What to expect when going for Divination

What should you expect when going for a Divination. Within The Lucumi tradition. There are several ways of connecting with the Divine, depending on who is the Diviner and what the purpose of the Divination is.

You may go for an Ifa Divination where the trained Babalawo will interpret the word of Orunmila.   OR you may go for a divination with the Dilogun, from an experienced Olorisha who has had training and experience in divining with 16 Cowries. On this occasion, the Cowries will be the mouthpiece of Elegua who is the witness to your destiny.  It must be stressed that Diviners are skilled individuals who have spent years training to divine. You cannot divine for Orula or for Orisha if you have not been through the correct initiation procedure and if you have not trained and built up knowledge for years.

In Ifa the tools of Divination maybe either the Ikin Nuts and Iyerosun powder or the Opele Chain. A binary system is used to determine 256 different signs, all coming with advise, recommendations, stories and phrases to illustrate the advice.


In the Dilogun 16 Cowries are used to determine 256 different signs depending on how the cowries fall. Like Ifa, these signs or Odu, come with telling phrases, moral tales and advise and recommendations.


IRé AND OSORBO: In both systems,  you will come in either blessings or misfortune. (positive or negative, Iré or Osorbo). If you come in blessings, sometimes it may not be firm or stable and you will still have to do work. If you come in the negative/misfortune, work may be prescribed to help you realign with your destiny and turn the Osorbo into Iré. If you come in a perfect Iré, and  if you do not heed the advise and assume that you have come in Iré ( Blessings) and that is it, you may be in for some deep lessons!

In addition to whether you are coming in the positive or the negative. You will be told what kind of blessings ( Iré) or misfortunes ( Osorbo) and where it is coming from.

Whatever orientation that you come in, you should be told plenty of advise and what to do, if anything, to re address any issues. You may also be given taboos and things to avoid.

TIME FRAME: Most readings are a snap shot of your life. A reading will paint a picture of what is leading up to the reading and a little bit beyond. Unless it is an ITA on reception of an Orisha or after making Ocha or receiving Hand of Orula, the reading will not be a life reading.

WHAT HAPPENS IN A READING: Firstly, libation, prayers  to the ancestors of the diviner’s lineage, Prayers and an appeal for blessings from the diviners elders and contemporaries in their lineage,  prayers to the Orisha. Then, the presentation of the tools of divination to the client takes place. This is followed by the drawing out of the sign, this may take time, since sometimes readings may not be so straight forward and the reading always has to close. Lastly the advice to the Client is given.

Questions: After the reading has ended, you may, depending on the Diviner,  be able to ask questions, but they have to be asked in a Yes or No format.

Top Ten Real Live questions that I have been asked! 

  1. Q: Can a reading tell me who my Orisha is? A: No. In Lucumi you may be told that an Orisha is defending you or wants something from you, but you will not be told who your main Orisha is. 
  2. Q:  Can a reading tell me the name of my Enemy? A: No. This is not fortune telling. Don’t expect this type of information. If you want to ask about someone however, this may be an option depending on the circumstance, reading and diviner. Leave questions until the end. 
  3. Can you please put a spell on my boss? A:  In general we don’t put spells on bosses, boyfriends or mother’s in law. If it comes up in a reading that your Boss has been a complete arsehole, then there are ways of getting around this without putting spells on them. 
  4. Q: I feel that someone has done Witchcraft ( Brujeria) on me, can you find out?

    Two Scenarios.  A1: Someone has done something, or is wishing badly on you. Yes there is something you can do.  There are ways of protecting yourself, and also breaking hexes. This would depend on the Diviner, and what has come up in your reading and what the remedy has been marked as.  A2: According to divination you are not a victim of brujeria, but it is possible that you have made some extremely bad decisions that have affected your well being. 

  5. Q: My partner has left me for another. Please can you do something to bring him back. A: There are things that some priests will do but really and truly, If he has left you of his own accord, why would you want to bring him back? Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? 
  6. Q: Will I be told if this path is for me? A: It is quite common for people to ask if this path is for them, especially if they have not been brought up with it. A simple answer would be if it feels right for you, then this path is for you. It is a way of life. Your Ori and connection to it will guide you. It may be for you, it may not be. You are the only one who can decide if this way of life is for you.
  7. Q: Will I find out if I have to make Ocha? A: It’s probably useful to distinguish the idea of  this path being  for you with whether or not you will become initiated or whether you will be marked for initiation. Only you may know whether this path feels right but Elegua or Ifa will know whether you need to be initiated or not. There are signs which may indicate that you are to eventually initiate as a priest/ess. There are sometimes solutions marked which may mean that you are to receive certain Orisha. This may never happen, or it may happen. The answers lie in the Odu and the Diviner’s interpretation. 
  8. Q: I had a reading but I didn’t do the work I was supposed to? What will happen? A: More than likely the advice and the recommendations will be repeated at a further reading. The energy won’t shift if the work is not done. It’s possible that some things that you were warned about will come to light or will take you by suprise. The Signs carry energies once they have fallen. After a reading it is more than likely that things will happen which will remind you of the reading. Things can be averted by doing the work asked. Behaviour modification is vitally important, possibly more important than anything else.
  9. Q: I had a reading and it was really disappointing. I was expecting to be told to leave my girlfriend, but I was told that everything was OK? A: Don’t go looking for excuses for what you want to do. 
  10. Q: I was told I was a prisoner of Ocha. I have decided to leave the religion. I don’t want to be initiated. Will something terrible happen to me? A: No, but you will never find out why the Orisha wanted you to make Ocha. You will never find out what doors there were for you to open. You will never find out what life would be for you  on the other side. At then end of it all, it is your choice. We use divination to empower us, to find answers and to help us reach our destiny. What your life could be will be an unknown entity, but at the end of it all, it is entirely your choice. 

FURTHER READING:  Other information regarding Divination.

Fellow Oshun Blogger’s writing about divination in Lucumi

four parts in this interesting look at divination by Perpetuity Healing Arts.


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