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Determining Ori – 2

The Concepts of Ori and Human Destiny in Traditional Yoruba Thought: A Soft-Deterministic Interpretation
OLADELE ABIODUN BALOGUN, Nordic Journal of African Studies 16(1): 116–130 (2007)

Part 1

2. TRADITIONAL YORUBA BELIEF IN ORI AND HUMAN DESTINY: THE FATALISTIC AND HARD DETERMINISTIC ACCOUNT

[…] According to the Yoruba, it is believed that before coming into the world, everybody was obliged to go and choose an ori from among a large number of oris stored in Ajala’s warehouse. Ajala4 (a potter) has the duty of molding human heads. The process of human creation is not complete without him.

While Orisanla (arch-divinity) is understood by the Yoruba to be the maker of ara (body), who later passes the lifeless figure to Olodumare (Supreme Deity) to put emi (life giving entity ), Ajala is responsible for the creation of ori. Ajala is a skilled potter, a drunkard, a debtor and an irresponsible and careless creature (Morakinyo 1983: 78). In any case, Ajala through his utter carelessness is responsible for molding heads of different shapes and qualities (some are good and many are bad). In the house of Ajala, every man makes a choice of his own ori, after which every man coming into the world passes through the water of forgetfulness-Omi igbagbe, which is the boundary between heaven and earth. Continue reading

Determining Ori

The Concepts of Ori and Human Destiny in Traditional Yoruba Thought: A Soft-Deterministic Interpretation
By OLADELE ABIODUN BALOGUN, Nordic Journal of African Studies 16(1): 116–130 (2007)

INTRODUCTION

The Yoruba constitute one of the major ethnic groups of modern Nigeria and they effectively occupy the whole of Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Lagos and a substantial part of Kwara State (Atanda 1980: 1). Besides Nigeria, the Yoruba are also found in sizeable numbers, in South-eastern part of the Republic of Benin, Togo and Dahomey in West Africa, the West-India and South Africa. There is also a thriving Yoruba culture in South America and the Caribbean, especially Brazil and Cuba where the descendants of the unwilling immigrants to the new world have been able to keep there identities and guard their cultural heritage (Gbadegesin 1983: 174).

While the Yoruba are dispersed throughout the world, this paper focuses on the Nigerian Yoruba. The reason for this choice is that the ancestral home of the Yoruba is in Nigeria and each of the Yoruba in the Diasporas still traces its origin to this home where the culture thrives best. The Yoruba whether at home or in Diaspora have a unique and distinct cultural life and their lineage can be traced to Oduduwa with Ile-Ife as the cradle of civilization. The traditional Yoruba are associated with various beliefs that cut across different strata of human existence. Pertinent among such beliefs, are the beliefs in ori1 and human destiny. Continue reading

Ori and Destiny

THE YORUBA CONCEPT OF ORI IN RELATION TO HUMAN DESTINY
By RAYMOND OLUTOYIN OGUNADE, 2010

What is Ori-Inu?

Ori-inu (literally, “inner-head”) is “the individuality element or that which is claimed to be responsible for one’s personality”;10 “it is the real essence of being, the personality-soul, which guides and helps a person before he is born, … through the passages of life, at death, and finally goes back to Supreme Deity, its Creator, to give an account of man’s conduct on earth”11; it “rules, controls, and guides the life and activities of the person”12; “it also serves as a man’s double or guardian angel or counterpart”13. From these interpretations and meanings of Ori or Ori-inu, it is categorically clear that Ori-inu is a person’s spiritual element or being which is invisible but actively present when one is being created, throughout life, at death and when one appears before the Creator in judgement.

The spiritual essence of Ori-inu is evident in the fact that it “is closely related to God and it is given to man by God Himself”14. In this regard, Ori-inu can also be considered as a divine assistant delegated by its Creator to assist a Continue reading

Yoruba Ori

The Ori
By Philip Neimark

Ori plays an important role for Ifa devotees. The word itself, in Yoruba, has many meanings. It means head, or the apex or highest pinnacle of achievement. In a spiritual sense, the head, as the highest point of the human body, represents Ori. The head of a company or organization is known as Olori, or Ori for short. The supreme being, our single God, is known as Oludumare, another form of the word.

In the human body, Ori has two roles: the physical and the spiritual. The physical functions of Ori will be familiar to us: our brains think, our eyes see, our noses smell, and our ears hear. Our mouths speak and eat and breathe. Our faces are different from all others and provide our physical identities. Our spiritual Ori are themselves subdivided into two elements: Apari-inu and Ori Apere. Apari-inu represents character; Ori Apere represents destiny. An individual may come to Earth with a wonderful destiny, but if he or she comes with bad character, the likelihood of fulfilling that destiny is severely compromised. Character is essentially unchangeable. Destiny is more complex. Continue reading

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