Great Benin Divination
Divination has exhibited a major role in traditonal cultural development in Africa as well as social mores prior to European intervention. Divination is a universal indeavor among traditional African peoples. Divination is a metaphysical way of knowing the seen and unseen, the past, present as well as the future. Similar to other African cultures, Great Benin has systems of divination that reveal hidden mysteries relating to the past, present or future.
In a general sense, divination is a keystone to traditional African philosophy, religion and worldview. Divination is a way to understand life’s complexities and to avoid catastrophes. Because of the importance of the traditional African holistic view of the world, physical coexisting with the spiritual realms, having knowledge of their interaction is essential.
Divination is also an essential component of Traditional African Medicine. In Traditional African Medicine, divination is used as a diagnostic tool. Divination takes into account both the problems and remedies of the seen and unseen realms, physical as well as spiritual universe and levels of existence in giving account of life’s solutions. The oracle spread throughout Africa to many different cultures and especially taking similar names across West Africa.
Some of the names in West Africa for the oracle are Fa, Afa, Iha, Agbigba, and Ifa. Some of the West African ethnic groups that received the oracle this way are the Edo (Benin), Yoruba, Igbo, Fon, Urhobo, Itsekiri, etc. It was and still is common for native doctors (Obo, Babalawo, etc) to travel to different areas of Africa in search for more knowlege about their profession. The acquisition of knowledge has included a vast accumulation of medical herbs, minerals, animals, incantations, and divination.
In Great Benin, the highest Oracle name is Iha Ominigbon. Ominigbon is the person that brought the oracle to Great Benin. Iha Ominigbon is the most superior of all of the oracle of Edo (Great Benin). The oracles contain the keystones of the cultural traditions of the African people. According to the great Edo historian, J.U. Egharevba, the Iha Ominigbon is the keystone to Edo language and traditions.
Jacob Egharevba gives a list of the main Edo oracles (1st seven) in his book entitled “Iha Ominigbon Vbobo”, Osemwegie Ikpamosa, as well as this author have added a few others to the list;
- Iha Ominigbon
- Iha Oronmila
- Olokun Akpele/Akpete
The Iha Ominigbon divination apparatus consists of four spiritually charged strings. Each string consists of four Oguega seeds. When the diviner simultaneously casts the four strings, a sacred coded message is revealed.The sacred coded message contains a deep analytical interpretation of the reading as well as a oracular folktale, a plain meaning and a solution or sacrifice that is to be performed. Other divination systems from Great Benin involves cowries, divination cup and drum, kola nut, Benin Ifa, and some minor ones such as water-gazing. An in-depth analysis of Great Benin divination can be found in my book “Kings, Magic & Medicine found on Lulu.com
See Iha Ominigbon divination on Youtube! Here’s the links
Many authors have stated that Iha Ominigbon divination is the equivalent of the Yoruba Ifa divination system. That statement is true in a sense. They both have the same origin, Orunmila has a major part as well as the oracular language is very similar. However, with Iha Ominigbon, no shrine is needed before starting the study of divination. In Iha Ominigbon, a shrine become essential in order to perform sacrifice. In other words, a person can undertake the study of Iha Ominigbon without an initiation. In Yoruba Ifa, one most have a shrine to Orunmila and initiation before partaking the study of divination. Of course, in Yoruba Ifa, a shrine (s) are essential as well in performing sacrifice. Find out more on Iha and Ifa in my book “Kings, Magic, & Medicine”.
Here is a video of me explaining IhOminigbon divination:
Here is a video of me on Youtube preforming Oguega divination:
Below are links to Folkcuba.com or Amazon.com where it can be previewed and purchased.
Contact Info: Storefront Retailers
Owa Afrikan Market, NY 718 643 8487
Yoruba Books Center, NY 718 774 5800
C.Jones Books, & Teas, Cleveland 216-577-4171