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Ifa is an advanced system of divination in Africa using a divining chain called an opele or palm nuts called ikin. The system represents the wisdom teachings of the Orisha Orunmila considered the oraclular representation of Olodumare ( God).


Iyaláwo means "Mother of Divination"

or "wisdom" in the Yoruba language. She

may also be called Iyanifa, meaning "Mother of Secrets" and both terms denote a priestess of Ifa. Her male counterpart is called Babalawo (Father of Secrets) and Awo is a gender neutral term for both.

Iyanifas undergo training in the memorization and interpretation of the 256 Odu or Mysteries, as well as in the numerous verses or Ese of Ifá. Traditionally, the Iyaláwo usually have additional professional specialties such as traditional healing. They are, however, generally trained in the determination of problems, or to divine how good fortune can be maintained, and the application of both spiritual and related secular diagnosis and solutions. Their primary function is to assist people in finding, understanding, and being in alignment with one's individual destiny, life or souls purpose. The Awo is charged with helping people develop the discipline and character that supports such spiritual growth called "Iwa Pele", or good character. This is done by identifying the client's spiritual destiny, or Ori, and developing a spiritual blueprint which can be used to support, cultivate, and live out that destiny.




(Article snippet by Carolyn Turgeon)

I first became aware of Old School Bruja when an invitation was floating around Facebook last spring for a Witch’s High Tea in Baltimore, where Enchanted Living is based. (It’s the hometown of founder and publisher Kim Cross.) Several people I knew were planning on going, according to the notifications, and obviously I had to go too. A Witch’s High Tea? Yes, please! I clicked on the name Old School Bruja and sent a message, and then later that day I went to meet Old School Bruja herself. I don’t know what I was expecting really, but it wasn’t this glowing, luminous, magical, goddess-like woman who emanated joy and laughed regularly while drinking unicorn tea with me in her bright kitchen and showing me her sunflower garden out back. Sunflowers for the orisha Oshun, she said.

Her name is Linnet Williams. She’s lived in Baltimore for a decade but hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from a block full of Puerto Rican and Dominican

families where every mother, aunt, and grandmother was a bruja (or witch) and no one saw any conflict between attending Catholic church and casting spells at home using shells and herbs and stones. Williams describes a childhood in which her father took her to Home Depot and the mechanic’s and her mother took her to the grocery store and the local brujas—different ones, depending on what spells or protections she needed. These visits were kept secret from her father and brother, Williams said: “The men only participated when they were in big trouble, and in general were pretty apprehensive about it.”



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