Performing Ifa divination is called Ifa dida or idafa (ounte ale). Ifa dida or Idafa is performed by a Babalawo or Iyalawo or iyanifa (an initiated priest or priestess). Babalawo can be translated as "father of the secrets" while "Iyalawo" {mother of secret} or sometimes "Iyanifa" means "mother that has Ifa(i.e. its blessing)". The babalawo or iyanifa provides insights about the current circumstances impacting the life of a person requesting this information and provides any necessary information to aid the individual. Awo is a reference for devotees in Orisa worship. It includes Babalawos, Iyalawo,Iyanifas, Babalorishas, Iyalorishas and even uninitiated devotees.

Ifa divination (also called consultation) is performed for many proposes and a host of occasions, the purposes and occasions is what determines the instrument used in the divination sessions. Divination is often performed for lesser reasons such as "regular check up" to life-changing occasions such as marriage or child birthing etc, divination can also be performed for a group (small / large) or community (the first examples are more likely for a person, couple, parents or family). On occasion when it is performed for the community or society it takes on another significance. Below we will list and discuss major occasions divination is performed and give some feedback and examples of each, in application and practice.

  • Annual Divination for the New Year - one occasion where a major divination is performed and the ranking Ifa Priest are present to witness and partake. This is called the divination of the new year, which is also sometimes referred to as the First Yam Festival (for ancient annual agricultural cycles). For the current year 2012 / 2013 (the Yoruba year begins early June for a 12 month cycle), is the holy Odu Ifa Ogbe Ogunda (alias Ogbe Iyonu/ OgbeYonu / OgbeYono and Ogbe Suuru etc each alias has special meaning). The results of such a divinition will be discussed and analyzed by the ranking Ifa Priest, shared with the Ooni (the ruling King of Yoruba People), and shared with the extended community. To read more about the governing Odu for 2012 & 2013, click here.
  • Establishing a new town or settlement, is another reason Ifa is cast to know more about that towns living principals and parameters etc. An example can be found in IrosunMeji.
  • Mate selection - (or courting) a potential partner, several examples will be posted shortly.
  • Esentaye (new born baby rites) - Also called Ikosedaye, is another major occasion to consult Ifa for direction and advice
  • Burial rites