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2019 By Ifa Foundation

MONTHLY ICOFA

“Icofa” - hand of Ọ̀rúnmìlà

The “Icofa” - hand of Ọ̀rúnmìlà is a spiritual tool that consists of 16 Ikin (palm nuts) and allows the Ifa student to deepen their relationship with Ọ̀rúnmìlà in order to gain greater insights and wisdom. Each of us has a unique spiritual path that we must follow, and it benefits us tremendously to approach life lessons and challenges with wisdom and awareness than to stumble upon them half-hazard. Ọ̀rúnmìlà protect us from “death before our time” by helping us make wise choices in our lives. If you have the “Icofa” - hand of Ọ̀rúnmìlà, this reading is for you.

Abọru Abọye Àbósíse (Ah-boh-ruu Ah-boh-yay Ah-boh-she-shay)

Icofa Reading for January 2020

“A river that forgets its source will surely dry up.” ~ Yoruba Proverb

Happy New Year! … The month of January brings us Ọ̀wọ́nrín Ọ̀sẹ́ in Iré (on-path, good fortune) in the area of Family as indicated by Ọ̀sẹ́ Mejì. The proverb is a reference to family and not forgetting where we came from. By the way, the Ifáscope reading for the beginning of the year also said blessings of family.

Ọ̀wọ́nrín speaks of our ability to endure hardship and be a “spiritual warrior.” Adversity teaches us the value of Ìwa-Pẹ̀lẹ̀ (kind and gentle character). We can look at it as circumstances that challenge the strength of our character; are we able to remain calm and not succumb to frustration? Can we stay in the present moment and not seek to escape? When challenged, are we able to use our intellect and wisdom to figure things out? All these are choices we make, and Ọ̀wọ́nrín evokes the energy of Èṣù/Ẹlégbá who is ever-present when we choose our path.

Ọ̀sẹ́ appearing on the left leg of the Odù represents our response to Ọ̀wọ́nrín on the right leg. Ọ̀sẹ́ is about “sweetness,” the movement of “freshwater”, qualities that resonate with Òrìṣà Ọṣun, the river deity. Consider how the river carves a path and is not deterred by obstacles like rocks, going around them, and over time these sharp rocks are softened by the gentle touch of the running water. In this context, Ọ̀sẹ́ is saying that to succeed, we should have a sweet, gentle response but be persistent, smile more, and keep a cool head. Remember the wisdom of the river when interacting with your family.

The Iré (on-path, good fortune) was indicated by Ọ̀sẹ́ Ogbè, but curiously when I asked if it was Iré -or- Ibi? The same Odù came up for both, which still means “yes” however, it also implies that it could easily go the other way if we don’t adhere to Ìwa-Pẹ̀lẹ̀. Note the significance of Ọ̀sẹ́ as it repeats yet again in Ọ̀sẹ́ Mejì (the 15th Odù in seniority) for Family.

The Ebó to your Icofa is Ifá powder known as “Ìyèrè Òsùn” (Ìdí Ọ̀sá) to strengthen your path.  Ìyèrè Òsùn is termite dust from the sacred Iròsun tree used to mark Odù on the Opon (divination board).

If you are an Ifá priest, spread the Ìyèrè Òsùn on your Opon, then mark the Odù of your life path to receive protection and Às̩e̩; say a prayer while you rub the 16 Ikin on the marking you made. If you are not an Ifá priest, hold the 16 Ikin in the cusp of your hands, blow your breath three times on it, and invoke the Odù given to you with your Icofa.

Note: When making the Ebó, first create the sacred space by lighting a white candle, burn sage or incense to clear the space; then place a clear glass of water in front of your Icofa. Take the 16 Ikin into the cusp of your hands, share your breath by blowing on them three times, then bring them up to your forehead and say a prayer to Ọ̀rúnmìlà

Note: Most people with an Icofa have extra Ikin, so separately do the Ebó on the remaining Ikin.

Note: When making offerings, always offer a taste to Èṣù/Ẹlégbá first who is the divined messenger and takes your prayers and offerings to its destination.

[Image Credit]  Ifa Divination Vessel: Female Caryatid (Agere Ifa), 17th–19th century.  - The Met Museum

See also:  Last Month's Icofa Reading

 

Note: regarding prayers, while there are some known prayers that people recite, make sure it means something to you and that you understand what you’re saying, don’t just repeat words like a parrot. Feel free to adapt it to your specific needs and in the language that you feel most comfortable. Since I’m a priest, I choose to first say a prayer in Yoruba to honor the origins of Ifa but will follow it up in English.

 

Blessings! … Oluwo Ifájuyìtán

 

 

Prayer to Ọ̀rúnmìlà:

Yoruba

Ọ̀rúnmìlà, ẹlẹ́ẹ̀rí-ìpín

Ibìkejì Olódùmarè

A-jẹ-́ju-oògùn

Obìrìtíi –A-p’ijọ́-ikú-dà

Olúwa mi, A-to-i-ba-j’ayé

Ọ̀rọ̀ à-bi-kú-j’igbo

Olúwa mi, Ajiki,

Ọ́gẹ̀gẹ̀ a-gb’ ayé-gún;

Odúdú ti ndú ori emèrè;

A-tún-orí-tí-ko sunwọ̀n ṣe,

A-mọ-i-kú.

Ọlọ́wa  Aiyẹrẹ,

Agiri ilé-Ilọ́gbọ́n;

Olúwa mi; àmọ̀ìmọ̀tán,

À kò mọ̀ Ọ tán kosẹ

À bá mọ̀ ọ́ tan ìbá ṣẹ kẹ.

Àjubà Akoda,

Àjubà Aseda.

 

 

 

English translation

Ọ̀rúnmìlà! A witness of fate,

Second to Olòdúmaré {God}

Thou art far more efficacious than medicine,

Thou the immense Orbit that averts the day of Death.

My Lord, Almighty to save,

The mysterious spirit that fought death.

To thee, salutations are first due in the morning,

Thou Equilibrium that adjusts World Forces,

Thou art the One whose exertion it is to reconstruct the creature of a bad lot;

Repairer of ill luck,

He who knows thee becomes Immortal.

Lord the un-deposable King,

Perfect in the house of Wisdom!

My Lord! Infinite in Knowledge!

For not knowing thee in full, we are futile.

Oh, if we could but know thee in full, all would be well with us.

I pay homage to Akoda (1st disciple of Ọ̀rúnmìlà who taught elders, divination)

I pay homage to Aseda (1st disciple of Ọ̀rúnmìlà who gave elders wise counsel)