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The 16 Oddun of Ifá of the Yoruba religion: Meanings and advice

Oddun of Ifa

What is the Odun of Ifá? Yoruba divination symbol

We must know that the Wood, is the main element of the Osha-Ifá divinatory system. The term oddun refers to the oracular subsystem of Ifá; known as "sign" to that of Dilogún and Letra to that of Obí.

The three Yoruba Oracles are among the main elements of our religion and allow direct communication with Orishas and Egguns that is interpreted by the santeros or babalawos.

In other words, although each Ifá divinatory oracle, Dilogún and Obí, has particularities and ancestral secrets, all are interrelated by having the same principles of knowledge that regulate interpretations.

It is a ideological, mythological and sapiential source that indicates the predictions with the knowledge accumulated in patakies (stories), myths, proverbs and popular sayings of Osha-Ifá.

What does the Oddun or Ifá Sign represent in the Yoruba religion?

This oracular element contains the message of the deities and protections through the regent Osha or Orisha for each particular oracle.

Saying message is the one that should be interpreted only by a priest or babalawo that has been consecrated to the service of the oracular subsystem in question.

The oracular subsystem of IFÁ is composed of 16 Odu main and 256 that are formed from the combination of these 16 main ones. To these oddun main they are called Oddun meyi and those that are formed from the combination of these are called Omoluos.

How and who interprets the Odunes?

As we said, Oddun, is the main element of the Osha-Ifá divinatory system, oracular subsystem that transmits the sacred message of the deities.

A Babalawo interprets the Oddun of Ifá in correspondence with the reality that lives, as explained by many expert anthropologists. In other words, the art of divination through Oracles is also linked to the circumstances of the current context.

E.g., in Santeria today many of the danger warnings for Cubans have to do with "crossing the sea", due to the migratory trips that are in the current context of the Island, while in other realities this situation is not exposed .

What are the 16 Odun of Ifá? Are there bad signs?

Next, we show the 16 Odu of the oracular subsystem of IFÁ.

Make no mistake, many ask if they exist "bad signs" or "strong signs" of Ifá, but this does not work like that, many of these odunes bring advice perhaps more negative or positive, or perceived by many in this way, but if the religious follows the advice and respects the word of Orula, he can straighten his path, even if it is marked one of those "bad signs", remember that everything supposedly bad brings a lesson.

2. Oyekun
4. hated
5. Irony
7. Obara
9. ogunda
10. Bear
12. Otrupon
13. Otura
14. Go away
16. Ofon

How many oddun or Ifá signs exist?

As we have said, there are 16 Ifá signs, but it is valid to clarify that each of these contains 16 more signs, which they break them down and turn them into 256 oddun of Ifá (16 x 16 = 256) that is, alternative variants, which are those that are predicted, and that offer us a life guide, advice, warnings, to achieve our destiny on earth.

Learn more about the Odunes and their religious councils:

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