View Full Version : ORI - ooo, my head!

April 19th, 2005, 05:49 AM
It has come to my realisation that in this discussion of Ifa we have been leaving out the most essential and central aspect of the whole tradition. Namely Ori. Ori is the most central concept in Ifa and is what Ifa deals with primarily. What is Ori?
Ori is translated into english as Head. But when Ifa talks of Ori it specifies that it means not the physical head but the inner head. A person's Ori can be defined as their destiny, or their mission on earth, or their most essential self, and/or their creator/Eleda. It is believed that we come to the earth for a specific purpose and we have been sent by our Ori to fulfill that purpose. We are created by Ori for a purpose. Consulting ifa is coming into communication with our individual Ori. We are all more or less connected or disconnected from our Ori-s and Ifa seeks to put us back into connection. I suppose in a nutshell it is just that old maxim of know thyself.
The universe is full of many forces, Orisha, egun, Ajogun etc that aid or hinder Ori and they are valued on the yardstick of Ori. We are told that no Orisha can give you anything without the consent of your Ori. Ori is the king of the Orisha. The very first and most important odu in Ifa, Eji Ogbe, speaks about Ori. Here are a few of the stories.
The Head was a lonely figure back in the day. In those days, no one had heads and all the divinities and beings walked around purposeless. Then God announced that he was having a party in which there would be a competition. Whoever could split open the kolanut would be made king of the universe. Ori went for divination and he was told he would succeed after sacrifice. No one else bothered to consult ifa. Ori then rolled along to the party and rolled into a corner where he was ignored. When it was time for the competition, all the great and mighty orisha had a go at splitting the kolanuts but failed. Even Ogun with all his strength failed. Then it was Ori's turn. He started to roll and roll with all his might and when he impacted the kolanuts there was a loud thunderclap. The kolanuts were split. Arms, legs, necks, limbs, torso all cheered and came together to embrace and lift Ori high. They placed him on their shoulders and he has been their ruler ever since.
however Obatala got jealous. How dare that stupid inconsequential Ori presume to be head over us. He raised his arm to knock Ori on the head. Faster that you could say Jackie Chan, Ori blocked it and gave him a karate chop. Obatala fell and fell and landed in Iranje. That is the center of the Obatala cult till this day. Ogun said, What! You impudent little rat, and advanced on Ori. Ori gave him a flying drop kick and he landed in Ire. That is the center of the ogun cult till this day. Oshun said, I'll show you! She got a slap and landed in Oshogbo where she turned into a river. That is the center of Oshun cult till this day. All orisha tried to challenge him and he put them in their place. Ori is what gives everything it's definition and it's place from the Orisha down to the smallest little ant. ori is the source of all good things and who we turn to for all blessings.
There is another verse in Ogunda meji that compares the Orisha to Ori. In this verse Orunmila asks, Who will follow the devotee to the Ocean (meaning to his/her death)? Sango said he could. Orunmila said, oh yeah? And after, trekking and trekking, when you get to Koso (center of Sango cult), your home and you're given your favourite sacrifices? sango admitted, When I am satiated, I'll stay at home. Oya claimed she could do it. Oh Yeah? and when you trek and trek and then get to Ira, and you are given your favourite meal? Satiated, Of course I'll stay home, she replied. All orisha it was the same. Even Orunmila himself admitted he had his limits. Ha, orunmila, you're lost for words now, where are your proverbs! Excuse my impudence, I jest. You're the leader, I'm just a follower. These are your teachings, not mine. Finally, Ifa revealed that Ori and Ori alone accompanies the devotee every inch of his life and into the hereafter. There is no orisha that can save one but Ori. If Ori accepts your Ebo, rejoice.

April 19th, 2005, 10:34 PM
bendicion and santo,(or Iboru Ibore Ibosise)

wonderful patackis, what is your belief on duality of ori? by that i mean the belief that everyone has two ori. one that is their head and one that awaits on the other plane (for lack of better words) and it is these two ori that take turns going back and forth to earth being born each time, in order to spiritually evolve, by completing certain life lessons. or the thought that ori also chooses the parent to be born too, in order to face the tribulations of life to bring about the lesson needed to learn to evolve? and that it is sometimes this "twin" ori that comes to us as an elder eggun in our dreams or cuarto espiritual. or are these beliefs different in your branch? adupe.

with respect and blessings,

April 20th, 2005, 11:38 AM
I haven't heard about everyone having two ori, but I know that Ori has been described in so many ways that sometimes seem contradictory. For instance, Ori is often called Eleda Eni, an individual's creator. Then on the other hand we are told that we chose our Ori in heaven before coming to earth. Or then again that we kneel before our Ori in heaven to recieve a good destiny. So is Ori our destiny or is it Ori that confers a destiny to us. Then again, it is called Eni keji. A person's spiritual double. Apparently he/she looks exactly like oneself. My baba once told me that sometimes people might swear that they saw you someplace that you'd never been and that in fact it was your enikeji that they saw. I had to take that piece of information with a pinch of salt. Not that I disbelieve, but I base my beliefs on my experience and that is a bit way beyond my experience. I might change at a later time though.
On the subject of duality, there is a being called Elenini whose sole purpose is to frustrate the intentions of our Ori. Elenini could be interpreted as Lord of Obstacles. However as I believe in the Oneness of all being, how are we to say that the trials and obstacles placed before us by Elenini are not there to strengthen character and actually in the long run better help us fulfill destiny. Do we build character inorder to overcome life's hurdles, or do we overcome life's hurdles in order to build character. I don't see why the building of character cannot be an end in itself. In fact, I believe it is, and I'd rather see it that way. Growing strong for growing strong's sake, not just to overcome tribulations. In fact, Ifa often teaches that in order to achieve our goals we have to overcome 3 tests. For instance in Osa meji, the Cotton tree is told that he would face three calamities before succeeding. The Right Bird and the Left Bird divined for Owu (Cotton tree). You'll have 3 enemies but sacrifice and you will overcome. Owu sacrificed. First came the light rain to attack Owu. Ooo, Owu was debilitated. Then came a heavy rain swearing to kill him. Ooo, Owu nearly died. Then finally there came a fierce Sun, swearing to finish him. Owu nla, Owu nla.
Owu nla is a play of words used a lot by Ifa. -La has many meaning. First to Split. Which might sound bad, but when the cotton buds split, the shiny white cotton buds come through. secondly, -la means to be saved. Ela is a name for Orunmila meaning saviour. Then thirdly, -la suggests attaining lots of wealth. Ola is wealth. The point is that for the Cotton tree to arrive at salvation and wealth, it must go through these three trials. Ifa often expresses life's tests and trials in threes. In fact most myths around the world do the same.
As regards going back and forth from heaven to earth in incarnation cycles, my understanding of the Ifa perspective is that heaven is home and Earth is a market place. In this market place we come to trade. What do we trade? Our personal talents and selves. Rather than see it as learning I see it as coming to contribute to a vibrant bustling marketplace. There are so many things that God wants to bring to this earth and human's have been chosen to bring these things. human being in yoruba is eni-yan. That is one who has been chosen. We are all chosen ones, but what we have been chosen for, we have to find out. Then we've got to give give give. Not take take take. But we've got to be careful because like in any marketplace, we have to watch out for unscrupulous dealers. People who want to steal our wares, cheat us, take our energy, suppress us . . . Many people have their wares stolen from them and feel that their being here is pointless. We've got to realise that we're not pointless and we are here for a purpose and we've got to reconnect to that purpose.
I don't know about Ori coming to us as Eggun in dreams but I do know that Ori can communicate to us through dreams, but also through intimations in our waking hours. I also believe that our Ori expresses itself through our fantasies, especially the games and the roles we play when we are children. But that is just my own personal belief. I think that we prepare for our adult lives through the fantasies that we act out in childhood, and even as an adult I believe that spontaneity and play are great ways of getting in touch with yourself.
I can't seem to be able to write short posts.

Aboru Aboye bosise

April 20th, 2005, 06:26 PM
abore aboru abosise,

what wonderful words of knowledge! ache! you have definite ideas i agree with and find although worded differently are very similar to some of the things i have been taught about ori. i too get very confused with all the stories of ori and the story of kneeling before ori was one of the things i was hung up on as well. Adupe for the lessons, please continue!

with respect and blessings,

May 11th, 2005, 06:04 PM
Great thread. Thanks, Plumedsnake.

October 1st, 2006, 01:41 AM
I am very new to this and would like to know how I can best establish a relationship with my Ori. Also, what ebbos are appropriate? Thanks.

October 11th, 2006, 11:22 AM
I don't think I can do the whole ritual in one sitting as I will have to split soon but I'll do a part one now and a part two later. I shall have to flit back and forth from Yoruba to English but it will mostly be english only phonetically important words and non translatable words will be in yoruba:

Part 1: First you will need the following Items- 1. A glass of water.

2. A bottle of Gin

3. Two Bitternuts. Called orogbo or sometimes bitterkola. You'll be able to get these in most african markets.

4. 2 kola nuts also called obi. The kola nuts must have 4 lobes. This is call Obi abata.

5. A coconut

6. Dried shrimps.

7. Palm oil, also called Epo

8. A hat to adorn your head. You are crowned during the ceremony.

During the ritual you will have to enquire as to whether your Ori wants you to do more or whether it is satisfied with your efforts. If there is more to be done then you will need a babalawo to probe further into your situation. However you can start with the following:

The first step will be chanting from Eturupon meji. No matter how skilled and knowledgeable one is with rituals etc, there are too many variables involved that without the proper guidance we are just fooling ourselves. I guess it's just like the christians ask the holy spirit to teleguide their prayers so we ask the masters of rituals in heaven called the Isoro to guide or ritual. The Verse in Eturupon meji goes like this:
Considerations become merciful consideration,
Rhetoric becomes elegant rhetoric,
It takes 2[B] eyes to see properly,
It takes [B]2 feet to march speedily along the road,
It requires 2 buttocks to be seated comfortably,
The use of a single hand is not very efficient,
one leg cannot march quickly along a path,

Humanity is made up of distinct individuals and that's why we resort to personal names,

I was asked to kneel and conjure the 'Hosts in the Vanguard',
I knelt and called on the hosts in the vanguard

I was asked to kneel and conjure 'The Hosts behind'
I knelt and called on the HOsts behind.

But just who are the host In Front in my home and just who are the the HOsts behind.

The ancestral masquerades are the Hosts in the Vanguard
The Ancestral Orisha are the hosts behind

Consider the sparrow, alapandede
who built himself a home and built it between heaven and earth, and stood between the two staring Olodumare (god almighty) in the face (in other words being haughty) and staring Man in the Mouth (again suggesting conceit).

Thus was divined for Odusola, a child born into office but with a difference.
His mother was dead and his father too, leaving him orphaned, in innocence untutored in the casting of Ifa, and ignorant of the performance of ritual.

When it came time for the First ritual the ceremonial things were placed in front of him and he broke down in tears:
Do I take up the water first, I have no idea, Isoro orun, heavenly priests hurry to me and help guide this ritual,

Perhaps it's the palm oil I should take up first, I have no clue, Isoro Orun, heavenly priests hurry to me and help guide this ritual.

Do I take up the gin first, mmmm, I just don't get it. Isoro Orun, heavenly priests hurry to me and help guide this ritual.
(you can go through all the sacrificial material in this way and then at the end you end with . .)
Orunmila we pray that the HEavenly masters of Ritual direct and guide this ritual. Ase.

October 11th, 2006, 12:42 PM
Seated on a clean mat after you have requested the guidance of the Isoro Orun. Cover your head with a hat, or if a woman you can wear a scarf. Everybody present must have their heads covered. All the sacrificial material is on the mat in front of you. you begin by invoking Ori by chanting some of the verses associated with him. I shall list a couple.

Ori ko da mi ree! (Ori cast me right. the word Da means a lot of things in this context. Da means to create, and to pour, or cast. and it also means to divide)
Orisa do not let me trade at a loss. (This world is seen as a market. a trading place).

I ought to start again:

"Ori ko da mi ree!
Orisa do not let me trade at a loss"
This was divined for the 401 dieties when they were enroute to earth.
Ori cast Orunmila unto the Igeti hills
Ori cast me favourably and do not let me trade at a loss
Ori cast me favourably
Ori cast Osun onto Ijumu
Ori cast me favourably and do not let me trade at a loss
Ori cast me favourably
Ori cast Obatala onto Ifon
Ori cast me favourably and do not let me trade at a loss
Ori cast me favourably
Ori cast the Iyami onto Ota
Ori cast me favourably and do not let me trade at a loss
(etc until you've exhausted all the orisha you know)

another verse goes like this:
2) "If the whole world is against me
Yet my Ori is not against me, I'm satisfied"
Thus was divined for Akinlodun whose path of Awo took him to the land of SAwewe.
Make ebo, he was told
He complied
Hey! Akinlodun ready yourself and let's go, you happy prince of Sawewe.
Get ready and let's go.
(the name akinlodun means the hero that had cause to celebrate).

After invoking Ori take up the kola nuts and the bitter nuts and put them against your head. Then pray to your ori for what you desire. Put them back into their dishes. did I mention that you had to put them each in separate dishes.

Then take up the glass of water and make your prayer to Ori. You can chant the verse from Ogbe Odi which is the odu that brought water into the world.

Ogbedi, the babalawo of water
divined thus for water
when water was coming to earth
If water contacts the earth it will splash
when water contacts the earth it will forge a path splitting the land in two.

Pour some water onto earth and with the middle finger of the right hand touch the water on the earth and bring the finger up to your forehead, back to the water on earth again and then bring it to your navel, back to the earth again and the top of the big toe on the right foot.

You then drink the remaining water in the glass. if there are others present then pass the glass around, but the glass must comeback to the person whose Ori is being worshiped before the water finishes to complete the loop.

The same thing is done with the gin, you pray into it and then you chant the verses that brought liquor into the world.

"Otura la lemu (Otura is the drinkard)
Irete la lera (Irete is the astute purchaser)"
THis was divined for ARanisan whose love of drink would prove beneficial.
Make ebo, he was told
Indeed, It was alcohol I bought that led to my good fortunes
Aranisan from Alcohol you've become wealthy
It was alcohol I bought that led to my good fortunes.

Again pour gin on the earth and with the middle finger of the right hand bring the earth soaked gin to your forehead, back to the earth , your navel, back to the earth and then your big toe of your right foot. Again share the gin with all present.

I shall continue tomorrow. I feel quite tired now.

October 11th, 2006, 01:35 PM
i am most intriqued by this post.
. thank you for this information...
lots of info...

October 12th, 2006, 12:39 PM
After the offering of gin we then offer the Bittercolas.
First you split the nuts into two halves. So you end up with 4 halves of the nuts. Again you hold the nuts in your hands and pray into them. Then you invoke the energy of the nuts but chanting from Ifa's verses again.

"Gbinrin ARo, vehicle that ensures prayers are heard"
It was divined for Orunmila when he sought to make a peace covenant with death, a peace covenant with disease, a peace covenant with Loss, and with all the worlds evils.
BAba will no longer be plagued by these evil things.
He was told to offer sacrifice
Indeed we have used the bitternut to bind a peace covenant with death, we shall not die,
Gbinrin aro, vehicle that ensures that prayers are heard
We have used Orogbo (bitternut) to bind a peace covenant with disease, we will not be afflicted,
Gbinrin aro, vehicle that ensures that prayers are heard
We have used Orogbo to bind a peace covenant with Losses, we will not suffer losses,
Gbinrin Aro, vehicle that ensures that prayers are heard.
We have used Orogbo to bind a peace covenant with all evils, we will not suffer evils,
Gbinrin aro, vehicle that ensures that prayers are heard.

Then touch the nuts to your head three times. Now for the first check. We need to see if Ori is happy for us to go on.
We cast the nuts onto the plate and observe how they land. we count how many of the nuts land with the inside facing upwards. IF 4, 3, or 2 land with the inside up then the offerings have been accepted so far. if however only 1
lands thus, or if none at all then we have to throw again. Before you throw you pray once again. You get 2 more throws. This is actually another system of divination, and there are meanings for each possible landing of the casts, but that is beyond the scope of this thread. Suffice to say that you get 3 throws and if non of them give a favourable result then you have a situation that needs to be refered to a babalawo as soon as you get a chance.

IF however your offering are accepted, you hold your head in your hands and cry: Ori mi Awuuuuu! (Ori I praise you)
Ori of wealth I hold on to you
Ori of salvation I hold on to you
Immortal Ori I hold on to you!

Then finally, Wretched destiny, depart from me. yOU do this snapping your thumb and middle finger over your head backwards. The fingers have to snap.

From the upward facing segments chew a bit off one. Chew it thoroughtly then put it on your finger and trace a line from your forehead over your scalp backwards. Place a little on the navel and the rest on the big toe of the right foot. The rest of the nuts that are facing up can be shared amongst the people taking part in the ritual, the ones that are facing downwards are to be thrown away, or given to Esu if you have an Esu.

October 12th, 2006, 01:39 PM
Then we move on to the colanut. This is very similar to the bitternut. split open the 2 Obi (colanut). This should leave you with 8 segments. Take them in your hand and pray into them and then invoke the energy of Obi.

Erin kee
Orin sese
(Sweet laughter, Joyful Song)
thus was divined for Koowe
when he ventured to cast Obi in the garden of the Awos
He was recommended sacrifice
Indeed, how does the crowned one recieve Obi from Awos
With sweet laughter, and Joyful song
this is how the crowned one recieves Obi from the awo.

Touch the head with the Obi 3 times.
then do a check by casting the obi. iF 8,7,6,5, or 4 pieces land with the inside up then all's clear. If not then you got two more casts. If it's still negative then you need to see a babalawo. bEtween casts, keep praying.
When successful again we cry
Ori awuuuuuuu!
Ori of wealth I hold on to you
Ori of salvation I hold on to you
Immortal Ori I hold on to you!

Wretched destiny turn back from me! (snapping the fingers over the head).
Again chew one of the upward facing ones and trace it through the scalp, the navel adn the big toe of right foot. The downward facing obi are thrown away and the rest of the upward facing ones are shared with all present.

Then take the Palm Oil.
pray unto the palm oil in the plate and then invoke the energy of the Palm Oil (it is called Epo).
Otura foti yenpen (Otura pays his destiny's dues with drinks)
thus was divined for Vulture
the child of the clan that propitiate their ori with chickens
He was advised to sacrifice
He obeyed
Indeed, Ori, my essence, accepts Epo (palm oil)
My existence will certainly be expansive
If the Ori, essence, of Fire comes in contact with palm oil
surely it's existence will expand in a conflagration.

With the middle finger of the right hand touch the palm oil on the floor, then touch your forehead, then back to the oil on the floor then your navel and then back again and then the big toe of the left foot.

October 12th, 2006, 01:53 PM
By now you should get the idea of the whole process. Do the same with the Coconuts and the shrimps. Together, pick up both plates and pray unto them then invoke coconut.

(Dada is a child born with matted hair on the head already. Most children are born bald. Dada are considered spiritually important and no one is allowed to tamper with their hair. They are dreadlocks and are associated with the Sango cults).

"Kolalu the awo of the Rock"
"It is a great battle that shakes up the neighbourhood"
Thus was divined for Dada from the clan that propitiates Ori with shrimps
thus was divined for DAda from the clan that propitiates heaven with coconuts for speedy salvation.
INdeed, DAda stop crying
the hosts of Isele are on their way
Give me a cowry to braid into my hair (cowries were the currency in africa b4 modern era)
Let's greet Dada of the clan that possess cowries
Hail DAda, owner of cowries.

Chew a shrimp, trace a line on the head with it, put on navel and on the big toe of left foot etc etc

With coconut put on the big toe of right foot though.

Share the coconuts and shrimps with all present.

After the process, go straight to bed and with the head still covered. YOu must certainly not venture out of your home that evening until the next day.

PHEW!!!! This was hard work.

November 18th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Ashe, Plumedsnake. Thank you for the discussion of Ori. There is much to learn in Santeria and, even though I spent the day assisting my padrino, to many questions to ask and to learn.

Yemayashija, as far as duality, I believe that all things in the universe springs from the duality of opposing forces... there cannot be light without darkness, heat without cold, male without female, etc. I believe that the key to spiritual development is the understanding and balancing of these forces within ourselves. Only when we achieve true balance in ourselves can we become one with Olodumare.