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Yoruba: Beliefs

Page history last edited by Kimberley 12 years, 3 months ago

The Gods


The Yoruba people believe in one supreme being, or god, who is called Olodumare, and occasionally Olorun.  They do not believe in a 'devil' type being.  Besides the supreme being, they also believe that there are other 'lesser' gods.  Olodumare's thoughts became a female being known as Nana Baruku (among many other names) and Nana Baruku gave birth to twins, Mawu the moon god and Lisa the sun god.  From these came the Orishas, the 'lesser' gods.  The Yoruba religion also contains Lesser Orishas and Irunmole, or 'greater divinities'.  Though they believe that Orodumare is the creator of all and the supreme being, it was the Orishas that created the world as we know it.

Every person is given a specific deity to worship.  Usually they take on their father's deity and occasionally their mothers. 

Though Olodumare is immortal and is at the head of all the lesser deities, he does not interfere directly with the natural events in life.  Instead, he works through the Orishas.  Priests and priestesses will be dedicated to an Orisha, and not to Olorun/Olodumare, because they are the way between.  Olorun is a distant, untouchable being.


Afterlife and Reincarnation


The Yoruba people beleive in reincarnation, but also believe that souls can become guardian spirits, and go to a spiritual realm.  People are usually reincarnated within their family, and through this, the Yoruba depend on their ancestors.  They also believe that one's ancestors should be respected, honored and consulted.




The Yoruba have specific rituals and beliefs surrounding twins, and it has been statistically proven that the Yoruba people birth more twins than any other race.  They believe that twins can bring happiness and health, but also chaos and disease.  Because of this they are treated with much respect and loving care.  The first born twin is always called Taiwo, which means 'having the first taste of the world'.  The second is named Kehinde, meaning 'arriving after the other'.

Though Taiwo is born first, it is believe that Kehinde is the oldest, having sent the younger out first to see what the outside world looks like.  Kehinde is supposed to be more careful, more intelligent and more reflective.  While Taiwo is believed to be more curious, and adventurous.

The Yoruba also believe that the twins share a combined soul.


How the World Works


A Yoruba must never initiate harm to another human being or to the universe, which they are a part of.

Spiritual, physical, mental and emotional realms of one's existence must all work together and be balanced.

The Yoruba beleive in several different types of magic.  They believe in medicine magic, witch craft and dark, or evil magic.  Witches are wll respected, and should not be angered.




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Mini-Dictionary of Terms


Olodumare: The ultimate god entity.  Creator of all.  Lord of the Orishas.

Olorun: Another name for Olodumare.

Nana Baruku: Olodumare's female creation.

Mawu: Moon god.  Twin to Lisa.

Lisa: Sun god.  Twin to Mawu.

Orisha: Lesser, or personal gods.

Irunmole: Greater divinities.  Includes ancestors.

Taiwo: The first twin born, literally: having the first taste of the world.

Kehinde: The second twin born, literally: arriving after the other.

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