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2019 By Ifa Foundation


“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 November 2019

“Àìsàn là ńwò,a kì í wo ikú.” - "One treats an illness; one does not treat death.”

Ọ̀rúnmìlà protects us from “death before our time” with a blessed Idé (bracelet) that we wear on our left wrist. However, that doesn’t mean that we should neglect our health. Don’t wait until you’re suffering illness to start taking care of yourself. Don’t wait until death has a grip on your body to finally react.

Ọ̀rúnmìlà is the Òrìṣà of “wisdom,” but also “common sense”; Don’t stand in the middle of the road praying for your life; do your part and get out of harm’s way.

The spirit of Ikú (death) is not to be feared; the role of Ikú is to guide the spirit home. However, if death comes too soon, it brings a premature conclusion to the plan that your Orí had for you. Thus, the Idé is worn by most Ifá followers to keep us bound to our earthly destinies until its conclusion.

The month of November brings us Ìdí Ọ̀yẹ̀kú in Ibi (off-path) as indicated by Ìrẹtẹ̀ Ògúndá. The implication is that we’re more susceptible to Arún (illness) now because we’re letting our guard down and have not been proactive enough with our health.

The reading also draws your attention to your Ancestors, more specifically, your “genes.” You should take into consideration what afflictions your Ancestors had that would make you more susceptible and take the necessary steps to mitigate it.

Ese (verse) associated with this Odù

“Idiyẹkuyẹkẹtẹ divined Ifá for Olorí-óga. He was asked to offer a piece of white cloth he had in his house, a sheep, and thirty-two thousand cowries so that his corpse might not be wrapped with the cloth that year. He heard but refused to perform the prescribed sacrifice.”

Ifá song:

Edi-ọyẹyẹ, Edi-ọyẹyẹ

Olorí-óga covered himself with his cloth

Edi-ọyẹyẹ, Edi-ọyẹyẹ

The Ebó to your Icofa is “shea butter” (Òtúrá Mejì) just like last month. And most importantly, Ìyèrè Òsùn (Òtúrá Ogbè).

Ìyèrè Òsùn is “sacred termite dust” (also called “Ifá powder”) from the Iròsùn tree (Camwood) that is used to mark Odù on the divination board.  Reference: Camwood (Baphia nitida) is known as African sandalwood.

If you are an Ifá priest, spread the Ìyèrè Òsùn on your divination board, then mark the Odù of your life path; say a prayer while you rub the 16 Ikin on the markings you made. If you are not an Ifá priest, hold the 16 Ikin and invoke the path given to you with your Icofa.

When making the Ebó, 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. Then make the Ebó offering, rubbing the shea butter on the 16 Ikin and doing the ritual with the Ìyèrè Òsùn.

Note: Most people with an Icofa have extra Ikin, so separately rub the shea butter and Ìyèrè Òsùn 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:


Ọ̀rúnmìlà, ẹlẹ́ẹ̀rí-ìpín

Ibìkejì Olódùmarè


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,


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)