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Wisdom, Knowledge, Ifa Divination, Fate, Destiny, Prophecy
Member of Orisha
Other namesOrunmila or Orunmilá; Orúnla or Orúla or Agbonniregun
Venerated inYoruba religion
SymbolIfa divination
RegionNigeria, Benin, Latin America
Ethnic groupYoruba
ParentsAlayeru and Oroko

Ọrunmila (Yoruba Ọ̀rúnmìlà, also Ọrúnla[1] or Orúla in Nigeria and Latin America) is an Orisha. He is the Orisha of wisdom, knowledge, and divination. This source of knowledge is believed to have a keen understanding of the human form and of purity, and is therefore praised as often being more effective than other remedies. [2][3][4]

Historical and literary sources[edit]

Orunmila is recognized as a primordial Irunmole (an Orisha that has a hand in the creation of the Universe) that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst humanity as a priest that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples. Orunmila is the spirit of wisdom among the Irunmole and the divinity of destiny and prophecy. He is praise named "Igbakeji Olodumare" (second in command to Olodumare) and "eleri ipin" (witness of fate). It was also Orunmila who carried Ifá (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth.[3] Priests of Ifá are known as babalawos and Priestesses of Ifá are known as iyanifas.[4]

Orunmila is considered a sage, recognizing that Olodumare placed Ori (intuitive knowledge) in him as a prime Orisha. It is Ori who can intercede and affect the reality of a person much more than any other Orisha.[2][3][4]

Priesthood and initiation[edit]

Awo in every tradition study the 256 Odu; each Odu is traditionally considered to include stories and prayers that have been passed down from the time that Orunmila walked the Earth as a prophet.[2][5][6]

Some initiatory lineages have only male priests of Orunmila, while other lineages include female priestesses. The term "Awo" is a gender-neutral title for an initiated priest of Orunmila. The debate surrounding gender is a result of diversity in the history of Ifá in various locations. In Latin America and some areas of West Africa, only men may become full priests of Orunmila, while in other regions of West Africa the priesthood is open to women. Ifá practitioners believe in duality in life: males exist because of the female essence and females exist because of the male essence, so every major rite or ceremony includes both genders.[7]

Every Ifá stanza has one portion dedicated to the issue of teaching the Iwa that Ifá supports. This Iwa, which Ifá teaches transcends religious doctrine, is central to every human being, and imparts communal, social and civic responsibility that Olodumare supports. Of great importance to this is the theme of righteousness and practicing good moral behavior.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bascom, William (1991). Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa. Indiana University Press. p. ix. ISBN 9780253206381. Retrieved 1 April 2019. Qrunmila is another name for Ifa, the deity
  2. ^ a b c William R. Bascom: Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa ISBN 0-253-20638-3
  3. ^ a b c Chief FAMA Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion (Orisa Worship) ISBN 0-9714949-0-8
  4. ^ a b c Chief FAMA Practitioners' Handbook for the Ifa Professional ISBN 0-9714949-3-2
  5. ^ Adeoye, C. L. (1989). Ìgbàgbọ́ àti ẹ̀sìn Yorùba (in Yoruba). Ibadan: Evans Bros. Nigeria Publishers. pp. 285–302. ISBN 9781675098
  6. ^ Bàbálàwó Ifatunwase Tratados Enciclopédicos de Ifá (Colección Alafundé), ISBN 978-0-9810387-04
  7. ^ Abimbola, Kola (2005). Yoruba Culture: A Philosophical Account (Paperback ed.). Iroko Academics Publishers. ISBN 1-905388-00-4.
  8. ^ Ifaloju , Iwòrì Méjì: Ifá speaks on Righteousness, (an extract from S.S. Popoola, Ifa Dida, Library, INC) 2011


  • Chief S. Solagbade Popoola & Fakunle Oyesanya, Ikunle Abiyamo: The ASE of Motherhood 2007. ISBN 978-0-9810013-0-2
  • Chief S. Solagbade Popoola Library, INC Ifa Dida Volume One (EjiOgbe - Orangun Meji) ISBN 978-0-9810013-1-9
  • Chief S. Solagbade Popoola Library, INC Ifa Dida Volume Two (OgbeYeku - OgbeFun) ISBN 978-1-926538-12-9
  • Chief S. Solagbade Popoola Library, INC Ifa Dida Volume Three (OyekuOgbe - OyekuFun) ISBN 978-1-926538-24-2
  • James J. Kulevich, "The Odu of Lucumi: Information on all 256 Odu Ifa"
  • Ayele Fa'seguntunde' Kumari, Iyanifa:Women of Wisdom ISBN 978-1500492892