Benin: Discovering “Ifâ”, the divinatory art of the Gulf of Guinea!

Like a galaxy, the voodoo is a group of several planets that share a key element, space. In Benin, the planets of vodoun are the innumerable deities who animate it and the key element they have all in byfloor is “Ifâ” in Yoruba or simply the “Fâ” in Fon. Since the dawn of time, this divinatory art which is first and foremost a divinity, for African spirituality and vodoun in this case, plays the same role as the heart plays in the human body. After our discovery of Guélédé, and the return of the ancestors (Égoungoun) here is a new foray into Beninese spirituality…

In Vodoun, everything begins with “Ifâ” and everything ends with “Ifâ” because its message is of divine essence, even prophetic. It is both a science and a divinity presiding over the destiny of man. It is an open book on the past, the present and the future which teaches man his strong links with nature. It is the perfect harmonization of the four fundamental elements, essential pillars both for the creation of our macrocosm and for that of our microcosm. According Professor David Koffi Aza, the Fâ is a source of potential because apart from its visionary character, it is an adviser par excellence and also a “doctor”. Indeed, the most elementary illnesses of Man can be cured just from the lines of the Fâ. Also, it can be used to harmonize the home, to find employment, to make one’s business prosper or to ensure one’s protection and self-defense.

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Listed since 2005 by UNESCO on the list of “masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity, the Fâ is a divinatory art which is performed using a rosary with two identical branches called “Akplê “. Per branch, there can only be 16 possible combinations. These are the basic figures or mother-figures of the Fâ. They are: Gbe, Yeku, Sa, Guda, Loso, Wenlen, Di, Woli, She, Fu, Lete, Tula, Ka, Trukpen, Aklan, Abla. The assembly of the two branches gives a 16 x 16 combination, i.e. 256 combinations or signs or even mysteries. Each of these signs is called ” From (read dou) in Fon and Odu (odou) in Yoruba and are distributed as follows: 16Dugan » Where ” Du-medji » which are nothing but double figures (for example, Gbe-Medji, Yeku-Medji, Guda-Medji, etc.); and 240″ Du-vi ” Where ” vikando which are the representatives of the geomantic houses. The 256 signs of the Fâ constitute 256 possibilities of human lives according to the Fâ.

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The language of Fâ is symbolic. It is expressed by single or double lines depending on whether the four half-nuts of each rosary fall open or closed. The set of features of the two branches of the rosary form the figurative representation of each From which bears a name constructed from the two mother-figures that compose it.

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The Fâ is also and above all poetry because each of its From includes 16 verses (allegories) which lyrically recount a myth, a tale, a song, a proverb, a riddle on which the ” Bokonon » (diviner in Fon) to interpret the Fâ oracle. The verses of all the mysteries put together form a bank of more than 4096 allegories. Furthermore, it should be noted that in Benin, the practice of Fâ differs from one region to another (Fon Fâ, Anago Fâ, etc.) even though its foundations remain unchanged. Also, we cannot talk about Ifâ without mentioning the city <> (Nigeria), where it all began.

Any human being can be initiated into the Fâ without distinction of sex, even less of race.

Ifâ leads the postulant from darkness to light and makes the initiate a regenerated man, more sure of himself because having touched the From (arcana) of his deep being. Ifa is deep peace. Ifa is inner balance.

To discover other aspects of Beninese spirituality: the Guélédé, or the homage paid to women…

Obviously Vodoun at the heart of religiosity…

Or the return of the ancestors… Égoungoun.

And the current practices of Vodoun in Haiti…

We want to thank the author of this write-up for this remarkable material

Benin: Discovering “Ifâ”, the divinatory art of the Gulf of Guinea!

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