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THE LANGUAGE OF IFÁ GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN IFÁ DIVINATION
In order to understand the oral tradition of Ifa it is necessary to have some grasp of the language of Ifa. The rituals, invocations,
incantations and recitations of traditional Yoruba religion are not expressed through conversational Yoruba. The language of Ifa is
liturgical Yoruba (ofo ase), a language used among diviners to express transcendant ideas. Many of the words used in Ifa have a tonal
resonance used to access the power of Spirit. Physics teaches the idea that all power in the universe is part of a sign wave which is the full spectrum of light. color and pitch. Every segment of the sign wave manifests as both The tonal quality of words used in liturgical Yoruba
places the diviner in harmonic resonance with the tonal essence of a wide range of Spiritual Forces (Orisa). The remarkable quality of
liturgical Yoruba is that the words used for invocation also carry meaning that reveals the inner essense of the Spiritual Force itself. For example, the word Obatala is used to describe the Force in Nature science calls white light. Ifa teaches that everything in the
universe has some form of consciousness (ori). Saying the word Obatala places human consciousness in alighnment with the consciousness of white light. It does while telling us something about the quality of white light. The word Obatala is an eliysian of the phrase; O (Spirit) ba (power of expansion or male energy ie; Baba) ota (stone) ala (light). The word
Obatala in the context of Odu Ifa (Yoruba Scripture) means; the Spirit of the expansive quality of light that comes from the eternal stone of Creation (center point of the universe). Olatunde Sproye in his book Yoruba without Tears states there are one hundred and twenty-six combinations of vowels and consonants used as the basis for the Yoruba Language.
ba be be bi bo bo bu da de de di do do du fa fe fe fi fo fo fu ga ge ge gi go go gu gba gbe gbe gbi gbo gbo gbu ha he he hi ho ho hu ja je je ji jo jo ju ka ke ke ki ko ko ku la le le li lo lo lu ma me me mi mo mo mo mu na ne ne ni no no nu pa pe pe pi po po pu ra re re ri ro ro ru sa se se si so so su ta te te ti to to tu wa we we wi wo wo wu ya ye ye yi yo yo yu
All Yoruba words are a combination of these fundamental sounds. One of the rules of Yourba language construction is that portions of a word can be doubled for a change in emphasis, for example; ba (expansive power) baba (father) babagba or baba baba (grandfather). Doubling a word refers to its source or parent, for example Dada (Spirit of Vegitation) would be the parent of da (create). Repeating the word da (create) suggests recreation or the power of vegitation to continiously go throw the process of birth, growth, death and rebirth.
Ifayabale is an eliysian of Ifa (wisdom) iya (mother) baba (father) ile (earth). the wisdom of the fathers and mothers found on earth. When I wrote the book Iwa-pele I looked up the word Ifayabale in the Yoruba English dictionary in an effort to better understand a metaphysical concept. This suggests to me the foundation of Yoruba language has been linked to Odu Ifa from it’s inception. The dictionary defined Ifayabale as the I believe the word To me the word ascenscion of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. . I believe the best way to uncover the fundamental principles of Ifa as it was originally invisioned is through a study of the liturgical language. The first Yoruba English dictionaries were prepared by Christian missionaries who had no understanding or desire to learn the spiritual mysteries preserved in the Yoruba language. life. meaning. These four principles support the rest of Creation. death and rebirth.If we double each of the one hundred and twenty-six combinations used as the basis for Yoruba language we get two hundred and fifty-two fundamental linguistic buiding blocks. The rest of Creation comes into being through the manifestation of two hundred and fifty two Forces in Nature. predates Christianity and this definition is in error. Ifa scripture is based on two hundred and fifty six fundamental principles. The first four principles represent the cycle of birth. When Ifa and Orisa spread through the Diaspora it was influenced by non African religions concepts.
This should not be considered a definitive study. Ase o Awo Fa’lokun Fatunmbi . Bit by bit we eat the head of the rat. Hopefully it will serve as a point of departure for theological linquistic analysis.This glossary is a preliminary attempt to understand Ifa theology through an understanding of Yoruba language. The words were taken from Odu Ifa as it is recited in Ile Ife and most of the vocabulary reflects the dialect of that particular region. I am sure many of my definitions will change as my understanding of Ifa and Yoruba language grows.
female Force in Nature. her. treatment.inú . ààfin Palace. ààsè Door carved from the Iroko tree. border. àáké Ax. àasà Female Spirit. abà A portion. The ladder is sacred to the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù) . the Spirit of the Whirlwind. home of a king (Oba). ààjà Whirlwind. depending on context. The mat is used to create sacred space in Ifá and Òrìsà ritual and divination. meaning: "Ayan Tree is the Mystery of the Inner Sanctum of the Sacred Grove. àba Ladder. depending on context. ààlà Boundary. abá Mat. ààbò Half.igbó Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). a piece of something larger. center.A a Him. ààrè Illness.awo . ààjò Care. àárín Middle. farm hut depending on context. a Used as a prefix to a verb in the formation of nouns." ààyè Life. we and it. Àáyán . fatigue.
a wise elder." Abanigbele The Spirit of Fire.bá . Abánigbèro Advisor. being sorry about past actions. àbètélè Bribe. frequently associated with intervention from the Spirit Realm.tán . used to cool mediums in ritual. Mud is sacred to the female aspect of the Spirit of White Cloth (Oduduwa/Yemo). abe Small knife. abanijé Detractor. abèbe Fan. abéré Needle.ìbá . Abaya Queen Mother. Abesè Chief messenger of a religious society or extended family. something that comes directly from the Source of Creation (Olórún). àbáse Cooperation. sacred to the Spirit of the River (Òsun). abámò Feelings of regret. this is a reference to the animating consciousness that exists inside a burning flame.abádà Eternal. meaning: "To Have Full Knowledge of You is to be Successful. something that is perceived as strange.se Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). also used to refer to a razor.ó . abé Bottom. abàmi An unusual occurrence. one who gives advice. both creative and destructive. . abi I or you. Abélà Candle. behind a reference to the human buttux.mò . Abata Mud. When Ifá scripture is refering to reproductive organs it is usually expressed as either the male or female bottom. A . abáfù Fate in all of its manifestations.
It is the process of placing the physical self and the higher self in perfect alignment. Abògán Those who worship the ant hill. Abomalè Those who worship the ancestors and the deified ancestors (Egúngún). The word refers to the spiritual cause behind a sequence of deaths among children in the same family. . When this occurs. àbíku A child who dies at a young age and reincarnates through the same mother. When the abigba is thrown two complete verses (Odù) of Ifá scripture are marked. Abògún Those who worship the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). abo Female. aborí The elevation of consciousness through the use of invocation and spiritual cleansing. Ifá can perform rituals that will induce the spirit of the child to remain on Earth to become an adult. the ant hill represents the Spirit of hard work and cooperation. used in some regions of Nigeria to perform divination. Abòpa Member of a society that gives reverence to the memory of the ancestors through the use of mediums. abiléko Wife or widow. Abòrìsà Those who worship Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). abigba Four chains with nuts attached. return. Abíkehin The youngest child in a family. Each chain has four nuts representing one leg of the marks used to represent the verses (Odù) of Ifá scripture. aboyún Woman who is pregnant. àbo Expression used to greet someone who has returned to the place of their departure.àbí Or. abo Arrival. abókulò One who works with the spirit of ancestors (Egún) to invoke transformation.
àború. The dove is the Ifá symbol for peace and tranquility. meaning: " I lift your burden from Earth and raise it to the Realm of the Immortals. The bat is used in medicine for protection. àdá .fàdákà Silver cutlass.irín Iron cutlass. abúra One who takes an oath during an initiation. or making fun of those who have some form of disability. sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) and the Spirit of the Farm (Òrìsà Oko). adaba Dove. àdán Bat. àboyè. centers around the idea of not laughing at. the person who makes a pledge. Adámu . abúléko Farm village. àbúrò Younger relative. àbusí A blessing given by an elder. adánri One who has shaved their head for religious reasons. sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). . àdá A large knife with a hook on the end used in farming. sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).Òrìsà A play performed in honor of the Spirit of the Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). àbosise Traditional Ifá greeting. Some diviners keep their head shaved as a way of being in close alignment with the influence of the Forces of Nature (Òrìsà). Adáhunse A herbal doctor. usually in preparation for initiation. sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). junior relative." abuké Person with a deformity in their spine. one who works with the Spirit of herbs and medicine (Òsányin). àdá . Abuku Disgrace àbule Village or house on the farm.
afá Bridge. adímu A form of masquerade in memory of the ancestors (Egún). àdéhùn Agreement." adibo Diviner.adé Crown worn by Yorùbá Kings (Oba). A dúpé We thank you. Adógunsílè The chief warrior priest among those who worship the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). meaning: "Crown is Worthy. adìe Chicken. afàiya The ability to make use of intuition. adireiranna The fowl used as an offering at a traditional Ifá funeral. adire Dyed cloth. The crown symbolizes the spiritual transformation that occurs when the Kings (Oba) are installed in office. àdúrà Prayer that generally follows an invocation to the Spirits. adèbo One who prepares sacred food for a feast by slaughtering animals according to the rules of religious sanction. Adéseék Son of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). or fowl. also refers to a calabash with a lid depending on context. adému An offering of food to the Spirits. àdúgbò District. .oyin Honeycomb (Bridge of Honey). The honeycomb is sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). afárá Bridge. The crown is also the seat of protection that is given by the Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi). Traditionally this is the person responsible for the protection of a given town or village. afára . section of a village. This type of prayer is a spontaneous appeal to the Spirits.
meaning: "Mysterious Wind. personal truth." Aférifé légélégé Praise name for the Spirit of the Wind (Oya) . Afefe . meaning: "The Good Wind. afi . àfomó Infectious disease. àfojúbà Personal experience. that which is brought by the Spirit of Infectious Disease (Babaluaiyé)." àfésónà Engaged to be married. sacred to Ifá. the gale wind. the sacred power of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya) in its most intense manifestation. the person who shaves the head of an initiate during religious rites of passage. also refers to a type of prayer used in Ifá for asking Spirit to forgive the need to make a blood offering. afójú Blind person.afári Barber. protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). afi Unless. Aferef e Praise name for the Spirit of the Wind (Oya). one of the times considered sacred for picking herbs. àfonífojì Valley. àfín Albino.imojo The tail of a large rat that is used by Yorùbá Kings as a symbol of their power of the word. the breeze. afe . the gentle aspect of the wind. The word is also used to refer to the person who has had their head shaved.bi Unless. afémóju The early morning. Afon Breadfruit (Treculia africana ). Afefe A messenger of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya). aféèrí Thing that disappears.jeje The whirlwind. . aforíjì Forgiveness. committed to a relationship. a Spirit that vanishes.
àfòse Magical incantations. àgba Manhood. àgbà Elder person of either gender. Agayu The Spirit of the Fire at the Center of the Earth. low stool. agaro Shovel. agbádá Priestly robes. . àgbaiyé The entire world. Afurùkèrèsayo Reference to the left half of the horizontal line that forms the equal arm cross of a Ifá diviner's tray. in some versions of Ifá sacred history." àgbàla Yard near a house. àgàn Barren woman. àgbàlágbà Elder. very old person. agada Toy sword usually made from wood. àgalamòsà Rebel. This status usually comes as the result of completion of a rite of passage. usually inclosed by a wall or a fence. meaning: "The one who has the diviner's tapper and is happy. the word suggests that the rebellion is guided by wisdom and divine inspiration. The shovel is sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Orìsà Oko). in Ifá ritual the younger initiates will sit on a mat while the elders sit on low stools. Agayu is the Father of the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). sacred to the Divine Messenger (Èsù). a stem used as a rope depending on context." aga Chair. Ágbálé Head of the household. someone who is recognized as a male adult in the community. àgbàdo Corn. àgbákò Misfortune. disaster. meaning: "without elders.. àgbálù The entire village.
agbéledi One of the wrestling moves used in the marital art that is sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). agbára Force. depending on context. agbégbò Hen. agbèje Pumpkin. a common greeting among Ifá initiates. used in reference to someone who speaks with authority. the Spirit of a sacred stone. agbégilére Woodcarver. agbe Woodcock. àgbègbè Surrounding district.Agbami The mist that arises from the ocean. used to insure that the person remains standing during a martial arts contest. àgbere Intercourse. sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). . Agbára Elder. agbasà Sacred stone. sexual interaction. àgbé Short sword sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). Àgbìgbò Elemental spirit of the Forest that is know for causing trouble. farmer depending on context. àgbò Ram. poultice. a profession that is generally sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). agbéró Charm used by those who practice the martial art of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). outer portion of a village. cockatoo. person in authority. agbó atò Long life. the word is also used to express power. agbo A circle of dancers at a religious ceremony. strength depending on context. power. sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). spiritual strength and authority. an aspect of the Spirit of the Ocean (Olókun). agbo Medicine.
" Agbónìrègún A praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). agé Small drum that is sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Òrìsà Oko). àgò Expression for asking permission to enter a house. Agbónire A praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). agbòn Basket weaved from rafia. meaning: "Hunter of the Medicine of Good Fortune. sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) as a symbol of hard work and cooperation. collection of houses forming a compound that is generally used by a single extended family. agiyan The ant hill. agbon Chin. agemo Chameleon. àgbon Coconut. agbón Wasp. meaning: "Hunter of Good Fortune. Agemo Spirit of the Forest worshipped in the Ijebu region of Nigeria. . agogo Bell used as musical instrument to praise the Forces of Nature (Òrìsà).agbolé House. agò Sacred cloth used by dancers who are mediums for the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún). agére Stilt dancer who dances as part of the ceremonies that honor the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún). aginiso Word for snail used by devotees of the Spirit of the River (Osun) who have a taboo against using the word igbin. sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). àgbònrín Chin. Agesinyowa One of the council of sixteen diviners (Babaláwo) who perform divination of the King (Òòni) of Ilé Ifè.
It is also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon. being without blame. meaning: "never die. aibi One who has no children. àgùtàn Sheep. sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). The Spirit of Venus. aikú Immortality. aile Evening. the double headed ax is sacred to the the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).àiyé Tranquility. a reference to the good character of the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). àiléso Barren. Agúnmu Medicine that is prepared by pounding it into a powder with a mortar and pestle." Àguala The planet Venus. without children. The Spirit of Venus. It is also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon. ahere Farm hut. one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination. áike Ax. ahun Miser. Agongo ogo Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù).eiye The beak of a bird. being at peace in the world. sacred to the Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi). . courage. the sign of one who has developed inner certainty. aigbo . meaning: "He Who Carries a Club. àiláiyà Coward. aifoya Being without fear. one who has become a deified ancestor. Agunmola The planet Venus.agogo . a form of bad fortune in Ifá divination." àilábùku Spotless.
àìsàn Illness. aiyé The surface of the Earth. aiyapa One who travels on a straight path towards spiritual growth. aja A wild vine that is sacred to the Spirit of Birds (Ìyáàmi).ailébi One who has not experienced misfortune. Àjàláiyé The Winds of the Earth.obinrin Female devotee of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) who functions as a soldier. ajako Jackal. one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination. one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination. sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). ailésè A person of very good character. ailórò The inability to invoke or manifest any form of abundance. . ajabo A protection charm sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). immortal. ailówò Poverty. black dogs are sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). in Ifá scripture it is the place where the Realm of the Ancestors (Egún) meets the realm of humans. an aspect of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya). someone who is above suspicion. àjanakú Elephant. since the beginning of time. àìtó Personal element of a ritual that takes into account the circumstances of the individual who is turning towards religious ceremony as a vehicle of personal transformation. ajá Dog. ajagun Devotee of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) who functions as a soldier. aiyéraiyé Forever. àjà Ceiling. an indication of someone who is of good character. ajagun .
one of the animal totems or guides of the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù)." Aje Saluga Elemental Spirit of Abundance. Ajiletepowo A reference to the center point of the diviner's tray (òpón Ifá) and a reference to the centering principle as an aspect of Ifá spiritual discipline. Aja . Ajígúmwà The sun. ajeji Forgiveness. This same power is used to consecrate the crown of the Yorùbá Kings. meaning: "The One Who is Praised First. Ajiki Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olórun). Aje . ajidèwe Medicine used to restore vigor. sacred to the Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi). the Spirit of the Sun. an aspect of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya). the tortoise is the Divine Messenger for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).ju ." It also may be used as a reference to the personal Spirit of any given individual.Oogùn Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà)." Àjàlá . meaning: "Stronger than Medicine.jà .mòpin One of the Spirits who shapes the head and forms the consciousness of each new born child. sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). meaning: "An early riser who sits down and prospers. àjé The Spirit of a Bird used by women (Ìyáàmi) to invoke powers used for abundance and justice.jèbi Praise name for the Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi)." . àjèjì Strange.Àjàlórun The Winds of the Realm of the Ancestors. A . meaning: "She Who Is Never Guilty.má . also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon. In reference to the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù) it is used to indicate that the Divine Messenger (Èsù) is addressed first in most ritual.Osun The planet Venus. Also used as a reference to money or abundance. Ajapa Tortoise. the Spirit of Venus.
matralineal ancestors (Ayélalà Egún). . àkala Vulture. sacred to the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún). àjo Meeting. the entire spectrum of a person's personal experience. The ladder is sacred to the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù). àkarà Bread cakes cooked in palm oil. Aj ori The Spirit of the daughter of the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). ajoyin . àjó Journey. meaning: "Bird of the Inner Spirit. àjò l'ayé Journey through the world." àjo sepò Cooperation. gathering of a group of people. àjísà Charms used for protection. These Spirits are generally associated with the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù) and are considered an aspect of the balancing dynamic that occurs in Nature. ajojó Dancing for the Spirits (Orìsà). Ajogún Destructive Spirits that bring death. a symbolic reference to the fountain of life or the spiritual source of physical rejuvenation. ajugu dunirín A pile of iron in or near a shrine used as an altar for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).àjínde The Spirit of a deceased ancestor (Egún) who speaks at their own funeral through a medium (Egúngún). disease and poverty. ajobi Ancestors of a woman. àkàtànpó Hunter's tool. ajomisanra The eternal dew. akàbà Ladder. sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). traditionally muskets are fired while making offerings to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).ibon The firing of muskets. used in reference to the spiritual journey of self discovery that occurs throughout life. sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
Cotton is sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).kè ." akere Frog. sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Orìsà Oko). akòja Fulfillment. akin Hero. . the purpose of following one's destiny. heroic person and heroic action.oyé Windy season. also the word for refering to the martial art practiced by the devotees of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). akese Cotton. aki Bravery. àkókò . meaning.otútù Cold season. Akódá One of the Prophet Òrúnmìlà's first two students. one of the sources of bad fortune in Ifá divination. A . Male chickens are sacred to the Spirit of most Warriors (Ibora). àkóbí First born. term also used to identify a senior priest in a society of diviners. male chicken.éèrùn Dry season. The word also means male. ako Sheath of a knife. The sheath of a knife is used as an offering to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). Akiko Cock. àkókò . akokoro Toothache. akika Pangolin plant (Uromanis Longicanda Briss ).àké Ax.bí . àkókò . àkókò Season of the year. àkókò .àlà Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). "Radiant White.8888 àkébàjé Over indulgent behavior. the double headed ax is sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).ojo Rainy season.
also refers to white cloth in both literal and symbolic terms." akókò ti okunrin Male puberty rite.ó .akókò ti obinrin Female puberty rite." aláàfia A greeting that means peace. effective dreamer.kò . meaning: "season of becoming a man." A . good fortune and abundance. . àkúnlèyàn Destiny as choice.mò . àlà White cloth. ako . or the act of free will. àkúnlègbà Destiny which is altered by free will." akóni Teacher. alá Owner. one who has visions while sleeping. akoni Brave warrior. meaning: "The Merciful One. akun Religious bead. chief Priest of the Council of elders (Ogboni). meaning: "Not to Have Full Knowledge of You is to Fail. productive. also a reference to the Spirit of Light. dream. a strong person who may be remembered as a deified ancestor. In Ifá scripture white cloth is a symbolic reference to dreams and mystic vision. Alááànú Spirit that helps shape consciousness prior to birth. the word is also used to suggest that something is true.ojo Five day week that is used as the basis for the Ifá calender of ritual events. Álá Light in the Spiritual sense of that which brings illumination or enlightenment. The symbol of white cloth is a reference to moral purity. meaning: "season of becoming a woman. The word is used to describe the Spirit of the Warriors (Ibora). Aláàfin The traditional title for the King of Oyo. akunnu Fruitful. akúnlèbo Kneeling to worship.tán Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà ).
àlákala Nightmare. alágbò Medicine pot. a person of the Earth. Some forms of this medicine can create telaportation.aláàye Someone who is living. aláìgbón Foolish. Alàgba Elder. Alágemo Member of men's society in Ijebu region that honors the Spirit of the Chameleon. as opposed to spirit or ancestor. The realm of nightmares is controlled by the Spirit of Nightmares (Sigidi). aláìsí Physical death. a reference to the right side of the horizontal line on the diviner's tray (òpón Ifá). alábalàse Forever. alafogún Owner of medicine. ." This is a reference to the fact that The Divine Messenger is usually addressed first during ritual. meaning: "One who is addressed first. also the title for the chief priest of the Society of Ancestor Reverence in Ilè Ifé. Alajìki Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù). meaning: "He Who Predicts the Future." Alabalòtún The Spirit of the One who implements with the right. Alábalese Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). Aláde Prince. a person of courage. one who is ignorant of the Light. reference to a herbal doctor. This medicine is commonly used to make a person invisible to their enemies in the sense that they will not be bothered rather than physically invisible. alaiyeluwà Greetings said to an Oba. alaifoiya One who is fearless. a male descendant of one of the original families that founded the Yorùbá federation. Aláféèri One who knows the secret to the charm that makes one invisible.
àle Leprosy. fancy. àlàyé Explanation. a reference to the left side of the horizontal line on the divining tray (òpón Ifá). meaning: "Owner of the best clay. alésùjáde A person who is skilled at terminating possession by unwelcome or destructive spirits. alárinrin Fine. one who is able to see into the future. alé Evening. usually refers to that which is hidden or unrevealed. alála One who is an effective dreamer. lazy person. alákorí Useless person. a person who makes use of hexes.alakete Calabash of light. . Alamorere Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). alaromo One who wishes another harm or bad fortune. aláya Husband. one of the Primal Sources of Creation. Àláwo Word used to identify an Ifá initiate who is still in training as a diviner. Alásotele Prophet. a person who has visions in their sleep. aláràbarà Multi colored. Alaselòsì The Spirit of the One who implements with the left. aláse Person of power. an exorcists. Alápìíni Chief Priest of the Ancestor Society in Oyo. àlejò Visitor." alangba Lizard.
and the Sun itself. alubarika Property. àlòkù Second hand. a member of the society of elders (Ogboni). alunipa Executioner. amokisitekun Panther." àmààní Opportunity. .Àlo . meaning: "The Guardian of Medicine on Earth. amulu Combination." Àmòká The Spirit of the Sun. the Source of personal destiny. Alúdùndún Òrun Guardian of personal destiny in the Realm of the Ancestors. Amáiyégún Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). amo Lizard. amu Jar or pot. alukerese Creeping plant (Ipomoea involucrata ). the human finite perception of the infinite. Amodídá Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). Amodi Sickness. meaning: "One Who cuts through sickness. Amòlà Ifé Owòdáyé Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). meaning: "The Savior of Ifé from the early days.ìràntàn Sacred history. Amónisègùn ." amomotán Imperfect knowledge. clairvoyance. Amúlù Odù The verses of Ifá scripture that follow the first sixteen verses (Olu Odù). meaning: "The medicine pouch that guides us to the Immortals.mápò Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù)." amotélè The ability to see into the future.
one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination. Apetebi The Spirit of the wife of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) an initiated position within Ifá that is held by those women who are married to Ifá initiates. àníàní Doubt. apáta Rock. the rock is sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). àna In . anamó Sweet potato.inú Inner Spirit. the goal of spiritual growth and development. apàrá . àná Yesterday. . apáko Bamboo. àpárá Joke. anife One who has no mate.inù Conscience.amure Sash worn by men around the waist as a symbol of balance between male and female Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). anípé One who has abundance in all things. amòye Wise elder. Àpárí . the person who holds a switch and walks in front of Egúngún during ancestral ceremonies. one who is able to give good council and advice.law. being without love or affection. àpeere Perfection or completion. Amúsan One of the children of the Spirit of the wind. side or direction depending on context. one who has fulfilled their destiny. acts as a guardian for the medium. apá Arm. àpè Prayer. apari Bald head.
àràn Ifá drum. self. ará Thunder. apiwo Cure for negative medicine. araiye People of the Earth. àpò Bag often refers to bag used to carry medicine and tools associated with ritual work. the performance of a scared story. àpo'gùn Medicine pouch. sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó) and the Spirit of the Wind (Oya). members of the extended family. arákùnrin Brother. arábìnrin Sister. aré Play. àpo onísègùn Medicine pouch.ile Friends and relatives. ara Body. ara . arewa Beauty. . depending on context. àpótí Box. aráiye The people of the world. arigogo Hook. also refers to charms carried by worshippers of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).apeja Fisherman. people. apó Quiver. or for the removal of a hex. also refers to the Spirits of the North. Àríwa North. Àràbà A senior Ifá priest who is initiated into Mysteries that are associated with protection from the Spirit of Infectious Disease (Babaluaiyé). sacred to the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì).
arùn èjè Illness of the blood. arugbo Old person. aròn Worm. Aronimoja Elemental spirit of the forest. aro Sadness. aróso Material used to wrap around the body as a dress. àsaro Meditation. frequently used when dancing for the Forces in Nature. asèje Food prepared as medicine. ariwo Hook. ariwowo Hook. arùn ara Illness of the body. aró Indigo dye used to color cloth.Àríwá North. disabled person sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá). Ar oni Spirit of the forest. tradition. Arúku Spirit who transforms and elevates the spirit of the ancestors. . elemental spirit with the body of a human and the head of a dog. aro Plant used in Ifá for protection from death (Crossopoteryx Febrifuga). arùn eegun Illness of the bones. àrùn Illness or disease. àsásí Hexing. asán Afternoon. àsà Custom. also refers to Spirits of the North. noise depending on context. aròn ìro Hernia.
àsíse Mistake. àse Spiritual Power.ìyànjú Praise name for the Spirit of Infectious Disease (Babaluaiyé). taboo for traditional Ifá /Òrìsà burial rituals.sòrò ." asíri Mystery. Asògún One who worships the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).ìbojú Viel used to cover the face of mediums in possession with the Spirit of Forces in Nature (Orìsà)." àsotélè Prophecy. aso . aso pupa Red cloth.mo . meaning: "The Mystery of Power that Comes from Eating the Yam. . clothing frequently used in reference to clothing that has religious significance. asejù Excess. secret depending on context.l'égbàá . Àsedá One of the Prophet Òrúnmìlà first two students. aso Cloth. asiwèré Person suffering from mental illness. àsé Menstruation." The phrase is intended to be an invocation rather than a request.dayò Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). àsikò Time. aseni Unknown enemy. the word is also used at the end of prayers meaning: "May it be so. àsèhindè The expected reincarnation of a revered elder. A . Asin . that which brings dynamic force into Being in the Universe. term also used to identify a senior priest with a communal society of Ifá elders. meaning: "One Who Makes Things Prosper. one who predicts the future based on an assessment of current circumstances.asaájú Group leader.
atèhìnkú Premature death.ìká Rafia mat used for sacred space during divination. the mat is used to establish sacred space for ritual and divination. àtàtà Real. Ata . meaning: " the mat that can't be rolled up.ìká . the purpose of Ifá divination is to discover the true meaning of circumstances." atéléwo Palm of the hand. Àté . home of the Divine Messenger (Èsù).asoyé Explaining the inner essence or true meaning of a thing or an event.ení Reference to all of Creation. àte Mat. àtakò Opposition. ataparako Thumb. genuine depending on context. . in Ifá it is eaten to prepare the mouth for certain types of prayers. ata Pepper. atare Hot peppers used in food and medicine. àterúdérú Ancestor who suffered in slavery.mátàsé Praise name for the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì)." atana Crossroads. àtàrí Top of the head. honest. meaning: "The sharp shooter. àte . with caution. also refers to the power center at the top of the head. atàpárìnyénkú Halting. àtéwó Palm of the open hand. also used to mean avert. até To spread. Até Òrìsà Circular tray or mat used in cowrie shell divination.
plate. group. àtúnwá Rebirth of character. to depending on context. hide. àwon Them. àwo Dish. àtijó Some time ago. àtò Seamen." atori Stick (Glyphaea laterifiora ) that is sacred to the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún). they. diviner. Àwàlàwúlú Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). atòsí Gonorrhoea. awo'de The Mystery of Hunting. ." awo Mystery. awo Skin. the Ifá word used for physical reincarnation. Awoni The society of Ifá priests who divine for the King (Òòni) of Ilé Ifè. Ato Female priestess in ancestral reverence societies (Egúngún). the Ifá word used for reincarnation of the soul. awò Color. meaning: "Rugged and Rough Spirit. Atóónàlórógùn Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). sacred to the power of transformation that is related to some aspects of the Divine Messenger (Èsù). Atokùn Leader of a society for ancestor reverence. awó Guinea hen.ati And. awomi Invoking Spirits through the use of water. meaning: "Hefty Hunter. àtitàn Refuse heap. àtúnbi Born again. with. in the past.
the Ifá belief that each person comes to the World having an agreement with Creation regarding the fate which is to be experienced during a given life time. ayebo Hen. awun Miser. Ayaba The wife of the queen. aya Wife.awo . Ayélalà The collective Spirit of Ancestral Mothers.Àwònyè Òrìsà Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). gathering.ìpín Destiny. the Ifá belief that each person comes to the world having an agreement with Creation regarding the fate that is to be experienced during a given life time.lè . àyànmó Destiny. àyán Tree sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). aye Room. awuje Butter beans (Phaseolus lunatus ) àwùjo Meeting. ayé World. Ayànràbàtá . meaning: "The enraged Spirit. awure Unassuming." àwùjè Top of the head. àyànmó . refers to the power center at the crown of the skull.ojà Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù). ayo Joy. B . ayani explanation.
instead they are called by their title or called by the word that indicates their relative age within the extended family.ba To join. meaning:"Father Returns." bádámajèmú To make a sacred oath or agreement with another person or group of people. male initiate into the Mysteries of Nature (Awo Òrìsà). should depending on context. Báàbà Something that is great. usually of lesser status than an Oba which is an initiated position that is granted directly by the Òòni of Ilé Ifè. In Yorùbá culture it is impolite to call someone who is older by their proper name. Báàlè Chief of a village. bà To see. usually a grandfather. used to describe any male adult old enough to have children. Babagba Older man. Babaláwo Father of the Secrets. bá To meet. Baba Father. Babaluàiyé Spirit of the Surface of the Earth. Babansìnkú Chief priest responsible for leading a funeral. . Babatúnde Name given to a child who carries the ancestral spirit of their father. meaning father of the light or wisdom. to find. Babal'órìsà Father of the Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). Babanlá Grandfather. this is the Spirit associated with those infectious diseases that are carried by the wind across the surface of the earth during dry and hot times of the year. male initiate into the Mysteries of Ifá. Bàbà Guinea corn. against. especially those who are adept at Ifá divination. Sometimes used as a shorten version of ìbá which means should. The term Babaláwo is generally reserved for the elder Ifá initiates in a given community.
bè To beg for something. bàlagà To come to maturity. to be identified as an adult. a person of distinction. or to talk with someone depending on context bala Spotted. may refer to spiritual re-birth. to associate with someone. barapetu Great. balè To touch the ground in front of an elder as a sign of respect. a reference to the Divine Messenger's strength. Bámbi Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó). bàta Foot. bàjé To spoil. . to eat with someone. bàtá Drum sacred to Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó) and to the ancestors (Egúngun). bájà To fight. bawo ni? How are you? báyi Thus. meaning: "Spiritually reborn.báde To hunt in a group. bambi Guide me. Balògun The chief of the society of warriors. like this. bàtà Shoe. or give birth. báfohùn To talk with someone. Ba-ohun-mimo-je To make profane use of sacred objects." bámúbámú Full. to supplicate Spirit. Bara A Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù). banújé To be sad.
be . no. bo To enter. to be mad.bisha The movements of a dancer. biribiri Very dark. bere To bend down. béèkó It is not so. bèrèsí To begin. bí Placed at the end of a sentence to indicate that a question is doubtful. bisha . beleje Slender. Bèmbé Drum used in Hausa religious ceremonies. béèni It is so. bó To escape. bò To cover. Bérè A term of dignity and respect used in reference to elder woman. yes. bikita Show.ni This is. bèbè To implore. area around the eye. boro Narrow .bé To cut. bere To ask. eyelid. to cut off. like. bínú To be angry. béè So. bò To arrive. bèbè-ojú Eyebrow. bebe An important accomplishment.
bóyá Perhaps. bu Dip. bóyá . describes a condition of consciousness in which there is little hope for spiritual transformation. maybe. negative. . bú To cut. destructive. burúkú Place of extreme confusion. very destructive. well behaved person. very negative. also means very bad. burú Bad.bòròkìnní Gentleman.