Mano de orula: all about this ceremony

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What is the hand of Orula? This is the question that many initiates ask themselves when they begin this beautiful religion. That is why the consecration by Ifa that takes place in the Yoruba religion, being its fundamental objective to receive Orula and provide the initiate with the knowledge of his destiny, what is his mission on earth and the reality of his life.

Orula is considered one of the most important deities in this religion.

It is usually called differently depending on the sex of the person, such as Ikofa for the female and Awofakan for the male.

Those women who have received the hand of orula with their Ikofá are considered as apetebís of Orunmila, this being the highest order or position to which women aspire within the religion, unlike men who after having received and if they are designated in the Oddun can be fully initiated as babalawos or those who are known as priests of Ifá.

The babalawos are the ones who supervise and direct a large part of the ceremony, or at least the most spiritually significant part. This rite lasts for three days.

There are occasions when the ceremony lasts two days, but this is not correct, unless the person has health problems and it has to be done quickly, or if the person is going on a trip and needs them in an emergency, but it is legal for it to be three days.

Benefits of receiving the Hand of Orula

Receiving the hand of orula will bring many benefits to your life, but mainly you will have the following benefits.

  • Know which is your Orisha regent or guardian angel.
  • Reveal your personal and family destiny in order to orient and guide you in the course of life.
  • Adhere to the rules of Ifa with the aim of discovering who you really are, what you are doing in this world.
  • Receiving the specific name, which would be like an identification before the Orishas. This is known as the beginning of the most culturally rich religion ever known.
Warriors hand of orula

On the other hand, the hand of orula suggests practical procedures in our future conduct, it is recommended to bury the bad conducts, the bad procedures, the worries, all this with the objective of advancing towards the possibilities of growth, so that the failures, the bad luck, illnesses and mental ailments can disappear from our body and soul.

What not to do when receiving Orula’s hand

  • Avoid unpleasantness and over offences to Orula.
  • Avoid health facilities such as hospitals and clinics.
  • Do not visit sick people.
  • Do not attend funerals or wakes.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages and narcotic substances.
  • It is important that the initiate does not take part in, generate or incite violence or disputes.
  • Do not have sexual intercourse.
  • Try to maintain a positive, tolerant and peaceful attitude, staying away from anything that can exert a negative energy on you.

Remembering that on the days of the ceremonies, at the beginning and end of the ceremony, the initiated people should remain calm and bathe with the omiero that was given to them the day before or the first day of the ceremony. In this way they will be prepared for the third and most important day, which is the day of the Ita.

Orishas that are received in the hand of Orula

In the ceremony of the hand of Orula, besides receiving Orula in a simpler version than the babalawos, the warriors or also called Orishas Odé are also received:

Attire for receiving the Hand of Orula

Whoever is to receive Orula’s hand must be dressed entirely in white, in the case of women in a long skirt and without cleavage. In the case of men, they should wear long trousers, and both should wear a cap or the so-called white keel.

Another important fact is that initiates who receive the hand of orula are not allowed to have sexual relations 48 hours before the ceremony, nor during the three days of the ceremony.

The ceremony

The ceremony of the hand of Orula is based on the pact between Ikú (Death) and Orunmila, whose purpose is to keep Ikú away from all of Orunmila’s godchildren. The ceremony lasts for three days and the rites are secret.

First day of Ceremony

Before starting the orula hand ceremony, the éggun (ancestors) must be given knowledge of the ceremony, an explanation of what is to be carried out is given and their approval is sought.

After the knowledge of the éggun is given, the washing is done with a previously prepared omelette. This is used to consecrate the foundations that are to be given while the corresponding prayers and chants are performed.

Feathered animal offerings are also given to the warriors Eshu-Eleggua, Oggun, Oshosi, and Ozun as well as to Orula.

Second day of the Ceremony

It is considered in Orula’s hand ceremony as the middle day, which depending on the religious houses is taken as a day of rest or is used to do the head prayer of the people who are going to receive Orula the next day.

Third and final day of the ceremony

The ceremony begins by giving coconut to éggun and continues with the well-known greeting to the sun, known as nangareo; the sun and the stars are told what is going to be done on this last ceremonial day.

The babalawos who are going to perform the ceremony of mano de orula carry out a divination with the ikines of Orula, which is called atefar; this in order to determine the odus of Ifa that will identify the person in the religion. From that moment on, the person will be known by the odu or Ifa sign that comes out in their Ikofafun or Awofakan ceremony.

Ikofa mano de orula

Afterwards, the babalawos proceed to determine the guardian angel with whom the person has descended to earth with the same procedure. The Ita is performed with the advice derived from the different oduns that came out when Orula was tied.  

The last phase of the ceremony would be the handing over of the previously consecrated foundations; the initiate is given the idde and Orula’s necklace of green and yellow beads which distinguishes those who have performed this ceremony from those who have not, and which indicates that Ikú (Death) should not take it with him before his time. 

After all this, instructions will be given as to how the fundamentals are to be attended to; the second godfather (Oyugbona) will be chosen by Orula from among the babalawos present.

It should be remembered that in such a ceremony there should be at least 3 babalawos or a maximum of eight depending on the number of babalawos; the godfather of Orula’s hand is the babalawo who has conducted the ceremony.

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