Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Babalawo is a Yoruba title that denotes a Priest of The God or Orisha of Wisdom Orunmila (IFA). Orumila in the Yoruba tradition knows the Past, Present and Future.The Babalawo as a Priest of Ifa can determine the future through communication with Orunmila. This is done by consulting IFA through the divining chain (Opele) or sacred palm nuts called IKIN. Babalawos undergo training in memorization of 256 oracles and numerous verses of IFA. Some babalawo are primarily herbalists. Babalawos are trained in determination of problems and the application of solutions to these problems.
In Santerķa a Babalawo or "father of the secrets" is the equivalent of a priest. He is capable of doing rituals and interpreting oracles. Furthermore a Babalawo is a spiritual leader and advisor of the people he initiated to the religion. Originally, the Babalawo was the elder of his tribe. In Cuba, due to the break up of family ties during the colonial period, the role changed. A Babalawo now does not have to be an elder to perform his tasks. In fact, a lot of cuban Babalawos are in their twenties or thirties, but their wisdom is usually quite advanced.
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