Ifa Divination

by John Pemberton III
Professor Emeritus, Amherst College

The Ifa divination ritual known as Imori, Ijebu-Ode, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria, July 1982. Photo by John Pemberton III.

The Yoruba ifa divination ritual known as imori is performed within the first three to six months of a child’s life in order to "know the head" that is, to discern something about the child's ori inu (inner head)—especially whether the child 's prenatal destiny is associated with the mother’s side of the family or the father’s, and/or with a particular orisa (deity).