Initiation in Ifa/Orisa – Part II

In Part I of initiation in the Ifa/Tradition, we gave some insights to the process using Ifa initiation (Ite’fa) as the example. It is important to keep in mind the protocols that comes with this very important life path milestone. There are protocols that must be observed by both initiates and initiators. We will continue to use Ifa initiation as the example.


The Oluwo, spiritual Godfather in Ifa, must make sure Ikin Ifa (sacred/consecrated implements) are selected in the appropriate way and prepared for the initiation. Oluwo is responsible to ensure everything goes smoothly during the initiation. He is the sole authority that can approve invitation for anyone to attend the initiation. He must make sure that all Priests present are very well attended to and are given good care, good food, and drinks. Moreso, Oluwo must make sure that everyone is compensated appropriately.

If the initiate does not have anyone present who can scribe all of the information that is being communicated during the initiation, it is the duty of Oluwo to make sure that someone is designated to scribe. This information will be handed over to the initiate upon completion of the initiation. During the process of Ite’fa, Oluwo (or any other Priest appointed to speak) must not say any negative words to the initiate or get angry inside Igbodu (sacred Ifa grove).

After the Ite’fa is completed Oluwo will hand over Ikin Ifa shrine to the initiate, unless the initiate asks him to hold onto it. It is the responsibility of Oluwo, either through delegation or by himself, to show the new initiate how to take care of his/her Ifa and provide prayers and instructions for appeasement in the language that the initiate will understand. Oluwo will embrace his initiates as members of his spiritual house (Ile) and take care of their spiritual well-being by maintaining connection with them on necessary things they need to do or should not to do. Oluwo must ensure that the spiritual taboos are communicated clearly to the initiate. This includes personal taboos as well as the general taboos.


Initiates must be present for the initiation. Ite’fa can not be done long distance. Initiates must show the utmost respect to their Oluwo at all times. It is taboo to offend your Oluwo. The initiate is responsible to inform the Oluwo of any medical conditions, allergies, etc. prior to the initiation. This allows the Oluwo to plan and ensure the appropriate support is provided during the initiation as the initiate will be fully engaged and will not be allowed to move around freely for some time. During the course of initiation, the initiate will learn which Odu Ifa is the personal road map for their life. Initiates are expected to strictly follow the teachings and guidance of their Oluwo’s lineage and must schedule periodic Ida’fa (divination) with their Oluwo. Going forward their own person Ikin Ifa will be used for Ida’fa/Ifa divination.


Ite’fa alone does not make an initiate Babalawo or Iyanifa. One must undergo training known as Iko’fa (learning of Ifa). The initiate then becomes omo Iko’fa (Ifa apprentice). There are certain protocols and processes that is followed before the training is started and completed. Such as:

  • Ritual to begin training,
  • Learn Odu Ifa,
  • Learn how to make Ifa medicines,
  • Learn how to conduct various rituals and ceremonies,
  • Performing ebo ritual on the opon, etc.

Training takes a minimum of 2 years to 10 years of consistent training, depending on how quickly the initiate can learn. Before completing training, the initiate is not qualified to perform Ifa divination without the presence of an elder/teacher. Attending to clients comes with big responsibility and tending them without proper training can cause more harm than good.

Aboru aboye abosise.

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