Babaaláwo literally meaning 'father or master of mysteries' in the Yoruba language. It is a Yorùbá chieftaincy title that denotes a Priest of Ifá while Ifa priestesses are called Iyanifa. Ifa is a divination system that represents the teachings of the Orisha Orunmila, the Spirit of Wisdom, who in turn serves as the oracular representative of God. The Babalawo claim to ascertain the future through communication with Orunmila. This is done through the interpretation of either the patterns of the divining chain known as Opele, or the palm nuts called Ikin, on the traditionally wooden divination tray.

Awo in every tradition study the 256 Odù; each Odù is an extraordinarily vast collection of knowledge, including stories and prayers that have been passed down from the time that Orunmila walked the Earth as a prophet, usually said to be about 5,000 years ago. Babalawo

Awo is often used as a gender-neutral reference to individual Iyanifa or Babalawo, as well as to the group as a whole. An Awo is a spiritual counsellor to clients and those whom he or she may have assisted in receiving tutelary Orisa shrines and/or initiation into the spiritual tradition of the Orisa. There have been Iyanifa, women Ifa priests, since time immemorial in some areas of the world

Initiation into Ifa requires rigorous study. A Babalawo must learn and understand each of the 256 chapters (Odu) of Ifa. The minimum of four verses will of necessity include ebos and ooguns (medicine) that are embedded and relevant to each of the verses, plus other issues that complement divination. An accomplished Babalawo must know about ten verses of each of the 256 chapters of Ifa (256 Odu Ifa). Regardless of gender, whoever aspires to practice Ifa must have this qualification. In essence, Ifa practice does not preclude a woman provided such woman acquires the required qualification.

Odu—a special Orisa—can only be received by a Babalawo who decides to perform the special initiation that will allow him access to Odu. In essence, initiation into Ifa is the first step towards initiation into Odu. A woman cannot be initiated into Odu. This is because since she already has a womb, she has no need to receive Odu. It can be said to be redundant. Character Traits of a Awo: Orunmila demands humility from his priests and priestesses, therefore, a Babalawo should be an embodiment of patience, good character, honesty, and humility.

Some initiatory lineages have only male priests of Orunmila, while others include both genders. The term "Awo" is a gender-neutral title for an initiated priest of Orunmila. The debate surrounding gender is a result of diversity in the many layers of history in various locations. In some areas of Yorubaland and in Cuba, only men become full priests of Orunmila (sometimes nicknamed "Orula" in Cuban lineages), other places in Africa the priesthood has always been open to women (although female awo Ifa are relatively uncommon). In many non-Cuban lineages female Awo Ifa are becoming common. Women do not need to receive Odù because all women already have Odù which is represented by the womb of women and the female child-bearing ability; the womb is seen as both a physical and spiritual gateway between the heavens and the material world.

Several Odù Ifá mandate that women do not see nor receive Odù (Calabash of Existence), and any claims that it can be given are easily dispelled; Ifá stanzas cite several reasons and occasions why. Odù is associated mainly with the force of creation as a gateway between the physical world and metaphysical world for the transfer of divine knowledge and messages. Throughout Cuba and some of the broader Santeria diaspora, Orula can be received by individuals regardless of gender. For men, the procedure is known as receiving "Mano de Orula" and for women, it is "Kofa de Orula."

The same procedure exists in Yoruba land, with "ese n'taye" (birthing rites), "Ise'fa" (adolescent initiation rites) and "Ite'fa" (consecration of the paraphernalia of Ifá practice). Worshippers of the traditional religious philosophy of the Yoruba people all receive one hand of Ifá (called Isefa) regardless of which Orisa they may worship or be an Orisa priest. It is that same Isefa that will direct all followers to the right path and their individual destinies in life.

IFA: The Ancient Wisdom of the Yoruba who live in South Western parts of Nigeria and West Africa. This ancient wisdom known as Ifa reflects a time-honored tradition on which the Yoruba philosophy, arts, music, customs, science, medicine, culture and religion are based. Hidden for centuries, Ifa is a nature religion that helps to develop realistic relationships with the natural forces which govern the universe.

Iwa-Pele: Ifa Quest: The Search for the Source of Santeria and Lucumi - This exposition of the theology of the Yoruba people challenges the prevailing prejudicial assumptions regarding the depth, beauty and relevance of African theological thought. Titled “Iwa Pele,” this book focuses on the indigenous African belief that ethics and spiritual growth are irrevocably linked. Written in a highly accessible manner and in a style easily assimilated by the Western mind, this great work also provides sensible direction for those wishing to embark on the spiritual path of Ifa. Each chapter provides instruction for the adept on Ifa/orisa veneration as done in the traditional manner. Focused on the indigenous African belief that ethics and spiritual growth are irrevocably linked (Iwa Pele), this book provides clear direction for those interested in the spiritual path of Ifa. Filled with Techniques and Understandings for Beginners and Adepts alike,Iwa-Pele: Ifa Quest: The Search for the Source of Santeria and Lucumi continues to be a "Must Have" book for Western Ifa Followers to understand how and why the tradition is practiced.

The Ancient Lands: Warrior Quest, Search for the Ifa Scepter Their, “Search for the Ifa Scepter,” will test every aspect of their being in this intense magical adventure. They’ll need Bomani’s prowess of shield and spear, Farra’s sorcery, and the help of a few magical runes to battle their way through the Expanse. Yet, the most powerful of all of their assets is their courage and the friendship they will forge. Together, they venture deep into the, “Forbidden Expanse,” where most other humans would not dare to dwell.

When the precious Ifa Scepter must be found to save his kingdom, it is Bomani who secretly sets out on this journey to retrieve it -alone. The Ancient Lands: Warrior Quest, Search for the Ifa Scepter He has spent his whole life trying to prove himself worthy of his father’s crown. By age fifteen, Bomani’s warrior skills had surpassed all the boys his age; yet that wasn’t enough for him. But, it is destiny that adds a companion to his solemn quest; a young girl named Farra. This cheerful, chatty, young sorceress is just attaining her powers and has only just begun the sacred magical bond she share’s with her wolf pup.

In this app, Iya Ifalola Omobola shares wisdom of Orisha that she obtained over 17 years as an Orisha/Ifa priest from the Nigerian cultural system. Orisha Ifa Daily Wisdom The Living Odu - an exploration of the tenets of Ifa within the Yoruba mindset of Orisa Ifa Orisha Ifa Daily Wisdom for your smartphone is based on an African religious system in which the Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa), a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God), is the central figure in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system is Orisha Ifa Daily Wisdom

In this age, with the many global concerns and personal obstacles, there is a tendency to feel trapped, helpless and victimized by unknowable forces, the wisdom of Ifa show how anyone, at any time, may claim freedom and peace in a spiritual universe. It is great to see that Ifa's wisdom is being shared in a way that is tangible and used in very practical terms. Too often African Spirituality is regulated to spells and potions. Ifa shows us that it's wisdom can stand firmly in our modern culture and support those who are looking to transform their lives. Reflections on the Wisdom of Ifa as they relate to human conditions and experiences in life provides a different approach, perspective, and understanding to Ifa tradition--quite different from the narrowed view on ebos alone.

The Original Major Odu Ifa . Ile Ife An account of the philosophy and theology of the Yoruba Traditional Culture, Odu Ifa Yoruba philosophy and religious ethics. Click Here for Volume 2

Practitioner's Handbook for the IFA Professional purpose is to offer enough information to those Awo's who may not have access to a local teacher of Ifa. At least you can work with confidence until you can hook up with the correct Oluwo-Ifa. Please be respectful of the Warnings! when it says it requires a person with the proper Ase. It MEANS an initiatated Priest who has gone through Itefa not an orisa priest or non initiate. Lots and lots of excellent material. May Iya continue her great contributions. Ogbo ato. Ifa agbe e.