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SUPREME CREATOR (GOD)

* Olodumare * Olorun * Olofin

ORISHAS /IRUNMOLE

* Elegua * Eshu * Ogun * Oshosi * Osun * Ori * Orunmila * Obatala * Shango * Aganju * Yemoja * Oshun * Oya * Oba * Osanyin * Babalu Aye * Olokun * Orisha Oko * Erinle * Oshunmare * Ibeji

Variants

* Yoruba religion (Nigeria) * Santería Cuba * Candomblé Ketu Brazil * Spiritual Baptist Trinidad * Oyotunji United States

Topics

* Medicine * Music * Itan * Art * Ogboni * Gelede * Egungun * Babalawo * Calendar * Letra del año * Ashe

Sacred sites

* Ile Ife * Oyo * Osun-Osogbo * Yorubaland

Legendary figures

* Oduduwa * Oranyan * Moremi Ajasoro

* v * t * e

A YEMOJA devotee in Nigeria

The YORUBA RELIGION, comprising the traditional religious concepts and practices of the Yoruba people , is found primarily in southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin , and Togo , commonly known as Yorubaland . Yoruba religion is ancestral or partially ancestral to the Afro-American religions Santería , Trinidad Orisha , Umbanda , Brujería , Hoodoo , Candomblé , Quimbanda , Orisha , Xangô de Recife, Xangô do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo , Santo Daime , Candomblé , Abakuá , Kumina , Winti , Sanse, Cuban Vodú , Dominican Vudú , Louisiana Voodoo , Haitian Vodou , and Vodun . Yoruba religious beliefs are part of _itan_, the complex cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society.

CONTENTS

* 1 Beliefs

* 1.1 Olodumare * 1.2 Creation * 1.3 Orisha * 1.4 Irunmole

* 2 Reincarnation

* 3 Yoruba religion around the world

* 3.1 Relationship and influence on Voodoo

* 4 Syncretism * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links

BELIEFS

Yoruba divination board OPON IFá

According to Kola Abimbola, the Yoruba have evolved a robust cosmology. In brief, it holds that all human beings possess what is known as "Ayanmo" (destiny, fate) and are expected to eventually become one in spirit with Olodumare ( Olorun , the divine creator and source of all energy). Olorun is thought to remote from people's everyday lives, but the Yoruba see parallels between Olorun, the King of the Heavens, and their traditional ruler, the king of the world. Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé (the physical realm/Life) interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself.

Each person attempts to achieve transcendence and find their destiny in Orun-Rere (the spiritual realm of those who do good and beneficial things). One's ori-inu (spiritual consciousness in the physical realm) must grow in order to consummate union with one's "Iponri" (Ori Orun, spiritual self).

Those who stop growing spiritually, in any of their given lives, are destined for "Orun-Apadi" (the invisible realm of potsherds ). Life and death are said to be cycles of existence in a series of physical bodies while one's spirit evolves toward transcendence. This evolution is said to be most evident amongst the Orishas , the divine viziers of Olorun .

Iwapẹlẹ (or well-balanced) meditative recitation and sincere veneration is sufficient to strengthen the ori-inu of most people. Well-balanced people, it is believed, are able to make positive use of the simplest form of connection between their Oris and the omnipotent Olu-Orun: an adura (petition or prayer) for divine support.

Prayer to one's Ori Orun produces an immediate sensation of joy. Elegbara (Eshu, not the divine messenger but accuser of the righteous) initiates contact with spiritual realm on behalf of the petitioner, and transmits the prayer to Ayé; the deliverer of ase or _the spark of life_. He transmits this prayer without distorting it in any way. Thereafter, the petitioner may be satisfied with a personal answer. In the event that he or she is not, the Ifá oracle of the Orisha Orunmila may also be consulted. All communication with Orun, whether simplistic in the form of a personal prayer or complicated in the form of that done by an initiated Babalawo (priest of divination), however, is energized by invoking ase.

In the Yoruba belief system, Olodumare has ase over all that is, and hence Is considered supreme.

Unlike many Western religions, which conceive of good and evil as pertaining to and deriving from separate entities (i.e.- God and Satan, respectively) Yoruba cosmology holds that good and evil derive from the same source.

OLODUMARE

Main article: Olodumare

Olodumare is the most important "state of existence". Regarded as being all-encompassing, no gender can be assigned. Hence, it is common to hear references to "it" or "they" (although this is meant to address a somewhat singularity). "They" are the owner of all heads, for during human creation, Olodumare gave "emi" (the breath of life) to humankind. In this, Olodumare is Supreme.

Perhaps one of the most important human endeavors extolled within the Yoruba literary corpus is the quest to better one's "Iwa" (character, behaviour). In this way the teachings transcends religious doctrine, advising as it does that a person must also better his civic, social and intellectual spheres of being; every stanza of the sacred Ifá oracular poetry ( Odu Ifa ) has a portion covering the importance of "Iwa". Central to this is the theme of righteousness, both individual and collective.

CREATION

The Yoruba regard Olodumare as the principal agent of creation.

According to a Yoruba account of creation , during a certain stage in this process, the "truth" was sent to confirm the habitability of the newly formed planets. The earth being one of these was visited but deemed too wet for conventional life.

After a successful period of time, a number of divinities led by Obatala were sent to accomplish the task of helping earth develop its crust. On one of their visits to the realm, the arch-divinity Obatala took to the stage equipped with a mollusk that concealed some form of soil ; winged beasts and some cloth like material. The contents were emptied onto what soon became a large mound on the surface of the water and soon after, the winged-beasts began to scatter this around until the point where it gradually made into a large patch of dry land; the various indentations they created eventually becoming hills and valleys.

Obatala leaped onto a high-ground and named the place Ife . The land became fertile and plant life began to flourish. From handfuls of earth he began to mold figurines. Meanwhile, as this was happening on earth, Olodumare gathered the gasses from the far reaches of space and sparked an explosion that shaped into a fireball. He subsequently sent it to Ife, where it dried much of the land and simultaneously began to bake the motionless figurines. It was at this point that Olodumare released the "breath of life" to blow across the land, and the figurines slowly came into "being" as the first people of Ife.

For this reason, Ife is locally referred to as " Ife Oodaye" - "cradle of existence".

ORISHA

Main article: Orisha

An Orisha (spelled Òrìṣa) is an entity that possesses the capability of reflecting some of the manifestations of Olodumare. Yoruba _Orishas_ (commonly translated "unique/special/selected heads") are often described as intermediaries between humankind and the supernatural. The term is also translated as "Deities" or "Divinities" or "Gods".

Orisha(s) are revered for having control over specific elements by nature, thus being better referred to as the divinities or _Imole_. Even so, there are those of their number that are more akin to ancient heroes and/or sages . These are best addressed as Dema Deities . Even though the term Orisha is often used to describe both classes of divine entities , it is properly reserved for the former one.

ORISHAS ATTRIBUTES

ORUNMILA / Ọ̀rúnmìlà The Yoruba Grand Priest and custodian of the Ifa Oracle, source of knowledge who is believed to oversee the knowledge of the Human Form , Purity , the Cures of illnesses and deformities. Babalawos are Orumila's suburdinate as priests and followers.

ESHU / Èṣù Often ill-translated as "The Devil" or "The Evil Being", Eshu is in truth neither of these. Best referred to as "The Trickster", he deals a hand of misfortune to those that do not offer tribute or are deemed to be _spiritual novices_. Also regarded as the "divine messenger", a prime negotiator between negative and positive forces in the body and an enforcer of the "law of being". He is said to assist in enhancing the power derived from herbal medicines and other forms of esoteric technology.

Eshu is the Orisha of chance, accident and unpredictability. Because he is Olorun's linguist and the master of languages, Eshu is responsible for carrying messages and sacrifices from humans to the Sky God. Also known for his phallic powers and exploits. Eshu is said to lurk at gateways, on the highways and at the crossroads, where he introduces chance and accident into the lives of humans. Known by a variety of names, including Elegbara.

OGOUN / Ògún Orisha of iron and metallurgy .

YEMOJA / Yemọja Mother of Waters, Nurturer of Water Resources. According to Olorishas, she is the amniotic fluid in the womb of the pregnant woman, as well as the breasts which nurture. She is considered the protective energy of the feminine force.

OSHUN / Ọ̀ṣun A second wife of the former Oba of Oyo called Shango (another Yoruba Orisha, see below), she is said to have entered into a river at Osogbo. The Yoruba clerics ascribed to her Sensuality, Beauty and Gracefulness, symbolizing both their people's search for clarity and a flowing motion. She is associated with several powers, including abilities to heal with cool water, induction of fertility and the control of the feminine essence. Women appeal to her for child-bearing and for the alleviation of female disorders. The Yoruba traditions describe her as being fond of babies and her intervention is sought if a baby becomes ill. Oshun is also known for her love of honey.

SHANGO / Ṣàngó Associated with Virility, Masculinity, Fire, Lightning, Stones, Oyo Warriors and Magnetism. He is said to have the abilities to transform base substances into those that are pure and valuable. He was the Oba of Oyo at some point in its history. He derived his nickname Oba Koso from the tales of his immortality. Shango is the Orisha of the thunderbolt, said to have ruled in ancient times over the kingdom of Oyo. Also known as Jakuta (Stone Thrower) and as Oba Koso (The King Does Not Hang).

OYA / Ọya The third wife of the former Oba of Oyo called Shango (another Yoruba Orisha, see above), she is said to have entered into the River Niger . She is often described as the Tempest, Guardian of the Cemetery, Winds of Change, Storms and Progression. Due to her personal power, she is usually depicted as being in the company of her husband Shango. Orisha of rebirth.

IRUNMOLE

Irunmole are entities sent by Olorun to complete given tasks, often acting as liaisons between Orun (the invisible realm) and Aiye (the physical realm). Irunmole(s) can best be described as ranking divinities; whereby such divinities are regarded as the principal Orishas. Irunmole, from "Erinrun" - 400, "Imole" - Divinites or Divine Spirits

REINCARNATION

An Egungun masquerade dance garment in the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Yoruba believe in Atunwa, reincarnation within the family. The names Babatunde (father returns), Yetunde (Mother returns), Babatunji (Father wakes once again) and Sotunde (The wise man returns) all offer vivid evidence of the Ifa concept of familial or lineal rebirth. There is no simple guarantee that your grandfather or great uncle will "come back" in the birth of your child, however.

Whenever the time arrives for a spirit to return to Earth (otherwise known as The Marketplace) through the conception of a new life in the direct bloodline of the family, one of the component entities of a person's being returns, while the other remains in Heaven (Ikole Orun). The spirit that returns does so in the form of a Guardian Ori. One's Guardian Ori, which is represented and contained in the crown of the head, represents not only the spirit and energy of one's previous blood relative, but the accumulated wisdom he or she has acquired through myriad lifetimes. This is not to be confused with one’s spiritual Ori, which contains personal destiny, but instead refers to the coming back to _The Marketplace_ of one's personal blood Ori through one's new life and experiences. The Primary Ancestor (which should be identified in your Itefa) becomes – if you are aware and work with that specific energy – a “guide” for the individual throughout their lifetime. At the end of that life they return to their identical spirit self and merge into one, taking the additional knowledge gained from their experience with the individual as a form of _payment_.

YORUBA RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD

Main article: Yoruba history

According to Professor S. A. Akintoye, the Yoruba were exquisite statesmen who spread across the globe in an unprecedented fashion; the reach of their culture is largely due to migration—the most recent migration occurred with the Atlantic slave trade . During this period, many Yoruba were captured and sold into the slave trade and transported to Argentina , Brazil , Cuba , Colombia , Dominican Republic , Puerto Rico , Trinidad and Tobago , Uruguay , Venezuela , and other parts of the Americas. With them, they carried their religious beliefs. The school-of-thought integrated into what now constitutes the core of the "New World lineages":

* Candomblé ( Brazil , Argentina , Uruguay ) * Santería ( Cuba , Puerto Rico , Dominican Republic ) * Trinidad Orisha ( Trinidad and Tobago ) * Umbanda ( Brazil , Argentina , Uruguay )

RELATIONSHIP AND INFLUENCE ON VOODOO

The Vodun faith, which originated amongst a different ethnic group (the Gbe speaking peoples of present-day Benin , Togo , and Ghana ), holds influential aspects on the African diaspora in countries such as Haiti and Cuba , also Southern States like New Orleans , Louisiana in the United States .

SYNCRETISM

"Chrislam" is a neologism used to refer to syncretism between Christianity and Islam among the Yoruba of Nigeria , mentioned by Greenfield (2001) as an example of the "Yoruba genius for syncretism".

Yoruba "Chrislam" includes two distinct religious movements, one called _Ifeoluwa_ founded by Tela Tella in the 1970s and 80s and another called _Oke-Tude_ founded by Samson Saka in 1999. They are also known as _The Will of God Mission_ or _The True Message of God Mission_ respectively. Adherence to "Chrislam" in Nigeria is very limited; Soares (2009) notes that "such efforts towards religious fusion or synthesis seem to be rather exceptional and increasingly so. In many places there has been intense competition and higher levels of tension within and between different confessional groups."

_Ifeoluwa_ ("Love of God") recognises both the Bible and the Quran as holy texts , and practices "running deliverance," a distinctive practice of spiritual running likened to Joshua 's army circling Jericho , or the practice of Pilgrims circumambulating a Church for Palm Sunday or the Kaaba , and Jews around the Synagogue during Sukkot. In contrast to other Chrislamic sects, Tela Tella, while claiming to believe in both the Qur'an and the Bible, says they are incomplete, and is writing his own book called the "Ifeoluwa Book". Tela Tella claims that an angel of God came to him and told him that he gave him the mission and the name "Ifeoluwa: The Will of God Mission".

Oke Tude (Oketude) in Ogudu (a northern suburb of Lagos ), founded by Samson Saka in 1999, is slightly less recognisable to mainstream Christianity, resembling more interfaith worship with three different sessions or services that take place on Sunday. The first is a Muslim session, then a Christian session, and finally there is a joint session that Saka leads. During this he stresses the similarities between Christianity and Islamic beliefs.

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Abimbola, Kola (2005). _Yoruba Culture: A Philosophical Account_ (Paperback ed.). Iroko Academics Publishers. ISBN 1-905388-00-4 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Ọlabimtan, Afọlabi (1991). _Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan_. Translated by George E. Simpson. Ibadan University Press. ISBN 978-121-068-0 . OCLC 33249752 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ J. Olumide Lucas, _The Religion of the Yorubas_, Athelia Henrietta PR, 1996. ISBN 0-9638787-8-6 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Ọlabimtan, Afọlabi (1973). _Àyànmọ_. Lagos, Nigeria: Macmillan. OCLC 33249752 . * ^ Wiafe, Daniel (1988). _Africa today : its peoples and contemporary cultures_. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt. ISBN 0840346409 .

* ^ Lawal, Babatunde (2008). "Èjìwàpò: The Dialectics of Twoness in Yoruba Art and Culture". _African Arts_. 41 (1): 30. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Bolaji Idowu (1982). _Olódùmarè: God in Yoruba Belief_. Ikeja, Nigeria: Longman. ISBN 0-582-60803-1 . * ^ Ifaloju (February 2011). "Odù- Ifá Iwòrì Méjì; Ifá speaks on Righteousness". _Ifa Speaks.._. S.S. Popoola, Ifa Dida, Library, INC. Retrieved 8 April 2012. * ^ Leeming & Leeming 2009 – entry "Yoruba". Retrieved 2010-04-30. * ^ Cf.The Concept of God: The People of Yoruba for the acceptability of the translation * ^ Courlander, Harold (March 1973). _Tales of Yoruba Gods and Heroes_. Crown Pub. ISBN 978-0517500637 . * ^ Neimark, Philip John (28 May 1993). _The Way of the Orisa_ (1st ed.). HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-250557-6 . Retrieved 2012-04-08. * ^ _A_ _B_ Akintoye, Prof S. A. (2010). _A history of the Yoruba people_. Amalion Publishing. ISBN 2-35926-005-7 . ASIN 2359260057. * ^ Brown (Ph.D.), David H. (2003). _ Santería Enthroned: Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion_. University of Chicago Press . ISBN 0-226-07610-5 . * ^ Oditous (2010). "Anthropology: ". Anthrocivitas Online. Retrieved 2011-03-27. * ^ Karade, Baba Ifa (1994). _The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts_. York Beach, New York: Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-789-9 . * ^ Fandrich, Ina J. (2007). "Yorùbá Influences on Haitian Vodou and New Orleans Voodoo". _Journal of Black Studies_. 37 (5 (May)): 775–791. JSTOR 40034365 . doi :10.1177/0021934705280410 . * ^ The term is mentioned by Greenfield, Sidney (2001). _Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas_. pp. 52, 53. (note 21) * ^ Marloes, Janson. _Chrislam’s Healing School in Lagos._ p. 3, footnote 4. * ^ The Christian Science Monitor. "In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing - and blending". _The Christian Science Monitor_. * ^ Benjamin Soares, "An Islamic social movement in contemporary West Africa: NASFAT of Nigeria"in : Stephen Ellis and Ineke Van Kessel (eds.) _Movers and Shakers: Social Movements in Africa_ (2009), p. 181. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Chrislam: Forging Ties in a Multi-Religious Society". _egodiuchendu.com_. (New Scientist Magazine, June 17, 2006)

FURTHER READING

* Fayemi fatunde Fakayode, "Iwure, Efficacious Prayer to Olodumare, the Supreme Force" ISBN 978-978-915-402-9 * Chief S. Solagbade Popoola 1st edition (May 28, 1993) ISBN 978-0-06-250557-6 * _Olódùmarè : God in Yoruba Belief_ by Bolaji Idowu , Ikeja : Longman Nigeria (1982) ISBN 0-582-60803-1 * Dr. Jonathan Olumide Lucas, "The Religion of the Yorubas", Lagos 1948, C. M. S. Bookshop. * Leeming, David Adams; Leeming, Margaret Adams (2009). _A Dictionary of Creation Myths_ (Oxford Reference Online ed.). Oxford University Press. * Morales, Ed (2003). _The Latin Beat_. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81018-2 . , pg. 177 * Miguel A. De La Torre , _Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America_, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-4973-3 . * Miguel R. Bances – Baba Eshu Onare, T