Babalawo use a wooden tray, an Opon Ifa, for their work. The holy signs of Ifa that appear in a divination session are written into termite dust, “iyerosun”, in the middle of the tray. The carved motives of the Opon can be of personal choice, done on behalf of the babalawo or the artist, and show various symbols generally related to Ifa and Orunmila. There is always a face on top, giving the board its main direction and representing Eshu observing the ritual. Eshu is the guardian and works closely together with Orunmila. Various sections display palmkernels, mudfishes, crabs, figures bringing sacrifice, snakes, cowries etc., symbols from many of the stories and poems of Ifa.
This image uses the traditional Yoruba-colors of Ifa, brown and green. This board is a collage of many different historical boards. The spiral in the middle shows the tray’s inner surface as an entry to the multi-dimensional sphere of Orunmila and is the connection to the endless spiritual realm of our destiny.
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