Ori: The Divine Value of Self in Yoruba Cosmology
by Fagbemijo Amosun Fakayode
In Yorùbá, Orí literally translates to mean “head”, however the spiritual significance of the word is far deeper. Orí is human consciousness. It is our direct connection to Olódùmarè, the Supreme Force.
Conceptually, Orí is closely related to destiny or fate. Each and every person who is born on Earth, Aye, went through the process of choosing their Orí and their Destiny before journeying from Heaven to Earth, Orun to Aye. Each human being has the personal task of selecting their very own Orí, their own particular human consciousness.
Obatala is the Oriṣa responsible for molding the human heads, and thus human consciousness. He molds them by hand from clay. Not all Orí are created equally. Some of the Orí’s turn out to be more “perfect” than others ones do, as Obatala makes each one by hand.
One who chooses a good Orí and destiny will have an easy time obtaining the good things in life. They will find it easier than not to have a peaceful home, a job they truly enjoy, a good relationship with their spouse, and good children, along with the wealth and health needed to enjoy it all. Good things will come easily to them.
On the other hand, one who chooses an imperfect Orí will experience many hardships in life. They will find that the good things in life are hard to achieve and that tough-times are common. It will take great change to better things for them. Potentially they can change through the implementation of ritual and sacrifice, vehicles for change and transformation, to repair their Orí’s and their realign destinies, thereby turning their lives around for the better.
Orunmila is the one who repairs such imperfect Orí. The following is anexcerpt from an ancient Oriki, prayer poem, for Orunmila:
Odudu ti ndu Orí emere
Atun Orí ti ko suhan se
A mo iku
The one who saves those who are destined to die young
The one whorepairs a bad Orí (Head)
Through your knowledge we avertdeath
I will end with this brief note: When praying to Orí it is best to bein a comfortable position, to hold your head in both hands, as it isour heads we are praising. Hold your head and say “Orími gbe mi o!” meaning “My Orí supports me!”
For more information on Ori look for the book Ori Mi Gbe Mi:Ori, Support Me by Fagbemijo Amosun Fakayode.