Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Orula is the orisha of great divination. He is the divine and wise man that knows the future of everyone one and its existence. He consults through the Ifa divination and is very accurate on his readings. Orula is the first prophet that came upon land. He was sent and given that gift from the great Olofi. He was instructed that through his Ifa oracles he will entrust the safe being, the wisdom and the clarity within humans. He is there when a spirit in reincarnated in the flesh of a human. He instructs and guides the spirit to the world and gives them a list of what should be done. It is that spirit who makes the decision that everyday man does. Orula was said to be walking amongst the 16 ancestor spirits that make up the Ifa divination oracles. With these oracles Orula can see the past, present and future.
Orula is the knowledge and intelligence that is used to govern the people and triumph over all evil. Orula was with us while Olofi was creating the earth. He is the great witness of Olofi’s work. He even saw the creation of the orisha. That is the ultimate reason why Orula knows our entire destiny. He is a great counselor and his words are of good teachings. Ones who do not follow his words will deal with the wrath of Eshu.
He has children but his ceremonies are not initiated on the heads of his followers. They are called babalows. These olowos are followers that have been initiated into the Lukumi cult with the orishas first then studied the oracles of Ifa in which that is the highest honor a practitioner can receive. You also have babalows who are followers that have not been initiated within the Lukumi cult of the orishas and are limited on certain things when it deals with the orishas. The babalows can work constantly with Orula and know as well as the olowos the secrets of Ifa.
Orula is good friends with the orishas but most of all with Chango. Orula and Chango go hand in hand as Chango also has the knowledge of divination. His trusty friend as well is Eshu who testes the faith of mankind. Orula knows all within mankind. He knows the beginning and end of all humans, animals and all existence. Men who are his followers receive mano de Orula (hand of Orula) and the women receive kofa de Orula (box of Orula). The women followers are not initiated into Ifa cult but there voice is much equal to the men. The women are called apetevi (servants or wives) of Orula.
Pataki of Orula
One day Chango was sitting in his castle very upset and hurt from the betrayal of his mistress Ochun. He was hearing from peoples in his kingdom that Oshun was flirting with his brother Ogun. Days would go by and he would continue to hear the same whispers every where he would go. One day he started to follow Ochun and saw that she was heading towards Ogun’s house. Chango slowly followed her until she reached on the property of Ogun. Ochun pulled out her mirror as she was so vain to check if she was looking as erotic as she always did saw in the glimpse of her mirror Chango behind her sneaking. Ochun didn’t know what to do at this precise moment. She was so nervous that she started to run. Chango noticed this and started to chase after her but when he reached towards the river Ochun was gone. Chango went back to his castle telling himself that he would get his vengeance on Ochun.
A couple of days later Orula casts the oracles to see how he was doing. A day prior Orula had fell down and hurt himself in his backyard, He saw it in the oracles but didn’t do ebbo (cleansing) to ward off the fall. When Orula looked into the oracle, it told him to be very careful with fire. The oracles told him to do an ebbo very fast to ensure his safety. It told him that Chango was on a war path looking for the beautiful Oshun for acts of infidelity. Orula tried his best to get up but couldn’t. In that moment Oshun was passing by and noticed Orula was having trouble getting up. She walked up to the house and knocked on the door and walked inside Orula’s house. She asked him if he was okay and Orula proceeded to tell Ochun that he needed to do an ebbo but could not walk because he was in to much pain. The orisha Ochun told Orula not to worry as she would go get the items that he needed to do his ebbo. Orula was very grateful on Ochun’s actions.
The next day Ochun passed by to see how Orula was doing and she saw he did the ebbo. She noticed that the kitchen was clean as Orula has not cooked anything. She asked him if he was hungry and Orula answered yes. Ochun said she would make him his favorite dish, roasted hens. She started to pluck and baste the hens while Orula relaxed in his chair. Meanwhile, Chango who was walking through the town asked some men if they saw the cheating Ochun anywhere. The men said they saw her going inside of Orula’s house. Chango’s rage went up in seconds and he thought to himself that Orula was hiding the romance between Ochun and Ogun. Chango started to hurtle thunderbolts after thunderbolts onto the house of Orula. Little did he know that wasn’t true but the orisha Ochun was in the backyard grabbing herbs for the hens. Within seconds, Orula’s entire house was set on fire. Chango satisfied walked away believing that he conquered the infidelit Ochun and Ogun.
Orula seeing the house on fire forgot all about his pain and hasted outside to the people that were standing outside watching in horror. Ochun seeing the house of Orula on fire remembered that he was in pain and could not walk well. She put herself last and ran inside the back door of the house of Orula. She went from room to room screaming his name. Ochun was suffocating from the smoke and ran outside crying nearly burnt from the flames. She came out screaming that Orula was inside the house that was on fire.
When Ochun saw Orula that he was okay she ran straight to him and hugged him. She told him that she was worried that something had happened to him. Orula told Ochun that he was okay and from that day forward he told her that they would always be together. Orula told her that she was the accused victim that worried about his safety and that his food, the hen, will always be shared with Ochun and that he will forever call her his apetevi. Where ever Orula speaks Ochun will have the satisfaction of speaking next to him. That is when the first apetevi was honored.
Maferefun Ochun! Iboru Orula!
Orula’s feast day is October 4th. He is synchronized with St Francis of Assisi. He is the leader of the Ifa cult and he watches over all man. He knows your thoughts and through his oracles he warns you of any misfortune that may come your way. He loves coconuts, palm oil, wine and sweet cakes. Orula’s color is green and yellow. His followers wear a green and yellow beaded bracelet to honor him and to ward off iku (death). In the house of his followers, Orula lives in a small wooden vessel that his secrets are kept. He also takes his ekuele and his irofa in which are the tools that he uses to cast his oracles. His oracles are casts upon a wooden tray. His children are very knowledgeable and intelligent.