Ori – Part I

Ori, the head, in the Yoruba concept of creation, is not just the physical head that we see. It also has some spiritual influence, which translated literarily, means destiny. The Yoruba believe in the existence of one God Almighty, Olodumare, who creates heaven and earth and all that abide therein.

In His creation activities, Olodumare has a team of subordinate deities at His beck and call who carry out the “leg work” for him. When it comes to the creation of human beings, a very important member of the creation team is Ajala Mo’pin. He is Alamo t’on m’Ori, the deity who molds heads.

The physical head:

The head that is visible to the naked eye can b referred to as Ori-Ode, the outer or physical head. It is the physical Ori that gives us our identity.

The spiritual head: 

When a human being has been created, he/she proceeds to the domain of Ajala Mo’pin, where he/she now chooses his/her Ori, the spiritual head. The spiritual Ori consists of two parts, namely Ori-inu and Ori-apere.

Ori-inu is the individual’s character, the behavior he/she exhibits and his/her relationship with his/her fellow human beings.

Ori apere is one’s destiny. Ori apere is itself sub-divided into three parts, AkunleyanAkunlegba and Ayanmo. As soon as a man is created, he proceeds to the domain of Ajala Mo’pin to choose his spiritual head. Odu Ifa Ogbe-yonu confirms this process.

“Ebiti epake ni ye di pee,
A di’fa fun Oriseku ti se omo ogun,
Ebiti epake ni ye di pee,
A di’fa fun Ori Ilemere omo Ija,
Ebiti epake ni ye di pee,
A di’fa fun Afuwape ti se omo bibi inu agboniregun,
N’ijo ti won nlo ile Ajala Mo’pin, Ajala Alamo t’orun
Lati lo ree yan Ori
Won ni ki won o ru’bo …”

It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed.
This is the Ifa’s message to Oriseku the off-spring of Ogun,
It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed.
This is the Ifa’s message to Ori-Ilemere the off-spring of Ija,
It is the trap laid on the slope that is exposed.
This is the Ifa’s message to Afuwape the off-spring of Agbonniregun,
When they were all going to the domain of “Ajala-Mo-Ipin”, the celestial molder to choose their Destiny,
They were asked to offer sacrifice…

First aspect of Ori-apere: Akunleyan is that request we make to Ajala Mo’pin regarding some specific things we wish to accomplish during our sojourn here on earth. These include how long we wish to live and what we want to become in that span of our life.

Second aspect of Ori-pere: In order to realize our heart’s desire as we have chosen it (Akunleyan), we also request Ajala Mo’pin to provide us with the means to assist us. These means are called Akunlegba. For instance, a child who chosen to be a great warrior will be provided with the opportunity to live at a time when his country is constantly at war with its neighbors so as to provide him the opportunity to prove his mettle.

The third aspect of Ori-apere: Ayanmo is that destiny that determines whether you are to be born as a man or woman, as an African or a European, a Yoruba, etc. It is the belief of the Yoruba that that is one’s destiny is immutable – “Ayanmo ko gb’oogun”. Both Akunleyan and Akunlegba can be altered later in life if they are found to be unfavorable, but your choice of Ayanmo that you have made cannot be change. This is what is meant in the verse of Odu Ifa Ogbe-yonu that says:

“A o mo’bi Olori gbe yan Ori o
A ba ma lo yan tawa
Afuwape ba da won loun pe
Ibikan naa lati gbe yan Ori o
Ayanmo o papo ni”

“We do not know where Afuwape has chosen his prosperous destiny
We would have gone there to choose ours.
Afuwape replied them that
We choose our destinies from the same source
It is just that we have chosen different destinies”.

One thing is clear, both Ori-Inu and Ori-Apere must be in harmony to ensure success in life. If you have made the best of the choices in terms of Ori-Apere, that is AkunleyanAkunlegba and Ayanmo, if you have chosen a bad Ori-Inu, that is if you do not have good character, you will not able to actualize the potentials of your Ori-Apere.

Aboru aboye abosise.

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