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 September 2020

Dafá (Ifá Oracle Divination) revealed Ogbè Òtúrá for this month, a significant reading because it resonates with the divination of the year; it beckons us to review our progress thus far. It also appeared in the Icofa reading for July. We are blessed with Iré (on-path, good fortune) for health and for overcoming difficulties.

Ogbè appears on the right-leg of the Odù which is our temporal side, what we’re consciously aware of at a given moment.

Ogbè is an expansive type of energy that we can’t ignore, for it casts a bright light that shows us a wide range of opportunities and experiences to consider. Ifá says that if fear is impeding your progress, know that you have support from your spirit guides, but take common-sense precautions.

Òtúrá appears on the left-leg of the Odù, the preconscious side that shows the potential of how we’re likely or should respond.

Òtúrá helps us find inner peace by accepting an imperfect world, taking the good with the bad, and finding meaning even in those situations that hurt us. Òtúrá is mainly concern with the perfection of our character, and it does this by keeping us spiritually attuned to our destiny. Patakí (oral narrative or parable) linked to Òtúrá say: “We make Ebó (sacrifice/offerings) to ensure peace and harmony.

The Iré (on-path, good fortune) was revealed by Odí Ogbè, an Odù that tells us that we are doing well in adverting trouble and managing fears. This is crucial because while “fear” heightens our awareness for self-preservation, it is nevertheless a strong emotional response that must always be tempered with “common-sense” so that it doesn’t control our lives (e.g., panic attacks, anxiety, phobias.)

I want to point out that Odí Ogbè is an Odù that mentions Ṣìgìdì Amọnu, a powerful protective form of Èṣù/Ẹlégbá that guards the home against evildoers and people with ulterior motives. Ṣìgìdì deters them by making them afraid, and if they follow-thru with their evil deeds, he haunts their dreams until they make amends. If you have a Ṣìgìdì, acknowledge his protection by making an offering.

The Iré highlights two prominent areas of your life, “health” (Ọ̀bàrà Mejì) and “overcoming obstacles” (Ọ̀sá Mejì). You can see from the Odù markings that they complement each other, and the areas highlighted are intertwined. Furthermore, the Òrìṣà related to Ọ̀bàrà Mejì is Ṣàngó, the Òrìṣà of “thunder and lightning.” Ọ̀sá Mejì is Ọyá / Yánsán, the Òrìṣà of the “wind”; it speaks of the storm that we’re weathering.

Ọ̀bàrà Mejì is blessing you with “personal power” and “leadership” and urges you to take the initiative. The Odù came out for “health,” so it’s not just your health that you need to be proactive, but for those in your immediate circle of influence who rely on your experience.

Ọ̀bàrà is associated with strategy, courage, and leadership; a reference to Ṣàngó, who was believed to be the reincarnation of Òrìṣà Jàkúta. A beloved ruler and “ascended master” who ultimately became Òrìṣà and was known as the charismatic voice that brought everyone together; qualities that we should aspire.

Animals with “cloven hooves” are associated with Ọ̀bàrà. The “cloven hooves” represents a split path, a fork on the road where decisions must be made, and it is up to the wisest person in the group to choose for everyone.

Ọ̀bàrà Mejì means “rope” and symbolically represents the “umbilical cord” as well as the “hangman’s noose,” symbols that bind destiny to grace and disgrace, further emphasizing the duality the comes with choice and free-will. Ọ̀bàrà in Iré empowers us to lead, but we must choose the path wisely and not repeat past mistakes.

Ọ̀sá Mejì came out for overcoming obstacles showing a way out of a predicament. Ọ̀sá is ubiquitous with “the wind” that suddenly appears and unexpectantly diverts our paths. Ọ̀sá Mejì is an Odù associated with Ọyá / Yánsán.

Ọ̀sá Mejì means “run away,” and Ọ̀sá was said to have come to Ayé (the physical realm) from Òrun (the spiritual realm) while being pursued by the Àjẹ́ (powerful female forces beyond comprehension) and Ọ̀sá had to hide and take refuge in the forest. Ọ̀sá realizing the trouble he was in, made Ebó (sacrifice/offering) to Ìyààmi (the mysterious and powerful mother) that has dominion over the Àjẹ́. Soon after making Ebó, the Àjẹ́ which manifests as birds, then flocked around the Ebó, creating an opportunity for Ọ̀sá to sneak away. But the all-seeing Àjẹ́ quickly spotted him, and the chase resumed. This time, Ọ̀sá hid inside the womb of a woman he encountered; the woman was an Ìyààmi priestess; Ọ̀sá found a home between two worlds, the Ayé and Òrun.

The wisdom that Ọ̀sá Mejì teaches us is that change is necessary, and we need to be flexible and adapt. The potential always exists within us to give birth to something new. Ọ̀sá is a radical force because it opens us to the unconventional and the unfamiliar, including strangers that are vastly different from us but can give us a new perspective.

Make Ebó of Obi Abata (Ọ̀sá Ogbè) - aka Kola Nuts. Regarded as a sacred nut that is used in Obi divination when divided into four lobes, as well as special offerings. In Yorùbá culture, it is offered in social graces when welcoming someone to their home.

Note: you can find fresh Kola Nuts from vendors on Etsy.com

Light a white candle, burn sage or other space clearing herb; place a clear glass of water. 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 chant a prayer to Ọ̀rúnmìlà. Then make the offering of Obi Abata to the 16 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)

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