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Animals in the Osha-Ifá Religion Do you know its religious meaning?

Animals in the Osha Ifá Religion

The Osha-Ifá divination system It is based on the interpretation of figurative language, each patakin (Yoruba stories) hides advice and teachings.

Through the narrative in the Eses Ifá and patakies, comparisons are made between men and animals, in these anecdotes the animals play a fundamental role where they laugh, also cry, get upset, speak, can feel, in short, animals are human.

Not only does this happen in the Yoruba culture, it also happens in other cultures of the world, only that the meaning of the animal can vary in different countries.

Each Odun (sign) refers to and corresponds to an animal and from each of its characteristics many behaviors and qualities emerge from the person being consulted.

What should be kept in mind when interpreting metaphors where animals are compared to humans?

1. The one who consults must have knowledge and have studied each characteristic and behavior of the animal so that it can explain well and the consulted understand.

2. You must know how to change the shape of the animal, but as appropriate in Yoruba land, because not in all cultures the animal is seen or perceived in the same way.

3. All the positive and negative aspects must be analyzed very well to be able to see more clearly the problem that person is going through.

Characteristics of some animals according to the Yoruba context:

  • The dog (Ajá) indicates fidelity, good manners and promiscuity.
  • The pig (Elédè) it reveals dirt, fertility and absurd anger.
  • The serpent (Ejò) it indicates the poisonous, the cruel and the betrayal.
  • The hutía (Okété) It represents the treacherous and the night watchman who is cautious and always attentive.
  • The Elephant (Erin) indicates royalty, might, strength, honor, and clumsiness.
  • The monkey (Edun) symbolizes the birth of twins, and bad fortune.
  • The red monkey (Aáyá) indicates going at high speed, they are very playful animals.
  • The fox (Kòlòkòlò) reveals gluttony, and cunning.
  • The bull (Àgbò), through him a bellicose and aggressive attitude is interpreted, it is in itself the strength.
  • The turtle (Ìjàpá) denotes sagacity and cunning.
  • The slug (Ìgbín) indicates slowness, calm, serenity, and laziness.
  • The hare (Ehoro) personifies speed, and running.
  • The horse (Esin) symbolizes strength, endurance, royalty, dignity and personal hygiene.
  • The squirrel (Okéré) indicates quackery.
  • The goat (Ewúré) it reveals stubbornness to us.
  • The goat (Obúkọ) indicates that their sexuality is debauched or vicious, it is the stinky and smelly.
  • The sheep (Àgùtàn) represents nobility, slowness and little intelligence.
  • The deer (Egbin) It indicates to us all that is beautiful and beautiful.

Some peculiarities about the interpretations of the Yoruba stories:

For the Yoruba, the breed of the animal must also be taken into account, for example, there are different species of the monkey and depending on their race, this will be their characteristics, although in general monkeys are agile and playful, for example.

As well the syncretism process influences animals, because many animals that existed in Africa did not exist in America, although they became part of the patakies.

  • Example of it is the syncretism of the black or common Francolin, which is a wild bird of the forest that habita in Africa and the quail (Aparo) in Cuba.

As for the animals that syncretized their features, characteristics and their customs, they are based on what our elders observed and with this perception it is that the metaphors in divination in Cuba must then be interpreted.

Learn more about the Yoruba Religion:

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