Exploring the Opon Ifa
The Opon Ifa is the great divining tray used in Ifa divination and is also used in the preparation of sacred medicines. Opons vary in size and decoration, but are generally carved from wood and are decorated with the sacred symbols of the Ifa cosmology. In this article I share my understanding of the Opon Ifa, its characteristics, use, and its significance.
A characteristic symbol of the Opon is the Head of Esu that decorates the top quadrant of the tray. Some trays have one, two or even four Esu faces carved around their rim. The border of the tray is usually carved with anthropomorphic figures, each with a special purpose and meaning. The Babalawo makes use of the Opon Ifa when performing divination with the I kin.
More important than the physical design of the tray, is what the tray metaphysically represents. The Opon signifies the Universe as we know it, both micro and macro cosmically. It is divided into four quadrants and each quadrant represents certain aspects of life itself.
“By understanding the nature of the Opon and its components, you can further discover which area of life are being impacted by the Odu revealed.”
The meaning of each of the quadrants are detailed in the article “An Exposition of the Sacred Texts of Ifa“
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