“Kings, Magic & Medicine” Excerpt: How Orunmila came to Great Benin

Excert from “Kings, Magic & Medicine

By Chief Dr. Daryl Peavy JD

Ifa Divination Modus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Edo were one of many southern Nigerian groups that shareda common heritage dating back several thousand years (Galembo, et.Chief Dr. Daryl M. Peavy JD 77al. 1993: 19). This shared heritage involved common ideas, practices,traditions, and language (Galembo, et. al. 1993: 19; Manfredi 2009).The Edo, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma, Igbo, and Yoruba had similar words toconvey the same concepts of divination (Galembo, et. al. 1993:19:;Manfredi 2009). For the Edo people, the word for the indigenousdivination system was Iha, while the Igbo word for divination wasAfa. The Yoruba word for divination was Ifa. The oracularlanguages—sixteen arrays of Iha, Afa, and Ifa— were nearly identical.Some of the similar oracular words (words of power) names wereOgbi for Afa, Ogbe for Ifa, and Ogbi for Iha; similar cognates includedOgoi for Afa, Iwori for Ifa, and Oghori for Iha Those similarities couldhave caused some confusion for early researchers of the three ethnicgroups as to the origins of divination within those cultures.There was an independent development of Edo Oronmila worshipfrom the Yoruba (Norborg 1992: 140). According to Ibie, Orunmilafirst came to Eziagbon (Igodomigodo/Benin City) for a short timebefore going to Ile-Ife to reveal the Ifa corpus (Ibie: 5). Bascom statedthat Orunmila/Ifa was associated with both Ife and Ado (Edo).According to Bascom, it was uncertain to which Ado the corpus andsources were referring. Bascom spoke of Ado Ewi (Ado-Ekiti) andstated that Ewi was actually the title of the King of Ado Ekiti; he alsoreferred to Ado Awaiye, Ado Ayiwo (unidentified), an Ado that wasthirteen miles north of Badagry, and Ado (Benn City) (1969: 113). TheEdo Kingdom had a vast influence over many Yoruba traditions. ManyYoruba towns were ruled by the Edo (Benin) Kingdom and adoptedEdo place names, chieftaincy titles, and paraphernalia (Picton 1997:43).Some of them may also have been introduced to the Edo divinationsystem by that route. According to Egharevba, the Edo (Benin)Kingdom stretched from Otun (the boundary between Oyo and Benin)in the north, to the sea in the south, Asaba in the east, and Eko (Lagos)in the west. Akure in Ado Ekiti. Owo, Ijebu, and Ondo were some ofthe headquarters of the Edo colonies (Egharevba 2005: 78).In those towns, Agbigba (Oguega) divination was performedusing four divination chains. The ruling houses had their titles from anEdo origin. Under the circumstances, it was certainly plausible that theEdo Kingdom at least contributed to Ifa in those areas. In any case,borrowing and sharing concepts was a fundamental construct amongWest African equatorial forest cultures (Galembo, et. al. 1993: 19).The Edo people also did not hesitate to incorporate familiar and useful78 Kings, Magic, & Medicineconstructs into their culture from neighboring ethnic groups. Ifadivination existed in the Edo Kingdom alongside the indigenousdivination systems such as Iha Ominigbon and others (Galembo, et. al.1993: 26). According to Ibie (1986), Ifa and Iha Omingbon divinationsystems were equivalent (p.65). Ifa divination was a Yoruba method ofunderstanding divine will. Oronmila (Orunmila) was the divinationdivinity of Ifa. It was Esu who taught Ifa divination to Oronmila.According to Ibie, it was in Eziagbon (Benin City) that Oronmila firstcame to earth and settled for a brief period (vol. 3: 5). Afterwards,Oronmila traveled to Uhe (Ile Ife) and settled. Oronmila revealed theworks of Odu Ifa through his life experiences in heaven and his travelsthroughout Africa.The Edo Kingdom had…Read More in “Kings, Magic & Medicine”. Kings, Magic & Medicine can be purchase at;


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Kings, Magic,& Medicine
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