Cowry shells are used for divination by the olorisha. Through the casting of sixteen (Yor. merindilogun) cowries the Orisha speaks to the initiate. The correct reading requires intense training. Here is a sign with eight cowry-mouths closed and eight mouths opened. You see the phallic male backside of the shell or the female vulva-like front side, the mouth. This sign is called Eji Ogbe, considered to be the oldest of all the possible cowry signs, and is a very powerful blessing that puts things into action.
Cowries are generally a very important symbol for the Orisha and Yoruba-culture. In the olden days the shells were used as a currency and up to today they are used as a symbol of wealth for decorating traditional artwork. This is the reason why they are attached to clothes, dance staffs, carvings or sometimes added to sacrifices and used in rituals.
Order "Merindilogun" at the shop close to you!