“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 July 2020

The year 2020 has proven to be unlike no other; no one has been spared the life disruptions that came from the pandemic, climate change, and social unrest. Despite all of this, or maybe because of this, we have made great strides in our spiritual journey. We should feel fortunate to have the spiritual guidance and protection to been spared the brunt of it. Those of us that have the Icofa spiritual tool, have a direct connection to the wisdom of Ọ̀rúnmìlà, and that has helped us stay afloat and navigate the choppy waters of these global crises.

We have reached the half-way point of the year with Ogbè Òtúrá, the same Odù that we cast for the year 2020. Dafá (Ifá Oracle Divination) for July indicates three senior Odù; Ìrẹtẹ̀ Mejì for strong Iré (on-path, good fortune, blessings); Ọ̀wọ́nrín Mejì for “success”; and Òtúrá Mejì for “relationships.”

Ogbè Òtúrá is also the Odù that was cast at Ile-Ife, Nigeria on June 3rd to mark the start of the Yorùbá year 10,061. The Yorùbá Dafá (Ifá Oracle Divination) reading and the reading that we performed in December have the same theme but while their focus was on a global level; our reading focused on the followers of the Ifá Foundation.

Ogbè Òtúrá is very special to me because it is also the Odù of my “life path.” It has been a year of upheavals and disruptions, no doubt, but despite all that, I have used this precious time to focus on my spiritual development through self-study; why am I here? what spiritual knots (lessons) do I still need to unravel? Being forced to stay at home has made me reevaluate my life and reconsider what really matters; things that were important just a few months ago are not even in the picture anymore. I urge you to use this time well, it’s not all doom and gloom, and just like our ancestors made it through the crises of their time, so we will too.

However long the night, the dawn will break.” ~ African proverb.

On the right leg of Ogbè Òtúrá, we have Ogbè that is shining a bright light on your life path so that you can clearly see your destiny. The strong Iré that was indicated shows that you are aligned to pursuing whatever goals and objectives you have. Òtúrá is telling us that we should respond with a calm mind and pure intentions to continue to have spiritual support.

Ogbè Òtúrá tells us about the important of Ebó for “there can be no peace without sacrifice.” Òrìṣà will never turn a deaf ear when you make an effort and follow a path of Ìwa-Pẹ̀lẹ̀ (kind and gentle character.) Òrìṣà also sees the sacrifices you make when you express kindness to another living being, whether you’re unselfishly offering something tangible or merely investing your time and effort. We must always care for the world that we live in.

Ìrẹtẹ̀ Mejì came up for strong Iré (on-path, good fortune, blessings) and it means “conquering good fortune,” note that the word Iré is part of the name Ìrẹtẹ̀. Good fortune doesn’t miraculously manifest without effort; we must conquer it. The Ajogún (disruptive energies) will challenge your character every step of the way and will entice you to cut corners, don’t, you must earn it. Ìrẹtẹ̀ always has spiritual implications because it applies constant pressure to do it right.

Ọ̀wọ́nrín Mejì came up for “success,” and while Ọ̀wọ́nrín typically manifest as hardship, it also gives us the ability to endure it and not be deterred by it. It is a sign of “ambition,” “effort,” and “transformative change” that keeps us moving forward, “one step at a time.” Ọ̀wọ́nrín Mejì is an enigmatic energy, full of contradictions because while it can turn our worlds upside down, we can still land on our feet by the grace of the divine messenger Èṣù Òdàrà who keep us grounded and blesses us with Às̩e̩. To really understand Ọ̀wọ́nrín Mejì, we must recognize that “need is what drives success." The hardship that we experience should be your motivator to do something about it.

Òtúrá Mejì came up for “relationships” and bringing us “calm” and “harmony.” Ifá tells us that when the Odù Òtúrá first appeared, it made Ebó at the four corners of the world to establish a harmonious equilibrium of the elemental powers that support the earth. Òtúrá is foremost concerned with the perfection of your character, and to come up for “relationships” signifies that we’ll improve Ìwa-Pẹ̀lẹ̀ (kind and gentle character) through our interactions.

Make Ebó of “coconut oil” (Ìrosùn Òtúrúpọ̀n) to your Ikin.

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 rub the coconut oil on the 16 Ikin. Most people with an Icofa have extra Ikin, so separately do the same 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)

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