Ibori – a ceremony for praising and feeding the ori
Ibori – A Ceremony for Praising and Feeding the OriThis is a very simple, but powerful ritual that can be done to connect with your Ori whileritually cleansing and feeding it.Please note, the ritual presented below has been presented in its most basic form. WhenIbori is performed by a priest in the religion, it often becomes a much more involvedendeavor. However, for the sake of simplicity, the basic ritual has been presented here.It is also important to note that the ability to divine is an important part of performingIbori, as you can determine a) whether an Ibori needs to be performed, b) what specificofferings your Ori needs and c) whether your Ori has accepted the offerings after theyhave been made. One can determine this by learning the five basic positions (Alaafia,Oyeku, Ejife, Etawa and Okanran) of the Obii, as they provide very basic, but clear,yes/no replies.OFFERINGS:There are many basic offerings to ones Ori. Obviously, it is best if these are determinedvia divination whenever possible.The following questions may be asked through casting four cowries or Obi:1) Does my Ori need to receive an offering at this time?2) Does it need to receive (insert individual items until you find what it wants...)?3) Always close my asking, “Are there any other offerings that my Ori requires at thistime?” and continue casting to determine offerings until a negative response has beenreceived to the above question.A list of generally acceptable offerings have been listed below.Some materials often used to feed one’s Ori are: Cool water (omi tutu), honey (oyin), gin (oti), dried fish (eja aro), bitter kola nut (orogbo), kola nut (obi abata), sugar cane (ireke), red palm oil (epo pupa), efun, shea butter (ori), as well as coconut milk/meat and assorted light colored fruits.Some of the above offerings are given for the following reasons: • Cool water - to cool, calm and refresh, especially to ease a “hot” situation • Honey – to sweeten and bring joy • Gin - to bring pleasure and strength • Kola - to stimulate, give life, avert problems and bring wisdom • Bitter kola - good for ase, also protection and longevity • Sugar cane – to bring sweetness and ire • Palm oil - to smooth, sustain & ease, also used for abundance • Shea butter – to protect and soothe • Coconut milk/meat - to offer a very strong cooling energy
• Assorted fruits - to make one’s destiny fruitful, to offer nourishmentNOTE: It is taboo (eewo) to feed one’s Ori palm kernal oil (adin).The simplest offering is pure cool water. Even when nothing else is available, we alwayshave cool water and this can be used to cool the Ori, to ease the mind and to remove the“heat” from our heads.There are many, many other offerings that are often used to feed the head. Often, thehead is also washed in a specially prepared Omiero made by a priest of the religion. Theofferings listed above are very general and reflect only a small spectrum of possibleitems.One’s Ori is very sensitive and one should always be careful what they are placing ontheir Ori. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. This is why divining todetermine what one’s Ori requires is so important.Generally, one works to keep the Ori “cool” energetically, which allows one to remain inbalance and at peace. However, there are times that ones Ori will be stimulated (“heated”but this should only be done after one has been properly trained because one must knowthe proper way of cooling the Ori after it has been stimulated.In addition to the items selected for an offering, you will also need the following items: • Consecrated black soap (ose dudu), if available • Light or white colored clothing • A piece of clean white cloth large enough to wrap your head • A small white candle (tea lights/votives are fine) • Some people like to spread a white sheet or cloth over the working area/on the floorBEFORE THE RITUAL:The Ibori is best performed in the evening, at a time when you will not have to leave thehouse again for any reason. You should also make sure that you will be relativelyundisturbed after the ritual takes place, as you will need to remain “cool” for the rest ofevening.Before starting the actual offering, take a bath or shower. If you have any black soap(highly recommended), you may use that to cleanse your head of any negative energythat may have accumulated.Relax and wash away the physical dirt, but also try to release some of theemotional/spiritual dirt that we all pick up each day. Take as much time as you need forthis part, as it is very important to be relaxed when you begin working with your Ori.
After your bath/shower, dress in the lightest color clothing you can find – ideally an allwhite outfit, including under garments. Avoid anything very bright or dark. Go to thearea you have designated for the Ibori ceremony. Some people choose to do this beforetheir Ancestral shrine, if they have not ritually received Igba’Ori. Wherever the ritual isperformed, it is important that the area be neat and clean and free from any disturbancesfor the duration of the ritual itself.PERFORMING THE IBORI:Prayer is an important part of any Ifa ritual, no matter how simple or how complex.Before beginning the formal ritual itself, one should chant iba (homage) to the followingspiritual forces: o Olodumare o All of the Orisa o Ones Ancestors o Ones Elders in the religion o Ones OriSome people prefer to have a specific prayer that is given for their use. While this may beuseful for some, it is not necessary. It is the intention of the prayer and the character ofthe individual that determines the effectiveness of the prayer, not the words themselves.A simple prayer that can be used in the beginning can be found below: I give thanks to Olodumare, who gives strength to the Sun and the Moon. Please give that same strength to me in all that I do. I call upon and give thanks to the Orisa, the divine forces of nature that bless my path with ase and ire from sunrise to sunset for all my days. I call upon and give thanks to my Egun, all of that those have gone before me and to all of those upon whose shoulders I stand. Give me your continued support and guidance each day. I pay homage and respect to (name of Ancestor). NOTE: Name each Ancestor starting from the most recently departed and continue on until each one has been named. I call upon and give praise to (name of Elder) who continues to support my path with wisdom and love. I call upon and give praise to my Ori, sacred Orisa of destiny, Orisa who is forever with me. May you guide me toward my destiny and fill my path with alaafia and ire. Ase! Ase! Ase-O!ii
A general prayer should then be said to your Ori, explaining the general reason for theIbori (coolness, alignment, fulfillment of your destiny, an opening of the way, peace, etc.)and asking that the offering be accepted.At this time, you should begin to present the offerings to your Ori. The offerings arealways presented to the head starting with the “third eye” area, moving to the top of thehead and proceeding to the base of the skull.As you present each offering, you should tell your Ori the reason for making thatparticular offering. For instance: Ori, as I give you honey for sweetness, please make my life sweet and full of joy. Ori, I give you this gin to bring strength and pleasurable experiences to my path.This should be done for each offering as it is presented to the head.The offerings are not only presented to the head, but also to the navel (the place of theOri Inuiii) and the big toe of each foot (a connection to ones Ancestors).While touching the navel with the offering(s), one may say the following prayer: May my Ori Inu always work in harmony with my Ori.The offerings are then touched to each of the big toes, and one may say the followingprayer: May my feet not lead me astray. May the wisdom of the Ancestors guide me toward my destiny.These offerings will ultimately be placed on the head, but if giving a lot of loose items(pieces of kola, orogbo, sugar cane, small bits of fruit, etc.) one may place the items on awhite plate until they have all been presented.After all of the offerings have been presented, one should chant Oriki Ori (a prayer usedto pay homage to your Ori). There are hundreds of Oriki Ori, but it is good to keep itsimple in the beginning. Two sample Oriki are presented below:A basic Oriki Oriiv is: Bad Ori is not my Ori Good Ori, that is my Ori Good Ori does not engage in business and wind up in debt Good Ori does not suffer in this world Good Ori is prosperous in all of its endeavors
Good Ori, that is my Ori Ase! Ase! Ase-O!Or you may also use: No god shall offer protection without sanction from Ori Ori, I salute you and give you praise Ori, whose protection precedes that of the Orisa Ori that is destiny to live in good fortune Whosever sacrifice is accept by Ori, Let them rejoice. Ori, please accept my sacrifice so that I may rejoice. Ase! Ase! Ase-O!These Oriki are very powerful and are used to call for the Orisa of Destiny (Ori) to befully present and receive the offerings presented.After reciting the Oriki, a simple prayer may be said in closing to once again ask your Orito receive what has been given and to restate your intentions for performing thisparticular Ibori.A basic prayer is presented below: Ori, please accept the offerings that I have made to you this evening for (insert specific reasons). I ask Ori that you help me to manifest my destiny and to pave the road with the blessings that are mine in this life. Good Ori, I ask that my feet be planted firmly on the right path, a path that leads to ire and alaafia. Good Ori, give me your blessings, because without your sanction no Orisa may give me their blessings. I praise you Ori. I praise you Ori. I praise you Ori. Ase! Ase! Ase-O!CLOSING THE CEREMONY:At this point, divine using the Obi to determine if all of the offerings have been acceptedor to ascertain if your Ori requires anything else. Sometimes Ori may require additionalofferings, increased quantities of a particular item, repeated recitation of prayers/Oriki,etc. One should make sure that the ceremony is not closed until Ori has accepted theofferings made during the Ibori.Once all of the offerings are accepted, they may be placed on the crown of the head oneat a time (if any items remain on the white plate). After all of the offerings have beenplaced, the head should be wrapped with a clean white cloth used specifically for this
purpose. The cloth should secure the items on the head and prevent them from spillingout.IMPORTANT NOTE: After doing Ibori, one must remain calm and cool for the rest ofthe evening. It is important to make every effort to keep ones head “cool” and to avoidanything too mentally or emotionally taxing for the rest of the night. Additionally,engaging in any form of sexual activity is strictly prohibited for the remainder of theevening. It is important to rest and allow the ase presented to Ori to settle appropriately.The offerings are left on the head overnight and are generally discarded the followingmorning. Most people remove the offerings before showering in the morning. You candivine to ask where your Ori would like the items left – a river, the woods, a railroadtrack, etc. It is possible to simply discard the items in the trash if this is confirmedthrough divination.End Notes:i For more information on casting the Obi, please refer to Awo Obi: Obi Divination in Theory and Practiceby Baba Osundiya.ii Often each lineage will have a specific prayer that is chanted during rituals of this nature. If one has beenprovided to you by your spiritual Elders, please use that in place of the above sample. The sample prayergiven in intentionally general and assumes no working knowledge of the Yoruba language.iii For a more complete understanding of the various parts of Ori, see either Iba’se Orisa by Awo Fa’lokunFatunmbi or Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion by Chief FAMA.iv The Oriki Ori used in this document were taken from Baba Fasina Falade’s website Ijo Orunmila(www.artnet.net/~ifa/)