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“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 August 2020

The Odù for August is Ogbèatẹ̀ (aka Ogbè Ìrẹtẹ) and brings Iré (on-path, good fortune, blessings) as revealed by Oṣomina (aka Ọ̀sẹ́ Ogbè.)

Oṣomina says that we’re in Iré because we’re avoiding impetuous people. The Iré brings blessings to the family (Ogbè Ọ̀sá.)

While we’re blessed with “good fortune” this month, Ogbèatẹ̀ cautions that we shouldn’t venture out too far from home. There are much unpredictability and unsettledness; traveling is not advised at this time. However, if you can’t avoid it, wear an Ọ̀rúnmìlà Idé (bracelet) on your left wrist for protection, and follow the recommended safety protocols (e.g., face mask, eyewear, wash your hands, etc.)

There’s a Patakí (oral narrative or parable) associated with Ogbèatẹ̀ that tells the story of three farmers: Ẹwọn, Iro, and Ìgèdè, the son of Àgbọnnìrègún. They were warned by Dafá (Ifá Oracle Divination) not go to the farm for íkú (death) would be visiting there today, but they were impetuous and ignored good advice. When they did not return, Àgbọnnìrègún consulted with a Babaláwo and was given an Idé and told to quickly go to the farm and make Ebó of a parrot’s feather, beads, yams, and seven pigeons. When Àgbọnnìrègún arrived at the farm, he found the corpses of Ẹwọn and Iro, but not of Ìgèdè. He dug a hole as instructed to place the Ebó and found Ìgèdè. The spirit of íkú (death) spitted out the spirit of Ìgèdè into the hand of Àgbọnnìrègún to partake of the offering. Àgbọnnìrègún quickly swallowed it and took the body of Ìgèdè home. Back home, he vomited the spirit of Ìgèdè into the body of his son. The Patakí say that Àgbọnnìrègún vomits Ìgèdè on unfortunate days.

The spirit of íkú (death) has the unique role of taking us back home to Òrun (the spiritual realm) whenever we encounter íkú. However, Ọ̀rúnmìlà has an agreement with íkú that wisdom seekers are not to be taken “before their time.” The Idé (bracelet) serves as a banner to remind íkú of this arrangement. Remember that if the Idé ever breaks, consult Dafá (Ifá Oracle Divination) to determine what it means.

I’ll share a personal story about my Idé; it shattered the day my grandmother died, I was very fond of her. Even though we were thousands of miles apart at the time, I thought of her at that moment as I felt her grab my left wrist to say goodbye, and that’s when my Idé broke. I knew she was gone before I got the sad news later in the day.

By following the Ifá path, we are also making a commitment to Ọ̀rúnmìlà that while we’re in the Ayé (the physical realm,) we promise to develop Ìwa-Pẹ̀lẹ̀ (kind and gentle character) and seek “wisdom”; the Icofa strengthens this bond to Ọ̀rúnmìlà.

Make Ebó of “shea butter” (Òtúrá Ìrosùn) and “cocoa butter” (Ìdí Ọ̀wọ́nrín) 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 shea butter and cocoa butter 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

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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