Ifa is an earth based African spiritual tradition that was conceptualized by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. According to oral literature, the practice of Ifa originated as far back as eight thousand years ago, making it possibly the oldest monotheistic religion in the world.
Ifa is balanced on three legs: Orunmila (Creator), Orisa (Nature Spirits), and the Ancestors. The Supreme Being, Orunmila, is without gender and is not an active participant in the affairs of living humans. Orunmila is benevolent and has provided a Universe with all that is needed for humans to be fulfilled and happy. Through Ifa divination, diviners invoke Orunmila, the deity of wisdom, spirit of destiny, prophecy, morality and ethics. Through a rich language of visual metaphors, Ifa priests convey their concept of the cosmos, and the forces that animate it in the design and creation of the times. Ifa divination rites provide an avenue of communication between the spirit world and that of the living.
Ifa divination is performed only by an initiated priest called Babalawo (Awo) (male Ifa priest), or an Iyanifa (female Ifa priestess). The diviner provides insights into the future of the person requesting this information. Ifa is characterized by a deep sense of the interdependence of all life. Every life form and element of Nature has an inner soul force — including waters, rocks, fire, clouds, metals, plants, thunder, Earth and wind. These natural energies that comprise the Universe are called Orisa. Each Orisa has its own specific function. Humans are in constant communication with Orisa energy, whether we’re aware of it or not.
A good Babalawo (Awo) & Iyanifa will always show respect and humility and will have good character values. He or She will help and assist in attaining anyone with their Highest Destiny. The priest or Priestess will be a respected leader who is in touch with the spiritual and is never in conflict with any other tradition or religions – indeed; will help is sought in many ways as his or her influence extends into all phases of life. Awo/Iyanifa will live for one purpose only, to discover the will of Orunmila. Moreover, He or She will lives in accordance with the beliefs of IFA and his manifest reverence and meticulous observance of its ritual constitute one of the strongest arguments against the charge of general dishonesty.
Through Ifa, we are awakened to our Ancestor spirits that are always with us, while realizing they must be honored, acknowledged and consulted. All people are born good and with a destiny meant to develop their character (Iwa-pele). Ifa divination was given to us so that we could periodically check in to make sure we are staying in balance and following the path of our destiny. The mysteries and teachings of Ifa revealed in divination are contained in a body of scriptures and stories called Odu.
Ifa practitioners do not regard their spirituality as a “religion” in the Western sense. It is rather a way of relating to spiritual energy that helps individuals discover and stay on their path.
Ifa tradition is based on staying in balance with our community and with the world itself, with our ancestors and our personal spiritual energies. Diviners are encouraged to employ common sense and personal responsibility to appreciate the sacred everyday life, and to integrate all aspects of being, namely the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual.
IFA is the Divine Message of Olodumare (Almighty) to mankind.
IFA is the word of Olodumare.
IFA transcends all the cultures and traditions of all things – man, animals, plants, rocks, water, wind and fire.
IFA explains the basis for the existence of all things past, present and future.
IFA prescribes the spiritual/physical solutions to all problems.
IFA is the first, oldest and truest religion of mankind.
Orunmila, harbinger of the divine message of Olodumare (IFA) is thus the first and truest guardian of universal secrets of existence.
Orunmila, in all things spiritual and esoteric is the deputy of Olodumare.
All Orisa worship and veneration are acceptable, provided they are subservient to the worship of Olodumare as outlined by IFA religion.
No guidelines or signposts to salvation can lead to the path of divine truth except that outlined by Orunmila
books to order
black gods by john mason
the handbook of yoruba religious concepts baba ifa karade