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Elements of Ifa, Part I

Posted on 22 September 2009 by Babalawo Aworeni


Ifa is the word that came from the mouth of Orunmila.  The entire Ifa corpus encompasses the strengths and pitfalls of human existence.  The philosophy of Ifa is vast and has been described in a myriad of different ways, however the basis of Ifa is TRUTH.  To follow and practice the tenets of Ifa, one must not only have patience, but they must speak and practice the truth in the purest sense.

In Ile-Ife if you want to practice Ifa the following is discussed with the potential devotee:

If one practices Ifa to have drink, then they will have drink.  If one practices Ifa to have meat, then they will have plenty of meat.  If one practices Ifa to have a wife/husband, then that is what they will get.  If one practices Ifa for juju or money, then that is what will come to them.  However, if one practices Ifa with a pure mind with truth on their tongue, then all these things will be theirs, drink, meat, wife, children, juju and money.

Ifa knows the future.  Ifa knows the beginning and end of all things.  There is no problem that Ifa cannot solve, with the exception of death.  Ifa tells of one’s destiny as well as an individual’s life purpose, path and personal journey.  Because each person has a specific individual destiny, Ifa will tell a different story and have different advice for each person.  Ifa will tell a person the food the should or shouldn’t consume, what colors they should wear or avoid.  Ifa will also tell a person about certain pitfalls they should avoid, such as walking at night, or marrying a man/woman with tattoos, etc.

Ifa is specific about how to care for all the Orisha as well.  Ifa tells of when and to whom to make sacrifice.  Also about the food they should eat.  Ifa is consulted for entire towns, kings, senators, priests and common people alike.

The Elements of Ifa is a three part series on the basics of Ifa.  It will include the Philosophy, the Spirit and Metaphysics, and the Physical Implements of Ifa.  Please feel free the reply to this post if you have any questions or would like further elaboration.

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