Ori – The Concept of Self in Yoruba Cosmogony

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ORI

by James C. Lewis

ORI – Ruler of the head. He is a metaphysical concept important to Yoruba spirituality and way of life. Ori, literally meaning “head,” refers to one’s spiritual intuition and destiny. It is the reflective spark of human consciousness embedded into the human essence, and therefore is often personified as an orisha in its own right . In Yoruba tradition, it is believed that human beings are able to heal themselves both spiritually and physically by working with the orishas to achieve a balanced character, or iwa-pele. When one has a balanced character, one obtains an alignment with one’s Ori or divine self. Alignment with one’s Ori brings, to the person who obtains it, inner peace and satisfaction with life. To come to know the Ori is, essentially, to come to know oneself. The primacy of individual identity is best captured in a Yoruba proverb: “Ori la ba bo, a ba f’orisa sile”. When translated, this becomes It is the inner self we ought to venerate, and let divinity be.

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5 thoughts on “Ori – The Concept of Self in Yoruba Cosmogony”

  1. hari is also good name in sarakhokle.they say hari n ‘dema meaning good protects us.hari hara is same word it is hr son of sr asar wasir wasar and st ist aset aisata sata.

  2. it is just wonderful how our langages have kept track of our past in misira.in senegal name dudu-(prononced doudou) is black image of SR Siré Asar Wasar Wasir- name Rama is adept of Ra, name Aminta(Amenti is celestial garden) are common names among others of egyptian origin.About common words Nene (mother in fula) in medu neter is the one that cheers the child, Yaye(twice yaya) (mother in wolof ) Ya is the feeder in meder neter, name Shekou Sheq is the ruler in medu neter…So many insights from medu neter to our langages a real treasure!

  3. @Sadi many thanks for the knowledge you shared here.
    I am a Fulani and I understand the Wolof languange very well. All you said make sens to me.

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