Regla de Osha, Ifa



The Yoruba communities and the African diaspora of the Americas and the Caribbean practice the rule of divination of the Rule of Osha and Ifa.

Popularly called Santeria, based on a vast corpus of texts and mathematical formulas.


The word Ifa designates the mystical figure of Ifa or Orunmila, considered by the Yoruba as the deity of wisdom and intellectual development. Unlike other forms of divination in the region that use mediumship, divination.

Ifa is not based on the oracular powers of a person. It is based on a system of signs interpreted by a fortune teller, the priest of Ifa or babalawo, literally “the father of secrets”.
The Ifá divination system is used whenever an important decision, individual or collective, must be made.


The Ifá literary corpus, called odu, comprises 256 volumes divided into verses called Pataki or Odu, the exact number of which is not known because it is continually increasing (there are around 800 Pataki per Odu).

Each of the 256 odu has its own divination signature, determined by the babalawo using a divination chain or royal palm nut.

The priests sing the ese, considered the most important part of the Ifá divination, in poetic language. They are the expression of the history of the Yoruba, of their language, beliefs, worldview and contemporary social concerns.

Ifá knowledge has been preserved within Yoruba communities and has been passed on to Ifá priests.

Under religious pressure and under the influence of colonialism, traditional beliefs and practices were subjected to real discrimination.

Ifá priests, most of them very old Africa, only have modest means to maintain the tradition, transmit their complex knowledge and train future professionals.

As a result, there is a growing disinterest in youth and the Yoruba people for the practice and use of divination by Ifa.

A disinterest that is accompanied by a growing intolerance towards traditional divination systems in general.

NGO is an international association of Babalawos and Santeros whose vocation is to maintain and transmit the teachings of their Master and Oyungbona Awo ni Orunmila OkanaKa, Ricardo Burgois Pintado (Ibae Bayen Tonu) of Matanzas, to the rest of the world.



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