Idefa or Ilde de Orunmila, is a bracelet or handle of green and yellow beads that symbolises Orunmila; it is said that whoever wears one is considered to be his son and protégé.
Orunmila made a pact with Iku (Death) that he would never take any of his children before their time, and the way he would recognise them would be with the use of the “Idefa of Orunmila”.
This is why this bracelet symbolises protection for the person wearing it, because it saves him from sudden death and alerts him to any danger when it breaks.
It is placed for the first time when Orunmila through a consultation indicates it to the person or when the person is initiated into the religion, i.e. when he/she receives Ikofa (woman) or Awofakan (man).
In addition, it has to be replaced every time it stretches or breaks.
Then we will see the pakati where Orula defeats Iku (Death):
Pataki of Orunmila and Iku (Death)
The pataki tells that the great soothsayer Orunmila lived for a time in a small village, and the villagers feared him and spoke ill of him. On certain occasions they even went so far as to ask death to take him away.
But Orula being skilled in the art of divination saw on his sacred board the presence of Ikú and told himself that he had to do ebbo (Cleansing) as soon as possible.
The ceremony was a prayer with yam, after which the hairs of the fruit were smeared on the face.
Ikú went to look for him for the first time himself, deceived her, told her that there was no Orula living there, and left, but she was not entirely convinced.
After that Ikú started to investigate with the neighbours who told him the truth, realising that Orula had deceived him. So he went back to take a closer look, to find out if it was the soothsayer he was looking for to take to the other world.
Orula saw him return and cunningly devised another way to avoid her. So he invited her for a meal and offered her a big dinner with plenty to drink.
After eating and drinking Ikú fell fast asleep so Orula took the opportunity to steal her most powerful weapon; the mandarria with which she killed people.
When Ikú woke up, he noticed that he did not have the mandarria and begged the soothsayer to give it back to him.
The pact to protect Orula’s children.
After much weeping, Orula decided to make a pact with death.
Orula told him that he would return it to him if he promised not to kill any of his children, unless he gave permission.
So said the great soothsayer:
From this day forward I will place a green and yellow bead on the left hand of all my children; with this mark you will have to respect their lives until their final day on this earth.
The ebbó saved Orula, the sacred necklaces and handles that the soothsayer gives to his children, saves them from evil, darkness and misfortune.
After that pact, he even saves them from death.
Advice from Planeta Yoruba
The Idefa is the sole and exclusive power of the babalawos. They are the only ones who have the necessary knowledge to place them.
Why is the idefa placed in the left hand?
The bracelet is placed on the left hand, which is considered to be a channel from the hand straight to the heart, where all the energy emanating from the environment, including people, is received.
In addition, the use of it represents the relationship between body, soul and spirit to let the evil forces know that there is a connection to Orula.