The ritual of divination, called Ifa, forms the basis for the Yoruba religion. Performed by highly trained priests, called babalawo, "fathers of the secret". Using 16 palm nuts, Ifa priests "cast Ifa" to determine which oral literature verses (odu Ifa) to recite in response to questions or problems. The 8 marks of an Odu Ifa are then made in the iyerosun wood dust sprinkled on the tray, and the pertinent verses associated with the Odu are chanted. There are 256 possible combinations (16 X 16). He will cast Ifa again to determine what sacrifices must be made, and to whom, so that life can be continually happy.
The God Orunmila, who was present at the creation of the world by Olodumare, is consulted for his wisdom. Thus Orunmila knows the secret of creation, and how to cope with the powers of good & evil. When he left the earth, he left behind the sacred palm nuts, so that the future generations might communicate with him.
Mounted on a metal stand.