Saturday 30 October 2021

Great Benin Divination

Divination has exhibited a major role in traditonal cultural development in Africa as well as social mores prior to European intervention. Divination is a universal endeavour among traditional African peoples.

Divination is a metaphysical way of knowing the seen and unseen, the past, present as well as the future. Similar to other African cultures, Great Benin has systems of divination that reveal hidden mysteries relating to the past, present or future.

In a general sense, divination is a keystone to traditional African philosophy, religion and worldview. Divination is a way to understand life’s complexities and to avoid catastrophes.

Because of the importance of the traditional African holistic view of the world, physical coexisting with the spiritual realms, having knowledge of their interaction is essential.

Divination is also an essential component of Traditional African Medicine. In Traditional African Medicine, divination is used as a diagnostic tool. Divination takes into account both the problems and remedies of the seen and unseen realms, physical as well as spiritual universe and levels of existence in giving account of life’s solutions.

The oracle spread throughout Africa to many different cultures and especially taking similar names across West Africa.

Some of the names in West Africa for the oracle are Fa, Afa, Iha, Agbigba,  and Ifa. Some of the West African ethnic groups that received the oracle this way  are the Edo (Benin), Yoruba, Igbo, Fon, Urhobo, Itsekiri, etc. It was and still is common for native doctors (Obo, Babalawo, etc) to travel to different areas of Africa in search for more knowledge about their profession. The acquisition of knowledge has included a vast accumulation of medical herbs, minerals, animals, incantations, and divination.

In Great Benin, the highest Oracle name is Iha Ominigbon. Ominigbon is the person that brought the oracle to Great Benin. Iha Ominigbon is the most superior of all of the oracle of Edo (Great Benin). The oracles contain the keystones of the cultural traditions of the African people. According to the great Edo historian, J.U. Egharevba, the Iha Ominigbon is the keystone to Edo language and traditions.

Jacob Egharevba gives a list of the main Edo oracles (1st seven) in his book entitled “Iha Ominigbon Vbobo”, Osemwegie Ikpamosa, as well as this author have added a few others to the list;

Iha Ominigbon

Iha Oronmila



Olokun Akpele/Akpete





Author: Chief Dr. Daryl Omokhodion

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