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Orunmila

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Orunmila
Orunmila

Orunmila (also known as Orula, Orunla, or Ifa) is the orisha of divination in the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas. He is the "eleripin" -- the witness of destiny -- who knows everything that awaits us as part of our fate. He has a very close working relationship with Eleggua and together they intercede on behalf of humanity to alter people's destinies, ward off death and other misfortunes, and guide us to cultivate good character. His worship is primarily centered around the Ifá tradition, both in traditional African worship and in the African diaspora in the new world, where his initiated priests, called awos, babalawos, iyanifas or oluwos, act as diviners for the greater community. He is petitioned for help with making wise decisions, opening roads, healing, protection from evil.

Orunmila is typically depicted as a wise, old, black man wearing robes with a diviner's pouch hanging from a long necklace around his neck. His ritual tools include 18 ikin (palm nuts), the okuelé (a chain of 8 shell husks used to divine), and the opón ifá (table of ifa) upon which he makes marks in a ritually prepared dust to determine a person's destiny, in a system similar to that of Geomancy. These methods speak using 256 odu (signs) to describe a person's energy and circumstances as well as how to overcome misfortunes. Orunmila's shrine is typically a small carved wooden vessel (like a covered bowl) containing his mysteries. There is only one avatar of Orunmila. His ritual number is 16. His beaded necklace consists of alternating yellow and green beads. His garments are green and yellow. Animal sacrifice is used to petition Orunmila within the African Traditional Religions. His sacrifices include: she-goats and hens. altar offerings to Orunmila are determined through divination.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Orunmila, the "witness of destiny," is Saint Francis, who, in a vision, witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Hoodoo pyschic readers, spirit workers and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Orunmila when seeking guidance through divination regarding blessing, healing, protection from evil, cleansing, uncrossing, spirituality, psychic abilities, wisdom and success.

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