The special Òrìṣà
The special Òrìṣà
Due to their exceptional Àṣẹ, it is only possible to be initiated into one special Òrìṣà at a time, and this is the precise reason why they are referred to as “special” in the first place. On the other hand, it is possible to undergo a combined initiation into a number of different primary Òrìṣà (two or three at a time).
The Òrìṣà Egúngún
The Òrìṣà Egúngún belongs to the cult of male ancestors who infuse human life with a sense of community and provide an impetus to build something. Ancestors serve as a symbol of peace and harmony. They help people find and understand directions in life, always working in their best interest and helping them get rid of their enemies. An enemy is not necessarily a person who wants to harm someone else; we may very well be our own worst enemy.
Although certain ancestors never had wisdom, willingness, knowledge, or opportunity to take care of their descendants while being alive, they acquire all of these qualities once they pass into the ancestral world. The Yoruba people in Nigeria are so closely connected to their ancestors that they bury them at home.
Symbols: a ritualistic garb with a wooden headdress or just a wooden headdress; a statue in the form of a pillar with seven carved heads representing seven generations; an ẹdọn (a metal figure of a male and a female); white feathers of a lékéléké bird; an àtòrì (a ritualistic stick), etc.
Colour: all colours.
The Òrìṣà Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ̀
The Òrìṣà Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ belongs to the cult of female ancestors and is a symbol of social and moral discipline. During the Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ festival in Nigeria, songs are performed that reflect transgressions detected in society over the course of the previous year (similar to our carnivals and carnival parties) and point out societal wrongdoings, all with the aim of blessing the people’s lives with wisdom that helps them find solutions to problems, thus infusing the community with harmony. The Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ ritual is protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage.
An interesting fact: although this is a female energy, it can only be personified by male priests dedicated to this Òrìṣà.
Symbols: a ritualistic garb with a wooden mask or just a wooden mask; an ẹdọn (a metal figure of a male and a female); ankle bands similar to shackles, etc.
Colour: all colours.
The Òrìṣà Akóògún
The Òrìṣà Akóògún is the god of superior magic, medicine, vision, and evolution in the sense of having the ability to manipulate plants and healing. He provides help by improving our communication with the spiritual world either during meditation or while receiving one’s Òrìṣà.
Colours: red and white.
The Òrìṣà Ìbòròsìà
The Òrìṣà Ìbòròsíà is a divinity that helps protect one’s personality and spirituality as it improves the protection of one’s Orí. The Òrìṣà Ìbòròsíà assures a good destiny in our spiritual choices.
The Òrìṣà Ọmọlú Bùrúkù
The Òrìṣà Ọmọlú Burùkú is a divinity with dual energy – male and female. It manages the co-existence between these two energies, provides power, increases consciousness, and intensifies the responsibility for one’s spiritual actions in relation to magic and medicine.
Colours: blue and white.
The Òrìṣà Ìrókò
The Òrìṣà Ìrókò is a sacred tree where Ìyá-mí gather. This sacred tree and this energy encapsulate the principles of spirituality, longevity, wisdom, cleansing, and harmony. The Òrìṣà Ìrókò facilitates the connection to our Ẹgbẹ́, Ìyá-mí, and the Àbíkú spirituality. The Òrìṣà Ìrókò is present during every ẹbọ ritual because it serves as a spiritual guide and protector.
The Òrìṣà Alabẹ
The Òrìṣà Alábẹ is the Òrìṣà for those who really want to assume the spiritual responsibility and become priests and priestesses. Over the course of the initiation ritual, the hands, the body, the soul, and the energy are blessed, and the person being initiated is subsequently able to work as a priest and perform a spiritual orientation, the ẹbọ ritual, and sacrifices. Alábẹ provides the strength and the ability to heal the human body, soul, and feelings.
The Òrìṣà Kóri
The Òrìṣà Kórì is a divinity of fertility and a protector of children – especially the so-called Àbíkú children and grown-ups who feel lost and disoriented. The energy of the Òrìṣà Kórì is related to health, luck, happiness, and fertility.
The Òrìṣà Oge
The Òrìṣà Oge is a divinity we worship in order to “improve” our character when striving to achieve social and spiritual integration. The Òrìṣà Oge makes us more consistent and improves our ability to interact with others and develop the abilities acquired during the process of initiation. This Òrìṣà is vital in terms of protection and justice; it increases one’s impulsiveness as well as one’s ability to better worship the Òrìṣà.
The Òrìṣà Oko
The Òrìṣà Oko is the energy connected to Ìyá-mí, agriculture, and manipulation of the soil. By worshipping this Òrìṣà, one improves in all matters of spirituality and enhances the ability to perform divination and healing procedures; this is the exact reason why this Òrìṣà has so many worshippers.
The Òrìṣà Olóde
This Òrìṣà is the mother goddess of the planet Earth. She blesses our destiny and our work – particularly our mission in this world. She is used to facilitate the unification of the energies of the sky, the stars, the plants, and the animals. With her assistance, we can manipulate our life and change it for the better, and she also enables us to make changes in the Orí of our clients.
The Òrìṣà Ọlọjọ
The Òrìṣà Ọlọjọ is the deity of every individual day helping the worshippers not to get lost in time, to be present in the moment and in harmony with it, giving them the ability to best organize their time. An everyday commitment to the Òrìṣà Ọlọjọ enables the worshippers to wield a greater control over their own lives and ensures that the energy of each and every individual day is favourable to them.
Symbols: a comb, a necklace made out of white linen and stones, a calabash, etc.
Colours: white and yellow.
The Òrìṣà Onílẹ̀
This Òrìṣà symbolizes the earth in the sense of the soil. This divinity is invoked during any ritual with a profound meaning that is impossible to describe. The initiation into this Òrìṣà is unique in the sense that it is the only one where the worshipper is simultaneously initiated on two levels of existence: in addition to the physical or the spiritual body, one’s shadow is initiated as well. The Òrìṣà Onílẹ̀ is invoked to facilitate the health of people and the planet as a whole.
The Òrìṣà Orò
The Òrìṣà Orò belongs to the ancestral cult and is used to cleanse the negativities inherited from ancestors either through an initiation or by means of an ẹbọ. The same applies to the outer and the inner environment; it is the energy parallel to that of Egúngún. An individual initiated into this Òrìṣà is blessed with the ability to work with ancestors and manipulate various energies related to our destiny. The Òrìṣà Orò is also the energy that helps us revitalize and preserve our vital strength in order to achieve peace and harmony in terms of our own spirituality.
The Òrìṣà Agẹmọ
The Òrìṣà Agẹmọ may be described as an encapsulation of various energies and meanings related to justice, medicine, and magic. It serves as a symbol of transformation and the power of Àṣẹ (i.e. the energy of realization). The initiation into this Òrìṣà is highly important in terms of our spiritual recognition.
The Òrìṣà Òkè
The Òrìṣà Òkè is the goddess of purity and the expressions of nature – particularly of the mountains. The Òrìṣà Òkè is the stone of Ọbàtàlá and represents an uncompromising character. People who were born in an intact amniotic sack or whose body was marked at birth in any way should worship this Òrìṣà.
The Òrìṣà Àjàgùnmàlẹ̀
An extremely powerful and influential Òrìṣà representing a spiritual warrior. Bàbáláwo priests and ìyánífá priestesses consider him to be the supreme leader in ọ̀run. He is the high priest in the invisible world and the protector of the Àṣẹ belonging to all the Òrìṣà.
The Òrìṣà Àjàgùnmàlẹ̀ serves as an intermediary between the invisible and the visible world, between the known energies and the unknown ones. This is a highly dynamic energy that is constantly in motion.
The Òrìṣà Gìrìwó
Gìrìwó is one of the powerful Òrìṣà warriors, just like the Òrìṣà Àjàgùnmàlẹ̀. We get initiated into these two Òrìṣà in order to acquire special, unique, and extraordinary strength; however, we must always distinguish between strength on the one hand and physical force on the other. In spiritual lexicon, strength denotes prestige and influence as opposed to mere physical might. This Òrìṣà helps us inhabit the essence of determination, bravery, and courage while also making us more agile and able to react swiftly and move quickly.
The Òrìṣà Ferewá
The energy of this Òrìṣà is related to the energy of Akóògún, the difference being that this is a female energy. An initiation into the goddess Ferewá involves all kinds of female energies. The energy of Ìyá-mí is a prerequisite for an initiation into this energy.
The Òrìṣà Gbongbolo
Gbongbolo is a warrior in the name of Egúngún. While Egúngún is fully clad, Gbongbolo is only half-dressed. He is carrying a sword serving as a symbol used to dispel persistent influences and break the negative connection with previous generations, thus imploring the person being initiated to take action and move forward.
The Òrìṣà Gbògi
Gbògì s one of the very special Egúngún energies representing an extremely powerful side of Egúngún. It is not always necessary to undergo a separate initiation process; a special altar may be placed next to the Egúngún altar instead.
The Òrìṣà Ògù
An initiation into the deity Ògù serves as a way of attaining an additional energy of Ìyá-mí in order to improve one’s own ability to transform and manipulate energies.
The Òrìṣà Abìràngún
This Òrìṣà provides us with the Àṣẹ that enables us to readily recognize the source of our energy. It is related to the source of our personal strength and our innermost essence. An initiation into the deity Abìràngún is aimed at unearthing all of our inner strength. With this initiation, priests acquire the Àṣẹ that allows them to help others to be able to discover their essence and purpose in life as well as to identify their problems.
The Òrìṣà Dàda
According to mythology, Dàda was Ṣàngó’s brother. Ṣàngó, Dàda, and Bayoni work in unison. The Òrìṣà Dàda is a very powerful energy of progress helping us to advance and become rich in life. An initiation into the deity Dàda enables us to acquire the Àṣẹ of money and success, ensuring our prospects for achieving social and spiritual success are favourable and guaranteeing our efforts are recognized and richly rewarded. This energy is similar to the energy of the deity Ajẹ́; however, the energy of Dàda is specifically aimed at satisfying our personal needs as opposed to enabling us to serve others.
The Òrìṣà Bayànnì
The Òrìṣà Bayànnì, Dàda, and Ṣàngó are usually worshipped in unison. If we have already undergone a profound initiation into the Òrìṣà Ṣàngó, this initiation may be supplemented with the other two energies. The Òrìṣà Bayànnì is not for everyone. The individual must already be a priest or a priestess, meaning that he or she is wholly committed to seeking solutions and is the one who finds an answer to everything, even the most challenging issues.
The Òrìṣà Ọ̀pálùwọ̀nwọ̀n
The Òrìṣà Ọ̀pálùwọ́nwọ́n shares the Àṣẹ with the Òrìṣà Orò. This Òrìṣà uncovers secrets and provides a way to upgrade the ancestral energy. It is the energy of communication between people and deities that uncovers the unknown and brings about the Àṣẹ aimed at providing answers to a myriad of questions.
The Òrìṣà Àìná
This deity deals with different types of Àbíkú. Her natural worshippers are children who had the umbilical cord wrapped around their necks during birth. Some are left with a perpetual feeling of having a yoke around their neck, and if you are one of them, you are strongly advised to undergo this initiation. Bear in mind that we all experience moments when we feel this way.
The Òrìṣà Ẹdọn
The initiation into the deity Ẹdọn serves as a complementary initiation into the Òrìṣà Ìyá-mí. Its objective is to secure the longevity of all our virtues and achievements while also providing support to our Àṣẹ during other rituals. An ẹdọn, a cult object received after undergoing this initiation, is celebrated alongside Ìyá-mí. Whenever we are performing a ritualistic offering for Ìyá-mí, we include the ẹdọn as well.
The Òrìṣà Mọrẹ̀rẹ̀
This is a female energy. Òsù, known as a complementary initiation into Ifá, also serves as her symbol. Only the individuals previously initiated into Òsù may undergo an initiation into Mọrẹ̀rẹ̀. Ọrẹ̀ (the term is derived from the word Mọrẹ̀rẹ̀) is a female energy working in tandem with the energy of Òsù. It attracts spiritual energies, the energies of ajogún.
The Òrìṣà Lákijẹnà
This Òrìṣà shares certain similarities with the Òrìṣà Gìrìwó, the difference being that in the case of Lákijẹnà, rods are used for manipulation, just like in the process of initiation into Egúngún. This is the Òrìṣà that facilitates a societal spiritual cleansing of a larger territory. During the initiation into the Òrìṣà Lákijẹnà, those undergoing the initiation are involved in a symbolic fight using rods, and their aim is to eliminate confusion from their bodies. In this way, both the body and the soul no longer allow foolishness and stupidity to take root, meaning that problems no longer reside inside the human body.
The Òrìṣà Olúmọ
Olúmọ is a rock serving as the symbol of the Nigerian town Abẹ́òkúta located in the Ògún state. As an Òrìṣà, it embodies a protective energy, and this spiritual energy is so endlessly reliable that we can always count on it. An initiation into the deity Olúmọ is a way of ensuring that our energy becomes more firm and reliable, and once we are in possession of this energy, we can always count on ourselves. We subsequently have a more positive disposition that benefits us greatly. This energy also serves as protection and may be used to achieve numerous positive things in terms of progress, fertility, and health.
The Òrìṣà Igbá – nlá
This Òrìṣà is the calabash of existence, the calabash of life, the calabash of survival, of our life cycle, and our period of existence. It ensures that our cycle is abundant, our life majestic and long, and that everything we embark on results in grandiosity and prestige. This Òrìṣà is an inherent part of the Ìyá-mí energy.
Within the context of the special Òrìṣà, there are two complementary Òrìṣà:
The Òrìṣà Arẹmọ
This is one of the Òrìṣà of strength. The symbols of the Òrìṣà Ògún and the stones of the Òrìṣà Ṣàngó are used to harmonize multiple strengths we possess. If our strengths are scattered inside of us as opposed to unified, we have a hard time utilizing their full potential.
The Òrìṣà Alásẹ̀
Aláṣẹ is the energy of Àṣẹ, and the name literally translates as “the one who possesses the Àṣẹ”. This initiation ensures someone becomes a carrier of Àṣẹ and is highly recommended to those who are frequently put to the test and must always fight their way through life. During the initiation into the deity Aláṣẹ, the seeds of the Òrìṣà Ẹ̀lúkú are used as a symbol.