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McClelland Source: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Oct., 1966), pp. 406-431 Published by: Edinburgh University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1158049 Accessed: 09/03/2009 19:50
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TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION
INTRODUCTION: THE MODE OF DIVINATION
cover and hope to influence the changes in their relationships with the gods and ancestors and other spirits in their complex cosmos, and so to gain their aid in their pursuit of health and good fortune. They employ a number of divinatory techniques.
T O the Yoruba, divination is of great concern, as the means by which they dis-
for which there are three procedures of varying complexity, the two most complex being used by professional diviners (babalawo).The Ifa oracle is animated by a deity named Orunmila, but also often called Ifa. The diviner consults the oracle to find out the oduwhich governs his client's predicament. An oduis a sign that he draws in powder sprinkled over the divining board (opon-there is a tradition that the earliest diviners traced their signs in the earth); it is governed by a spirit of the same name as the odu; and it has a set of incantations and myths explaining the client's own situation by reference to an archetypal situation, and prescribing certain offerings to be made to the odu spirit and perhaps to other deities as well, if the client is to gain his ends. An odu sign is made up of eight elements of short single lines arranged in two columns of four. The diviner may throw down a rope or chain on which are strung eight similar objects-half shells of palm nuts, domed brass disks, etc.-that can give a 'heads or tails' arrangement. He takes the divining chain (oppl) by the middle, letting the ends hang so that the four objects hang on either side, and throws it in a manner that preserves the two lines of four heads and tails. Or he may hold sixteen palm nuts in one hand and pick as many as he can from the handful with one movement of the other hand, noting whether one or two are left. Two or a 'head' is denoted by a single line on the divining board, and one or a ' tail' by a double line. For this, he must perform the operation with the nuts eight times to get a complete odu, while a complete one is obtained from a single throw of the divining chain. The oduis built up on the divining board by marking the bottom right-hand element first, then the bottom left, next the second right, and so on, going from left to right and from bottom to top. (Odu are sometimes painted on walls as charms, and then the elements are drawn as dots or round blobs.) It will be evident that there are sixteen possible signs in which the right and left columns are identical. These are the principal oduand it is the order in which they are arrayed and memorized by diviners that is discussed in the following two papers. A further 240 oduhave dissimilar columns; these are properly called pmpodu, ' children of the (principal) odu'. Each of the sixteen possible combinations of four elements in a column-a pattern of single and double strokes-is named, and the name of the oduis simply the name of the right-hand column followed by that of the left. If, for instance, the pattern pse appears on the right and otura on the left, the odu is Osetura;but if both columns are psf, the oduis Qsf Meji, ' two Qs ' or ' double Qse '.
The one that yields the fullest informationis the system of geomancy known as Ifa,
McClelland analyses the principle on which is structured the order accepted by members of her sample of diviners in the central Yoruba area. Hebert's notable paper ' Analyse structurale des geomancies Comoriennes. and especially J. 'divination by sand'. which may derive from Arabic al-fa'l. as consulting a different oracle. possibly the Yoruba vocalization of Arabic ar-raml (sand-a colloquialism for darb ar-raml. ch.ii (Leipzig. 22. from the myths of the first descent of Ifa-Orunmila from Heaven at If?. if any reliance is to be placed on Yoruba traditions. her study also presents valuable new information on the insight of diviners into their procedures. concerning the ethnography and history of West Africa. London. Hebert. for instance. H.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 407 The diviner memorizes a vast number of odu myth formulae. not only among the Yoruba but also among neighbouring peoples who practise the system. fu'l7 and af'ul (auspice) and Orunmila. Indications of an Arabic origin for the basic procedure of Ifa divination are given in the names Ifa. I889 and I 9I3). continuing until one seems to the client to refer to his predicament. he is expected to be able to recite many for each of the 256 odu signs. The diviner then tells him what rituals to perform and what offerings to make. What is especially interesting is the way the system has been thoroughly incorporated in Yoruba cosmological conceptions. Dr. and among the descendants of the Yoruba in Cuba. 1932). the nature of which he is not expected to tell the diviner. to the details of the odu. Accordingto Cornelius Agrippa and Others. C. pl. Becker's Islamstudien. Useful material is to be found in C. notes that ramouliis the Sudanese Muslim term for geomancy). Besides discovering the limited range of variation in the order of listing the odu. The question of the order in which the sixteen principal oduare arranged is discussed from two different points of view in the papers that follow. Franz Hartmann's The Principlesof Astrological The Art of Divining by Punctuation Geomancy. If the client wants further enlightenment the diviner may make more casts. McClelland show that the Yoruba have Ee . another procedure is for him to recite one after the other the formulae for whatever oduappears. The borrowing would have been made some centuries ago. and add more odu to the one on the board. I 17. he is able to assess the originality and reliability of the many ethnographic descriptions of Ifa divination. when If? and not QyQ was the cultural centre of the Yoruba. The sixteen columns in the set of odu signs are identical with the signs used in a system of geomancy originating in antiquity in the Near East. Malgaches et Africaines' in the Journal de la Societedes Africanistes (Paris). 2. He may recite to his client the formula he judges most suitable. so that the Yoruba Muslim diviners who today practise darb ar-raml (called abigbaby the Yoruba) are thought of. Professor Bascom continues his empirical survey of the order actually recorded from a very large number of informants. as Professor Bascom observes. It was also accepted by the Arabs. The careful analyses by Professor Bascom and Dr. These two specialized studies of one part of the system of Ifa divination relate to problems of much wider interest. xxxi (I961). The procedure survived to be acquired as a form of astronomical geomancy in Medieval Europe and continued later (see. and several authors have surmised that not only Ifa and related forms in West Africa but also Sikidi divination in Madagascar were developed locally as variations on the system as diffused by the Arabs into Muslim Africa. p.
I41. 3 Fela $owande. TABLE I A E F i i I 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 6 8 7 5 8 6 9 9 Io Io II 14 I4 I2 13 I3 13 12 II 14 II I5 15 i6 i6 i6 2 3 4 7 8 5 6 9 Io I2 L I M I 0 I S I T i 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 4 Io 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 9 Io I5 Io Io 9 9 IO 12 I3 I2 13 I2 I3 I3 13 14 I4 I4 I4 5 II I5 II II I5 1I 15 i6 i6 i6 3 2 2 7 4 8 6 3 13 8 I2 II 7 14 Io 12 I4 II I5 9 5 6 9 15 I2 I6 i6 I5 U I 2 4 7 I6 8 3 6 Six of these additional lists are identical with the dominant order (A). Their orders should be discussed before proceeding to the consideration of the names of the figures. Objetset Mondes. 5 Bernard Maupoil. disregarding one obvious error. 3. Yaba: Forward Press. 3/4 (I96I). p. 'Les calendriers dahomeens '. Thirty-six of these lists from twenty-five sources followed the same order (A) which was clearly predominant. Ifa. p. and the Lucumi (Yoruba) of Cuba. 217. (c. the present paper was delivered at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association at Detroit in November I964. 676-82. Le Monde d'Outre-Mer Passe et Prdsent. In reading the excellent photograph of the copy of this calendar in the Musee de l'Homme (no. p. Premiere Serie: Etude v. I (I964). 'La Geomancie a l'ancienne C6te des Esclaves '. xlii. recorded at Ife in I965. 34. . one given by Bastide for the Nago (Yoruba) of Brazil. as Maupoils notes. 1958. 'Le Candomble de Bahia (Rite Nag6)'. Fourteen additional lists have subsequently been examined. 2 Geoffrey Parrinder. ' Odu Ifa: The Order of the Figures of Ifa '. p.London: The Epworth Press. I. the FQn. 38. 4 Roger Bastide. but a different order (E) was found in the northeastern part of Yoruba territory and the possibility of other regional variations was suggested. 36-2I-IO8) recently published by Palau Marti. 6 Montserrat Palau Marti.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 408 evolved a logical structure for the relations between the oduthat is expressed through the mythology of the system. Two of the additional lists. ODU IFA: THE NAMES OF THE SIGNS WILLIAM BASCOM IN a previous articleI the order in which the sixteen basic figures of Ifa (odu Ifa) are ranked was examined. 2nd ed.d. the famed diviner of King Glele of Dahomey. and the Ewe of West Africa.4 The sixth is that recorded in pyrography on the wooden ' royal calendar of Gcdcgbe '.6 one must be aware that it is upside down. including one which I recorded at QyQ in I965. This list must be read from left to right.2 two by $owande for the Yoruba3 and. d'Ethnologie. fig. The question of errors is discussed later.. I05. one given by Parrinder in I961 for the Yoruba at Ibadan. I964). n. This was based on seventy-two lists from fifty-three sources for the Yoruba.iv. West African Religion. 1943. 38B. xxiii. Travauxet Admoiresde l'Institiu vol. pp. The named orders which will be referred to here are shown below in Table I. rather than from right to left as in reading the derivative figures such as Ogbe-Qy(ku. confirm order (E) as a legitimate I William Bascom. See this paper for bibliography of sources not cited in the footnotes here. 196I. Bulletinde 'InstitutFranfaisd'Afrique Noire.
256. With these additions. R. pp. The BeninKingdom and the EdoNigeria. part 13. 43. and the Igala. ii. 195 3. the Western Ibo.Monte-Carlo: Regain. 3 Dzigbodi Kodzo Fiawoo. 6 must be omitted because they give only the figures without the names. 59. The three remaining orders differ from all eighteen orders previously published and can safely be disregarded. Of the 86 lists. are examined. R. 5 of the 6 Cuban lists. 4 of the i6 Dahomean lists. but it is not clear whether ' position' refers to the rank order or to the figure itself. 956. For order (F) a third instance of Clarke's' corrected ' list was inadvertently overlooked in the earlier article. 4 Parrinder. 8 -82. giving a total of four lists from two sources. I37. vol. as apparently was done with the FQn names. Up the Niger. University of Edinburgh. i of the 3 Ewe lists. 2 Julien Alapini. lxix.409 variation.6 rather than a single string with eight pods as in Ifa. 68-69. Amaury Talbot. I39. 7 A. Ilepa. London: Oxford University Press. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. regardless of order. London: George Philip & Son. employs four strings of four pods each. The Idoma system of divination. it is only in these two by Parrinder and the one by Fiawoo that there is any discrepancy in the order of the first four figures. position for position. Les Noix Sacrees. p. regional and Omu. ThePeoples Southern Nigeria. 1926. with the Yoruba list' and that Bradbury has collected strictly cognate lists from Benin. 6 Robert G. It is possible that the names have been rearranged to conform to this order. and in the single list available for Brazil. I949. of London: Oxford University Press. West African Religion. Journal of the Royal AnthropologicalInstitute. their source is not indicated. but the Agbigba form of divination is known as Egbigba among the Igala. 8 R. Sidney Seton. D. 45. In the present article the variations in the i6 names and their association with the 16 figures. I950.7 as Ogwqga at Benin. London: Oxford University Press. pp. V. p. 42 out of 86 or still almost half the lists follow the dominant order (A). p. 'Ifa Divination '. p.London: The Epworth Press. 55.9 The rank order of the I J. but they seem to come from Herskovits who listed them in a different order (L). The apparatus associated with Bradbury's three lists is not indicated. 'The Use of Linguistic TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION and Ethnographic Data in the Study of Idoma and Yoruba History' in The Historianin TropicalAfrica (J. Thomas. L. Mockler-Ferryman. personal communication. 'Notes on the Igala Tribe. F. 69. 9 P. This corresponds to a related system of divination widely practised in Nigeria and known as Agbigba or Agbagba among the Yoruba. Journalof the African Society. Armstrong. He lists the names and figures according to order (A). 1958. p. Religionin an African City. Fiawoo3 gives (S) for the Ewe of Ghana and there are two earlier lists published by Parrinder4for the Yoruba in 949 (T) and in I953 (U). Clarke.xxix (I929-30). Armstrong.). 34-3 5* s Robert G. The Influence Conof ConSocial Changeson the Magico-Religious temporary cepts and Organizationof the SouthernEwe-Speaking People of Ghana. Armstrong5 has recently reported that his list of sixteen figures from the Idoma turned out to be 'strictly cognate. it has been reported in ten lists from seven sources for If?. This order is found in 3 out of the 6o Yoruba lists. part 2 (I939). EthnograSpeakingPeoplesof South-Western phic Survey of Africa. based on 3 out of 61 sources. . Two lists by Alapini for Dahomey in the same publication2 have the same order (M) as that given by Trautman. E. I964. Mauny. but the evidence is still insufficient to consider either (F) or (M) as legitimate variants. Of the twenty-one listings that have been reported. known as Iba.. who distinguish it from Ifa even though the names of many of the figures in the two systems are cognate. Bradbury. eds. Western Africa. Vansina. Ist ed. I892. PP.8 and as Afa or Aha among the Ibo. Northern Nigeria'.
A.410 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION wickedness (ika). cit. Spanish. Ifa. 1952. 9. pp.4and those which I recordedfrom two Agbigba diviners. such as camwood or barwood (irosun). or even nd or nl. 34-35. S. and s and s. 'Yanrin Tite ati Owo 1rindilogun. where appropriate. Agbigba. have been modifiedin both Cubaand Dahomey accordingto the phonetic patternsof Spanishand of FQn.have indicated the ? and the 9 as e and o followed by a double consonant. pp. 49. J. Boston. Some English writers. has been renderedaccording to customary Yorubausageby an n afterthe vowel.3 Ogunbiyi. Lagos: Ife-Olu Printing Works. Otherdifferences spellinghave been retained. (Isapa column). Moreover. or they are based on similaritiesof the names to common words.Some French writers use ou for w. and y. The names of the figures. diacritical marks have been omitted except for the Yoruba e. 9 and o. they are interesting for the light they throw on the question of ethnographicreliability. at Isapaby Clarke. pp. Iwe Itan Ifa. 252. but sometimesas gb or b. The Yorubaj is variouslywritten as j. 2 Fagbenro Beyioku. is sometimes written as such.such as the interpretation Qyckuas meaningQy9 dies (Qye of ku). The meaningsof the names of the sixteenprimaryfiguresof Ifa divination have never been determined. figures in Agbigba divination as recordedfrom an Igbira diviner at Ife by myself. 55. dy. Errorsin the associationsof names and figures. in Cuba it sometimes becomes k or c. while k is often writtenas c. p. such as the one by Bastide mentioned above and two in Parrinder's 953 list. 187-8.English. As Ifa divination has been reportedfor Benin and the Ibo. In order to render comparisonsless difficultand to simplify printing. The Yoruba p. C. I940. it is not certain that these names are Agbigba names except in the case of Armstrong's Idoma list and Boston'sIgalalist.and Germanwritershave followed differentorthographicconventions. As such. and in Cubaw is usuallygiven as gu. Obvious errorsin the transcription or the printingof the namesof the figuresare also recognizable. French. K. Meek. and loss (ofun).ch for c which in some spellings replaces a or its equivalents (f or sh).as will be shown later. in of the variationsin the names are more apparentthan real. Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe.making it impossibleto distinguishbetween? and e. including Wyndham. but they are consideredbelow along with Agbigba namesreported and by Beyioku. Ogunbiyi.and other Yorubawords as well. 82.r).although it was undertakenas a simple but extensive survey to determinebasic ethnographicfacts. which is actuallypronounced kp. p. and in Cuba it often becomes 11. soap (p. personal communication. one a Yagba Yoruba from Figbepractisingin Ab?okutaand the other an Igbira man practisingin If?. 50. 3 Clarke. London: Oxford University Press. which appearsin one of the verses for the figure Qycku-Edi. J.2Clarke.In broaderperspective this may be the majorcontributionof this paper. arerecognizable beyond any reasonable doubt.What interpretations have been suggested are on the level of folk etymologies.and among the Igala by Boston' differ markedlyfrom those for Ifa and from each other. dj. dz. op. Lagos: The Hope Rising Press. for one thing Many becauseall diacritical marksare omitted by some writersor their publishers. and $ and differences in orthographyhave been reducedby substituting? for its equivalent(E). Nasalizationof vowels. tones and equivalent (v) and. 4 Thos. I937. which is indicated by various conventions in the sources consulted.9 for its .while y is written as j or 11. and gb becomes b or gu.
In Lijadu'we can find this for all sixteennamesof the primary figuresas they occur in the second half of the following combinations:Idi-Gbe (p. 56). and initial vowels are often dropped. 33).andmelle. 24).medji Herskovits. Ogbe-Ka (p.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 4II but differentpronunciationsare also apparentin these areasand in differentparts of Yoruba territory. and Iwori Meji. 55). Neither apparently actually are Aluku Gbayi.I do not wish to imply that I uncriticallyaccept the legends of the Yoruba. Idoma.but it is given as magi by Skertchly. but in If? it is regardedas the ' Father' (baba). although these are not Qyeku Meji.megiby Burton.the sixteen principalodu are pairedor double figures which might be written Ogbe-Ogbe. alternativenames such as are found for some figures.and Garnierand Fralon. Exeter: James Townsend & Sons. Eji Ogbe or Ogbe Meji.but it is not possible to considerhere the manywhich are used for the combinations.Iwori-Iwori. a diviner in MkQ9referredto all sixteen double figures in this fashion. mejiby by by Maupoilwithjimr as an inversion. Ogbe-Guda (p. 45). Insteadthey are usuallydesignatedby the nameof the primaryfigurefollowed by the word meji(two). Q?-Rosu (p.The dropping of initial vowels is fairly widespreadamong the Yoruba. giving Qbafa or 'King of Ifa ' [Qba-(I)fa]as one of the former's honorific names. By startingwith the Yoruba names as the basis for comparison. Qy(ku-Qyqku. and this patternmay be applied to other figures as well. In Cuba its name is often prefacedby 'Father' (baba). Ogbe-Sa (p. M.andit often becomes by meje. Ogbe-Turuppn(p. and Ibo names. Frobenius. was referredto as the 'junior sibling' (aburo). Ogbe-Kanran (p. Awulela. These are cited only when substitutesin the combinationsseem to confirmalternative names mentionedfor the sixteen primaryfigures. 6i). Ogbe-Tura (p. although he does give Alafyaas an alternativename for OturaMeji. Skertchlyrefersto Ogbe Meji as the head mother. In Cubait is given as meji.Ilara. as in Ogbe Meji. 1 is commonly substitutedfor r. F9n.In Dahomey. Qyeku Meji.and other Nigeriantowns along the Dahomeanborder. 2I). Qsa-Wori(p. Ogbe-w(o)-ehin. The l-r substitutionalso occurs occasionallyamong the Yoruba in Mqk9. Maupoilspeaksof Ogbe Meji as the fatherand Ofun Meji as the mother. and Burton says it is called 'Mother of all'. Ifa: Im9l1Rp ti Ise Ipile Isin ni II Yoruba. 52). and the initial vowels are commonly elided in the second half of the names of Ifa figures which are combinations. is given as EdjuandEdschu Frobenius. Lijadu. The double Ogbe figure is also commonly known as Eji Ogbe (two Ogbe). 12).Quenum. and Ogbe-Fu (p.and it appears in some of the Igala.and medji Alapini. In contrast to these combinations. We are not especiallyconcernedhere with the variationson the spelling of meji. and Ewe that Ifa ' E. 5). 46). Ika-Yeku (p. Thus we have (I)mek9 and (I)saki as town names and (I)jqa and (I)jibu as names of Yoruba subgroups. .and so on. while the second figure. as in Baba Eji Ogbe. 33). Ogbe-W9nrin(p. Qbara-Rqte(p. 30). 5z). Ogbe-Di (p. Some of the alternativenames for the sixteen double figures are included in the following discussion. Eji oji orji in Dahomey and elli in Cuba. Ogbe-Bara (p. 6I).was spoken of as the 'head' (olori) by diviners at Modakekq and Ilesa. or Alafiawhich Maupoil gives for Ogbe Meji.for Ogbe-Iwori. 1923.such as ' Ogbe look back '. Idi-$? (p.Bertho.as the highest rankingof all 56 figures. melli. 72). pages cited in parentheses above.Trautman.
and Yekou by Le Herisse. Ogbe is given by Alapini. Clarke. and Gbe-Jim?. simply as a matter of convenience. Cuban sources give Ojqkuje. 412 I. and Yeka by Fiawoo. It is written as Ogge by F. Ejeku. Eji Qye is an alternative form and all others. Bwe by Burton and Skertchly. and Akwu for the Western Ibo. Ogbe Meji. and Osinka by the Igbira informant at Ife. Gbe and DyQgbe by Bertho. Egbwe Ogue. This figure is given as Qyqku or Qyeku Meji or. . I do so. Elleco. and Bastide gives Oye Ku for Brazil. For Agbigba. Ewe.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION divination originated in the Yoruba city of If9 and spread outwards from it. Eji Qy? is an alternative name. and Eghe. Ogbe(ir i). or other African lists. both in their names and their rank order. Qyqkun by Johnson. Qyqkwu is given by Boston for the Igala. and Yeku by Bertho. Jiogbe. But I do believe that the evidence presented in these two articles demonstrates that the Cuban and Brazilian lists are derived from those of the Yoruba because they are closer to them. Gbe is also given by Herskovits. and Le Herisse. as Oyeku or Oyeku Meji in most cases for the Yoruba. and the Yagba Yoruba informant. Eyogbe by Grandin. Ogbi is given by Bradbury for Benin and the Western Ibo. or Eji Ogbe for the Yoruba in all but four cases. and Trautman. Ebi by Bradbury and Boston for the Igala and by Armstrong for the Idoma. Y9ku and Ji Qy9 are given by Maupoil. Trautman. The listing below follows the dominant Ifa order (A) mentioned earlier. Except for Ellis's Buru all these variants on Ogbe can be explained by differences in pronunciation and orthography. and I speak of phonetic changes in ' Yoruba words ' in Dahomey. I9I) and Ojaku by Frobenius. This figure is given as Ogbe. and Oyeku and Byeku by Parrinder. A Yagba Yoruba diviner practising at Abqokuta. Baba Ellionde. S. and Bradbury gives Aku for the Igala. Osika by Beyioku. For the Ewe. gave this one as Ogbe. and Skertchly. Oji. are recognizable as variants of Qy9ku. than to those of the F9n. Grandin gives it as Oyetin. given by an Ife diviner and by Maupoil. Bastide gives Ogbe for Brazil. and Obe. Oyekou by Alapini. Gbe. Burton. who named thirteen of the sixteen figures. Monteil. of a very specific kind. Akwu is also given by Armstrong for the Idoma. For Dahomey. Ojako (p.. It is written Yekuro by Ellis. Yeku (p. and as Qgbe by Clarke (p. without diacritical 2. Yeku by Spieth. and Oji-nimon-Gbe by Nago (Yoruba) diviners in Dahomey. It is given as Qyeku by Clarke for Ilgfa and by Bakare. Quenum. This is further evidence. or by apparent typographical errors as in Bge. Baba Ellionle. Gbe is given by Spieth. Maupoil notes that it is also called Ogbe-Oji. For Agbigba there is an alternative name. For the Ewe. and Bge by Garnier and Fralon. with the exception of Grandin's Oyetin. as Oyeku by Ataiyero and Ogunbiyi. explaining the latter as the reversal of the syllables of Mqji. Cuban sources give Baba Eji Ogbe. of the importance of the Yoruba influence in Havana and Bahia. and Oy9ku by Ogunbiyi and the Igbira informant. Qyeku is given by Beyioku. Kpolidzogbe by Fiawoo. Monteil. and Ollegun. and Buru by Ellis. Baba Llogbe. Oyekun by Monteil. QyrkU (2222). marks. 214) and Yqku by Herskovits. Quenum. given as Osika by Clarke and Ogunbiyi. Maupoil gives Gbe. For the FQn. Ako for Benin. Yeku is given by Garnier and Fralon. Baba Yogbe. 245) but in only one of five lists.
and my two informants. Skertchly. Ogunlqyq. Herskovits.Irosu-Awoye and Qsagives Awoye.and Woli by Maupoiland Monteil. A.Idi is given by Beyioku in three other lists. Quenum. Iwori(2112). All of these are readily recognizablevariants.Ogoli is given by Boston and Bradbury for the Igala. than to the Ifa name. For Dahomey. Irosun (1122).and in Brazilit is given as Ode.Adi by Grandin. Odi. Oghoi is given by Bradburyfor Benin. or Odi by QSiga. and Q)iga Awoye as a substitutefor Iwori in two combinations. Odi is given by Beyioku in one list and by Abraham. Ogunbiyi. 3rd ed. Iroshu. and by a second informantat Ilara. Edi and Odi by Parrinder. Irosun and Urosu are given by Ataiyero. Monteil.and Edi... 191) and Ewori by Frobenius. pp.F. and Edi by Garnierand Fralon. with the common r-l shift. Odi. Edi is given by Ataiyero. and by Armstrong for the Idoma. Qsiga.. For Agbigba. Ogori.and Trautman. Iroshun by Dennett. these being the only forms not readilyrecognizableas variantsof Iwori. Odi. For the Ewe. and the Igbirainformant.n. Bradburygives Odi for the Igala. In Cuba Edi. .and Oji by Beyioku. Iwori or Holi by Bertho. the WesternIbo. Igbori. a misprintcorrectedfour pages laterand in three other publications. A and as Iwori and Ewere by Parrinder. Ogunlqy?.and Oli by Herskovits and Quenum. and Orosu. and by informants at QyQ.Irosu is given by Epega in six lists (with Irosun in a seventh) and by Ogunbiyi. by Bradburyfor the Western Ibo. and Urosi by Johnson. and Ogori by Beyioku.Bakare. Edi and Odi aregiven by Bertho. ii. Le Herisse. and Irochum by Monteil. S. It is given as IwQriin one instanceby Johnson. and Idi are all acceptablevariantsfor the Yoruba.Di is also given for the Ewe by Spieth and Fiawoo. Monteil. Ogi is given by Clarke. and Oli by Fiawoo.Owori by Alapini. An Qyo informantgave Ilosun Meji and a Mqko informantEji Olosun.Ogunbiyi. For Agbigba. and Iroshu is given by Lucas. and F. These forms are closer to the Agbigba alternativename. Parrindergives Irosun. Ogunbiyi.Johnson.Iwe Adura Mime ti Ijp QrunmilaAdulaw9 li Ede Ilf Yoruba.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 413 3. Lucas.and was recordedfrom informants at Ara and Ife. Ode or Wudde by Burton. One Ilara informant gave Orosun. Di is given by Burton. (at end).Frobenius.' For Dahomey it is written Avri by Grandin. This figureis given as Iwori for the Yoruba with few variations. Ode is given by Ellis. Woli is given by Spieth and by Garnier and Fralon. This figureis given as Irosun for the Yorubain most cases. Clarke. and Modakqk?..Oji is given by Armstrong for the Idoma and by Boston for the Igala. Ellis.Odin by Alapini. Holi by Trautman. and Idi are each given in two or more sources. Iwori was given by the Yagba Yoruba.In one instanceBeyioku gives Iroun.Mck9. O. which Beyioku lists as the Agbigba name for this figure. Edi (1221).Ibadan. Frobenius writes it Hosso. and Ooe Magi Wudde by Skertchly. Maupoil gives Iwori and Iwoli as Yoruba forms. and Benin. S.Edi and Idi are given by Maupoilfor the Yoruba. and in Brazilas Iwori. i. Sowande. In Cuba it is given as Iguori. Ibori. Edi. by Epega. and Odi or Di by Maupoil. QOiga. 4.d. Ouoli is given by Le Herisse. 5. Iroshun. Clarke. Mk9qinformantcalledit Iwoye. and Iworo. and Odin Idi by Dennett. Wyndham. as Evori (p.
Logo. with tFrin as a substitute for QwQnrin in the combination Ogunda-1rin. and Qga was given by the Igbira informant and by Beyioku. Maupoil gives Wenl?. Wenle. cit. Bara by Lucas and Johnson. tgali is given by Boston and Bradbury for the Igala and by Armstrong for the Idoma. than to Qwynrin and its variants. Opo Meji (two posts) was given as an alternative name by an informant at Modakeke. Irosu by the Igbira informant. and Orosun by Beyioku. Owarin is given by Alapini. the Yagba Yoruba gave both QwQnrin and Qga.414 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION For Dahomey. Nwenle is given by Herskovits. Le Herisse. Ouenlen by Le Herisse. OwQnrin. For Dahomey. and Urosi. Uran by Burton. Qga. (2211). These forms are closer to the alternative Agbigba name. Clarke. Obara. and Qwqnran by OdumQlayQ. all other forms being recognizable variants of Irosun with the possible exception of Grandin's Strossin. and except for Grandin's O Koni all of these forms may be related. but the last is clearly Dahomean. In Cuba it is given as Oguani.' and Elerin was recorded in If9 as a substitute in the combination Ofun-Elerin. Houlin by Trautman. Wenlen by Monteil. and Oghae by Bradbury for Benin. Abla is given by Burton. Iwonrin. Maupoil gives Qwonlin. Aguani. This figure is given as Obara or Obara for the Yoruba in most cases. For Dahomey. and Wonlin. OwQri and Qwara by Parrinder. Luso. Qgai and Qgali by Bradbury for the Western Ibo. Qbara (1222). Losho by Ellis. and Agbani. For the Ewe Spieth and Fiawoo give Noli and Garnier and Fralon give Enloe. Owourin and Owonrin by Dennett. Eji tlerin is given as an alternative name by QOiga. but phonetically QwQnrin is one of the most difficult names. In Cuba. For Agbigba. Losso by Monteil and Trautman. and Strossin by Grandin. as Owonrin by most Yoruba sources. Maupoil gives Loso. and Ogunbiyi. For the Ewe Loso is given by Spieth. and Ulushu by Bradbury for the Western Ibo. IwQnrin by Ogunbiyi. Oworin and Aworin by Wyndham. and Oji Olosun as variants. and Iroso are used. Oballa by Frobenius. and Quenum. Qworin or Qwara by Abraham. and Bara are given by Parrinder. and Oji Wenle as Yoruba forms. Orossou by Alapini. and O Koni by Grandin. probably a misprint. and Jwuoli (Iwuoli) by Frobenius. 7. and Henli by Quenum. ]3bara. Qwaran and Owaran by Johnson. . siga. Oruhu by Bradbury for Benin. Monteil. Iwonlin. Loso is given by Herskovits. with Losun. Quenum. and Ibara by an informant at Ileqa. Qbara and Qbala by Maupoil. Irosu. QwQnrin and IwQrin are given by QSiga. There is wide variation here. Oloru is given by Boston and Bradbury for the Igala. Olo by Armstrong for the Idoma. Olosun. Uram by Skertchly. Qw9nrin. Oron by Ellis. and QwQrin were given by If9 informants. and Logo by Garnier and Fralon. Qwonrin and Qw9nri by Ataiyero and Epega. loc. QwQnrin This figure is given as Qw9nrin or. Typographical errors probably account for Hosso. Irosun. Luso by Fiawoo. and Bastide gives Irosun for Brazil. Qwara by Lucas. and in Brazil as Dwonrin. without diacritical marks. Owurin by Monteil. Owonrin. For Agbigba. Maupoil. 6. Le Herisse. Irosun is given by Clarke and Ogunbiyi.
Monteil. by Beyioku. and Qkanran. all of these are clearlyvariantson Ogunda. Obara by Alapini. Quenum. Akli by Skertchly. Qkanranis given by Clarke and Ogunbiyi. Monteil.and Oguda is given by Beyioku and Ogunbiyi. Qk9na by the Yagba Yoruba. and there are similar variationsin the spelling of the Yoruba word for ewe (aguntan. Fiawoo. Qbala is given by for for Boxton and Qbataby Bradbury the Igala. and Okananby the Igbira informant. and Gouda by Garnierand Fralon. and more commonly as Ocana.Qkgna is given by Boston and Qkaraby Bradburyfor the Igala. and Ejita by Armstrong for the Idoma.agutan). Okana.and Trautman. for the Idoma.and Oguda.Eguntan by Q?iga.Gudais given by Burton. and in Brazil it is given as Obara. Grandin gives O Kouro.Unun and Opo Meji. and Aklan by Le Herisse.and Qkanrgnby Epega. Qkanran(2221). with Ogbara and Obari as variants.and Maupoil. Eguntan and Egutan are given by OdumQlay9. by one Ife informant.and Qtunwa by Maupoil.With the exception of the alternativename. As substitutes for Ogunda in combinations.Oguda is given by Dennett. QkQnrQn is given by Abrahamand Bakare. Qkla by Armstrongfor the Idoma. Abila by Ellis. Aklan and Qkanlan are given by Maupoil. all of these are recognizablevariants.F. Akananby Herskovits. Ogunda and Qgunda are given Oguda and Eguda by Ataiyero. Qka by Bradburyfor Benin. and Ogude by Grandin. Qkn9Q by Beyioku. Frobenius. Akala is given by Ellis. Spieth. and in Brazil it is given as Okaran. For Dahomey. and Bastidegives Oguda for Brazil. For Dahomey. Qbai by Bradbury the WesternIbo.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 415 and Skertchly. Qkaranby Ataiyero and one informantat Ilara. Egunda Egutanis given by Wyndhamand an informantat Ilepa. In Cuba it is called Ogunda. and Ogunda or Egitan by Ogunlqye. Ogouda by Alapini. Clarke. all these forms are clearly related.Quenum. Ogunda (IIr2).Ogunda and Oguda by Parrinder. and Garnierand Fralon give Akla for the Ewe. and Gouda by Le Herisse. Okonron and Okouron are given by Dennett and Okuron by Monteil. Eguntan or Egutan is an accepted alternativename. Ogwutp is given by Boston and Ejita by Bradbury for the Igala. and Garnierand Fralon give Abla for the Ewe. This is given as Qkanran or Okanran by most Yoruba sources. Spieth. Egutan by Lijadu.and Trautman. Except for the two alternativenames. Okannaby Frobenius. Orgunda. and Akla by Burton. For Agbigba. 9. Qbla by Armstrong Qkanran. Qkanran.and Skertchlygives Unun as an alternativename. Otura) and Skertchly'sAkli. and Monteil.Qkanlan. For Agbigba. In Cuba it is given as Okanlan.Kuda by Ellis.. Guda is given by Spieth and Fiawoo.and QkQnrQn. This figureis most often given as Ogundafor the Yoruba. Qkanranby Alapini. and Eguntan and Egunda by Epega.Herskovits. Qkanranand Okaranby Johnson.For the Ewe.Qkaranor Qkara by Lucas.and Eguntanby Odum9layQ. and Skertchly. Guda and Gudgji are given by Maupoil. Fiawoo. Abala is given by Herskovits. Eguda by Clarke. In Cubait is usually given as Obara. Ogunta is given by Clarkeand my two informants. and Qbara by Beyioku. Bradburygives Eghita for 8. and O Bara by Grandin. .Except for Qtunwa (cf.Qkaran. Qbaraand Obarawere given by the Yagba Yoruba. and Qkai by Bradburyfor the WesternIbo. S. For Agbigba. and Qvba by Bradburyfor Benin. Obaraby the Igbira informant.and :lkran are given by Parrinder.
Eka and Ika by Clarke. Osa is given by all available sources. by Armstrong for the Idoma. and Garnier and Fralon give Ka for the Ewe. Spieth. are given by Herskovits. Fiawoo. but Eturup9n is an accepted variant and Qlgbgn is an alternative name. Maupoil gives Ika. Ossa by Wyndham.416 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION Benin and both Ejite and Ogbute for the Western Ibo. Osu by Grandin. Monteil. Troukpen by Le Herisse. For Dahomey. and I Ku by Grandin. and my two informants. Ellis. than to the Agbigba alternative. Oturup9n and IturupQn by informants at Ilara. For Dahomey. o1. and Esa by Fiawoo and Garnier and Fralon. Iji Qka. Oturupgn and EturupQn are given by Ataiyero. Qtulukpon by Maupoil. EturapQn by Clarke. and Sa by Burton. If?. Odum9layQ. Quenum. Le Herisse. Except for Faa and I Ku. Oyinkan. both probably due to typographical errors. Sa is given by Spieth. and it is identified as an alternative name by Ogunlcy9 and by informants at Ibadan. For Agbigba. Eka by Frobenius. and Ql1gbQn Meji and GbQmQpQn are given by Q(iga as an alternative name for OturupQnMeji. This figure is given as Qsa or Osa by most Yoruba sources. and IturupQn by an informant at Ibadan. Ica. Ba is given by Skertchly and Ta by Quenum. These forms are closer to the Ifa name. Awonon L?lo. In Cuba and in Brazil. Troukpin by Quenum. and by Bradbury for Benin. Ogunbiyi. Ika is given by most Yoruba sources. with L?lo. Ika (2122). Monteil. and Oturuqua by Frobenius. Lelo Jime (another inversion of meji). 1ka is given by Boston and Bradbury for the Igala. with Lelo as an alternative name. Johnson. and Ogunbiyi. Qka. EturupQn by an informant at Ileqa. Toulouk- . 1]ka is substituted for Ika in combinations such as Iwori-]ka by Epega. tIka is given by Ataiyero. 12. and Lijadu substitutes Qka in the same combination. All of these are clearly variants on a single form. For the Ewe. and Ika by Parrinder and by informants at Ife and Ilesa. Oka is given by Alapini. This figure is usually given as OturupQn or Oturupon for the Yoruba. Ologbon is given by Wyndham. and BokQnon L?lo (Diviner Lqlo) as alternatives. Oturapyn and Oturupgn by Epega. Ejite or Ejita appears to be an alternative name. Maupoil. Ekka is given by Wyndham. Herskovits. and Trautman. QlQgbQn is given by OdumQlayQ and by informants at QyQ. and informants at Ara and Ilara. Clarke. Qsa (2111). For Dahomey. and informants gave Osa in Modakckq and Q(a in Ara. these are all variants on a single form. Qsa and Osa are given by Clarke. Ilesa. with Ika as an accepted variant. Bradbury gives Qha for Benin and Qsha for the Western Ibo. Le Herisse. If?. Skertchly. OturupPn (2122). Iwori-Qka. Osa and Oha were given by the Igbira informant. Herskovits. Osa by the Yagba Yoruba. and Qsa by Beyioku. Otouroukpon by Alapini. Clarke. and Ara. and Modakeke. and Faa as Yoruba forms. Trukpcn and Trukpen. and Ca. and in Brazil as Ika. Armstrong Qla for the Idoma. Bradbury gives Aka for the Western Ibo. i i. Oyinkan is given by Beyioku. Maupoil gives Turupen or Turukpon. For Agbigba. Ellis. and Trautman. Ka is given by Burton. and Boston and Bradbury give Qra for the Igala. In Cuba it is given as Ika. Oturupgn and Otrukpan are given by Parrinder. Ika or Itka. Osa is given by Alapini. Maupoil.
Quenum.Otarunby the Igbirainformant.Leteis given by Burton. Maupoil gives Tula with Qtula.and Ilara.Qtaru and Otaru by the YagbaYoruba. Etura is also given by Ataiyero and Clarke.Otuwa by Abraham.Le Herisse. and the Igbirainformant. and Etrukg. and Ture by Ellis. for and Bradburygives Atokpa for the Western Ibo and 1rhoxwa for Benin.Ilepa. Eturah by Wyndham.Skertchly. and Ireke by Monteil. Otoura by Alapini.Oturawunby Odum9lay9. For Dahomey.. Qtura. In Cubait is Irete. Durapin by Ellis. Irete. and Skertchly.Lete is also give for the Ewe by Spieth. Otre and Otle by Armstrong for the Idoma. Tukpe by Fiawoo. In Cubait is Otura. i.e. For Dahomey. Except for Maupoil'salternative names. and Bradburygives Etule for the Western Ibo and Etur9 for Benin. and in Brazilit is Irete.and the two alternativenames. and most commonly Etura. and Garnierand Fralon.Both Oturaand Etura were given by informantsat Ife.Ifrt? by Johnson. OturupQnis also phonetically difficult and there are some apparent misprints. Otura (1211). This figure is given as Irct? and Irete for the Yoruba in most cases.and Turu is given by Clarke. Otrupon. Iseba is given by Grandin. Otura is given by most Yoruba sources. and for Brazil Bastide gives Oturuson. Iwori-At?. all these are readilyrecognizableas variants.and Trautman.and Toula is given by Le Herisse. Qturaby Beyioku.Itrukpa by Armstrongfor the Idoma. Herskovits. Otua by Frobenius and an QyQinformant. Otua. Otura is given by Grandin.Tula is given by Burton. Oturais given by Beyioku. Fiawoo. and Trautman. Monteil. Eji Irt?e) and Qli Ate.Qtaru. Again these forms are closer to the Ifa name than to the Agbigba alternative. and Qkanran-At?. Otrupan. and Lcte by Herskovits.and Obul by Grandin. Ql1gbQnand L?lo. 13. . and Qtunwa as variants and Alafya or KalafyaAlafyaas alternativenames.It is given as Irete and 1rett by Parrinder. but all forms are clearly cognates except for Grandin's Obul. and Qt1le by informantsat MekQand Ilara. and Rete.Oture by Lucas. op. and Garnierand Fralon give Tula for the Ewe. Trupen by Monteil. For Agbigba. Otura and Oture by Parrinder. Turupwen by Burton. which was given by informants as Iler? Meji at Ilara and Eji 1l1re at MqkQ. and Lelu by Garnierand Fralon. and in Brazilit is Otura. Q(iga's GbQgmgpn. Qturaand Qtunwa by Maupoil. Maupoil also gives Oji-lct? (i.Atunukpa is given by Boston and Bradbury the Igala. Erette by Wyndham.Monteil. Otuwa or Qtunwa and Qturaappearto be acceptedvariants.Jlette (Ilette) by Frobenius. Fiawoo. Ret?.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 417 pin by Trautman. Otaru by Clarke. Lcte by Maupoil. Spieth. Qtaru is given by Beyioku.and Eture by Johnson. In Cuba it is given as Oturupon.1 Trautmannames Elemere as one of the parentsof this figure. lret? (1121). Irosu-At?. and Etura by informantsat Ibadan. For Agbigba. Ogunbiyi. Qturaand Oturaaregiven by Qsiga. Tumpwu by Skertchly.Otula is given by Boston and Bradburyfor the Igala. cit. Ate is given by Epega and Lijadu as a substitute for Irete in such combinations as Ogbe-Ate. p.and Qta by Ogunbiyi.Irete by Alapini. Eturuco.Q?iga gives Eji Fllmere as an alternative name. ]lflmqre or I Qsiga. but Etura and perhaps I4.Quenum.For the Ewe it is given as Trukpe by Spieth.
op. Despite these variations in the spelling of names and in the differentorders in which they are listed. as is Oni Badanby Q)iga. This figure is given as Q)q or without diacritical marks as Ose or Oshe in most Yoruba sources. Sowande.Ogunbiyi. Tsie by Fiawoo. and Che by Burton. Tse is given by Spieth. the Ewe. In Cubait is known as Ofun. and Maupoil's Qlongun and Langun as variants. Otche by Alapini. Bakere. p. and Bastidegives Ose for Brazil.Fu is given by Burton. and Benin by Bradburyand Armstrong.and by informantsat Ara and If?. Qse and Oshe by Parrinder. Qf (1212). and Ofu by Dennett.WesternIbo. and Garnier and Fralonfor the Ewe. Irate is given by Beyioku. 15.Ofun is given by Beyioku. and Skertchly. Och? is given by Boston for the Igala. and Trautman. Monteil.Qkin. Ofun is given for the Yoruba in nearly all cases. and the Igbirainformant. Fiawoo. Ofun (2121).Maupoilgives Oji Ofun. other forms are readilyrecognizableas modificationsof Ofun. Ogunbiyi. all these are clearlyvariants.Wyndham.and Trautman.Shi is given by Ellis.and Qry-(o)gun d(i)-ehin lkun at Ibadan. For Agbigba.Qse by Abrahamand Lucas.Fu.Ofoun is given by Alapini. Except for Maupoil's QlQgbon (cf.Except for the two alternativenames.Qleteis given by Bostonfor the Igalaand Ete for the Igala. Ogunbiyi. i. Qrangun Meji and Afin Meji are given as alternativenames for Ofun Meji by Q)iga. Frobenius. cit. Agba Meji is given as an alternativename for the primaryfigure by Epega. and in Brazil as Ofu. and Monteil. and Oche by Monteil. Otherinformantsgave QrangunI3kunat Ileqa. both Oche and Qkin were given by the Igbira informant. Ellis. all OturupQn). Ose is given by Grandin. Again these forms are closer to the Ifa name than to the Agbigba alternative.and Afin appearsto be another alternativename. Quenum.andmy two informants. and the Yagba Yoruba.and BabaAragun (Father Aragun). Aragun.and Qkin by Beyioku.Epega.4I8 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 13lre and Ate are probablyalternativenames. Qrangun is an alternativename with the Yoruba Qr9gun. Clarke. Oche by Bradburyfor the Igala and by Armstrong for the Idoma. Langun. For Dahomey. by Armstrong for the Idoma. All Cuban sources give Oche. the CubanAragun. Ofon by Grandin. Fun.QrQgun at Ilara. 16. and QlQgbonas alternatives. . Herskovits. For and Tche by Le Herisse.Monteil. Ch? by Herskovits and Maupoil. For Agbigba. and all others except Grandin'sIseba are derivativesof a single form. and Ose by Bradburyfor the WesternIbo and Benin. Clarke.O? by Clarke. Offunis given by Wyndham. For Dahomey. Quenum.Idoma. thereis a remarkable consistencyin the associationbetween the I QOiga. Ofu is given by Boston and Bradburyfor the Igala.Qche and Oji Qche by Maupoil. and by Spieth. who uses Afin as a substitutefor Ofun in the combinationIrosu-Afin. with Qlongun.and Fou by Le Herisse.IQrangun or Orangunis also given as an alternativename by Ataiyero. and Skertchly for Dahomey. Bradburygives Ohu for Benin. Lucas. Both Q)e and Qse are given by Johnson and QOiga. and Ofu. and by Bradburyfor the WesternIbo. with Qrangun as an alternativename. For Agbigba.Ofun and Ofu by Ataiyeroand Johnson. and Tche by Garnierand Fralon..Okin by Clarke.
Bakare makes four errors. forty errors are found in the Dahomean listings.Monteil.giving the figure i i i for both Ogbe and Qyeku while omitting the figure 2222 (Qyqku). Clarke.Maupoil. ratherthan that a variantpatternexists in Dahomey. and Qbara. two by Bakare. (122I) and 1121).including an incomplete list by Bertho from which all but four nameswere omitted. The exceptions can be taken with complete assuranceto be errors. one each by Abraham. and he reverses Qbara (I222) Quenumalso has four errors. Odumglay9. Quenum.listing 2121 three times. Ataiyero. but the Ifa names and figures are both given in fifty-threeof the lists available.he also reverses The only confirmation. Ika (2122) and Iretq(II2I). Wyndham. Both reverse Ogbe (IIII) and Qyeku (2222).while omitting I222 and correctlyfor Ika but incorrectlyfor OturupQn and these two errorsare repeatedin another edition of the same publication 2212. Ilara.and Ilepa.but he reversesthe figuresfor Ika (2122) and Oturupgn and for Q(? (I212) and Ofun (2121). In these fifty-threeIfa lists. Grandin. For the Yoruba we have thirty-threelists with seven by Epega. In addition. only forty-eight errors have been found. S. this suggests that Monteil followed Le Herisse'slist. or about i . or only 25 per cent.Herskovits.Bastide makes one error. For the Yoruba. $owande. Monteil and Le Herisse each have twelve errors out of the sixteen figures. giving i i I for both Ogbe and Qycku.and none in the four Cubansources. and omitting three figures (2II2. and Trautman.again reversing Ogbe and Qycku. Of these. for Cuba the list of one informantand three manuscripts. once correctly for Q?e but incorrectlya second time for Iwori. in which there are 836 associations of names with figures.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 4I9 figures and the names.per cent. and as they are not confirmedby other Dahomeansources. and Le Herisse omits figure I221 but gives 1212 twice. three by Beyioku. making a total of seven errorsin thirty-threeYorubalists with 528 associations. fact. or about 6 per cent. Skertchly.and one informant each from Ara. There are no errorsin the two lists for the Ewe of Togo and Ghana. Maupoil.or in Bertho's very incomplete list. Ogunbiyi. Q(iga. For the Ewe we have two lists by Spiethand by Garnierand Fralon. Eleven of these twelve errorsare identical. and give Iwori (2II2) as Edi. Monteil gives Edi (I22I) as Iwori.two by Frobenius(the names in a third being illegible).For Dahomey we have thirteenlists with two by Alapini and one each from Burton. is in two of Skertchly's the figures for Ogbe and Qyeku.Le Herisse. correctlyfor Ofun but incorrectly the figure 1122 (Irosun)incorrectlytwice for Edi and Irqt?. in four errors. three by Parrinder.Each separatelisting is a possible source of errors. with two sources accounting for more than half. . Lucas. F. Parrinder(I953) repeatstwo common Dahomeanerrors.the lists of Herskovits.Ife. graphical. Oturuppn (2212) and Otura (I2II).listing the figure (2212) for Iwori and Oturuppn.For Brazil. Both Burton and Ellis make the same error. giving the figure I122 and Q)? (I212). Ibadan.. Qkanran (222i) and Qsa (2III). and Trautman. Ogunley?. correct. Lucas repeatsthe error of Burton and Ellis. Grandinhas six errors. Some of the lists give only the names and some record only the diagramsof the figures. Qbara (1222) and Ogunda (1112).There are no errorsin the two lists of Alapini. and for Brazil one list by Bastide. which may be typo2122.giving the name of Edi as Irosun and of OturupQn(2212) as Ika.Ellis. listing the figure 2122 three times.
1221 is not represented and hence not named. 4: I) corresponding to Bradbury's Ose. and again in 5:3 as Obi and Ebi. 5:2) corresponding to Bradbury's Etule and Otura in Ifa. 12. 9. i the four columns are equivalent to Ogbe. 'The Meaning and Method of Afa Divination among the Northern Nsukka Ibo'. in Cast no. which corresponds to Bradbury's Ogbi and the Ifa name Ogbe. 1112 and 2111 are reversed. while omitting the figure 1212. 6. There are no errors in the two lists of Agbigba names with thirty-two associations given by Beyioku and Ogunbiyi (Clarke gives only the names). 0000. as Uhu (2:3) corresponds to Bradbury's Ulushu. 14. or about 7-7 per cent. 2. He regards the names of the figures as a secret language giving the meaning of the divination. 7. XOOX. with Ogute. xI. The figure I i i (0000) is given in Cast no. Shelton. x6. for I 56 associations in the ten Agbigba lists. the columns are read from right to left and then read upside down from left to right. or in the five lists with eighty associations recorded by Armstrong. 3:3. whereas Qkara (I5:I) corresponds to Bradbury's Qkai and the Ifa name Qkanran. OXOX. XOOX. and with Qha (i :4) corresponding to Qsha. 8. I seriously question his description of the method. all attributed to one source. o1. 1222 and 2221 are also reversed as Qbara (3: I. 26:3) to Ofu. and he reads the strings from left to right. on Afa (i. 0000.e. 15: 3) corresponding to Bradbury's Aka and to Ika in Ifa. 3. then the rows are read from top to bottom starting at the left side and then from bottom to top starting at the right. The relatively small proportion of errors for most observers supports the suggesAustin J. Despite the author's statement that he is an initiated afa-caster. are correct. OXXO. Iwori. and Ijite (3:4. i. Boston. XOOO. According to my informants on Agbigba. 0000. and Egale (4:4. 4. Thus the figures for Shelton's Cast no. 5:4. However. and with Ete (2: 2. equivalent to the numbers 2 and i respectively in the notation used above and to X and O in Armstrong's article reporting Bradbury's findings among the western Ibo. 4:3. and Eturukpa (I 5: 2) to Bradbury's Atokpa and to OturupQn in Ifa.' He uses C to indicate the ' closed' and O to indicate the ' open' position of seeds in the divining chains. which has just reached my desk. for example. 4:2. with Eka (5:I. there are twelve errors in an article. American Anthropologist. lxvii. once correctly for Irosun but incorrectly the second time for Qq?. I would read: I. Finally 1212 and 2121 are reversed with Ose (I:3. and Bradbury. 2122 and 2212 are reversed. column i.e. 26:4) corresponds to Bradbury's Qgali or Qgai. OOXO. OXOX. 6 (I965). and Uhu (3:2. The names for I22 and 2211 are reversed. corresponding to Bradbury's Ogoli. but if this is disregarded the names of the figures represented in the columns can be identified. 0000. 2222 (CCCC) is given in 6: I and 26: i as Akwo and Akwu. only three or 20 per cent. 13. 6:4) corresponding to Bradbury's Ete and Irct? in Ifa. 15. In all there are twelve errors. . XOXO. 26:2. XOXO.420 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION twice. 'Gwute. Ofun. OXOO. Again 1211 and 121 are reversed with Oture (2: . OOOX. 5. 15:4) corresponds to Bradbury's Qbai and the Ifa name Qbara. corresponding to Bradbury's Akwu. unless one reads all the figures from the bottom up. On this basis the names of fifteen of the sixteen figures can be identified and compared with Bradbury's names for the Western Ibo. OXXO. 1441-55. and only from left to right. names of the figures) to line ' a ' in each cast. in the two lists with twenty-nine associations by my two Agbigba informants. 2:4. 2112 is given in : 2 and 6: 3 as Ogoli and 'Goli. Agbigba) divination among the Northern Nsukka Ibo by Shelton. and Ogunda. It is not clear what Shelton means by restricting his 'meanings' (i. 6:2) corresponding to Bradbury's Ogbut? and Ejite.
or to their deliberateattemptsto conceal the truth.the recitalsoutside those of the sixteen Principal Odu.it is not difficultto distinguishreliablefrom unreliable reporting. the growing adulterationof the cult would tend to be would be likely to have debauched greatestand where corruptionand commercialism the system to the greatest extent. Le Herisse ( 2). The area was chosen purposely to exclude. II. This leaves one error for Brazil out of 16 associations(6 per cent. Quenum (4).). and myself.and among the Afro-Americansin Cuba and Brazil. these are completely differentboth in their names and in their order.Grandin'srenderings of the names are especiallyinaccurate. along a line to the east of QyQ and Oshogbo to Ikirun and Okuku.).).and only six errors in all (0o8per cent. stretching northwardsfrom a few miles south of Iwo.missionaries.and Africans. as far as possible.). two for Dahomey out of 116 associations (I 7 per cent.to uncorrectedtypographiin cal errors. the Ewe in Togo and Ghana. we still have 46 Ifa lists with 734 associations.But whether the errorsare due to the variety of observerswho have written on Ifa.).Regionalvariationsin the orderof the sixteenfigureshas been suggestedas one possible alternative.). Idoma. In contrast.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 421 tion that variationsin the rank order of the sixteen figures are not due to errors or ignorance on the part of the diviners. Since we can be positive in our identificationof the errorscited above. has yielded interesting informationabout the complex arrangementof the whole system not discerniblefrom a study of the single Odu. it was felt. although sixteen similar figures are used in the Sikidy divination of Malagasy and in the Islamic sand divination of West and North Africa. anthropologists. this study provides an unusual test of ethnographicreliability. Ogunbiyi. includingexplorers. This material has been gathered over a period of years in a strip of country in Western Nigeria about twenty-five miles wide. sophisticated districts where.or to their informants.6 per cent. cent. and by Armstrong. McCLELLAND THEcollection of materialfrom each of the QmQ-Odu.and to repeatingthe mistakesof earlierinvestigators. It canbe takenas establishedthat the sameIfa figuresare known by the samenames throughout Yoruba country. and Shelton . and WesternIbo to be cognatealso.Eliminatingonly those authorswho made four or more errors. and Bradbury(o per cent. Boston.). indicating a separate historicaldevelopmentif not separateorigins.Armstrong considers the names of the figures recordedat Benin and among the Igala. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NUMBER IN THE ODU OF IFA E.colonial officials. and none for Cubaout of 64 associations(o per cent. and with some modificationsin pronunciationand spelling among the FQnin Dahomey. Grandin (6).Many of the mistakes appear to be due to carelessness investigationand note taking. three for the Yoruba out of 496 associations(o.including Bakare(4 in two lists) for the Yoruba. Nor arethereany errors in nine additionalAgbigba and/orIfa lists with I4I associationsrecordedby Beyioku. none for the Ewe out of 32 associations(o per Skertchly (4). and Monteil (I2) for the FQn. M.but errorson the part of the investigatoris another. for Ibo Agbigba.
Difficulties springing from normal failures of memory were largely overcome by the careful collating of several accounts on the same theme. Since the whole arrangement of the 2 56 Odu and QmQ-Odu is seen to depend on the order in which the names of the Odu appear.2 J. were all Babalawo well advanced in years who. Clarke. . 2 See Nigerian Studies. lxix (I939). that in his corrected list he has restored the right order. Journalofthe RoyalAnthropologicalInst. Irosun Meji Top two nuts concave 6. on the strength of what he considered to be ' a logical arrangement of symbols ' in the figures themselves. 5. gave what he calls a' corrected ' list. Wherever any conscious manipulation of facts or methods was even suspected. . . 9. 235-56. that is. twenty-two in all. who collected his information in Western Nigeria. enough data have been collected to show a calculated mathematical framework. Ika Meji Upper middle nut concave 12. the result of the retention of 2 palm nuts in the left hand. D. instead of seventh and eighth. after a careful comparison between his own and other lists. they had no connexion. Ofun Meji Upper middle nut and bottom nut concave Name of Odu This list agrees with that of Dennett. associated with him. He maintains that there is an appropriate order in the way in which the patterns fall with regard to the number of concave nuts.422 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION In order that the material should be as trustworthy as possible. and he makes Ircte immediately precede Otua in the eleventh place instead of following him at fourteenth. Iwori Meji Odi Meji Outer two nuts concave 4. . The Qm9-Iloffu lists recognise this sequence whereas Dennett's list upsets it by placing 7 before 5. Qse Meji Top nut and lower middle nut concave I6. 19Io. however. In it Qbara and Qkanran are placed fifth and sixth. Irete Meji Top two nuts and bottom nut concave I5. There proved to be no variation in this. Qsa Meji Bottom three nuts concave II. Ejiogbe All nuts concave' 2. that is the characteristic pattern. that ' 5. either as regards the place of each Odu in the list or the figure. however tenuous. 7. top 3) is a proper sequence.QbaraMeji Top nut concave 8. respectively. Qw9nrin Meji Bottom two nuts concave 7. His figureas the Opelf showsit I. QkanranMeji Bottom nut concave 9. With these precautions. Ogunda Meji Top three nuts concave IO. (top I. top 2. Otua Meji Top nut and bottom two nuts concave 14. would have had a long and careful training when the status of the cult was very high indeed. Oturupon Meji Lower middle nut concave 13.'3 The I A nut concave side up is equivalent to i mark on the Ifa board. 3 See'Ifa Divination'. Qyeku Meji No nuts concave Middle two nuts concave 3. a list was first compiled of the order given as correct throughout the area selected. It differs in two respects from the one above. The informants used. they were men and women who had had no education in the European sense of the word. in their youth. certain limiting factors were imposed on the collection. with Christianity. The place order is given below. the material so gained was not accepted.
West African Religion.as will be shown. from an enormous egg. But and His characteristics his origin vary considerably. C.' There is. S.G.Any discussionof the variousversions is beyond the scope of this article. others from the Sudan. a feature on which ever. The History of the Yorubas. he was assistedby Ajagunmanle. the concept of duality. 1962. F. 'heads'. the figure three has no significancein Ifa.it is more important to regard the Odu as arrangedin pairs.consultedspecifically this point. I894. Man. see Olodumari: God in Yoruba Belief. It is by no means easy to arrive at a clear conception from the complex and mystifyingstoriesthat overwhelmthe inquirer.and function of the Odu. Parrinder.In the areaunderdiscussionhere. Fancies and Fetish. Idowu.and so on. R. and sixteen helpers. Farrow. they evolved a way by which wisdom could be spreadthroughoutthis new environmust inherit wisdom and teach it. is said to have been the son of a Boa called Ere who hatchedhim.and.C. system mathematically The fact that the Odu are regardedas both personagesof importanceand also as groups of verses. connected with certain constellationsand also endowed with the wisdom of the gods.This explainswhy he bears his name.S. or chaptershas its importancein this dual conception runningthrough the whole. It is such an integral part of the that it gives a consistentinternallogic. I9Io. S. Africa. The Religion of the Yorubas.S. Routledge.P. the first is said to have arrivedmysteriouslyat Ile-Ifq. Olumide Lucas. S.I96x. It is not impossible that the recitalsthere may also differin number. Moreover. among them Aranisan. In the areachosen as a randomsamplefor investigation.M. together. Ellis. In the districtvisited he is believed to have been the son of Qrunmin and the one-breasted1Flaand to have been of divine origin.K.the chief of all wisdom. F . W.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 423 is temptingenough but it does not agree with the facts as they are revealedby theory a study of the recitalsattributedto the Odu involved. on that all things were Babalawo. 1926. he lived and taught in Ile-If? having brought the system with him-some said from Abyssinia.C. nature. a representative It is roundthis mysteriousfigurethatall the varyingaccretionsof storyhaveclustered.It will be noted that the lists examined arranged by Clarkewere compiledeitherin the IlQrinareaor in Dahomey. the story runs like this. Dennett.if so the over-allarrangement could be adjustedto be acceptable. one characteristic the whole system is based. B. 1921. The list given hereis convincinglysupportedby two things: firstby the underlying myth which accountsfor the existenceand the dual natureof the Odu. it is a contractionof olodo (owner of the pot) pmp-ere (son of Ere). A. 2 For the consideration of the derivations of Olodumare.the supremebeing.. and secondly of by the numberand arrangement the 240 QmQ-Odu. having travelledthere from 'the cradle of man' stated to be 'near the River Siminin'. all divine and all representingparts of the heavens. His name is given as For instance: Yoruba SpeakingPeoplesof the Slave Coast of W. If this were to be possible. There is great diversityin the accounts of the origin.others from an unspecifiedsea-shorewhere he learntit from ESu. ment. Faith. D.. 'Ifa Divination'. whoever he was. Olodumare. I948. in the beginning of the world. Nigerian Studies. howcommon to them that concerns us here.K.2 In due course others came into being in the same way. statedcategorically in pairsin forwardand reverseorder.it was assertedthat the order depends on the time factor of the arrivalof each Odu in Ile Ifs. When Qrunmilawas sent by Olodumareto make a new world and set newly createdman the on it. trustedcourierof Aranisan. Pieced together.J.. There are many good accounts.P. Bascom. sturdy as a great water pot (odu). Johnson. 1942.
The paraphernalia of their art reflects the duality inherent in the system. While they lived in Ile-If9 they taught and initiated thousands of pupils but these were never called Odu-always Babalawo. All these I Surprisingly. The Qp1le has eight half-nuts. 1941. a seventeenth claimant who was not acceptable as he was not a twin. The twins. Ogunbiyi. consulted Ifa through the Alado of Ado. became the first in rank and importance. a Nupe woman. Of these four there are two possible interpretations-they may fall either with the outer. The original sixteen are stated to be of divine origin and to be the earthly counterparts of heavenly beings. Each stands for four entities. The objects used as ' messengers ' by the clients to convey their questions are used two at a time and hidden in two hands. then. convincingly explained. . side uppermost or with the inner. Ejiogbe. This paste is still used in the initiation of a Babalawo. negative or affirmative. even though he was the son of E?u himself by QSun. ' The Sanctions of Ifa Divination' and T. Ifa was accepted in the town during the reign of Alafin Ofinran. came to Ile-Ifq in a definite order. A. He and his Chiefs were initiated.. herself a powerful witch and mother of Ejiogbe. Each was a twin. Similarly. The procedure is too well known to need elaboration here. or was mysteriously translated to heaven-both stories are current -he had taught and initiated sixteen beings who had presented themselves at Ile-Ifq to learn the system. 2 Good accounts are given by W. Ifa had been brought to the town by Arugba Ifa.2 It is necessary to point out this recurrence of 2 and its degrees. or concave. R. troubled by disasters including a great fire and an epidemic of smallpox. According to Johnson (I921). He is thought to have learnt the system from Ifa himself who taught him how to finger-print by sending down from heaven a copy of all the Odu figures printed on a huge eggshell with a mixture of pounded camwood and wet chalk. On the death of her husband she went to Qta and became the head of a powerful witches' cult. son of Qrunmila and Q?un. a famous Babalawo. it is thrown so that it must fall in two parallel groups of four.424 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION Agbaniregun. is also significant. the sixteen palm nuts used in finger-printing will be manipulated eight times. side turned up. It was given to the writer with much misgiving and only after the eating of salt and copious libations of oil poured on the earth with prayer. The vital importance of a dual birth is to be seen in the position of Qs(tua. Before he died. They were all of noble family and curious circumstances attended their birth. He has a recital though it is not formally acknowledged and never chanted out loud. though a white cloth has been substituted for a giant egg. an essential qualification. a double mark. if there is one palm nut retained in the left hand and a single mark equivalent to a concave nut if two are left. a pair on earth and a pair in heaven. He was told that misfortune would continue till he accepted Ifa.' An appendix has been provided giving some facts about their parentage and some alleged characteristics. She was forbidden to practise it. who. when she married Onigbogi's father. The number 4096. Old Qy9 is not included. The number of possible arrangements of Odu is 256. J. YorubaOraclesand their Modesof Divination. after each 'racking'. He was attached to Agbaniregun and acted as a special courier from earth to Ifa in heaven. Bascom. and marks or finger-prints will be made on the board arranged in two parallel lines. The son of such parents inspired dread and could not be wholly disregarded. constantly mentioned but not. Journalof the Royal Anthropological Inst. They bear two possible interpretations. or convex. equivalent to a convex nut. The association of the Odu with their towns of origin is very strong. as yet.
g. in descendingorder.N. the Death-Postponer. Ogbe will visit the thirdOdu on the list. a sure guide to the orderin the list of the two Odu . etc. the Conqueror. therefore. of one Odu being eliminatedeach time.This is in fact so. The sum of the whole is 240.it is possible to detect a kind of measure. and there will be 26 recitals. But there was no doubt or variation on the form of the arrangement. Iwori. Odu 3 will follow suit and make I3 visits.is seen to be an arithmetical progression. Odu are thought of as actual kings with distinguishing attributes. When this pair of visits has been concluded. Whenthis partof the cycleis completed. The numberof recitalsis.B.the secondOdu will begin the sameprocess with the next Odu. in some cases. of Even more strikingis the arrangement the 240 QmQ-Odu. Topical referencesto events recordedon the way are includedin the recitalattributedto this visit. Irete. for instance. Quite apartfrom the symbolism involved. Ejiogbe works his way like this through the whole list and so makes I 5 visits. receive 14 return visits. Conceiving them first as personages and referringto the supporting myth. The proverb 'A priest who fails to return a visit from another nullifies the effect of it ' (Awo ti a nrelerf. They makeroyal progresses. One this explainedthat Orunmilaarranged schemeso that 'all the world ' could come into contact with the Odu before they went back to Heaven. Then the host Odu pays a returnvisit and the same procedureis followed. He joins his host in servicesand consultationsand feastingsfor a short time.They are set under the names of two Odu in each case.a statelychoreographic movement of which the basic featuresare a constantpairingoff. in his capacityas a monarch. is visited in return 5 times and there will be 30 recitals.having worked itself out. it gives a certainamount of intellectualsatisfaction. through the kingdoms. It is a geometric progression. The return visit would be under the names Qyeku-Ogbe.from 30 to o.This movement is repeated. addedto the I6 single Odu. since the last Odu cannotvisit himself.and a fixedpath to treaduntil the measure. Iwori.Informantsused the words for paths. which.Odi-Qse or Iret?Ofun. Apela-Odu.in others. be visited 13 times. His journeytakes sixteen days. comes to a naturalend. Thus. The motif is always seen in personal terms. sacrifices The return visits are seen as necessary. a regularchange in partners. ti ko releawo Pgb?r?.and Ij9ba). Agba Adanuni). Following the sameroutinehe will make 14 visits. Another referredto the thatwere obligatorywhen the king' steppingout 'returnedto his kingdom. roads. and there will be 28 recitals. It is true that. gives 28. underthe names Ogbe-Iwori and Iwori-Ogbe. e. one can fill in the detailsof anothermathematical concept. Workingbackfrom the namesand numbers of the actualrecitals. Ejiogbe visits Qyeku and the recital is under their combined names-Ogbe 'Ycku. Each Odu.The arrangement Odu. until Ofun is reached. and kingdoms (Amunlumala-Odu. and anotherpairof visits and anotherpairof recitalswill result.The movement was understood. The table illustratesthe progression. the motif was perceivedbut there was confusion as to why the QmQ-Oduwere arrangedin this way. 425 This cannot be due to chance. One referredto the visits as times when one Odu 'escorted' another (ti sin). thus. Iwori.goes to visit the Odu next below him in rank-that is the next below him on the list. the Babalawocould give no idea of the underlyingpattern. divining on the way.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION numbers represent the scale of two and may be written z2-Z3-24-28-2z2. He passes through his own realm.
422.that the reverse journeysdid give a negativereply. Nevertheless. They were asked to go through the Qm(-Odu from the beginning. In no circumstancescan an Odu make a forward journey with one above him on the list.having regardto the situation and the problem of his client. thirty followed by twenty-eight. in an Qm9-Odu.But it is necessaryto point out that negativeis not the same as unfavourableand that thereforeno adverse significanceattachesto the Odu concerned. They warmed to the work and chantedin correct sequence the first two groups of recitals. a dose of medicine guaranteedto stimulatethe sluggish mind. and.The whole recital will have strong internalrelevance.Some blurringof this patternmay be due to the attemptsof clients to ensure the objectivity of the answers elicited by various tricks such as reversingthe normalquestioningprocedureor using a ' messenger' againstits own fixed symbolism. they do not go farenough. sincethey have had to be formed on observationsmade during unrelatedsessions. after identifying the Odu turnedup. 424. the answeris favourableand if the converse but is true. If our time and stamina had permittedthey would doubtlesshave gone on to the end. picking it up from one another. The fact that skilled Babalawounderstandthe movement was illustratedduring a session in Okuku arrangedby the kind officesof the Qba. It may well be that the definiteframeworkhad helped them to memorizethe enormousamount of lore involved. selects from it what he considersan appropriate recital. 3. right hand of the patterntakes precedencewhen the figure is to be identified. According to the normal procedure. D. (b)a piece of poetry.they fit in with the idea suggestedby the figuresthat in the originalform of the systemthe rule was. in the case of the very dullest. without the benefit of information about the whole arrangement. J. It was clearthat. clearly.He can choose from anythingup to seventeenor 426 See p. Even aftera trialperiod of two years. Complicatedconjectureshave been made by workersin this field2that if. .They set one of their numberto call out the namesof the pairsand anotherto give a sign for each new set to begin. 3 There were three ranks: i. Twelve Babalawo were present.a genuine and significantceremonialin the system contrived to spreadwisdom through the world. the senior name comes first. above. Osria-who could worship and divine but not eat the sacrifices. see note i on p.3 Two questions arise: whether a diviner selects from the recitalsarrangedwithin this frameworkonly those that seem likely to suit the needs of his client. Clarke and others. The form is. and whether he interpretsthe odurecital variously according to the status of the client or the natureof his problem. 2. Olori-who could 2 worship but not divine.' It must be rememberedthat in reading either the 9p?l1 or the the finger-prints. some fell out even before the first stage of competencewas reached.unfavourable. He must only proceedin reverseorderin responseto an initial visit.This readingfrom right to left has been put forwardas an indication of Arabic origin. precisely. AwQn-atq ni fa-a fully trained Babalawo. whether they fully understoodwhat was behind it or not. above. (c) a story (myth) in illustration. the Babalawo.A negative answer may be the one desiredif the questionerframes his requestaccordingly. Not every recruitmanagedit.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION mentioned above. mostly in incantationlanguage. It will contain (a) instructions for a sacrificeto avert a particular or obtaina particular evil blessing. they saw it as a whole.
The analogous story shows how some other person escaped from the particular evil by careful obedience to the instructions for sacrifice. viz. But. A prolonged consultation with Babalawo is said to have taken place and the Chiefs were advised to move it. Idowu gives examples of spurious recitals that have ' The case of the moving of the town of Iwo is legendary. The emotional response of the client is strong. they moved to the site of the present town which is on a low plateau of rock surrounded by thick bush. The reply has always been the same. therefore. enable him to know without being told. is automatic in its responses. So there is always the hope that prayer may induce him to avert an evil fate. They try to equate the sanctions behind Ifa with the teaching of Christ and the Revd. can select appropriately. the statement is made 'Let him sacrifice according to his means '. The town used to be flooded badly in the rainy season. Unprotected and in an exposed position. He continues until the suppliant admits that he has heard something significant. In some of the Odu alternate sacrifices are given and. A greater threat to the continued existence of Ifa as a trustworthy cult lies in the attempts of well-meaning but misguided devotees to find some way of correlating it with the Christian faith. according to the status of the client. in the consultation itself and any fear is cushioned by the belief in the efficacy of sacrifice and prayer. Fear of illness and death seems to be always present. it still survives and confidence in it is surprisingly resilient. B. There is no finality. since Orunmila is said to be present at the dispatch of every person into the world and to be aware of the destiny of all. The first site was at the confluence of the rivers Qba and Qshun. Very rarely indeed do such sentences as 'This client should begin to put his house in order' or ' This suppliant must sacrifice often lest a sorrowful cry may reach his ears '. on the advice of the Ifa priests. if he wishes. and consumed regularly.427 can sets of verses. Perhaps faith in it dies hard because it is founded on a theory of numbers and. they consuited Ifa again about moving to a place more easily defensible. on the whole. and although the obvious greed of unscrupulous charlatans has brought the system into disrepute. if the suppliant takes pains to hide his question or his purpose from him. They did so and settled about two miles to the south of the present town. in some. It calls for no emotional reactions. (ii) For an important or rich client the Babalawo often recites more than one set. After twenty castings. he is thought to be able to affect it. the oracle is reassuring since no suppliant is deprived of hope. Again. TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION . the medicines given to him on his initiation. The number and kind of sacrifices are prescribed and any consultation can be unrevealing to the intermediary if a client so desires it. their army was in the field and did not return. The idea that variation in interpretation occur is strongly eighteen repudiated though it is admitted that the Babalawo could selectwith intent. During the tribal wars of the nineteenth century. Although the spread of education has increased the ranks of the sceptic and the scoffer. no acts of faith. because of this fact. I deal with this medicine in a further article. I have asked many people how the Babalawo. Group consultations and omnibus questionings still occur and the patience with which all possible alternatives to the solution of the problem are eliminated is still remarkable. or the even more suggestive words-' There is no sacrifice' occur. Two differences are acknowledged: (i) The sacrifice demanded is often increased or reduced.
WOm*I. -.B. ON cMXlJgOUP u.A cwlnlN .IOK OTURUPONOFVN 12 . Very lucky for hunters.- OBUNDA " IROSUN-0'.. 5 rrtT OCUNDAOS I I . The Church of Qrunmila is an interesting example of an attempt to raise the status of what is felt to be historically interesting but lamentably pagan. The reading is from right to left -OTUAI IQETE-IKA IK' . The patterns attributed to the Omo-Odu will consist of those of the two principal Odu whose names are combined 1--0ODI eg Odi-irosun will be-1 Irosun 1 2 2 2 2 1 N.JN DKA .R.AOKANRA-N 01 NOA- OSE OB90AOSE . ." N|eG9E OGUGND B*ARA EJ I 1 1 OrFBE - OVEUGE OSBE IWORI-OGBE U OYE K 2 2 2 2 2 2 ' -' Q9?KU OGBE. oWCN?..D01 r PSeT Cw.ROSUN. OTUA I 1 2 1 1 9SE . THE ODU OF IFA OGRE-OKAl.osuA OT7u10q- OT'-.KA-mPOSu .TUA.IRrTE OYEKU-9S: .A'6" 2 D9s.OSE 9SE -!ER TE IRETE 1 2 1 1 2 1 OSE 4 2 1 2 2 2 2 OFUN 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 0 Appendix Odu Ejiogbe Birthplace OtunEkiti Area and Parentage Characteristics Son of Qrunmilaby Qsun.OONRIN OGD[- CCE -OSA OW?NRIN-OGBE OBARA-OCFOE oYtKU-CWONR NwOYEku-OARA eaRA OWONRIN-CYEKU .I-IIOGUNICO- 18 . In a principal Odu the two sides are identical 2.UOTNU-R N DTURUP91OrODI D00. Shifted away from original site to Ogbom9sho area . Orisunsolais often referredto in the verses..0S5 N 10 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 8 2 1 1 . xu. IP N-E 'P QSFUN SE IROSVNOrUN 1 2 2 1 .uPp4 OTURU Os PON 2 OTUA-PON T - qsS QSE o2uP OTUA.IWORC OCBE. Son of the King of Apa by Qyekun. daughterof the King of Qtun.uNo.I I I OGUNDAOOTUA OCUNDA- -.R:tE-I"OSUN _ 2 2 22 I OWONRIN 2 2 7 2 1 2 20 1 1 CWqNRIN' F. It is difficult to see how any of these attempts can find a parallel with the valid and self-supporting theory of numbers on which the Ifa divination system is based. First in importance and rank.K _ v 1 LI' - OFUN OOSE 1 1 oy.OfUN 28 2 2 1 1 22 TORUPpN- OFUN . nOS 24 I 1 1 1 2 2 JGaUO^..oflPao NA.A C.I.OoBE OFUN9YEKU-OTUAQVE KU.9 OG'JNDA o.IWORI 2 2 26 1 00 I 1 2 2 1 u DT.2. His name means 'walking crookedly'. His figure appearing during a consultation is said to ensure the killing of any quarry..IRETE QS -gSE OSA-OFUN OFUN 05A 2 14 3SA 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 IKA 2 2 2 2 2 2 GTURUPON ?A-OTuRUPO.RAN PSK -.cU OKANR4N-OqYEU I OGGUNDA- CF.-OYEDO oYEKU.7 IRE ..OBAR& 2 2 OKANRAN o. SA A IETE..B.Su- OGUNOA ?OF OGJNoA OGUNA* r OFVN 16 1 1 2 ?SA.-. His twin. He is described as clumsy in build with a slight curvature of the spine. The figure 1 represents either a half-nut which falls with its concave side uppermost or One mark mode on the finger -printing board The figure 2 represents either a convex nut or o double mark on the board N.9 SE OSE-IKA OTURUPqN- IKA- OFUN OFUN. ~ ~ QS9-ROSUN rOFUM-IROSUN _ _ _ _ OWONRIN ODARA 2 2 . Qyeku A4pa (Ogun's town).I OCUNOA- 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 OGUNDA 1 T 1 1 OTURuPOCUNDA OTUA.Sru. ".OYEKU RErt-OYEKU OSE-OYK.428 TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION appeared which follow some of the stories to be found in the Bible. mIOSUUN .u pSAo YtKU 30 2 2 IWORI IWOr.D' o A. OGUNDA COBE-IRETE 06BE-Os5 OGBf OGBE-OTUA OGBE CTUAIRETi-OGBE 9SE.N.OTUA IRETE.OFUN OrUN.OS.IO OrEKU-OKANNRAN 9"Ft. SUI ?SA -. IROSUNROSU`- OA eAIROSUN OWN".. IROSItN .UI qYEKU-OFUN OCUN-OYEKU 1 1 .OTU IKAIRETE REFERE NCE 1.
She was restored again by Esu. Son of Ogun. Terrifying person.Odu Iwori TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 429 and Characteristics Parentage Birthplace Igodo.e. He is sometimesreferred to as Apereodagba (short stool) as he was very Province near Ipo short in the legs.' Qsa . The name means nakedness. the East. In Senegal. Qrunmilais said to be with Qwonrin.Finding that his wife did not conceive he drugged her before having intercourse with her. the God of Iron. ' Son of a fleeing woman. liu-Iper in Il9rin Son of the 1leju and Ibilola. called in for the purpose. because she was suspectedof being concernedin the killing of two people.Many of the moral aphorisms in the verses are attributed to him. to-life-when-melon-seeds-are-hammered Later contractedto Qbara. Noted for his wisdom. The name means 'son of a woman criminal'. Near Lagos His mother. Odi Irosun Qw9nrin Qbara Qkanran Ogunda Oko near Old Qy9.'he-who-comes'. Now in the OgboHe is said to have rapeda woman so violently that District m9sh9 her whole body broke up. She bore Qkanran to the king. She bore Irosun with no difficulty. Ota. His son Qbarawas born on the day when a resettled in OgboDistrict splendidcrop of melon seeds was being winnowed mgsho so he was called Olubarawaiye. His name means ' conceived in sleep '. In the beautiful prayerused in the initiation ceremony of a Babalawo. Itile Born of a woman who. was punishedby being madea slave. Born at Oko during a visit paid by Ogun to Oko. friend of Ogun. Destroyed and The Paramount Chief of Q19 worked a very large farm. Ogunda = 'the God of Iron broke it '. Iderein Ibarapaarea Born to the king and his highly strung wife as the result of a stratagem. Q9g. This Odu inspires fear. i. His name is variously translated: the two most common versions are that it is a corruptionof the word meaning scarcity and that it means 'from the East'. in Ketu Son of the king and born during a time of drought Gbegbekunegb1 and famine.He had relationswith her by force and Iwori was born as Godogodo a result. The King of Ogodo discovered a naked woman on Modern name is the bank of a streamwhere she had bathed. pursued and caught by the king of Otta. Persistentstory that he was a changearea ling but he brought good fortune.
Obscure references occur connecting him with the male cricket. Name from ]re-ni-e-te-man ' Son of woman trodden into the bog '. Origin. Le devin consulte l'oracle pour decouvrirl'Oduqui regit la destinee de son client: c'est un signe qu'il dessine dans la poussiere repanduesur la table de divination.430 Odu Ika TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION Bfirthplace and Parentage Characteristics Ika.les deux cas les plus compliques etant pratiques par des devins professionnels (les babalawo). But his prestige was always great. Very prudent.Born at a time when many strangerswere staying in land Sudan. Oturupon Otua to Godogoa or Hausa. IDestroyed in Son of King Onikanmogun by a delicate rather crooked woman thought incapable of having very early times. Two goats untied and left to roam on his birth-day. said to have been the first finger-printeron earth. II est regi par un esprit du meme nom que l'Odu. she was punished for wantonness. This is a referenceto her fate.Ikole area near Son of the King of Ikolo. Came his father's town-' strangersin the town '. and went to sleep on the way to Ile-Ife and so arrivedlast. near Iwo Iwgya Oniw9ya. L'oracle d'Ifa est anime par une divinite nommee Orunmila.Or Orangun. Tim9rrr His parents were King ]llemere and Ireile.Origin not known. Had boils on his testicles when he procreated his son. elle s'effectueselon trois processus de complexite variable. Ila Orangun. Grew up mischievous-plucked other soutii and settled people's kola-hence name 'plucker'. Irete se Ikolo. One story relates that he should have been the first Odu but that he drank too much palmwine. Its people came children.il implique toute une serie d'incantationset de mythes qui expliquentla situation . Name means 'child of damaged organ'. Said to have had extreme :-Ekiti dignity of demeanour because he was tall and Ik9le strong. Celle qui fournit les renseignementsles plus complets est le systeme de geomancie connu sous le nom d'Ifa. encore qu'on l'appelle souvent Ifa. King of Iw9ya. Qfun Resume DEUX ETUDES DE LA DIVINATION PAR IFA LESYoruba pratiquentun certain nombre de techniques divinatoires. Sent to Ipapo near Qy9 knowledge of Ifa back to his own people. gave ally called Ila Odo good advice to his fellow Odu who deferred to him.
Le devin peut jeter une corde ou une chaine a laquelle sont accroches huit objets semblables qui donnent des arrangementstete-queue. a d'autres divinites..et chez les descendantsdes Yoruba a Cuba. qui se disposent en deux colonnes de quatre. I1est bien evident qu'il y a seize signes possibles danslesquels les colonnes de droite et de gauche sont identiques. Son etude presente en outre une nouvelle information appreciableen tant qu'apercudes processus des devins. Ou bien. simplementdelimites. Ce sont la les Oduprincipaux et l'ordre selon lequel ils sont disposes de memoire par les devins est expose dans les deux articles precedents. ensuite de nouveau avec la main droite etc . Ce qui est particulierementinteressant. II ne se contente pas de degager l'etroite echelle de variations dans l'ordre des dispositions de l'Odu mais il apprecie aussi a leur juste valeur l'originalite et la veracite d'un grand nombre de descriptions ethnographiques de la divination par Ifa. eventuellement. il peut tenir seize noix de kola dans une main et en prendredans la main pleine autantque possible avec l'autre main. Le Dr. si le client arrive a ses fins.non seulement chez les Yoruba. en observant s'il en tombe une ou deux. .c'est la manieredont le systeme a ete incorpore aux conceptions cosmologiques des Yoruba. en allant de gauche a droite et de bas en haut. Un signe d'Oducomprend huit elements. McClellandmontrent donc que les Yoruba ont elabore une structurelogique dans leurs relations avec l'Oduqui se trouve exprimee a travers la mythologie du systeme. d'apres un tres grand nombre d'informateurs. McClellandanalyse le principe suivant lequel est structurel'ordre adopte par les membres de son echantillonnage de devins dans l'aire centrale des Yoruba. mais aussi chez des peuplesvoisins qui pratiquentle meme systeme. concernantl'ethnographieet l'histoire de l'Afrique occidentale. Ces deux etudes specialiseesde l'une des partiesdu systeme de divination par Ifa ont trait a des problemes d'un interet beaucoup plus etendu.TWO STUDIES OF IFA DIVINATION 431 du client en se referant a une situation archetypaleet en prescrivant certaines presente offrandes a pratiquer a l'esprit Odu et. Le professeur Bascom poursuit une enquete empirique sur l'ordre actuellement suivi..Les seize colonnes dans le tableaudes signes d'Odusont identiques aux signes utilises dans un systeme de geomancieoriginairede l'Antiquiteau Proche Orient. L'on dispose l'Odu sur la table de divination en marquantle fond avec un element d'abord de la main droite puis de la main gauche. Les analysesminutieusesdu ProfesseurBascom et du Dr.