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A throw of merindinlogun, resulting in four "open" shells (odù irosun).

Merindinlogun (from the Yoruba mẹrindínlógún "sixteen", literally "four taken from 20") is a cowrie-shell divination method practiced in the Yoruba religion, and of several Afro-American religions derived from it, that uses 16 cowrie shells.

The number 16 holds important significance in Yoruba mythology as it was the purported number of original divinities that established life on earth. In merindinlogun divination, the shells are thrown and the number of shells that fall with the opening facing up is associated with a certain odu (for example, five shells up represent Oshe, while eight shells up represent Ogbe). This system of divination is used when consulting the Orishas, as opposed to the ikin or opele which are only used to consult Ifá.


  • Abraham, Roy Clive (1958). Dictionary of Modern Yoruba. London: University of London Press.