Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
BioDun J. Ogundayo
Ifa is first and foremost an orisha or deity in Yoruba traditional religion. Ifa is also a complete system of divination. As an oracle, it plays a practical and significant role in Yoruba traditional religion by offering answers and solutions to existential problems in forms of ritual offerings and sacrifices to the appropriate deities. It is one of the higher divinities in the Yoruba pantheon, which contains as many as 400 deities responsible for all aspects of life and living in the Yoruba community. Ifa divination is also used by contiguous cultures such as the Edo, Itsekiri, Ewe of Togo (Afa), Fon of Bénin (Fa), and the Ga people of Ghana. In the African Diaspora, especially in the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean, Yoruba traditional religion has successfully survived slavery and some four centuries of imposed Christianity. Lately, there has been a resurgence of Yoruba traditional religion in Cuba, ...