Thursday 16 March 2023

!!! "Idaasa" The Language of Cowrie-Shells... (Ose-Otura)

Cowrie-Shells Divination refers to several distinct forms of divination using Cowrie-Shells that are part of the rituals and religious beliefs of certain religions. Though best-documented in West Africa as well as in Afro-American religions, such as Santeria, CandomblΓ©, and Umbanda Cowrie-Shell Divination has also been recorded in other regions, notably East Africa and India etc.

In representing Orisha (16 Cowries) with the choice between two alternatives, a small Vertebra (bone) is often used to symbolize bad, and a pair of Cowries tied back-to-back to symbolize good. Any two objects can be used, but the bone is associated with death while cowries were formerly used as money. It is for this reason that the alternatives are spoken of as Ibo, meaning "covered" or "concealed." Five kinds of good fortune (Ire - wellbeing) and five kinds of bad fortune (Ibi - misfortune) that are to be met in the world.

Good Fortune:  Longevity - Wealth -  Marriage - Children - Victory

Bad Fortune: Death- Illness - Fight - Lack of money - Loss

The art of divination can only be satisfied, if and when all relevant questions are dealt with seeking appropriate answers. No one divination system is capable of giving the total and complete answer and each divination system has its peculiar specialty. For example, the Obi (Kolanut) that is a compulsory accompanist of most sacrifice and ritual serves its purpose properly when during and after the preparation of the sacrifice, it is constantly being asked to indicate if the procedure being followed is proper, and later, to check if the sacrifice is completed and where the sacrifice has to be taken to in order for the Deity-Orisa to accept it.

The position of the Erindilogun is total, but not all comprehensive. Its main attribute lies in its ability to respond very accurately to the larger questions and to satisfy the purpose of putting light where darkness clouds the way. No divination is complete without following the process or meeting the obligation that the Odu of Ifa impose to satisfy the efficacy of the divination, which is the sacrifice that is stipulated for most of the divination.

Sacrifices (Ebo) are standard for most of the divination. Cases might arise that this sacrifice might neither be necessary nor adequate. It is the diviner who has the last judgment when it comes to that.


Osun is the only daughter of Yemoja. Yemoja was not granted a child for the many years of her life. So, she went to seek the assistance of the Orisha who demanded sacrifice from her and told her to fill the house with water after the sacrifice. Soon she became pregnant. Just when it was clear for her to bring forth her child, the rain started to pour down for many days only to stop on the morning that she gave birth to her child, Yemoja took the child to the back of the house to bath her in the pond. But to everyone's surprise the water of the pond started to move and then started to flow, and they all shouted O-sun, -it moved, O-sun-you moved it. It was this power of the gods that was inherent in Oshun from her birth that made Orunmila to direct the Awo-Merin to initiate Oshun as one of them so that all the hindrance that is holding them back could be overcome. The Awo-Merin are the diviner of the world.

Osun later became Orunmila wife. Orunmila the master diviner also known as Ifa was always going from his home on very long trips in the course of his job. There came a time when famine attacked the land when Orunmila was away. The rivers were drying up, the greens were no more, the animals and the birds were dying of thirst and the Humans found life too uncomfortable. Everyone was calling at the home of Orunmila to find out what had to be done, only to meet his absence. In the end most thought it fit to sit and wait for Orunmila return, and so Orunmila home was jammed and almost filled to capacity.

It was under this desperation that Osun found her way to the back of the house and picked sixteen of the cowries which were then being used as money paid to Orunmila. Oshun consecrated the cowries and then cast them in the name of Ifa. For the birds who were the first to come, Osun directed them towards the east where she told them that they will find the rains and the green. For the animals that came after the birds, she also directed them to the east. So, the animals went in pursuit of the birds. When the Human heard the rush, they came to be cast, Oshun pointed towards the east and directed them there.

No sooner than the human left Orunmila house the master came. He asked for the reason for all the commotion and mass movements. He was informed about Osun divination for the birds, the animals, and the humans. "What direction did they go?" Orunmila asked, "to the East" Oshun said, "call them back" Orunmila directed, "or else the land will be left with nothing after they all kill each other off. 

The order is essential in determining the orientation of the Odu

1. *Eji-Onile  (8) cowries   2. *Ofun (10) cowries  3. *Irosun (4) cowries   4. *Eta-Ogunda (3) cowries   5. *Eji-Oko (2) cowries   6. *Okanran (1) cowrie   7. *Ejila-Sebora (12) cowries   8. *Owonrin (11) cowries   9. *Osa (9) cowries   10. *Odi (7) cowries   11. *Obara (6) cowries   12. *Ose (5) cowries   

***13. *Ika (13) cowries   14. *Oturupon (14) cowries    15.  *Ofun-Kanran (15) cowries     16.  *Irete = Alafia (16) cowries  *Opira (0) cowrie

Odus for your divination and it is the combination of three (3) casting of the Erindilogun that will be able to give you correct answers to inquiries." (Ose-Otura)

The Diviner: While the majority of the diviners of the Erindilogun are Women, the consecration of the Erindilogun is only done by Babalawo, because of the process which involves Odu-Ifa. Also, the process of preparation before casting the Erindilogun is only open to the diviner after Osun has granted her permission, which is sought in conjunction with any other Orisha that the diviner might be giving attention or using his home.

The Erindilogun can only be cast from dawn to just little after dusk because it is believed that after sunset Osun leaves the Erindilogun for her husband's home and will not return until the early hours of the following morning.

Orisa-Osun color is white and so Dilogun diviners customarily are dressed in white apparels, while a white piece of cloth is spread on the ground upon which the casting is done or sometimes the Erindilogun is cast in a plate, a raffia tray placed upon the white piece of cloth. While the average diviner would wish to display his or her versatility in eloquently reciting the numerous verses of the Odu as they appear on the tray, the healer is preoccupied with resolving problems and getting curses.

The healer as the active end of the process is the one saddled with the responsibility of validating the divination, but also choosing the ways and manner in which the problems identified are remedied. It is he who not only prescribe the remedy but also states the process through which remedy will become effective. If the remedy involve a sacrifice, it is the Healer who will also do whatever the sacrifice entails on behalf of the client.

The Erindilogun is an Orisha (Osun) and so it is also worshiped like all other Orisha. Most diviners would worship their Dilogun on the eighth day. When the Erindilogun is being worshiped, it is placed on the white piece of cloth and showered with cool water. A five carpel Kola nut is placed on her. The diviner then state his request and chant her Oriki. Then he bends forward and touches the Erindilogun with his forehead, thanks the Orisa for granting his request. 

The Cowrie-Shell (Yoruba) = For the Dilogun the type of Cowrie-Shell known as the Owo-Ero, (peace money) is what is consecrated before it could be used. The Owo-Ero has a broken back while the front tooth like portion must be very complete in form. The Owo-Ero is also usually smaller in size, than the average Cowrie-Shell.

The Cowrie-Shell called Owo-Eyo is usually not as strong as the Owo-Ero that is used for divination. Selection of the Owo-Ero to be used for divination, is usually limited to the middle aged and young Owo-Ero because of the belief that the young Owo-Ero is relatively innocent and will speak the truth more often than the older one.

The Erindilogun also communicates with her diviner sometime through dreams and on some occasions through trances in visionary forms. The Erindilogun is usually referred to as the Orisha by her diviners and clients alike.   


Idaasa Erindinlogun Divination System is one of the oldest and most important oracles among the traditional families in Yoruba land. In the Yoruba society, Idaasa Erindinlogun Divination System used by the traditional families’, who trace back to their origin to the primordial times. It is one of the most distinctive and indigenous practices for daily orientation of the families and well fare of the community. Idaasa Erindinlogun divination System is a primordial counting and philosophical divination system, a social practice, containing rich oral knowledge. 

This Ancient divination system is seen as a bridge to connect the material life to the spiritual realm and a vehicle to communicate to the Ancestral world and it is strongly practiced among the traditional Orisa families in Yoruba land and in the Diaspora.

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