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Why Is The Orisa Orunmila Important In IFA Tradition and Culture?

Who Is Orunmila?

Orunmila is the deity of wisdom and knowledge.

Orunmila means ‘heaven knows our salvation.’ When humans were being created, Orunmila was there to witness their creation. In fact, Orunmila witnessed the creation of everything in the Universe. Orunmila knows the destiny of all. He was said to travel back and forth from heaven (beyond the stars and other star constellations) to earth, counseling humans and deities and helping them to solve their issues. Orunmila is known as Eleri Ipin (witness to fate) and Ibikeji Olodumare (Second in command to God).

What is Orunmila Goal For Human Beings?

As the deity of knowledge, wisdom, and divination, the Yoruba Orisa Orunmila’s goal is to aid humanity in achieving balance and harmony in life. Witnessing the destinies of all, Orunmila reminds us of our purpose and role on earth so that we can elevate and one day be honored as Orisa.

The system of Ifa says that it is humans who become Orisa. If we follow our destined path and perform good deeds on earth, when we transcend to the spirit realm, we will be remembered, worshiped as ancestors, and then Orisa. Orunmila, the narrator of life experiences, stores past and present events into a file we call Odu Ifa. There are thousands of stories in each file Odu Ifa that tell the stories of our ancient ancestors’ trials, tribulations, and victories. Orunmila is responsible for ensuring these experiences are codified for future references. Orunmila’s goal is to combine the wisdom of the past with the present so that human beings can have a better future.

Where did Orunmila live on earth?

Orunmila was one of the first Irunmole that Olodumare sent to the earth. It is said that Orunmila spent 400 years on earth without any food, only feeding off the air itself. Orunmila always knew that one day he would return to the heavens; finally, his time came, and he returned to heaven. At that time, Olodumare was contemplating on creating the earth in full, so Olodumare tasked Obatala (Orisnla) and Oduduwa with the job of making the earth in its fullness. After the job was complete, Orunmila was entrusted with guiding humanity. Orunmila had to return to the earth, but this time he brought his subjects Opele (divining chain) and Ikin (palm nuts), planting them to then grow into palm trees, 16 in number. The palm trees represent generational growth, moving from one place to another.

Oke Igeti in Ile Ife Oke Itase

When Orunmila arrived on earth, he first settled in a place called Ile Ife, where he was welcomed and held high. The people of Oke Itase recognised Orunmila’s worth, and he remained there, where he built a large compound with many wives and children. At Oke Igeti, the people did not recognize Orunmila’s worth, so he left, leaving behind many monuments for them to remember him. Orunmila moved on and settled in other places; however, those places he moved to did not recognize his worth.

Why was Orunmila rewarded with great wisdom?

According to our Great Ancestral Elders, the story revealed that Olodumare summoned Orunmila and gave him sixteen gourds of wisdom to swallow. As Orunmila was eating them, the biggest of the gourds dropped and broke into pieces. When this happened, Olodumare instructed Orunmila to pick up the broken pieces, scrape the residues, and continue to swallow everything.

Orunmila did as he instructed. After that, Olodumare told him that he (Orunmila) had swallowed wisdom and that the knowledge would enrich him spiritually in all his facets of life, and he would be able to see beyond all his peers in the spiritual realm. Within seven days of acquiring this power, Orunmila could see and know everything that happened in the past, things that were happening then, and those that were yet to occur on earth. This power to see past, present, and future is still inherent in Ifa.

When the other divinities heard about Orunmila’s wisdom, blessing, and power, they inquired from Esu (Esh-shu) Yoruba divinity of Justice where and how Orunmila got them. Esu told them that it was Olodumare that gave him sixteen gourds of wisdom to swallow, but one of them broke. Hearing this story, all other divinities rushed to the spot where the gourd broke, intending to have a share of the wisdom. They were again told by Esu that Orunmila had picked up and swallowed the broken pieces and that he even scraped the ground. Despite what they were told, they still scraped the spot and ate what they could, feeling that they too had shared the wisdom with Orunmila. It is the process of scrapping and swallowing that brought forth the word Ifa which literally means (Ifa scraped everything).

What is Orunmila relationship with Ifa?

Orunmila, the Orisa, is the physical manifestation of Ifa. Humans needed a physical voice and a character who will represent all that Olodumare wants for humanity. Ifa is the voice of Olodumare (God, amongst the Yoruba people of South West Africa, Nigeria). Ifa was given to Orunmila so that humans could live according to Olodumare’s will.

Ifa is the system that was given to Orunmila from Olodumare the God of the universe. IFA is the mouthpiece of God and is a significant part or connection with destiny. The Orisa of Fate, Orunmila, is the link to unlocking the destiny of humans.

Orunmila was given the position of a counselor amongst the Gods and humans, so he shuttles between heaven and earth doing the works of Olodumare.

Order your IFA divination today and connect with the wisdom and voice of Olodumare through Orunmila the Orisa of Destiny.

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