Ifa Divination

by John Pemberton III
Professor Emeritus, Amherst College

Imodi Ijebu, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria, June 1982. Photo by John Pemberton III. 

The sixteen ikin ifa are kept in an agere ifa, a shallow bowl often skillfully carved depicting figures commending the ase (power or authority) of those who have followed the wisdom of Orunmila. This agere ifa depicts a kneeling female figure holding aloft the large bowl containing the ikin ifa. In her strength and physical beauty she images the ase (power or authority) of a follower of Orunmila and is surrounded by four female followers who lift their breasts in salutation to ifa.