Oyeku Ofun Temple

Ifa and Orisha Temple in Arcata, Humboldt County, Northern California // A Peaceful Place for Divine Worship

What is EGUNGUN?

Egungun Alemojaba at Oyeku Ofun’s Egungun Festival 2013, in April 2013

 

Egungun festival in Ola, Osun State

According to the myth, EGUNGUN becomes a known deity in two different ways. In the beginning, EGUNGUN was among the great divinities (IRUNMOLES) that came directly from the heaven beyond. The history made us aware that there was once lived a great man whose name was called LAPANPA , he was the one that started the cult of EGUNGUN. According to IFA verse

ONA NI KO TO

TARARA NI MO YA

LODIFA FUN LAPANPA

TI O TI ALADE ORUN

LO RE E MEGUNGUN WAYE

OLODUMARE WA FUN UN LEGUNGUN

EGUNGUN TI ELEDUMARE FUN LAPANPA

KII SE EYI TI O DA ASO BORI

SUGBON O DABI ORI

BI LAPANPA TI GBA KINNI TI O DABI ORI YII

O NPADA BO WA SAYE

OORUN MIMU SI NYO ORI TI LAPANPA MU LOWO

TRANSLATION

The path is not straight

I branch and follow the path

This divine IFA oracle for LAPANPA

That started his journey from the heaven above

To bring the cult of EGUNGUN to the physical world

The believe that, GOD gave him EGUNGUN

The type of EGUNGUN given to LAPANPA by great GOD

Was not the type that covered head with long cloth?

But looks like a Shea-butter

He returned to the physical world

The sun heated the Shea -butter brought by LAPANPA

He thought of what he could do to protect the Shea-butter from melting away, he later hid the remaining ORI (Shea- butter) in his mouth to prevent it from total melting and wasting away. On getting to the physical plain of existence. He wanted to alter a word saying ‘’MO DE TI ,’’O FE KE NI OHUN RE BA YI PADA’’ translating ‘’ I have, before he could altered such a powerful word, his voice change because the Shea-butter had melted and slipped into his throat . His voice changed and resembled not the voice of his contemporaries. He was ashamed of his voice, his character and his life. He was planning what to do to prevent the shame. He decided to cover his own head with cloth. Whenever he wanted to speak out, he noticed a strange voice, completely different from the normal voice of his generation of his days, thus, people became exceedingly grip with fear. People started to revere him that consequently resulted into ‘’EGUNGUN CULT’’. Meaning ‘’ORACLE FROM HEAVEN OR DEITY FROM UNKOWN THAT REPRESENT SPIRITUAL PAST OF THE PEOPLE

The second myth was, there was a great grandchild of ODUDUWA whose name was called OBONBA. This man had three children. The first child was called ALARA, the second was called AJERO , while the third was called ELEKOLE . On reaching adulthood, they lived in different cities far away from IFE. They later, became the king of three different cities in Yoruba land . It was believed that their grand- mother killed their father -0BONBA – because she was a witch , however , as these three children become advanced in age, and they wanted to inherit the exalted position of their father .They were gripped with fear of their grand-mother who had previously killed their father with her witchery . This made them sought spiritual advice in the house of IFA priest, which according to IFA verse came out

PAAFA TEERE NII LEKE OMI

LO DIFA FUN OBONBA TO

TORUN RO WA YE
BABALAWO NI KI WON RU EBO YII

ASO OYEPE MEJI ATI ASO GOGOWU OKUNRIN

ALAWE MERINDINLOGUN

NIGBA TI AWON BABALAWO DE IGBO IGBALE

ENI TI YOO SE ETUTU SO FUN WON PE

OUN RI BABA WON LORUN

O SI SO FUN OUN PE KI OUN KI WON LAYA

ATI WIPE KI WON O MAA RU EBO SI OUN LODOODUN

EYIN TOO JE AMI ATI APEERE IRANTI OUN ATI PE IPA IYA

WON AGBA TABI AJEKAJE KO SI NI KA WON

TRANSLATION

PAAFA TEERE NII LEKE OMI— PAAFA TEERE IS ALWAYS ON THE SURFACE OF THE RIVER

This divine IFA oracle for OBONBA

Who was coming from the heaven above to the physical world

IFA priest advised them to offer sacrifice

OYEPE cloth two yards

GOGOWU – men cloth sixteen yard

When IFA priest reached the forest of secret (IGBO IGBALE

The man who wanted to offer the sacrifice

Said he saw their father in heaven

Telling him he should helped the three

Children to be brave , strong and vehement

And that they should always offer annual sacrifice to him

As a sign and pact toward ancestral support

As a remembrance of his continue existence

And their grandmother, who was his (OBONBA) mother

Or any other witch would not have influence on their blessing or overcome them

According to the tradition the name of this IFA priest was called BABATUNDE ESA OGBIN, he was the first ,ALAPINNI , the head chief of EGUNGUN cult in the land of Yoruba. These children got all the sacrificial materials, took then to the forest of deities (IGBO-IGBALE) . On getting to the forest of deities, they tailored OYEPE cloth similar to EGUNGUN cloth , they sewed GOGOWU cloth to cover the head of image that look like human structure, and , they did the same with shoes and the socks , BABATUNDE , the first priest of EGUNGUN cult wore the cloth and he went to the house of the grand – mother. On seeing her , that is, their grandmother , she was gripped with fear because she had not seen EGUNGUN in her life . The rumour in the cities was that the dead father of the children came to visit his children on earth. The rumour also reached their grand-mother , and she was filled with awe.
According to the myth, anybody under the attack of the witches and the wizards , IFA priest will invoke the spirit of EGUNGUN to deter such a negative vibration . The children claimed their inheritance and they were installed as the king of three different cities in Yoruba-land . That was how EGUNGUN cult sprouted up in land of Yoruba , from there , the cult gained prominent significant among Yoruba in Diasporas and devotees of IFA all over the world. EGUNGUN becomes a special divinity to be worshipped annually among devotees and also as a sign and pact with the spirit of dead to bring into manifestation the blessing of heaven upon the people of the earth. It is also a remembrance to the spirit and the soul of the dead. It teaches people that their beloved one who has departed to the world beyond should not be totally forgotten but constantly be in their memory through the cult of EGUNGUN
THE WORSHIPPERS OF EGUNGUN
ALAPINNI — The head priest of EGUNGUN cult

ALAGBAA— is the head of the OJE, —second in command to ALAPINNI

ALARAN— it is the third in command in the hierarchy of EGUNGUN cult . It is second in command and important to ALAGBAA

EESORUN— mostly women, they are fourth, most important title , and revered position in the cult of EGUNGUN

AKEERE— it is the least most important position in the cult of EGUNGUN

OJE—- this is the name given to all EGUNGUN worshippers

EGUNGUN SIGN
ATORI , EYI TI AFIN TI A SI DIPO NI AMIN EGUNGUN, THAT IS ATORI ( GLYPHAEA BREVIS (SPRENG) MONACH,TILIACEAE) remove parts of outer-coat , heated with fire and bind it together is the sign of EGUNGUN

SACRIFICIAL MATERIALS
ORUKO -MALE GOAT (HE –GOAT)

AKUK O- COCK (MALE HEN )

OBI – KOLANUTS EITHER WITH THREE, FOUR , FIVE, SIX LOBES

OOLE OR OLELE— THAT IS , A BEAN FLOUR , MIXED WITH INGREDIENTS( PEPPER , ONION , TOMATOES AND OTHER FLAVOR ( WRAPPED INSIDE A LEAVE OR NYLON AND COOKED IN THE EXTREMELY HOT WATER

DIE NINU ORIKI EGUNGUN, – PARTS OF EGUNGUN ADORATION
AJE OLELE MA LE E SARE

EATING OLELE TO THE STATE OF RUNNING LESS
AJE MOIN -MOIN SU SASO

EATING COOKED BEAN FLOUR TO THE EXTENT OF EXCRETING ON THE OWN BODY

EGUNGUN ARA OKO

EGUNGUN FROM THE TRIBE OF OKO

ANOTHER ORIKI EGUNGUN — ADORATION OF EGUNGUN
ODUN PE AWO ELEJIO

THE YEAR COMES , THE SECRET OF THE OWNER OF EJIO

OSUN OMO ARINNAKO

MONTH, THE CHILDREN OF ARINNAKO

AJODUN WE RO DE AWO AROSINKO

THE CELEBRATION GOES BEYOND IMAGINATION, THE SECRET OF AROSINKO

ODUN LA RA TA, ODUN LA ROBI

EVERY YEAR , WE SEE PEPPER, YEARLY WE SEE KOLANUTS FRUITS

ODUN WADI PEREGUN

YEAR BECOME PEREGUN( DRACAENA ARBOREA)

ODUN NI PEREGUN YE

YEARLY PEREGUN IS ALIVE

AJODUN WA RO DE AWO AROSINKO

OUR CELEBRATION GOES BEYOND IMAGINATION, AND THE SECRET OF AWOSINKA

EGUNGUN OJE YAWA JIYO, WA JEPO
ALL EGUNGUN’S DEVOTEES AND ITS WORSHIPPER COMES AND EAT THE SALT AND THE PALM OIL

ADUDAMADA BI ENI PORI

ADUDAMADA LIKE MELTING THE SHEA BUTTER

OYO FUN SARA RE LO YIN

MELTING ITSELF LIKE THE SHEA-BUTTER

YAGBO-YAAJU BI OSUN IWERI

LIVING IN THE FOREST AND IN THE JUNGLE LIKE FEMALE DIVINITIES OF IWERU
AGBALAGBA YA WA JIYO WA JEPO

THE ELDER COMES AND EATS THE SALT AND THE OIL

ODU WA DA PEREGUN

OUR YEAR IS LIKE THAT OF PEREGUN

ODUN NI PEREGUN YE

EVERY YEAR PEREGUN LIVES

EMI SESE TI KOWE DUN

WITH CALMNESS AND MYSTERIOUS VOICE WAS THE SOUND OF KOWEE (A SPECIAL BIRD THAT INFORM US OF FUTURE DEATH , OR IMMINENT DEATH OF A FAMILY , OR BELOVED ONES)

SONGS OF EGUNGUN CULT
IYA UN O FE LEGUN O JARE

FELEGUN (2TIMES)

BABA UN O FE LEGUN O JARE

FELEGUN( 2 TIMES)

BODUN BA DE MA ME GBA DANI

FELEGUN

BOSUN BA DE MA KERO LEYIN

FELEGUN

ORO YI A DARI WO BE JE FELEGUN

TRANSLATION

MOTHER , I WILL LIKE TO MARRY A MEMBER OF EGUNGUN CULT

LET ME MARRY ONE OF THEM( 2 TIMES)

FATHER, LET ME MARRY ONE OF THE DEVOTEES OF EGUNGUN SECT

LET ME MARRY ONE OF THEM

EVERY YEAR , I WILL TAKE UP MY WHIPING STICK

THAT GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO CARRY OUT MY EGUNGUN RITE

EVERY MONTH , I WILL GATHER PEOPLE FOR EGUNGUN FEAST

TO DISCHARGE MY EGUNGUN DUTIES

IT WILL BE A TOTAL CHAOS , IF YOU SHOULD NOT ALLOW ME TO CARRY OUT MY EGUNGUN RITE

ANOTHER SONGS
OLOBI MAJE NBI KO WU MI OOO

OLOBI MAJE NBI KO WU MI

OMO BII OLUMOKO OOO

OLOBI MA JE NBI KO WU MI

TRANSLATION

NEVER ALLOW EVIL DOERS TO AFFLICT EVIL UPON ME

NEVER ALLOW EVIL ONES TO DESTROY ME WITH EVIL

LIKE THE CHILDREN OF OLUMOKO

NEVER ALLOW EVIL TO BEFALL ME

ANOTHER MYTH SORROUNDS THE CULT OF EGUNGUN

EGUNGUN ARA ORUN KIN-KIN? EGUNGUN, THE HEAVENLY HOST FROM ABOVE

It is a deity with a colourful dress , it is one of the greatest divinities in the land of Yoruba. Among oral traditions, there are lot of stories about EGUNGUN cult and how it sprouted up among Yoruba race
IFA told us about a man called KUJENRA who turned the cloth of ORO to EGUNGUN , which attract people’s adoration of this said cloth and consequently led to the object of worship. While other myths made us to know that EGUNGUN and ORO are of the same family that is brothers. The myth went further that both ORO and EGUNGUN were good merchants . They took their trade to neighbouring cities . ORO was a spendthrift , squandered and a compulsive shopper. He had no reserve ,while EGUNGUN was found of pleasing himself with various cloths and meticulously dressing himself to taste. When it was a time to go back to their town , EGUNGUN put on beautiful , elegant and flamboyant dresses while ORO could not have a good wear on his body because he was a wastrel. This brought shame , dishonour and indignity to him. In disgrace , he was forced to enter into forest very close to their city, while his brother EGUNGUN entered the city with exotic and ostentatious dresses that befitted the glory of OLODUMARE and his statues as a revered deity.

ORO , lived in the forest nearby , but designed a mean to intimidate people in the market place whenever he wanted to buy food with his strange noise of ‘’NO MU UN , NO MU UN’’ . This unusual attitude was to bully and frighten the people in the market to run and leave their good behind. When people ran helter-skelter for their lives , ORO would cease the opportunity to take all what he wanted and the food to support his continues stay in the forest. That was how ORO became a fearful being that eventually turned to a deity ,worshipped by men, while his brother EGUNGUN also become an attractive deity among Yoruba and the cult later spread to the other part of the world.

To arrange for EGUNGUN festival
In the first place , the chief priest of the cult of EGUNGUN will take a lead after a due consultation with EGUNGUN devotees, on the spiritual direction of IFA oracle to give light to every step toward achieving a successful festival . One of the highly placed priests of EGUNGUN cult , most especially ALAGBA would ask IFA oracle again about the duration of the festival that can be either three, fifteen or seventeen days. After IFA has spoken and days chosen , the priest of EGUNGUN would go and report to the king to sanction and sanctify the days of the festival. Hence both the priest of EGUNGUN and the town crier of the king would announce the days to both the devotees and the populace in general. The announcement precedes the commencement of the festival . While all worshippers both in the city and in the neighbouring villages would really prepare for the festival , and they would bring fire –sticks to prepare the food , beans, pepper , chicken , maize , cassava flour and other materials for EGUNGUN festivals

The first day is always fall on the day of EGUNGUN according to IFA verse ‘’OJO NI I BO ESE AWO’’ meaning ‘the first day always fall on the day of secret and its ritual’

EGUNGUN represent in reality ancestral divinities that shows the belief of IFA devotee in the life after death and the resurrection of every soul in the universe. The remembrance signifies that every soul in the universe must ensure that he works toward making a universe , most especially the physical world a place of learning , and for the redemption of soul to attract the wisdom and light of ODU , the vibration from OLODUMARE. IFA teaches us to learn and to turn our learning into meaningful step to shape our life on the daily basis,

ORI BABA RE AGBE OOO

ORI IYA RE AGBE OOO

ASEYI SAMODUN

OJO AJI NA SI ARA WON

EGUNGUN A GBE WA OOOO

TRANSLATION

The soul and the spirit of your father will lift you

The soul and the spirit of your mother will lift you

Annually, we shall all be blessed

We shall live long to attract the blessing of GOD

EGUNGUN will bless us

Ase

One thought on “What is EGUNGUN?

  1. Pingback: Os Egungun | Kamonlá

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