African Spirituality and Tradition

Observing African American History Month with your Family

African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, is observed in February to celebrate the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout history. It is a time to reflect on the African American community’s struggles and triumphs and educate ourselves and others about the important role African Americans have played in shaping our nation.

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The Yoruba God of Wisdom

In the Yoruba Ifa religion, Orunmila is the God of Wisdom. In terms of Ifa, he is perhaps the most revered divination god. Orunmila is the most frequently invoked Orisa in the Ifa Yoruba religion. Olodumare bestows infinite wisdom on Orunmila, allowing her to foretell, predict, and read human minds and thoughts. He was the only Orisha permitted to witness Olorun’s creation of the universe and bears witness to our destinies. Eleri Ipin, or in other words, “Witness to Destiny in its Creation,” is derived from this. His priests, known as Babalawos or “Fathers of the Secrets,” must devote their lives to divination and the associated arts.

Orunmila Personifies Wisdom

His priests reveal the secrets of the universe and the unfolding of our lives through the Table of Ifá. His favorite colors are yellow and green. This reflects Orunmila’s relationship with Osayn (the plant world’s secrets) and with Oshn, his apetev, with whom he has an extremely close relationship. Orunmila is wisdom, and Oshn is knowledge because wisdom without knowledge is useless. Knowledge without wisdom is a danger to oneself and others.

Many believe Orunmila lived in the spiritual realm for 400 years without food or water before descending to Earth to help humanity, according to the Odu Ifa. He first set foot on Oke-Igbeti, where he lived for the betterment of humanity. Orunmila’s main goal is to help humanity attain harmony and balance in life by reminding us of our roles and purpose on Earth. Orunmila’s perfect foretelling and prediction, combined with his ability to read human thoughts, earned him the moniker “Ari inu ri ode olu moran okan.” This translates as “capable of reading human minds and thoughts.”

Orunmila was believed by many to be the youngest of the Orisa. It was sent by Olodumare to perform various acts to benefit the universe and humanity. Orunmila was the wisest human to have lived on Earth, according to Odu Ifa, where his life is glorified. He arrived on Earth with Ifa and its manifestation..

Orunmila is the spirit of knowledge and wisdom among the Irunmole and the deity of destiny and prophecy. He is told to have been present during the formation of the universe. According to the Yorubas, he used to take human forms and visit the Earth as a priest, teaching priests a highly spiritual religion known as Ifa.

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The Orisha of Herbs: Osanyin

Osanyin refers to a lesser god credited with all knowledge of herbs, leaves, and roots for medicinal purposes. Osanyin is missing a leg, and an arm lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. He is also blind in one eye. He has one arm and one leg that he lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. Osanyin is a divine herbalist who knows all of the earth’s botanical secrets.

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Oko: God of Farming

Oko is used in Yoruba to refer to the god of farming, agriculture, and fertility. It is believed that Oko came to earth and lived on a small farm where he grew some of the most beautiful and delicious fruits and vegetables. One day, he disappeared, leaving nothing but his staff stuck in the ground. When the people saw the staff in the ground and realized his gift with agriculture, they knew he must have been a god. The staff later became a phallic symbol to represent fertility. The Yoruba community made a holiday just before the rainy season devoted to Oko, where men are encouraged to be a little more friendly with the local women.

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Ibeji: Twin Figures of the Orishas

Ibeji, as an Orisha, represents a pair of twins that include a boy and a girl in the Yoruba people. They usually resemble a small boy but are really powerful spirits in the guise of children. According to Yoruba culture and spirituality, twins are believed to be magical and are granted protection by Shango. They are supposed to bring joy, vitality, prosperity, good health, and good fortune and are invoked to protect all children. In the diasporic Yoruba spirituality of Latin America, Ibeji is syncretized with Saints Cosmas and Damian. If one twin should die, it represents bad fortune for the parents and the society they belong to. They protect every child. Depending on the myth, Ibjei’s parents change and may be Oshun and Oshossi, Oshun and Shango, or Oya and Shango.

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