THE LANGUAGE OF IFÁ
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
USED IN IFÁ DIVINATION
Awo Fa’lokun Fatunmbi
Egbe Iwa Pele
In order to understand the oral tradition of Ifa it is necessary to
have some grasp of the language of Ifa. The rituals, invocations,
incantations and recitations of traditional Yoruba religion are not
expressed through conversational Yoruba. The language of Ifa is
liturgical Yoruba (ofo ase), a language used among diviners to express
transcendant ideas. Many of the words used in Ifa have a tonal
resonance used to access the power of Spirit. Physics teaches the idea
that all power in the universe is part of a sign wave which is the full
spectrum of light. Every segment of the sign wave manifests as both
color and pitch. The tonal quality of words used in liturgical Yoruba
places the diviner in harmonic resonance with the tonal essence of a
wide range of Spiritual Forces (Orisa). The remarkable quality of
liturgical Yoruba is that the words used for invocation also carry
meaning that reveals the inner essense of the Spiritual Force itself.
For example, the word Obatala is used to describe the Force in
Nature science calls white light. Ifa teaches that everything in the
universe has some form of consciousness (ori). Saying the word Obatala
places human consciousness in alighnment with the consciousness of
white light. It does while telling us something about the quality of white
light. The word Obatala is an eliysian of the phrase; O (Spirit) ba (power
of expansion or male energy ie; Baba) ota (stone) ala (light). The word
Obatala in the context of Odu Ifa (Yoruba Scripture) means; the Spirit of
the expansive quality of light that comes from the eternal stone of
Creation (center point of the universe).
Olatunde Sproye in his book Yoruba without Tears states there are
one hundred and twenty-six combinations of vowels and consonants
used as the basis for the Yoruba Language.
ba be be bi bo bo bu da de de di do do du fa fe fe fi fo
fo fu ga ge ge gi go go gu gba gbe gbe gbi gbo gbo gbu
ha he he hi ho ho hu ja je je ji jo jo ju ka ke ke ki ko ko
ku la le le li lo lo lu ma me me mi mo mo mo mu na ne
ne ni no no nu pa pe pe pi po po pu ra re re ri ro ro ru
sa se se si so so su ta te te ti to to tu wa we we wi wo
wo wu ya ye ye yi yo yo yu
All Yoruba words are a combination of these fundamental sounds.
One of the rules of Yourba language construction is that portions of a
word can be doubled for a change in emphasis, for example; ba
(expansive power) baba (father) babagba or baba baba (grandfather).
Doubling a word refers to its source or parent, for example Dada (Spirit
of Vegitation) would be the parent of da (create). Repeating the word da
(create) suggests recreation or the power of vegitation to continiously go
throw the process of birth, growth, death and rebirth.
If we double each of the one hundred and twenty-six combinations
used as the basis for Yoruba language we get two hundred and fifty-two
fundamental linguistic buiding blocks. Ifa scripture is based on two
hundred and fifty six fundamental principles. The first four principles
represent the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. These four principles
support the rest of Creation. The rest of Creation comes into being
through the manifestation of two hundred and fifty two Forces in Nature.
This suggests to me the foundation of Yoruba language has been linked
to Odu Ifa from it’s inception.
The first Yoruba English dictionaries were prepared by Christian
missionaries who had no understanding or desire to learn the spiritual
mysteries preserved in the Yoruba language. When Ifa and Orisa spread
through the Diaspora it was influenced by non African religions
concepts. I believe the best way to uncover the fundamental principles of
Ifa as it was originally invisioned is through a study of the liturgical
When I wrote the book Iwa-pele I looked up the word Ifayabale in
the Yoruba English dictionary in an effort to better understand a
metaphysical concept. The dictionary defined Ifayabale as the
ascenscion of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. I believe the word
predates Christianity and this definition is in error. To me the word
Ifayabale is an eliysian of Ifa (wisdom) iya (mother) baba (father) ile
(earth), meaning; the wisdom of the fathers and mothers found on earth.
This glossary is a preliminary attempt to understand Ifa theology
through an understanding of Yoruba language. The words were taken
from Odu Ifa as it is recited in Ile Ife and most of the vocabulary reflects
the dialect of that particular region. I am sure many of my definitions
will change as my understanding of Ifa and Yoruba language grows. This
should not be considered a definitive study. Hopefully it will serve as a
point of departure for theological linquistic analysis. Bit by bit we eat the
head of the rat.
Awo Fa’lokun Fatunmbi
a Him, her, we and it, depending on context.
a Used as a prefix to a verb in the formation of nouns.
ààfin Palace, home of a king (Oba).
ààjà Whirlwind, the Spirit of the Whirlwind, depending on context.
ààjò Care, treatment.
ààlà Boundary, border.
ààrè Illness, fatigue.
àárín Middle, center.
àasà Female Spirit, female Force in Nature.
ààsè Door carved from the Iroko tree.
Àáyán - awo - inú - igbó Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny
(Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "Ayan Tree is the Mystery of the Inner Sanctum of
the Sacred Grove."
abà A portion, a piece of something larger, farm hut depending on
abá Mat. The mat is used to create sacred space in Ifá and Òrìsà ritual
àba Ladder. The ladder is sacred to the Spirit of the Divine Messenger
abádà Eternal, something that comes directly from the Source of
abáfù Fate in all of its manifestations, both creative and destructive.
abàmi An unusual occurrence, something that is perceived as strange,
frequently associated with intervention from the Spirit Realm.
abámò Feelings of regret, being sorry about past actions.
A - bá - mò - ó - tán - ìbá - se Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny
(Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "To Have Full Knowledge of You is to be
Abanigbele The Spirit of Fire, this is a reference to the animating
consciousness that exists inside a burning flame.
Abánigbèro Advisor, one who gives advice, a wise elder.
Abata Mud. Mud is sacred to the female aspect of the Spirit of White
Abaya Queen Mother.
abe Small knife, also used to refer to a razor.
abé Bottom, behind a reference to the human buttux. When Ifá
scripture is refering to reproductive organs it is usually expressed as
either the male or female bottom.
abèbe Fan, used to cool mediums in ritual, sacred to the Spirit of the
Abesè Chief messenger of a religious society or extended family.
abi I or you.
abigba Four chains with nuts attached, used in some regions of Nigeria
to perform divination. Each chain has four nuts representing one leg of
the marks used to represent the verses (Odù) of Ifá scripture. When the
abigba is thrown two complete verses (Odù) of Ifá scripture are marked.
Abíkehin The youngest child in a family.
àbíku A child who dies at a young age and reincarnates through the
same mother. The word refers to the spiritual cause behind a sequence
of deaths among children in the same family. When this occurs, Ifá can
perform rituals that will induce the spirit of the child to remain on Earth
to become an adult.
abiléko Wife or widow.
abo Arrival, return.
àbo Expression used to greet someone who has returned to the place of
Abògán Those who worship the ant hill, the ant hill represents the
Spirit of hard work and cooperation.
Abògún Those who worship the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
abókulò One who works with the spirit of ancestors (Egún) to invoke
Abomalè Those who worship the ancestors and the deified ancestors
Abòpa Member of a society that gives reverence to the memory of the
ancestors through the use of mediums.
Abòrìsà Those who worship Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
aboyún Woman who is pregnant.
aborí The elevation of consciousness through the use of invocation and
spiritual cleansing. It is the process of placing the physical self and the
higher self in perfect alignment.
àború, àboyè, àbosise Traditional Ifá greeting, meaning: " I lift your
burden from Earth and raise it to the Realm of the Immortals."
abuké Person with a deformity in their spine, protected by the Spirit of
the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
àbule Village or house on the farm.
abúléko Farm village.
abúra One who takes an oath during an initiation, the person who
makes a pledge.
àbúrò Younger relative, junior relative.
àbusí A blessing given by an elder.
àdá A large knife with a hook on the end used in farming, sacred to the
Spirit of Iron (Ògún) and the Spirit of the Farm (Òrìsà Oko).
adaba Dove, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
The dove is the Ifá symbol for peace and tranquility.
àdá - fàdákà Silver cutlass, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White
Adáhunse A herbal doctor, one who works with the Spirit of herbs and
àdá - irín Iron cutlass, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún),
Adámu - Òrìsà A play performed in honor of the Spirit of the Forces in
Nature (Òrìsà), centers around the idea of not laughing at, or making
fun of those who have some form of disability.
àdán Bat. The bat is used in medicine for protection.
adánri One who has shaved their head for religious reasons, usually in
preparation for initiation. Some diviners keep their head shaved as a
way of being in close alignment with the influence of the Forces of Nature
adé Crown worn by Yorùbá Kings (Oba). The crown symbolizes the
spiritual transformation that occurs when the Kings (Oba) are installed
in office. The crown is also the seat of protection that is given by the
Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi).
adèbo One who prepares sacred food for a feast by slaughtering animals
according to the rules of religious sanction.
adému An offering of food to the Spirits, also refers to a calabash with a
lid depending on context.
Adéseék Son of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "Crown is
adìe Chicken, or fowl.
adímu A form of masquerade in memory of the ancestors (Egún).
adire Dyed cloth.
adireiranna The fowl used as an offering at a traditional Ifá funeral.
Adógunsílè The chief warrior priest among those who worship the Spirit
of Iron (Ògún). Traditionally this is the person responsible for the
protection of a given town or village.
àdúgbò District, section of a village.
A dúpé We thank you.
àdúrà Prayer that generally follows an invocation to the Spirits. This
type of prayer is a spontaneous appeal to the Spirits.
afàiya The ability to make use of intuition.
afára - oyin Honeycomb (Bridge of Honey). The honeycomb is sacred to
the Spirit of the River (Osun).
afári Barber, the person who shaves the head of an initiate during
religious rites of passage. The word is also used to refer to the person
who has had their head shaved.
aféèrí Thing that disappears, a Spirit that vanishes.
Afefe A messenger of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya), the gale wind.
Afefe - jeje The whirlwind, the sacred power of the Spirit of the Wind
(Oya) in its most intense manifestation.
afe - imojo The tail of a large rat that is used by Yorùbá Kings as a
symbol of their power of the word.
afémóju The early morning, one of the times considered sacred for
Aferef e Praise name for the Spirit of the Wind (Oya), the gentle aspect
of the wind, the breeze, meaning: "The Good Wind."
Aférifé légélégé Praise name for the Spirit of the Wind (Oya) , meaning:
àfésónà Engaged to be married, committed to a relationship.
afi - bi Unless.
àfín Albino, protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
àfojúbà Personal experience, personal truth.
afójú Blind person, protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
àfomó Infectious disease, that which is brought by the Spirit of
Infectious Disease (Babaluaiyé).
Afon Breadfruit (Treculia africana ), sacred to Ifá.
aforíjì Forgiveness, also refers to a type of prayer used in Ifá for asking
Spirit to forgive the need to make a blood offering.
àfòse Magical incantations.
Afurùkèrèsayo Reference to the left half of the horizontal line that forms
the equal arm cross of a Ifá diviner's tray, meaning: "The one who has
the diviner's tapper and is happy."
aga Chair, low stool., in Ifá ritual the younger initiates will sit on a mat
while the elders sit on low stools.
agada Toy sword usually made from wood.
àgalamòsà Rebel, the word suggests that the rebellion is guided by
wisdom and divine inspiration.
àgàn Barren woman.
agaro Shovel. The shovel is sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Orìsà Oko).
Agayu The Spirit of the Fire at the Center of the Earth, in some
versions of Ifá sacred
history, Agayu is the Father of the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
àgba Manhood, someone who is recognized as a male adult in the
community. This status usually comes as the result of completion of a
rite of passage.
àgbà Elder person of either gender, a stem used as a rope depending on
agbádá Priestly robes.
àgbàdo Corn, sacred to the Divine Messenger (Èsù).
àgbaiyé The entire world.
àgbákò Misfortune, disaster, meaning: "without elders."
àgbàla Yard near a house, usually inclosed by a wall or a fence.
àgbàlágbà Elder, very old person.
Ágbálé Head of the household.
àgbálù The entire village.
Agbami The mist that arises from the ocean, an aspect of the Spirit of
the Ocean (Olókun).
agbára Force, power, strength depending on context.
agbasà Sacred stone, the Spirit of a sacred stone.
Agbára Elder, person in authority, the word is also used to express
strength and authority, used in reference to someone who speaks with
authority, depending on context.
àgbègbè Surrounding district, outer portion of a village.
agbéledi One of the wrestling moves used in the marital art that is
sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
àgbere Intercourse, sexual interaction.
agbéró Charm used by those who practice the martial art of the Spirit of
Iron (Ògún), used to insure that the person remains standing during a
martial arts contest.
àgbé Short sword sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), farmer depending
agbèje Pumpkin, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
agbe Woodcock, cockatoo.
agbégilére Woodcarver, a profession that is generally sacred to the
Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
Àgbìgbò Elemental spirit of the Forest that is know for causing trouble.
agbo Medicine, poultice.
àgbò Ram, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
agbo A circle of dancers at a religious ceremony.
agbó atò Long life, a common greeting among Ifá initiates.
agbolé House, collection of houses forming a compound that is
generally used by a single extended family.
agbòn Basket weaved from rafia.
àgbon Coconut, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
Agbónire A praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning:
"Hunter of Good Fortune."
Agbónìrègún A praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "Hunter of the Medicine of Good Fortune.
agére Stilt dancer who dances as part of the ceremonies that honor the
Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún).
agé Small drum that is sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Òrìsà Oko).
Agemo Spirit of the Forest worshipped in the Ijebu region of Nigeria.
Agesinyowa One of the council of sixteen diviners (Babaláwo) who
divination of the King (Òòni) of Ilé Ifè.
aginiso Word for snail used by devotees of the Spirit of the River (Osun)
who have a taboo against using the word igbin.
agiyan The ant hill, sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) as a
symbol of hard work and cooperation.
agò Sacred cloth used by dancers who are mediums for the Spirit of the
àgò Expression for asking permission to enter a house.
agogo Bell used as musical instrument to praise the Forces of Nature
agogo - eiye The beak of a bird, sacred to the Spirit of the Mothers
Agongo ogo Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù), meaning: "He
Who Carries a Club."
Àguala The planet Venus, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). It is
also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon. The
Spirit of Venus.
Agunmola The planet Venus, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun). It
is also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon. The
Spirit of Venus.
Agúnmu Medicine that is prepared by pounding it into a powder with a
ahere Farm hut.
aibi One who has no children, a form of bad fortune in Ifá divination.
aifoya Being without fear, courage.
aigbo - àiyé Tranquility, being at peace in the world, the sign of one
who has developed inner certainty.
áike Ax, the double headed ax is sacred to the the Spirit of Lightning
aikú Immortality, one who has become a deified ancestor, meaning:
àilábùku Spotless, being without blame, a reference to the good
character of the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
àiléso Barren, without children, one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá
ailébi One who has not experienced misfortune, an indication of
someone who is of good character.
ailésè A person of very good character, someone who is above
ailówò Poverty, one of the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination.
ailórò The inability to invoke or manifest any form of abundance, one of
the forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination.
àìtó Personal element of a ritual that takes into account the
circumstances of the individual who is turning towards religious
ceremony as a vehicle of personal transformation.
aiyapa One who travels on a straight path towards spiritual growth.
aiyé The surface of the Earth, in Ifá scripture it is the place where the
Realm of the Ancestors (Egún) meets the realm of humans.
aiyéraiyé Forever, since the beginning of time, immortal.
ajá Dog, black dogs are sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
aja A wild vine that is sacred to the Spirit of Birds (Ìyáàmi).
ajabo A protection charm sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
ajagun Devotee of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) who functions as a soldier.
ajagun - obinrin Female devotee of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) who
functions as a soldier.
àjanakú Elephant, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
Àjàláiyé The Winds of the Earth, an aspect of the Spirit of the Wind
Àjàlórun The Winds of the Realm of the Ancestors, an aspect of the
Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
A - jà - má - jèbi Praise name for the Spirit of the Mothers (Ìyáàmi),
meaning: "She Who Is Never Guilty."
Àjàlá - mòpin One of the Spirits who shapes the head and forms the
consciousness of each new born child.
Aja - Osun The planet Venus, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun),
also known as the companion of the Moon or the dog of the Moon, the
Spirit of Venus.
Ajapa Tortoise, one of the animal totems or guides of the Spirit of the
Divine Messenger (Èsù), the tortoise is the Divine Messenger for the
Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
àjé The Spirit of a Bird used by women (Ìyáàmi) to invoke powers used
for abundance and justice. This same power is used to consecrate the
crown of the Yorùbá Kings. Also used as a reference to money or
Aje - ju - Oogùn Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "Stronger than Medicine."
Aje Saluga Elemental Spirit of Abundance, sacred to the Spirit of the
ajidèwe Medicine used to restore vigor.
Ajígúmwà The sun, the Spirit of the Sun.
Ajiki Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olórun), meaning: "The
One Who is Praised First." It also may be used as a reference to the
personal Spirit of any given individual. In reference to the Spirit of the
Divine Messenger (Èsù) it is used to indicate that the Divine Messenger
(Èsù) is addressed first in most ritual.
Ajiletepowo A reference to the center point of the diviner's tray (òpón
Ifá) and a reference to the centering principle as an aspect of Ifá spiritual
discipline, meaning: "An early riser who sits down and prospers."
àjínde The Spirit of a deceased ancestor (Egún) who speaks at their own
funeral through a medium (Egúngún).
àjísà Charms used for protection.
àjo Meeting, gathering of a group of people.
àjó Journey, used in reference to the spiritual journey of self discovery
that occurs throughout life.
ajobi Ancestors of a woman, matralineal ancestors (Ayélalà Egún).
Ajogún Destructive Spirits that bring death, disease and poverty.
These Spirits are
generally associated with the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù) and
are considered an aspect of the balancing dynamic that occurs in Nature.
ajojó Dancing for the Spirits (Orìsà).
àjò l'ayé Journey through the world, the entire spectrum of a person's
ajomisanra The eternal dew, a symbolic reference to the fountain of life
or the spiritual source of physical rejuvenation.
Aj ori The Spirit of the daughter of the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó),
meaning: "Bird of the Inner Spirit."
àjo sepò Cooperation.
ajoyin - ibon The firing of muskets, traditionally muskets are fired
while making offerings to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
ajugu dunirín A pile of iron in or near a shrine used as an altar for the
Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
akàbà Ladder. The ladder is sacred to the Spirit of the Divine
àkala Vulture, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
àkarà Bread cakes cooked in palm oil, sacred to the Spirit of the
àkàtànpó Hunter's tool, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
àké Ax, sacred to the Spirit of the Farm (Orìsà Oko), the double headed
ax is sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).8888
àkébàjé Over indulgent behavior, one of the sources of bad fortune in Ifá
A - kè - bí - àlà Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning, "Radiant White."
akese Cotton. Cotton is sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
aki Bravery, also the word for refering to the martial art practiced by
the devotees of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
akika Pangolin plant (Uromanis Longicanda Briss ).
Akiko Cock, male chicken. Male chickens are sacred to the Spirit of
most Warriors (Ibora).
akin Hero, heroic person and heroic action.
ako Sheath of a knife. The sheath of a knife is used as an offering to the
Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà). The word also means male.
àkóbí First born.
Akódá One of the Prophet Òrúnmìlà's first two students, term also
used to identify a senior priest in a society of diviners.
akòja Fulfillment, the purpose of following one's destiny.
àkókò Season of the year.
àkókò - éèrùn Dry season.
àkókò - ojo Rainy season.
àkókò - otútù Cold season.
àkókò - oyé Windy season.
akókò ti obinrin Female puberty rite, meaning: "season of becoming a
akókò ti okunrin Male puberty rite, meaning: "season of becoming a
A - kò - mò - ó - tán Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà ),
meaning: "Not to Have Full Knowledge of You is to Fail."
akoni Brave warrior, a strong person who may be remembered as a
deified ancestor, the word is also used to suggest that something is true.
The word is used to describe the Spirit of the Warriors (Ibora).
ako - ojo Five day week that is used as the basis for the Ifá calender of
akun Religious bead.
akúnlèbo Kneeling to worship.
àkúnlèyàn Destiny as choice, or the act of free will.
àkúnlègbà Destiny which is altered by free will.
akunnu Fruitful, productive.
Álá Light in the Spiritual sense of that which brings illumination or
enlightenment, also a reference to the Spirit of Light, also refers to
white cloth in both literal and symbolic terms. The symbol of white cloth
is a reference to moral purity.
àlà White cloth, dream, effective dreamer, one who has visions while
sleeping. In Ifá scripture white cloth is a symbolic reference to dreams
and mystic vision.
Alááànú Spirit that helps shape consciousness prior to birth, meaning:
"The Merciful One."
aláàfia A greeting that means peace, good fortune and abundance.
Aláàfin The traditional title for the King of Oyo, chief Priest of the
Council of elders (Ogboni).
aláàye Someone who is living, a person of the Earth, as opposed to
spirit or ancestor.
Alábalese Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "He Who Predicts the Future."
Alabalòtún The Spirit of the One who implements with the right, a
reference to the right side of the horizontal line on the diviner's tray
Aláde Prince, a male descendant of one of the original families that
founded the Yorùbá federation.
Aláféèri One who knows the secret to the charm that makes one
invisible. This medicine is commonly used to make a person invisible to
their enemies in the sense that they will not be bothered rather than
physically invisible. Some forms of this medicine can create
alafogún Owner of medicine, reference to a herbal doctor.
Alàgba Elder, also the title for the chief priest of the Society of Ancestor
Reverence in Ilè Ifé.
Alágemo Member of men's society in Ijebu region that honors the Spirit
of the Chameleon.
alágbò Medicine pot.
alaifoiya One who is fearless, a person of courage.
aláìgbón Foolish, one who is ignorant of the Light.
aláìsí Physical death.
alaiyeluwà Greetings said to an Oba.
Alajìki Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù), meaning: "One who
is addressed first." This is a reference to the fact that The Divine
Messenger is usually addressed first during ritual.
àlákala Nightmare. The realm of nightmares is controlled by the Spirit
of Nightmares (Sigidi).
alakete Calabash of light, one of the Primal Sources of Creation.
alákorí Useless person, lazy person.
alála One who is an effective dreamer, a person who has visions in their
Alamorere Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "Owner of the best clay."
Alápìíni Chief Priest of the Ancestor Society in Oyo.
aláràbarà Multi colored.
alárinrin Fine, fancy.
alaromo One who wishes another harm or bad fortune, a person who
makes use of hexes.
aláse Person of power.
Alaselòsì The Spirit of the One who implements with the left, a
reference to the left side of the horizontal line on the divining tray (òpón
Ifá), usually refers to that which is hidden or unrevealed.
Alásotele Prophet, one who is able to see into the future.
Àláwo Word used to identify an Ifá initiate who is still in training as a
alésùjáde A person who is skilled at terminating possession by
unwelcome or destructive spirits, an exorcists.
Àlo - ìràntàn Sacred history.
àlòkù Second hand.
Alúdùndún Òrun Guardian of personal destiny in the Realm of the
Ancestors, the Source of personal destiny.
alukerese Creeping plant (Ipomoea involucrata ).
alunipa Executioner, a member of the society of elders (Ogboni).
Amáiyégún Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning:
"The Guardian of Medicine on Earth."
Amodídá Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning:
"One Who cuts through sickness."
Àmòká The Spirit of the Sun, and the Sun itself.
Amòlà Ifé Owòdáyé Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "The Savior of Ifé from the early days."
amomotán Imperfect knowledge, the human finite perception of the
Amónisègùn - mápò Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù),
meaning: "The medicine pouch that guides us to the Immortals."
amotélè The ability to see into the future, clairvoyance.
amu Jar or pot.
Amúlù Odù The verses of Ifá scripture that follow the first sixteen verses
amure Sash worn by men around the waist as a symbol of balance
between male and female Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
Amúsan One of the children of the Spirit of the wind, the person who
holds a switch and walks in front of Egúngún during ancestral
ceremonies, acts as a guardian for the medium.
amòye Wise elder, one who is able to give good council and advice.
àna In - law.
anamó Sweet potato.
anife One who has no mate, being without love or affection, one of the
forms of bad fortune in Ifá divination.
anípé One who has abundance in all things, one who has fulfilled their
apá Arm, side or direction depending on context.
apàrá - inù Conscience.
apari Bald head.
Àpárí - inú Inner Spirit.
apáta Rock, the rock is sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
Apetebi The Spirit of the wife of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) an
initiated position within Ifá that is held by those women who are married
to Ifá initiates.
àpeere Perfection or completion, the goal of spiritual growth and
apiwo Cure for negative medicine, or for the removal of a hex.
àpò Bag often refers to bag used to carry medicine and tools associated
with ritual work, also refers to charms carried by worshippers of the
Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
apó Quiver, sacred to the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì).
àpo'gùn Medicine pouch.
àpo onísègùn Medicine pouch.
ara Body, self, people, depending on context.
ara - ile Friends and relatives, members of the extended family.
ará Thunder, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó) and the Spirit of
the Wind (Oya).
Àràbà A senior Ifá priest who is initiated into Mysteries that are
associated with protection from the Spirit of Infectious Disease
araiye People of the Earth.
àràn Ifá drum.
Àríwa North, also refers to the Spirits of the North.
aráiye The people of the world.
aré Play, the performance of a scared story.
Àríwá North, also refers to Spirits of the North.
ariwo Hook, noise depending on context.
aró Indigo dye used to color cloth.
aro Plant used in Ifá for protection from death (Crossopoteryx Febrifuga),
disabled person sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
Ar oni Spirit of the forest, elemental spirit with the body of a human
and the head of a dog.
Aronimoja Elemental spirit of the forest.
aròn ìro Hernia.
aróso Material used to wrap around the body as a dress, frequently
used when dancing for the Forces in Nature.
arugbo Old person.
Arúku Spirit who transforms and elevates the spirit of the ancestors.
àrùn Illness or disease.
arùn ara Illness of the body.
arùn eegun Illness of the bones.
arùn èjè Illness of the blood.
asèje Food prepared as medicine.
àsà Custom, tradition.
asaájú Group leader.
àse Spiritual Power, that which brings dynamic force into Being in the
Universe, the word is also used at the end of prayers meaning: "May it be
so." The phrase is intended to be an invocation rather than a request.
Àsedá One of the Prophet Òrúnmìlà first two students, term also used
to identify a
senior priest with a communal society of Ifá elders.
àsèhindè The expected reincarnation of a revered elder.
aseni Unknown enemy.
Asin - mo - l'égbàá - ìyànjú Praise name for the Spirit of Infectious
Disease (Babaluaiyé), meaning: "The Mystery of Power that Comes from
Eating the Yam."
asíri Mystery, secret depending on context.
asiwèré Person suffering from mental illness.
Asògún One who worships the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
aso Cloth, clothing frequently used in reference to clothing that has
aso - ìbojú Viel used to cover the face of mediums in possession with
the Spirit of Forces in Nature (Orìsà).
aso pupa Red cloth, taboo for traditional Ifá /Òrìsà burial rituals.
A - sòrò - dayò Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "One Who Makes Things Prosper."
àsotélè Prophecy, one who predicts the future based on an assessment
of current circumstances.
asoyé Explaining the inner essence or true meaning of a thing or an
event, the purpose of Ifá divination is to discover the true meaning of
Ata - mátàsé Praise name for the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì),
meaning: "The sharp shooter."
atana Crossroads, home of the Divine Messenger (Èsù).
atàpárìnyénkú Halting, with caution.
atare Hot peppers used in food and medicine, in Ifá it is eaten to
prepare the mouth for certain types of prayers.
àtàrí Top of the head, also refers to the power center at the top of the
àtàtà Real, honest, genuine depending on context.
àte Mat, the mat is used to establish sacred space for ritual and
até To spread.
atèhìnkú Premature death.
àte - ìká Rafia mat used for sacred space during divination.
Àté - ìká - ení Reference to all of Creation, meaning: " the mat that
can't be rolled up."
atéléwo Palm of the hand.
Até Òrìsà Circular tray or mat used in cowrie shell divination.
àterúdérú Ancestor who suffered in slavery.
àtéwó Palm of the open hand, also used to mean avert.
ati And, with, to depending on context.
àtijó Some time ago, in the past.
àtitàn Refuse heap, sacred to the power of transformation that is
related to some aspects of the Divine Messenger (Èsù).
Ato Female priestess in ancestral reverence societies (Egúngún).
Atokùn Leader of a society for ancestor reverence.
Atóónàlórógùn Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning:
atori Stick (Glyphaea laterifiora ) that is sacred to the Spirit of the
àtúnbi Born again, the Ifá word used for physical reincarnation.
àtúnwá Rebirth of character, the Ifá word used for reincarnation of the
Àwàlàwúlú Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "Rugged
and Rough Spirit."
awo Mystery, diviner.
awó Guinea hen.
àwo Dish, plate.
awo'de The Mystery of Hunting.
awomi Invoking Spirits through the use of water.
awo Skin, hide.
àwon Them, they, group.
Awoni The society of Ifá priests who divine for the King (Òòni) of Ilé Ifè.
Àwònyè Òrìsà Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "The
àwùjè Top of the head, refers to the power center at the crown of the
awuje Butter beans (Phaseolus lunatus )
àwùjo Meeting, gathering.
Ayaba The wife of the queen.
àyán Tree sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
àyànmó Destiny, the Ifá belief that each person comes to the world
having an agreement
with Creation regarding the fate that is to be experienced during a given
àyànmó - ìpín Destiny, the Ifá belief that each person comes to the
World having an agreement with Creation regarding the fate which is to
be experienced during a given life time.
Ayànràbàtá - awo - lè - ojà Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù),
Ayélalà The collective Spirit of Ancestral Mothers.
ba To join, should depending on context.
bá To meet, to find, against. Sometimes used as a shorten version of
which means should.
bà To see.
Báàbà Something that is great.
Báàlè Chief of a village, usually of lesser status than an Oba which is
an initiated position that is granted directly by the Òòni of Ilé Ifè.
Bàbà Guinea corn.
Baba Father, used to describe any male adult old enough to have
children. In Yorùbá culture it is impolite to call someone who is older by
their proper name, instead they are called by their title or called by the
word that indicates their relative age within the extended family.
Babaláwo Father of the Secrets, male initiate into the Mysteries of Ifá.
The term Babaláwo is generally reserved for the elder Ifá initiates in a
given community, especially those who are adept at Ifá divination.
Babagba Older man, usually a grandfather.
Babal'órìsà Father of the Forces in Nature (Òrìsà), male initiate into the
Mysteries of Nature (Awo Òrìsà).
Babaluàiyé Spirit of the Surface of the Earth, this is the Spirit
associated with those infectious diseases that are carried by the wind
across the surface of the earth during dry and hot times of the year.
Babansìnkú Chief priest responsible for leading a funeral.
Babanlá Grandfather, meaning father of the light or wisdom.
Babatúnde Name given to a child who carries the ancestral spirit of
their father, meaning:"Father Returns."
bádámajèmú To make a sacred oath or agreement with another person
or group of
báde To hunt in a group.
báfohùn To talk with someone.
bájà To fight.
bàjé To spoil, to eat with someone, to associate with someone, or to talk
with someone depending on context
bàlagà To come to maturity, to be identified as an adult.
balè To touch the ground in front of an elder as a sign of respect.
Balògun The chief of the society of warriors.
bambi Guide me, or give birth, may refer to spiritual re-birth.
Bámbi Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning:
banújé To be sad.
Ba-ohun-mimo-je To make profane use of sacred objects.
Bara A Praise name for the Divine Messenger (Èsù), a reference to the
Divine Messenger's strength.
barapetu Great, a person of distinction.
bàtá Drum sacred to Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó) and to the ancestors
bawo ni? How are you?
báyi Thus, like this.
bè To beg for something, to supplicate Spirit.
bé To cut, to cut off.
bebe An important accomplishment.
bèbè To implore.
bèbè-ojú Eyebrow, eyelid, area around the eye.
béè So, like.
béèkó It is not so, no.
béèni It is so, yes.
Bèmbé Drum used in Hausa religious ceremonies.
be - ni This is.
bere To ask.
Bérè A term of dignity and respect used in reference to elder woman.
bere To bend down.
bèrèsí To begin.
bí Placed at the end of a sentence to indicate that a question is doubtful.
bínú To be angry, to be mad.
biribiri Very dark.
bisha - bisha The movements of a dancer.
bò To cover.
bo To enter.
bò To arrive.
bó To escape.
bòròkìnní Gentleman, well behaved person.
bóyá - bóyá Perhaps, maybe.
bú To cut.
burú Bad, negative, destructive.
burúkú Place of extreme confusion, describes a condition of
consciousness in which there is little hope for spiritual transformation,
also means very bad, very negative, very destructive.
da To cast divination.
dá To create, to cause.
dà To cast metal, to pour.
dáàdáá Good, or beautiful.
dabi To resemble.
dabòbò To protect, to provide a shield or screen.
dabò To stop.
Dada The Spirit of Vegetables, also the guardian Spirit new born
children with large tufts of hair.
dáfá The process of divination used by Ifá priests that makes use of
either sixteen ikin (Sacred palm nuts) or an opèlé (Sacred chain with
eight nuts attached).
dàgbà Aging, to become old, to grow up.
dàgalágbà Becoming an adult male.
dáhùn To speak, to answer.
dáhùnfun To take responsibility, to speak with purity.
dájó Dancing alone, a single dancer.
dájó To settle a dispute.
dáke To be silent.
dákeroro To be calm.
dako To circumcise, also refers to an offering to the Divine Messenger
dakùn Please, or excuse me.
dalè To break a promise, to violate an oath.
dálókerú To free a person from slavery.
dámájèmú To make a binding agreement.
dámòràn To advise.
dáná To make a fire.
dáni To beat someone in a wrestling match.
dànsíkí Short gown, long shirt.
dára Good, to be good, to look good.
dáradára Very good, all right.
dárò To be sympathetic.
dáwò To consult divination.
de To arrive, to arise, to stand up depending on context.
dé To cover, to arrive.
délade To crown a King (Oba).
délé To arrive at home.
dèlóna To prevent progress, to restrict travel, refers to restrictions on
the path of spiritual growth.
de To trap.
dekun To stop.
dèngé Porridge, also pap used as the foundation for Ifá medicine.
désè Action that is in opposition to the Will of Nature (Òrìsà) or the
development of good character.
dewo The temptation to act in opposition to the development of good
di To become, also refers to casting either a spell or casting divination.
dì Ti tie.
dí To block , to obstruct.
Dídá Creation in Nature and the act of being creative.
dídá - ara Good health.
dìde To stand up, to get up.
didé To arrive.
didupe The process of giving thanks, may refer to thanking the
ancestors (Egún) or Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
dígbóò Hunter's clothing.
dígí Mirror, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
dínà To obstruct, to cause disruption.
dípò To replace.
dobale To prostrate as a sign of respect to either a shrine or an elder.
do - do Far.
dòdò Fried plantan.
dógba To be equal.
dojúko To confront.
dójúso To look at.
doyi To spin.
dùbúlè To lie down.
du - du Big.
dúdu Black, also refers to the mystery of that which cannot be seen.
dùn Good tasting, sweet.
dun - dun Cold.
dùndú Fried yam.
dùndún Talking drum.
dúpé To give thanks.
dúró To stand.
ebe Yams, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
eburú Elemental spirits that work with the Spirit of Infectious disease
èdé Buffalo, sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
èdèàìyédè Misunderstanding, argument.
éèdì Charm, or spell.
éègun Bones, human bones.
eélòó How much?
éèpà Greeting, announcing a procession of members of the male council
of elders (Ogboni).
Èdùmàrè Regional dialect for Source of Creation, (Olodumare).
èfó Broken plate, sacred to the ancestors (Egún).
Efufu - lege - lege An aspect of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya), meaning:
"The Spirit of the Gentle Breeze."
Efunle Ifá plant (Orchidaeeae )
Egbé Whirlwind, an aspect of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
égbéé Protective charm for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
egiri Ifá medicine used as protection from the Spirit of Death (Iku).
egbódo Slice yam.
ègede Incantation, invocations used to raise power (ase).
egbónó Smallpox, spread by the Spirit of Infectious Disease
Égún The Spirit of an ancestor.
Egúngún Society of ancestral mediums who perform in masquerade.
egungun Silk cotton tree (Ceila pentandra ) also known as the Araba
egunsi Melon seeds, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
Èjìlá Seborà Name of verse (Odù) used in cowrie divination
Èjì Ogbe Name of first verse (Odù) of Ifá divination.
Ejòkò Name of verse (Odù) used in cowrie divination (mérìndínlógún).
Ejò - kò -k'omo - re - léhìn - yoyo Praise name for the Spirit of
Infectious Diseases (Babaluàiyé).
Ejúbonà Sacred shrine.
Ejufiri The Spirit that shapes consciousness, the foundation of inner
ejurin Ifá leaf (Momordica Balsamina M. Charantia ).
èké Liar, falsehood, deceitful person.
Èkèmí Praise name for the Source of Being (Olórun).
ekó Ifá charm used for protection for female Ifá worshippers.
eko - dide Red parrot tail feather, essential sacred symbol used in Ifá
and Òrìsà initiation.
ékú Rat, sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) and the Divine
èkùró Palm nuts used for Ifá divination (ikin).
ekútè Bush rat.
èkuru White bean meal.
èlè Knife with a long blade.
elégbògi Herbal healer.
elekejieni Spiritual double, higher self.
elénìní Elemental spirits that block human growth, they are usually
generated by interalized fear.
eléré The Spirit of a child who dies young and reincarnates with the
same destiny, same as àbikú.
Elésù One who worships the Spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù)
elétùtu A person who makes an offering to elevate their inner spirit.
eléyi This one?
èlubó Yam flower.
èmi I (personal pronoun), me.
ènìà Person, people.
èniakénia A person who harbors negative feelings or destructive
enígbó Animal tracks in the forest.
enini Morning dew.
Eníyán The Spirit of a bird sacred to the society of women (Ìyáàmi).
epa Hail, traditional greeting to Yorùbá Kings (Oba).
èpé Curse or hex involving the use of a charm.
epo Palm oil, sacred to most male Forces in Nature (Òrìsà). Staple in
traditional Yoruba diet.
erè Boa constrictor, sacred to the Spirit of the Rainbow (Osumare).
ère Statue of a Force of Nature (Òrìsà), usually carved from wood.
eré isinkú Improvised aspects of a funeral ritual.
erin Elephant, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
erinkà Corn on the cob.
Erinlè Elephant also the Spirit of Song.
èrò Thought, people depending on context.
èro Person on a spiritual pilgrimage.
èrokéró Negative intentions, the desire to do harm.
eru Handle, also refers to ashes from a fire.
eruko The handle of a hoe or farming tool.
eruwa funfun Ifá herb (Andropogon Gayanus ).
èsè - àluko Purple dye.
Eshinrinmofgbo Praise name for the Invisible Realm of the Ancestors
èsin Last year.
eso Fruit, common offering for Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
Èsú The Spirit of the Divine Messenger, who also as a role as the Spirit
of the Divine Trickster and the Spirit of the Divine Enforcer.
esun Ifá herb, elephant grass (Pennisetun purpureum ).
èto Personal elements of a ritual, variation on traditional rituals that
speak to the immediate need of the person or people involved.
etu Blue and white woven cloth.
ètùtù An offering designed to place the individual in alignment with the
will of the ancestors and the will of Nature.
ewé Ifá Ifá herb (Uraria picta ).
ewé - owo Ifá herb, leaf of honor (Brillantisia patala ).
èwe Young person.
èwo Which one?
ewo Taboo, religious restriction designed to keep a person on their path
ewú Grey hair, or white hair, a sign of dignity.
eukéwu Danger, peril.
ewure Female goat.
eyiti That, or that which.
èbá Boiled gari, vicinity depending on context.
èbi Fault, guilt.
èbádó The bank of the river, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
èbáti Temple, sacred shrine.
ebo Life force offering to either Forces of Nature (Òrìsà) or ancestors
èbora Strong, brave man, also a reference to the Forces of Nature
(Òrìsà), that provide protection, ie the Divine Messenger (Èsú), the
Spirit of the Guardian of Consciousness (Osun), the Spirit of the Tracker
(Òsóòsì), and the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
ebura tapa Ifá herb (Nupe Egungun ).
eburu Destructive elemental spirit.
Èdán A rod or a staff, also the name of the male aspect of the Spirit of
the Earth (Onile).
Èdán àrá Thunderstone, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
èda - óro A pun, commonly used in Ifá scripture to make a spiritual
point through the use of humor.
edùn Ax, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sango).
èfè Singing and clowning during ceremonies honoring the Maternal
Ancestors (Gelede), also refers to making a joke.
èfó Green vegetables.
efon Buffalo, sacred to the Spirit of Wind (Oya).
efun White chalk, sacred to the Spirit of the King of the White Cloth
(Obàtálá) and the Spirit of the Ocean (Olókun).
efún Charm or spell usually associated with creating some form of
efunle Ifá herb, leaf of good fortune Evouns alsinoides ).
ègbé Community of people with a common purpose, or a society of
ègbe Cooked beans.
Egbéògbà Spirit honored by the society of women (Ìyáàmi).
egede Medicine used for protection against the Spirit of Death (Iku)
egun Thorn on a bush.
èhin - òla The future.
eiyele Bird of the house, a reference to elemental spirit of a bird
worshipped by the society of women (Iyáàmi).
ejé Blood, sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
ejó Court case.
èjo Ifá The interpretation of Ifá scripture (Odù) during divination.
eko Cornstach gruel.
èkó Teaching, education.
èkókékó The teaching of false doctrine, or the teaching of inaccurate
Èkó Mímó Spiritual lessons, the study of spiritual matters.
eko mimu Cornstach cruel.
ekùn Weeping, also refers to Ancestor masquerade.
ekùn Leopard, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
Èlà The Spirit of Purity, the First Reincarnation of the Spirit of Destiny
(Òrúnmìlà). It is also the name given to the ceremony that celebrates the
first harvest of yams. This ceremony is an important aspect of the Ifá
calender of seasonal celebrations.
ela Ifá herb (Epiphytic Orchidaceae ).
Elédà Creator, associated with the power center between the eyes.
Elégbà A person of good character, also refers to one of the aspects of
the Divine Messenger (Èsú).
Elégára The aspect of the Divine Messenger (Èsú) associated with the
Spirit of the Trickster.
èléiye Bird woman, reference to a woman who works with an elemental
bird spirit in the soceity of women (Iyáàmi).
eléni Person dancing with the mask of the Chameleon (Agemo).
Elérìn - ìpin Praise name of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning;
"Witness to Creation."
èlúku Secret society.
elomiran Another person.
emere Elemental spirit.
Emesè Society of Ifá priests who say prayers on a daily basis for the
èmí Breath, also refers to the human soul.
Èmí Òrìsà Spirit of a Force in Nature (Òrìsà).
Èmi Mimo Spirit of the Creator.
emirin Next year.
emu Palm wine.
en Expression of agreement, spoken by Ifá priests when someone is
receiting Ifá scripture to indicate that a particular verse has been
eni Person, also the name given to a mat used for divination.
eni - kan One person.
eni - òwo A revered elder.
eniti Who, the person who.
eni - ti Person that.
enu - òna Doorway, passageway, gate.
enu geru The entrance to a palace.
èpa Small jars of medicine.
eran Animal, meat.
eran - ebo The animal used for a life force offering to Forces in Nature
(Òrìsà) or to the spirit of the ancestors (Egún).
eranko Wild animal.
èrí - okàn Conscience.
èrò Soothing quality, generally associated with women or female Forces
in Nature (Òrìsà).
èrúbo Obligation to make an offering to Spirit, based on divination.
erun Tree used for making charcoal. Ifá uses characoal as medicine for
spiritual elevation and for physical healing.
èsà - owó Small cowries.
ese Row, foot depending on context.
esè Foot, or track in the earth.
esè Ifá Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
esè Odù Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
Esè Opón Foot or bottom, of the Ifá divining tray.
Èsèntáiyé Naming ceremony.
esisu Queen aunt, used in some forms of Ifá medicine.
etù Guinea hen, sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) and the
Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
ètù Ifá medicine that is burned on a fire.
ewon Ifá herb (Acacia ataxacantha ).
èyà Cultural group of people.
fa To pull.
fá To wipe, or to clean.
fà To pull.
fadákà Silver, sacred to Ifá.
fàfose To predict the future.
fàfòsese The use of ritual to transform problems.
faiya To charm or allure.
farabalè To be calm.
farapamó To be calm.
fári To give a haircut with a razor.
fe A long time.
fé To love.
felá To act with importance based on holding a position of
féniyawo To marry.
fere The gathering of rain clouds.
fi By, with or to depending on context.
fi - apatabò The use of shield in self defense.
fi - àsefún To give an order.
fibò To hide from view.
fidan To explore a mystery.
fífaragbò Incarnation, the belief in souls returning to earth in different
fiféraeni Self esteem.
fifokànsin Spiritual devotion.
fifòwòse To do something with reverence.
fijì To forgive.
fijúbà To give respect.
fimó To perform initiation.
fipata To make soup.
fírì The greatest.
firúbo To make a life Force Offering.
fiatíla Lamp, traditional Ifá lamps are made from pottery, they burn
palm oil with a cotton wick.
fò To wash.
fó To break.
fòiya To be afraid, or fearful.
fojúkojú To face a problem head on.
foríbalè To treat with reverence, to worship.
fòfe The ability to perform miracles.
folárin To move with dignity.
fònahan To offer guidance.
fowólérán To act with patience.
fúnwiniwini To drizzle, considered a blessing from the Spirit of the
fúnlèfólorun To give freely, to do something because it is the right
thing to do.
fúnninimolè To offer enlightenment.
fúù The sound made by the wind, the voice of the Spirit of the Wind
gáàn Identical, exactly
gáàri Cassava meal.
ga Excellent, elevated.
gángan Traditional drum.
gèlè Head wrap made from cloth.
géndé Strong man.
gèdé Ifá system of topographical astrology, the study of the spiritual
influence of planets on the landscape.
Gèlédé Masquerade soceity dedicated to honoring the ancestoral
gelete At ease.
gidigidi Completely, extremely also refers to a large Buffalo sacred to
the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
giri With courage, courageous action.
gori To ascend, to experience spiritual growth.
goróyè To receive a title, to become a King (Oba).
gò To be stupid.
gòmbó Facial scars indicating lineage.
gun To climb.
gùn To be tall.
gunnugun Vulture, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
gúúsù The south, also refers to the Spirit of the South.
gba The sound of wood breaking, this implies that something is
gbà To accept or take.
gbabe To forget.
gbada Knife with large blade.
gbádùn To enjoy.
gbàdúrà To pray.
gbagbo To believe.
gbàjámò The profession of being a barber, sacred to the Spirit of Iron
gbángangbàngan Arbitrary movement, scattered.
gbangba Open place, open space.
gbàni to possess.
gbànja Kola nut with two halves, generally not used for divination.
gbárajo To gather, to form an assembly.
gbé To lift.
gbédè To act in an intelligent manner.
gbegbe Ifá herb (Lcancina richantha ).
gbe li gbo The center point of the Ifá diving tray, a symbolic reference to
being in perfect alignment with personal destiny.
gbèrò To intend.
gbéyàwó To marry.
gbéré Incision, cut.
gbèsan To have revenge.
gbese To act in volation of personal taboo.
gbin Plant, reference to any type of plant.
gbó To be old.
gbodogi Ieaf used for thatched roofing (Sarcophrynium Spp.).
gbogbo All, everything.
gbóná To be hot.
gbo To hear, to understand.
gbogborogbo Very long.
gbónju Coming of age, passing through the puberty rite.
Gbònkáà The brother of The Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
gbooro Long and thin.
gbowó Shake hands.
gbúròó To hear.
gúnlésè Hand to hand combat, a form of boxing.
hà Expression of amazement.
halè To threaten.
han To scream or shout.
hàn To be obvious.
he To pick up.
hen Yes, expression used by Ifá priests to confirm that someone has
accurately recited portions of oral scripture (Odù).
hó To boil.
hun To weave.
hùwà To behave.
hùwà - ará - oko To be rude.
h-uwà - ikà To act with malicious intent.
I Him, her, it.
ìbà Homage, or respect, used to express respect for Forces in Nature
Ìbamolè Spiritual Forces that are worthy of respect.
ibà pójúpójú Serious fever.
ibaralè Self control, cool headed.
ìbeji Twins, also refers to the Spirit of Twins.
Ìbejì orò The power of the Spirit of Twins (Ìbejì).
ibegè Pray, devotion.
ìbéta Triplet, also the Spirit of Triplets sacred to the Spirit of the
ibi After birth, also refers to a condition in which a person is not in
alignment with their destiny.
Ibìkejì Èdùmàrè Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olódùmarè),
meaning: "Second to the Creator."
ìbíle Person of a particular place, who is from that place.
ìbó Small implement used to determine the orientation of a verse (Odù)
of Ifá scripture used in divination. The orientation may determine the
prospects of good fortune or bad luck.
ibode The gate at the entrance to a town.
ìbogibòpe Person who worships many Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
ìbojú Veil that covers the face, used in ritual to cover the face of a
ìborí Ifá ritual performed to elevate a person's consciousness.
ìborìsà The worship of Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
ìbúlè - àrun Sick bed.
ìbúlè - ikú Death bed.
ibùsùn - òkú Cemetery, sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
idabo Iyerosun marked with the symbols of Ifá scripture (Odù) on an Ifá
divination tray for the purpose of making a blessing.
ìdàlè Distance, meaning a long distance from the house.
ìdán Magic trick.
ìdáwò Consulting divination.
ide Beads worn by elders on the left wrist to indicate that they have
been through some form of initiation.
ìdénà Obstacle, considered a form of bad luck in Ifá divination.
ide Brass, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
ìdésè Action in violation of taboo.
ìdílé Family lineage.
ìdùn Sweet flavor.
Ifá Wisdom of Nature, also refers to the traditional religion of Yorúbà
Ifá awo kokó Bowl used to hold the palm nuts (ikin) used for Ifá
Ifà - inú Telepathy.
Ifáiyable Mystic vision.
Ìfaraeniséye Self esteem.
ìfarun A piece of iron looped over the fingers to protect the fingers when
drawing a bow.
Ifáyelele Alignment with personal destiny.
Ifá Olokún Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà) meaning;
"Diviner of the Sea."
ìfé - àtinúwa Free - will, meaning: "Love is a choice of character."
ìfé - buburu Hatred, meaning: "Love destroyed by negativity."
ìfé - inúrere Good intentions.
ìférani Self respect, meaning: "Vision of love."
ìforibalè Giving respect.
ìfóróyàn Anointing, part of the initiation process.
ìfowórikú Natural death at old age, considered a blessing by Ifá.
ìfun intestines, on occasion used as an offering to Forces in Nature
iga Court yard of an elder.
igan Piece of cloth.
igbá Calabash, take, eggplant depending on context. Eggplant is
sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
igbademu Calabash used for making food offerings (adimu) to Forces of
Nature (Òrìsà) and to the ancestors (Egún).
igbado Corn, sacred to the Divine Messenger (Èsú) and to the Spirit of
the Guardian of the head (Osun).
ìgbàgbó Belief, faith.
ìgbàlà Deliverance, salvation.
ìgbàlè Cemetery, sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
Ìgbamole Calabash of light, reference to the primal polarity of Creation
at the beginning of time.
igésiaiyé Way of life.
ìgbín Snail, sacred to the Spirit of the King of the White Cloth (Obàtálá).
Igbódù Place of spiritual initiation, meaning either; "Sacred Grove," or
"Womb of the Forest."
Igbófá Sacred Grove used for worshiping the Spirit of Destiny
Igbódù Òrìsà Sacred place used to initiate a person into the mysteries of
a particular Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
Igbóiya Courage, determination, meaning: "Sacred Grove of the
igbówólélórí Healing, elevation of consciousness by transfering
spiritual power (ase) through the hands.
ìgboro Street, road.
ìgbóòse In the future.
ìgèdè Ifá incantation, also Ifá medicine for providing protection against
the Spirit of Death (Iku).
igi Tree, stick, piece of wood.
igiripa Full grown.
igi - isáná Match.
igi - osún Camwood tree, source of Ifá medicine (irosún).
igi - òpe Palm tree.
ìgòkè Spiritual growth or development, the consequence of being in
alignment with personal destiny.
igun Vulture, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
Igúnwà Sitting as King (Oba), meaning sitting on the throne wearing a
crown (Ade) in an official capacity.
igunnuko Tall cylindrical mask for the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún).
iherehere Bit by bit. (First word in Ifá scripture ie: "Bit by bit we eat
the head of the rat."
ihoho Naked, undressed.
ìjábà Trouble, difficulty.
ìjagun Warfare, combat.
ìjakádi Martial art, a form of wrestling.
Ìjálá Songs used by hunters to praise the memory of their Ancestors
(Egún), who were also hunters.
ìjàpá Turtle, an aspect of the Divine Messenger (Èsú) who
communicates directly with the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
ijatijati Dead fruit of a palm tree.
ijetà Day before yesterday.
iji Fear, also a reference to thunder storms, the voice of the Spirit of the
ìjo - ara - eni - lójú The concept of self, the conscious self
ìjòkùn Stem used as rope.
ìjosí The other day.
ika A knife with a straight blade, finger depending on context.
ikà Cruel person.
Ìká Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
ìkà Cruelty, destructive intentions.
ikan Termite, sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà).
ikán Eggplant, sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
ìkárùn Beads that are worn as a necklace.
ike Ivory, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
iké Deformity in the spine, those who suffer this condition are
protected by the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
ìkín Sacred palm nuts used in Ifá divination.
ikoríta Junction in the road, sacred to the Divine Messenger (Èsú).
ilòlédàyé Divination performed at a child's naming ceremony.
Ìkòlè áyé The visible realm of earth.
Ìkòlè Òrun The invisible realm of Spirit.
ìkosè w'áyé Divination performed at a child's naming ceremony.
Ikú Death, the Spirit of Death depending on context.
Ikú dúdú Plague.
ilà Facial marks.
ilá Ochra, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
ìlaiyà Ifá medicine for courage.
ilana Holy principle.
ilà Óòrùn East, Spirits of the East depending on context.
ilé - aró Blacksmith shop.
ile ati ona House and road, a reference to all the property that a person
ilé - ekó Court house.
Ilé Ifè The Spiritual capitol of traditional Yorúbà culture, also refers to
a Spiritual City in the Realm of the Ancestors (Ìkòlè Òrun).
ilédi Meeting place for the male council of elders (Ogboni).
ilé aiyé The earth, usually refers to the surface of the earth.
ilédú Top soil.
Ilèégbónó Small pox.
Ilè Ògéré Praise name for the Spirit of the Earth (Onilé) meaning:
"House of Perfection."
ilé omo House of the child, meaning the womb.
ilèpa Sub soil.
iló To do, disciplined action.
ilogbon House of Wisdom, mystical home of the Spirit of Destiny
ilóyun Conception of a child.
ìmale Ancestor reverence (Egúngún).
ìmáwò - ara Incarnation, current state of reincarnation.
ìmójúkuku Courage and determination.
imobuburú Bad information.
Ìmólè Forces of Nature (Òrìsà) in their earliest manifestation as
expressions of light, meaning: "House of Light."
ìmólè - irawo Star light.
ìmólè - óòrùn Sunlight.
ìmólè - osupa Moonlight.
imò - ope Palm leaves.
ìmoran Opinion, advice.
ìmótoto Cleanliness, part of Ifá discipline.
imonamona Lightning, the physical manifestation of the Spirit of
imorí Ifá divination performed to determine which Force in Nature
(Òrìsà) guides an individual's consciousness.
imunamuna Fierce, intense.
ìní To possess.
inu Belly, inside depending on context.
ìpàkó Base of the skull, the back of the neck, also refers to the
spiritual power center that links the head and the heart, or mind and
ipara Ointment made from herbs.
ìparí End, conclusion, completion.
ìpátá Trouble maker.
ìpelé Short facial scars indicating family lineage.
ipenpe - ju Eyelashes, eyelid, eye brow depending on context.
ìpete Yams cooked in palm oil, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
ìpín Destiny, also refers to a spiritual substance that is projected from
the eyes during alternate states of consciousness.
ipin ijeun Spirit that lives in the stomach.
ìpitan Oral tradition.
Ìpònrí Higher self, described in Ifá scripture as a person's spiritual
double that lives in the Realm of the Ancestors (Ìkòlè Òrun).
Iponri The Force in Nature (Òrìsà) that guides the consciousness of a
Ipò - okú Ancestral home of the a person's spiritual shadow (ojiji), place
where the spirit of the deceased lingers if it does not receive proper
ìpòrí The Spirit of the Big Toe, in Ifá Ancestor reverence the big toe is
the place where personal consciousness (Orí) forms a link with Ancestral
consciousness (Orí Egún).
ìrá Wild animal.
iran Abyss, a place of despair, also refers to a religious drama
depending on context.
ìran Vision, both physical and mystical, future generations depending
ìran - àtelé Generations, descendants.
Ìranse - Olórun Messengers of the Source of Being (Olódùmarè), praise
name for Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
Ìrawo - àguala Venus, the Spirit of Venus, sacred to the Spirit of the
Ìràwòalé The star Sirius, the Spirit of Sirius refered to as the canoe star
in Ifá scripture.
ìrawolè Ifá medicine for children.
Ìràwò Oke The star Sirius, the Spirit of Sirius, refered to as the canoe
star in Ifá scripture.
ire Good fortune.
ire Ifá herb (funtumia elastica ).
irépò Cooperation, friendship, the Spirit of Cooperation.
ìrésì Rice, sacred to the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá).
ìrèmòjé Hunter's funeral chants.
irere Ifá medicine in a calabash.
Ìrèté Sacred verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
iri Dew, sacred to the Spirit of Plants (Osányìn).
irin Iron, physical manifestation of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
irin àjó To travel by walking, to go on a journey, also refers to the
journey through life depending on context.
ìró Sound, wrapper worn by women depending on context.
iro - fá Tapper used by Ifá diviners to tap the side of the divining tray as
part of the invocation process.
ìrókò Tree used as an Ancestor shrine (Egún and Iyáàmi).
ìròsun Red camwood powder used as Ifá medicine and as a source of
attraction for the invocation of specific Forces in Nature (Òrìsà).
ìró Lie, error.
irukere Cow tail switch.
Irúnlè The Spirits of all the Ancestors (Egún).
Irúnmòle Forces in Nature (Òrìsà) that created the Earth.
ìsàlè Reproductive organs.
ìsálú - ayé The Universe, all the world.
ìsálú - Òrun The entire Invisible Realm of the Ancestors.
ìségún Ancestor reverence.
isisiyi The right row in a field.
isogan Adult males.
ìsomolóruko Giving a name to a child at a naming ceremony.
ìsedálè Tradition, custom.
ìsípayá Revelation, intuitive inspiration.
ìtajà Selling at the market.
ìtan History, legend, mythology.
ìtan - àtowodowo Traditional legend, stories about Forces in Nature
ite Bush, sacred to the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì).
ìtefá Ifá initiate.
itóbi Greatness, distinction.
ìtójú Caring for.
ìwà Character, according to Ifá the defining quality of spiritual growth
ìwà - àgba Character of an elder.
ìwà - édá Nature.
ìwàgbáyé World view, belief system.
ìwà - Olórun Character of high ethical standards, spiritual role model.
ìwà - pèlé Good or gentle character.
iwájú - orí Power center in the forehead, seat of mystic vision.
ìwèjú Mystic vision.
ìwò Oòrun West, Spirits of the West depending on context.
ìwà rere Good character.
Ìwòrì Sacred verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
iwu Grey hair, sign of respect.
ìwu Erotic love, the realm of the Spirit of the River (Osun).
ìyà Punishment, suffering.
Ìyá - àgan Senior female elder within the society of Ancestral mediums
Ìyáàgbà Grandmother, elder mother.
Ìyáàgbe Praise name for original Yoruba Ancestor (Oduduwa).
Ìyáàmi Society of Women, meaning: "My Mothers."
Ìyá - egbé Elder woman in any women's society.
Ìyako Mother of an adult male.
Ìyálójà Mother of the Market, a reference to the senior priestess of the
Market women, usually an initiate into the Mysteries of the Spirit of the
Ìyáláwo Female Ifá diviner meaning: "Mother of the Mysteries."
Ìyálè Elder wife in a polygamous family.
Ìyálorìsà Female initiate into the mysteries of the Forces of Nature
iyan Yams prepared in silence as a offering to the Spirit of the King of
White Cloth (Obàtálá).
Iyansan Praise name for the Mother of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya)
meaning: "Mother of the Child of Nine."
iyawo Junior wife, also refers to those who are recently initiated into
the Mysteries of Forces of Nature (Òrìsà).
Iyawo ale Evening star, Spirit of the Evening Star.
iye Number, value.
iyekan Ancestors of the Father.
ìyèrè Chanting verses (Odù) of Ifá oral scripture.
ìyonu Trouble, worry.
iyùn Beads worn by chiefs.
jà To fight, to struggle.
já To get, to find out.
jáde To go out, to emerge.
jádeogun To prepare for combat.
jádekúrò To come out of a place.
jádi To attack.
jáfáfá To be active.
jagun To make war, also the title of a military leader.
jagba Wrestling competition.
Jàkúta To fight with stones, also the Spirit of the Stone Thrower.
je To eat.
jé To allow.
Jebáàlè To rule as chief.
je ewo Bad luck that comes as the result of violation of taboo.
jèfá To experience good fortune.
jéjé To swear an oath.
je ohun Bad luck that comes as the result of violation of taboo.
jékí To allow.
jemó To be connected with.
jeun To eat.
jéwó To confess.
jé To wake.
jìgbò Mask that represents a Spirit of the Water.
jigi Mirror, glass.
jije To eat.
jikelewi To pounce.
jìnnà To be far.
jó To dance, to light a fire, to burn depending on context.
joko Sit down.
jóná To be on fire.
jo To be similar.
jóò Excuse me, forgive me.
jowo Grant favor.
ju Surpass, to excel.
júbà Praises, a request that respect be accepted by the Spirits.
kà To read, to count, to be placed on depending on context.
ká To reap, to pluck.
Kábiyèsí Greeting of respect to a king (Oba).
Kábíyèsìlè Term of respect praising a chief or elder.
k'ágò Asking permission to enter a house.
kalè To sit down.
kan To touch.
kánjú To be in a hurry.
Ká - mò - ó - ka - là Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "Whom to know is to be saved."
kaná To be on fire.
Kanki Short pants.
Kanlè Touch the earth, to reach the earth.
kánnáà The same.
kári To go around.
kárò Good morning.
kárùn To become sick.
kàs ínkan What is the matter?
kata - kata Scattered, unfocused.
kàwe To read.
káwó Hail, a sign of respect, a greeting for a political leader, also
ké To cut.
kéré To be small.
kéréwú Cotton seeds, sacred to the Spirit of the King of the White Cloth
Kéhìndé The second twin to be born, the oldest child among twins is
believed to come last so that the younger child can test the new
environment. All second born twins in traditional Yoruba culture have
this name whether they are male or female.
kekere Good fortune.
keleku Calico cloth, sacred to the Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún).
ki To greet, to press tightly, to push depending on context.
kí Before, to greet depending on context.
koro To go.
kìléhin One who stands behind to give support, moral support.
kínìdí What causes.
Kiribiti All around.
kò Not, to meet depending on context.
kó To gather.
kobokobo A whip that is used to symbolize the power of the Spirit of
kòkòrò Germ that causes disease.
kóòro Entirely, completely.
Korí Spirit who creates the calabash of the inner self. Usually
worshipped by small children.
Kórira To hate.
korò To be bitter.
koto Hollow or hole depending on context.
kò To reject.
ko To write, to sing, light from lightning, sacred to the Spirit of
kó To hang up.
koja To pass.
kókóró Key, sacred to the Divine Messenger (Èsú).
kolá Lineage scares on the face, back and shoulders.
kòla Bitter kola nut, sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà) and used
in Ifá for a simplified form of divination.
kolobo Sore throat.
kóni To teach, to give instruction.
kó - nìlá - abè Circumcision.
kòòkan Each, one each.
korin To sing.
kósórí To memorize.
ku To die.
kutute Stump of a tree.
kun To divide into parts, to set on fire depending on context.
kún To be full.
kunle Kneel to the ground as a gesture of respect to either a sacred
shrine or an elder.
kunrin To sing.
kúrú To be short.
Kurumu Round or spherical shape.
là To appear.
lá To dream.
láàràngunkàn Cloth used for making clothing for Kings (Oba).
láàrin In the middle.
láàyè To be alive.
lágbára To be strong.
lágidigba Black beads made from palm nut shells worn around the
waist by women for fertility.
lagogo To ring a bell.
láikú Immortal, the term Immortals is a reference to Forces in Nature
làí - làí The beginning of time, also refers to a mystical state in which
the person experiences a connection with the Source of Being
láí - láí All that would be, meaning forever into the future.
láilésè Innocent, not guilty.
láimó Unholy, in violation of taboo, not consecrated.
láinípèkun Without beginning or end, immortal.
Lákáyé Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
lálá To dream.
lálé Touch the Earth, a sign of respect to elders
làlóju To enlighten.
láná Yesterday, in the recent past.
lásán Free, no charge, worthless depending on context.
látijó In the olden days, reference to a very long time ago.
láyò To rejoice, to experience pleasure.
le To be hard
lè Can, might, to be able.
lé To be on.
lél è To be on the ground.
lèmómù Priest of Islam, an Imam.
létòl´tò The segments of a ritual.
léhin After, behind.
léwà To be beautiful.
lò To use
lódè oni In the present time.
lówò To be rich, having abundance
lo To go, more than depending on context.
lodon The southern leg of the cross marked on the Ifá divination tray.
Ló - l'òla Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning;
"Master of tomorrow."
Ló - l'òní Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning:
"Master of the Day."
Ló - l òtunla - pèlu - è Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "Master of the day after tomorrow."
lù To strike.
lùníkúùkù Fighting with fists.
máà I will.
Magà Chief Priest of the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
Mágbéèmitì Spirit who shapes consciousness.
málù Charm used to prevent being physically attacked.
Mana - mana Lightning, physical manifestation of the Spirit of
màrìwò Palm fronds, sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà), used as
clothing for rituals involving the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
másé Do not.
Mason Mediums of the Spirit of Ancestors (Egúngun) who dress in
masquerade to honor the Ancestors (Egún).
mbè To exist, to be alive.
mbo Coming, expression meaning: "I will return."
mélò How many?
mérìndínlógún Sixteen, also used to refer to a system of divination
used by Òrìsà initiates that is based on the first sixteen verses of Ifá
mi To swallow, to breathe.
mímo Sacred, holy.
moji Performance of Ancestor masquerade (Egúngún).
mojú To know.
móoru Hot weather.
mo To build.
mó Again, against, any more.
molara To feel.
molé To build.
mòràn To know.
motélè To be able to predict the future.
mu To drink.
mule To drink dirt, reference to making an unbreakable oath.
náà The same.
ná First of all.
nfe To want.
njo To dance, dancing.
ni To say, to be, someone, that depending on context.
nílátì To have to, must do.
níle At home.
nímò Intelligent, skilled, wise.
nípa About, through.
nírèlè Humble, a reflection of good character in Ifá.
nítòótó In truth.
niwòn In moderation.
nje Then, therefore.
nkó What about?
nsó Go on.
nú To wipe, to be lost.
nwon They or them.
nyaju Placing a hex through the use of the eyes.
o He, she and it.
obì Kola nut used in simplified systems of Ifá divination.
obí Female gender.
Obírítí Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "The
obuko Male goat, sacred as food for a feast in honor of Forces in Nature
o dàbo Goodbye.
òde Outside, outside of the house, outside of town.
òde - ayé The entire world.
òde ìsìsiyí The present time.
òde òní Today.
òde - Òrun The entire invisible realm, home of the ancestors (Egún)
and the Immortals (Òrìsà), the Source of Creation.
Òdí Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
odi It becomes, town wall depending on context.
odídeé Parrot, sacred to most Forces in Nature (Òrìsà) as a symbol of
transformation and initiation.
odò River, physical manifestation of the Spirit of the River (Osun).
ódó - aró Blue river, a reference to the fluids in the birth canal, sacred
to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
ódó - ejé Blood river, a reference to the blood in the birth canal, sacred
to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
Odù The Spirit of the Womb of Creation, also refers to the verses of Ifá
scripture and the pot used to initiate Ifá priests.
Odùdúà Same as Odùdúwà.
Odùdúwà Spirit of Black Character, black is a symbolic reference to
that which is invisible, the opposite of light. In some regions of Nigeria
this spirit is the primal Goddess, in Ile Ifè this Spirit is the original male
Ancestor of Yoruba culture.
odukun Sweet potato.
Odumare Regional variation of Olódùmarè who is the Source of
ofere The morning star, Spirit of the Morning Star.
òf ò Loss.
ofofo Tales, stories, folklore.
Òfun Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
Òfún 'kànrán Verse in divination based on the use of 16 cowries
Oga - ogo Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olórun) meaning:
"The Brave One."
Ogbè Méjì The first verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
ogbe The comb of a rooster.
ogbó Old age.
ogbo ato Grow old, long life, used as a blessing from an elder to a
Ogboni Society of male elders who worship the Spirit of the Earth
Òge Spirit Guardian of Barren Women.
ògèdè Incantation used to transform problems, also refers to medicine
used as protection against the Spirit of Death (Ikú).
ògégé Precision, exactness.
ogiri Boiled oil seeds.
ògòdò Diseases caused by neglect of personal care or violation of taboo.
Ògún The Spirit of Iron.
ogun War, fight.
ogún Twenty, inheritance.
Ògúnda Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
Ògún ègbé Medicine used to induce astral travel (out of body
Ògúngbe Bodyguard of a King (Oba).
ohùn Sound, voice.
òjìjí Shadow spirit created by the physical manifestation of a person's
òjòlá Boa constrictor.
Òjòntarìgì Wife of the Spirit of Death (Ikú).
ojú Eye, or face depending context.
ojù - àse Power in the eyes, spiritual power that can be seen coming
out of the eyes when a person is in an altered state of consciousness,
also refers to Mystic Vision.
ojú - aiye Face of the earth, surface of the earth.
ojúbo Shrine, meaning: "Facing what it is we worship."
Ojugbede Chief priest of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún) in Ilé Ifè.
ojubona Teacher, usually second eldest priest in a society of elders.
ojú - inú Inner eye, the ability to see visions.
ojúlà Dream vision, also trance vision.
Ojú Odù The first sixteen verses of Ifá scripture (Odù).
ojú - óòri Grave.
ojú ònà Road way.
Ojú opón The north arm of the cross marked on the Ifá divination tray.
ojú - òrèrè Shrine for Ancestors who were Ifá initiates, it includes the
Ojú - Òrun Sky, meaning: "The Eyes of the Invisible Realm."
ojúràn Alternate state of consciousness meaning: "Eyes to ancestral
òkè Mountain and Spirit of Mountain depending on context.
oké gígà Physical mountain.
okete Giant rat, sacred to the spirit of the Divine Messenger (Èsù).
oko Farm, farmer, husband, penis, farm tool depending on context.
Okolo Spirit of the Sky.
okòtó Conical shaped shell, Ifá symbol of infinity.
okun The ocean.
Okùn Beads worn by a chief.
Olodo Praise name for the Spirit of the River (Osun) meaning: "Owner
of the Brook."
Olódùmarè Spirit of Creation.
Olófin Spirit of the Law, meaning: "Owner of the Law."
Olófín - àpèká - lúù Praise name for the Spirit of the Divine Messenger
(Èsú), meaning: "Enforcer of the Law Giver."
Olojongbodu The Spirit of the Wife of Death (Ikú).
Olókun Spirit of the Ocean.
Olókun - su - elusu Female aspect of the Spirit of the Ocean.
Olónìímoro Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà), meaning:
"Owner of Cleanliness."
Olóore Spirit who shapes the head of infants before birth.
Olorí Spirit that organizes personal consciousness, guardian Spirit.
Olorí - Mérìn Spirit who protects towns, meaning: "Spirit with Four
olórìyà - ìgún Vultures comb, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
Olosa Spirit of the Lagoon.
Olúbambí Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning:
"The Creator helped me before I had this child."
Oluéri The Spirit of the Rivers.
Olúgbé - rere Praise name for the Spirit of the Mother of Fishes
(Yemoja), meaning: "Giver of Good Things."
Olúghohún Hex initiated by members of the council of male elders
(Ogboni) against persons who violate community taboo.
Olú irin Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "Chief of
Olúkòso Àìrá Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning:
"The Controller of Lightning."
Olumaki Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "Chief of
Olúmmaàmi Òkítíìrí Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "The Chief Averter."
Olumu The Spirit of Understanding.
Olùnrin - dúdú - òkè - Ìgèté Praise name of the Spirit of Destiny
(Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "Black Man from Ogeti Hill."
Olúòrójò Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning:
"King who must not see rain."
Oluorogbo Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "Chief of the Medicine of Truth."
Oluoyo Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning: "Chief
Olúrin The chief of the male council of elders (Ogboni).
Olusonso Praise name for the deified Ancestor who founded the city of
Ile Ife (Oramife).
Olúwa Praise name for the Source of Being (Olórun), meaning: "Chief of
Olúwà - mi - àmò - imò - tán Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny
(Òrúnmìlà), meaning: "Who can most understand the Source of Being."
oluware The person in question.
Olúwèkù Praise name for the Spirit of the Wind (Oya), meaning: "The
controller of those who wear the Ancestral masquerade."
Olúweri Spirit of the River (Male aspect of Yemoja).
Oluwo Chief Ifá diviner of the male council of elders (Ogboni).
Oluwo Igbo Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "Chief Diviner of the Forest."
Olúworíogbó The Spirit who makes Heads, meaning: "Creator of the
heads in the forest."
Oluyare The name used for Ancestor masquerades in Edi.
Oluyeye Old woman, wise woman.
omi ayé The waters of earth.
omi'gbo The waters of the forest.
omi Òrun The waters of the Invisible Realm of the Ancestors.
omira Menstrual blood.
omi - tútù Cool water.
ònà Road, path, home of the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
Onídán Type of Ancestor masquerade (Egúngun), meaning: "One who
onílé Keeper of the house.
Onílé Spirit of the Earth, meaning: "Owner of the Earth."
Onílégangan - ajíkí Praise name for the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà),
meaning: "Owner of the Spirit of the Traditional Drum that is saluted
Onígbàjámò Barber, profession is sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
Oni're Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "Chief of the
Town of Ire."
onísègùn Herbal doctor, meaning: "Owner of the power of medicine."
oníwà fúnfún Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olódùmarè),
meaning: "Owner of Pure Character."
Onshe System of divination sacred to the Spirit of the King of White
Cloth (Obàtálá) used in criminal cases to determine guilt or innocence.
Ooh shoko Traditional introduction to Ifá songs, the response is bani.
oore Good turn, good deed.
Oòrùn The sun, The Spirit of the Sun.
Òòsà Force in Nature (Same as Òrìsà).
Òòsáálá Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá),
meaning: "Spirit of Mystic Vision."
Òòsà Ìgbowújìn Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "The Spirit who lives in the Distant Forest."
Òòsàoko Spirit of the Farm.
Opèlé Wife of the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà)), chain used for Ifá
divination, meaning: "Puzzle of the Palm Tree."
òpin ìsìn The end of a ritual.
ori Cornstarch porridge.
orí The Spirit of Consciousness, also means head in common usage.
orí - àpeere Patterns of conscience.
orí - àpéré Personal destiny.
orí - fífó Headache.
orí - gbóná Hot headed, meaning short tempered.
orígun mérèèin ayé The four directions of Creation.
orí ibi Lack of alignment with personal destiny, bad luck, misfortune.
orí ire Alignment with personal destiny, good luck, good fortune.
orí inú Inner self.
oríkì Praise poem, invocation of spirit, meaning: "Praising
orile Lineage name.
orílè Name of a Nation.
Òrìsà Spiritual Force in Nature that guides evolution through the
expression of its own unique form of consciousness.
Òrìsà agbala Spiritual guardian of the back yard, identified in Ifá
scripture as the younger brother of the Spirit of the Farm (Òrìsà Oko).
Òrìsà Alase Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "Spirit with the Power of Dreams."
Òrisà - bi Wife of Orungan.
Òrìsà Ìdílé Spirit of an extended family
Òrìsà ìlú Spirit of a town.
Òrísálá Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá),
meaning: "Spirit who Creates Light."
Òrìsà - og'enia Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "The Spirit who Owns Humans."
Òrìsà orí Spirit of personal consciousness.
Òrìsà - Oríle Spirit of the Nation.
Oríta The boundary between the visible realm of Creation and the
invisible realm of Creation.
orí tútù Cool headed.
Oro The personification of the power of the word.
Òrò Spirit of the Forest, invoked as part of Ifá funeral rites.
orógbó Bitter kola, Ifá herb eaten to insure that a person speaks the
oroko iyin Praise name.
Oshu Spirit of the Moon.
Osi Spirit of the Ancestors (Egún).
Osibiriki Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "The One
who bursts out suddenly."
Òsìn Imole Praise name for the Spirit of Iron (Ògún), meaning: "Chief of
Osu Moon, Spirit of the Moon, Daughter of the Spirit of Lightning
Osugbo The word for male council of elders in some regions of Nigeria,
same as Ogboni.
Òsùmàrè The Spirit of the Rainbow.
Osun The Spirit who protects individual consciousness.
osùn Camwood powder.
Osùn dudu Black camwood powder, sacred to the Spirit of the Tracker
Osùn pupa Red camwood powder, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún).
òtità Wooden stool.
otosi Destitute, in poverty.
Otu The priest who makes offerings on behalf of the King (Oba).
Òtura Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture used for divination.
Otúrúpon Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture used for divination.
òun He, she, him, her, it when spoken with emphasis.
ówó eyo Cowrie shells used as money.
O'yansa Mother of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya), meaning: "Mother of
Oye The Spirit of the Harmattan Wind, lives in Igeti hill with the Divine
Messenger, the male aspect of the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
òye Knowledge of the heart, emotions.
Òyígíyigì The primal stone of Creation, the Source of Creation.
oyin honey, sacred to the Spirit of the River (Osun).
Oba King, one of approximately twenty - one regional monarches in
traditional Yoruba society.
Oba Àlórí Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olódùmarè),
meaning: "Almighty Chief."
Oba Ìgbàláyé Spirit of the Four Seasons, meaning: "King of the
Calabash of the Earth."
Oba - i gbó Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "King of the Forest."
Obakòso Praise name for the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó), meaning:
"King of Kòso." (This name is frequently mistranslated to mean: "The
King is not Dead.")
Obalúaiye Praise name for the Spirit of Infectious Disease (Babaluaiyé),
meaning: "King of the hot earth."
Obalofun Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá),
meaning: "King of Pure Speech."
Obalùfòn Spirit who protects Artists.
Obanla Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth (Obàtálá),
meaning: "King of Purity."
Oba obìnrin Queen Mother.
Oba Oke Spirit of the Mountain.
Oba Omí Praise name for the male aspect of the Spirit of the Ocean
(Olókun), meaning: "King of the Water."
Oba Òrun Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olódùmarè),
meaning: "King of the Invisible Realm of the Immortals."
Òbàrà Méjì Verse of Ifá scripture (Odù).
Obayíya Praise name for the Source of Creation (Olódùmarè), meaning:
Obàtálá Spirit of the King of White Cloth.
Obàtálá gbingbin iki Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White
Cloth (Obàtálá), meaning: "The Big Big Spirit of the King of the White
Oba - ti - álá Praise name for the Spirit of the King of White Cloth
(Obàtálá), meaning: "King of Vision."
Obba Goddess of the Iba River.
òbe Knife, medicine for soup depending on context.
obe - olójumeji Knife with a double edged blade.
obe gbaguda Knife sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà).
òdà Paint made from natural materials.
odan Grass, grass land, shade tree depending on context.
ode mata Spotted medicine, sacred to the Spirit of the Tracker (Òsóòsì).
odó Young person.
òdómobinrin Young woman.
òdómokùnrin Young man.
odun Year, or time of any seasonal celebration.
òdúndún Medicinal herb.
ofafa Tree bear.
ofin Palace of the King (Oba).
ofe A charm used to induce astral travel, or an out of body experience.
òfé Free, no charge.
ofò Incantation, invocation.
òfò Loss by death.
ofò - àse Power of the word, word of power, reference to the ability to
make effective prayers and a reference to the words that are used as
keys to invocation.
Ogan Ant hill, sacred to the Spirit of Destiny (Òrúnmìlà).
Òganmo Young palm leaves, essential herb in Ifá initiation.
Ogbóni Council of male elders who worship the Spirit of the Earth
ogede Banana, sacred to the Spirit of Lightning (Sàngó).
Ògbédan Member of male council of elders (Ogbóni) who carries the staff
of Ogbón (Edan).
ogomo Palm fronds, sacred to all the Forces in Nature (Òrìsà), used as
spiritual protection in Ifá shrines.
ojà Market, sacred to the Spirit of the Wind (Oya).
òje To eat everything.
ojó The Sun, the Spirit of the Sun, also means day depending on the
ojó - ikú The day of death.
ojójojo Ancient times, long ago, in the distant past.
ojó Orún Four day week, traditional Ifá week and prayer cycle (Five
days in some regions).