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Iyami Osoronga, the Witches of the night

iyami osoronga

Witches are symbols of ancient practices, worship of spirits and demons, myths and legends, and the yoruba religion also includes among its precepts, the existence of witches, better known as Iyami Osoronga, exclusive to the practice of traditional Ifá.

Our Iyami Osoronga They are the witches of the night for all Yorubas. However, its legends and spiritual meanings deviate somewhat from popular beliefs.

Iyami, the spiritual mothers

And it is that the Yoruba consider the Iyami Osoronga as their spiritual mothers and although they are not considered deities, they are due respect, since the patakí tells that they came down to earth by themselves, in the stomach of orunmila, without Olodumare send them.

But the popular myth also makes sense in Yoruba practice in that witches enchant and disturb the lives of people, especially pregnant women and very young children. It is said that they can cause problems at home, illnesses, arguments and obstacles.

To avoid this, the babalawos must encourage them and move their spells away from the ilé (houses).

As the Orishas represent some element of nature, the yami they are seen in birds and cats.

Initiation Iyami Osoronga

There is an initiation in the cult of Iyami Osoronga for those who decide to worship these Yoruba representations.

But we must know that no babalawo or follower of the cult of Ifá or the Orisha can be initiated in yami or participate in these ceremonies.

Pataki of the witches and Obatala

The way to promote Iyami Osoronga It is with the Adaasa or machete of Obatala, symbol of a bell in the shape of a machete that is rung during the propitiation of witches.

Legend has it that Obatalá gave the Adaasa to Orunmila in gratitude for having helped him defeat Iyami Osoronga.


The witches were destroying the cotton and therefore Obatalá declared after consulting Ifá that no bird could consume the cotton. Then, the witches forbade Obatala to use water from the river of the birds.

Obatalá ran to Orunmila's house, pursued by the witches. But Ifá had warned Orunmila to offer sacrifice with beans and glue, and Orunmila did so, placing the sacrifice at the door of his house.

The birds that were chasing Obatala saw the beans and when they ate them they stuck to the ground. Then, Orunmila took Obatalá's machete and cut off the heads of the birds. In gratitude, Obatalá gave the machete to Orunmila.

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