e o que e errado, acho que o senhro entendeu, o que eu quiz dizer baba, deveriamos, teressa regra ok aobrigado aboru aboiye baba ase ase ireooo

  8. fagbemi fakorede Says:

    we babalawo’s atill need more co-operation to gain our profit in this beautiful religon we are,am really impress for this expression to other who are willing to be an IFA priest like i am. thanks a lot and a lot.

  9. kehinde Says:

    i want to lean ifa am a graduate of federal poly offa kwara state a native of offa

  10. Afeez olanrewaju Says:

    Pls sir am very happy from what i seen about ifa pls i want to know more about it. Pls email me and tell how i will locate you.

  11. Júlio César dos Santos Says:

    Sou brasileiro, e moro no estado do Rio Grande do Sul, venho por meio desta solicitar se existe algum Babalawo apto a iniciar e orientar adeptos em Ifá no Brasil, sendo oriundo de vossa raiz.
    Pergunto isso, pois vejo que Tão importante quanto uma iniciação bem feita, dentro dos preceitos, o aprendizado com quem tenha condições e tempo para tal é fundamental.
    Gostaria que uma vez sendo positiva a resposta, me passasem o endereço para contato.
    Obrigado.
    Júlio César dos Santos.

  12. music lessons Says:

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the web the easiest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get irked whilst other people think about issues that they just do not realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and defined out the entire thing with no need side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  13. cassius arneaud Says:

    Like what I am seeing

  14. cassius arneaud Says:

    Iwill like to learn more about ther yoruba tradition.

  15. Ifafunlayo Aworeni Adusola Says:

    Que honor el poder leerlo baba! que Ifà lo bendiga por siempre… Ogbo ato !!!

  16. Adetimehin Ifafunke Aboyade Says:

    Thanks for your willingness to share more knowldge on Ifa religion. I am a student of Religious studies and i’m about to write a project on Orisha and Erindinlogun means of divination and i came across an Orisha called Erinle which i will love to know more about its origin, means of venerating them and there consequencies if they are neglected.

  17. oladapo Says:

    i want to learn more about the ifa secrets,i feel as if thats were i am meant to be,i have secretly admired the yoruba tradition,please help me out

  18. Adedamola Says:

    I really want to know a lot about Ifa, am not learning it because i want to make money, i don,t want to use if for bussiness, i want to learn it because of the love i have for the Yoruba Culture(Very rich)..Please help me

  19. kehinde omo ade Says:

    i am a professor of medicine i wish to learn more about ifa oracle so i wish you to direct me the school thank you

  20. Dr Ifasola Atikiriji Agbelebeogunlowe Says:

    Aboru aboye abosise.
    Welldone sir for the broad enlightment about been a ifa priest, may ifa olokun asorodayo continue to bless you and other babalawo.

  21. seyi idowu Says:

    Iro ni won pa, Yoruba ko le parun.
    Eke ni won se, yoruba ko le parun.
    Atelewo la ba ila, a ko mo eni to ko o.
    Iro ni won pa, yoruba ko le parun.
    Oodua a gbe wa oo.
    Ase.

  22. Babalawo Aworeni Says:

    Asa wa ko parun lase olodumare

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