Orunmila is the direct connection to the powers of divination. 

He is in a different category than the other Orisha that we work with most of the time.  He is a “messenger” between us and Olofi (the supreme GOD.) 


All the orisha can be divined with, or through, their respective priests and priestesses, using the coconut shell method, or the cowries’ method, and when these divinations are done, the answer comes through only that Orisha.  For instance, if one goes to a priestess of Oshun, she will divine with the cowries or coco through Oshun.  Oshun speaks through these tools and provides the answers, and the offerings made would always and only be made to Oshun, Oshun having no jurisdiction or “voice” for the other Orisha. 

Likewise, if one went to a Priest of Ogun, the answers would come through Ogun’s voice and the offering would be to Ogun. 


With Orunmila, the answers come straight from a higher source that has access to and connection with all of the Orisha and other forces of life in our cosmology, such as one’s Ancestors and Ori.  

Only a High Priest or Priestess, or Oluwo or Iyanifa, can divine through Orunmila. 

The initiation that makes one an Oluwo or Iyanifa  is a much greater initiation than crowning one’s Orisha, it takes years of preparation and learning to connect and help others,  as well as a great deal of instruction concerning how to think and see, and, the codes through which our cosmology is described, defined, and divined.  The Oluwo/Iyanifa has access to the entire code, whereas the Omo-Orisha or priests of Orisha have access to roughly half of the code.  An Oluwo/Iyanifa has different tools to divine with, the Opele, or Okuele, or Chain, and the Ikin, or sacred kola nuts, which are used to “pound” the code for the most important of divinations. 

The Ifa devotee does have access to Orunmila’s wisdom and guidance without the high priest/priestess initiation through two ways:  daily prayers, and through their Icofa ceremony.  In the Icofa ceremony “One hand of Orunmila” is given. This in an important beginning initiation for anyone serious about developing their spirituality or creating a greater link between themselves and the Ifa cosmology and its tools to create a balanced life.  In some Iles, or families, Icofa is given as a combination ceremony during which the neophyte receives their primary Esu, Ogun pot, and Osun staff, along with their “One hand” and their all important Life Path reading.  In other families, just the Orunmila tools are given, which include sixteen Ikin and an Ide, an important and powerful protective tool for the new initiate, as well as an Orunmila Eleke, or necklace, and a special red parrot feather, also tools for protection and connection for the newly initiated.  This is indeed the first initiatory ceremony of all Ifa Iles and all the associated paths, like Santeria.   Once the devoted has received their Icofa, they are then officially considered part of the family and under Orunmilas omniscient protection.  They then can also regularly work with their one hand Ikin, making offerings to Orunmila directly for guidance, wisdom, balance, and support.  Indeed, one can pray to Orunmila for anything. 


Copyright 2007 by Ile Ose/ShamanMystery.org/Mountain Mother