Orula: Orisha of Wisdom and Divination
Orula, also known as Orunla or Orunmila, is the Orisha of divination and wisdom within the Yoruba religion. He is the supreme oracle and master spiritualist who sees all and knows all. Olofi, one of the three manifestations of the Supreme God, gave Orula the gift of prophecy. Orula bore witness as Olofi created the earth and the Orishas. Olofi bestowed upon Orula the wisdom and clarity to see the future and the ability to communicate it to those who inquire with him. These powers have the capacity to influence our destiny and shape our life’s paths. Sacred tales tell of Orula’s psychic abilities to determine the death of every man and woman on earth.
Son of Obatala and Yemu, Orula is a brother to Elegua, Ogun, and Shango. He and Shango work closely together, as they both have a deep insight into the future. Orula knows the ways that each of us can find success, happiness, and health. He knows what the future holds for us and he can guide us on the right path if we listen to his foresight. The god of plants and remedies, this great healer watches over humans, animals, and all other living things.
Orula speaks to each of us through divination with his babalawos. These babalawos are devout followers of Orula who work constantly with him and relay his wisdom to us. They interpret the messages through meditation and sacred tools such as divining chains, divining boards, and kola nuts. Cascarilla is spread on the divining board and the babalawo arranges his sacred signs on the board.
Orula: The Master Diviner
Orula, the master diviner, is a powerful orisha whose wisdom is beyond compare. It is he who knows the best roads for humans to achieve happiness, success, and prosperity. He also knows the appropriate time for each person to be born, live, and die. Together with his brother, Elegua, he works on behalf of people seeking to change their destinies and create long, happy lives for themselves. To connect with Orula, it is important to understand his place as the witness of destiny, how he obtained his powers of divination, and his covenant with death.
When Obatala caught Ogun attempting to seduce his own mother, he ordered all of his male children to be killed in his fury. Elegua was old and strong enough to leave home, so he did — but he always kept an eye on things at Obatala's house out of fear that, if his wife bore any other sons, Obatala would have them killed as well. When Shango was born, Elegua stole him and asked his older sister to raise him instead. After Orula was born, Elegua stole him as well. That way, both babies could be safe from Obatala's rage.
Much later, Obatala fell ill. Elegua brought Shango, his long-lost son, back to him. As a master healer, Shango was able to heal Obatala and save his life. In exchange for this service, Elegua asked his father to spare Orula and Shango's lives in return. When Obatala agreed, Shango celebrated by gifting Orula with a divination tray and the secret knowledge of divining.
Orula as the Protector of Life
Orula is the ultimate diviner who knows when each and every person is to live and die. He made a pact with death so that Orula's children would not be carried off before it was time for them to die. For this reason, he is said to grant protection from premature death. Wearing an Orula Triple Beaded Bracelet on the left wrist can help keep the wearer from being carried off by Iku before their time.
An Orula necklace should be imposed by an Ifa priest. When and if it breaks, it is an ominous warning — the wearer should contact their Ifa godfather for spiritual assistance, since a broken necklace of Orula is considered an omen of serious danger.
Orula's Appearance and Symbols
Orula's colors are green and yellow, which are believed to represent his association with nature and his wisdom. Green is also associated with growth and healing, while yellow is associated with knowledge and wisdom. Orula bracelets and Orula necklaces adorned in beads of yellow and green should also be worn when trying to evoke his power and to help cast away death.
Images of Orula show him seated with his ekuele, also known as a divination chain, and irofa, also known as a divination tapper, by his side. He is often depicted gazing into his divining board as he unravels the mysteries of the future. Dressed in a green and yellow gown, he is a vision of serenity and deep introspection. His appearance is also associated with certain symbols and tools, such as the divination chain, known as the ekuele, which is made up of eight or sixteen seeds or beads, representing Orula's knowledge of the past, present, and future.
One of Orula's primary symbols is the divination board, which he uses to communicate with his followers through his babalawos. This board is often decorated with sacred signs and covered in cascarilla, a powdered eggshell that is believed to have spiritual cleansing properties. Orula is associated with the palm tree, which is believed to be a symbol of his wisdom and longevity, as well as with several animals, including the iguana, the chameleon, and the parrot. These animals are believed to possess special powers of perception and insight, which aligns with Orula's role as the orisha of wisdom and divination.
Orula’s Relationship with Other Orishas
Orula holds a special place among the Seven African Powers, a group of powerful deities revered in Afro-Caribbean religions. As one of these powers, Orula embodies the values of wisdom, divination, and the ability to shape one's destiny. In the Yoruba religion, Orula is considered a highly respected and revered Orisha, and he holds important relationships with many of the other Orishas.
Elegua: Orula's Messenger
Orula and Elegua's partnership is essential as Elegua serves as the messenger and mediator between Orula and other Orishas. Elegua ensures that Orula's messages are received by the appropriate parties. Elegua's association with crossroads makes him the ideal intermediary for Orula's messages, as they are believed to be places where different dimensions and energies intersect, allowing Elegua to ensure Orula's messages are received by those who need them most.
Orula and Oshun: A Divine Partnership
Orula is also closely connected with Oshun, the Orisha of love and fertility. Oshun is known for her sensuality and beauty, but also for her wisdom and ability to heal emotional wounds. Orula's advice is often sought after by Oshun for issues related to love and relationships, as his insight and knowledge of the future can help guide individuals toward fulfilling partnerships. In some traditions, Orula is even said to have been married to Oshun, further highlighting their close relationship.
The Close Kinship of Orula and Shango
Orula and Shango are important Orishas in the Yoruba religion who have deep insight into the future. Orula is the master diviner who uses sacred tools, while Shango communicates through thunder, lightning, and fire. Despite their different approaches to divination, they work closely together and are often depicted as brothers who consult frequently.
The colors associated with both Orishas, green and yellow for Orula and red and white for Shango, represent their harmony and balance. They are often invoked together, creating a powerful partnership that helps people navigate life's challenges and achieve their destinies, which is highly respected in the Yoruba religion.
Yemaya and Orula: Connecting to the Future
Orula and Yemaya's relationship is rooted in their shared knowledge and understanding of the future. As the master diviner, Orula is able to see and understand the future of those on earth, while Yemaya, as the mother of all living things, has a deep intuition and understanding of the natural world.
Together, Orula and Yemaya work to provide guidance and direction to those who seek their help. Orula's divination and insight into the future complement Yemaya's intuition and understanding of the natural world, creating a powerful partnership that helps individuals navigate life's challenges. Their relationship is a testament to the importance of working together and utilizing one's unique strengths to achieve a common goal.
Obatala and Orula: A Balance of Wisdom and Calmness
Orula is also closely connected with Obatala, the Orisha of purity and calmness. Obatala is considered the father of Orula, as he is believed to have created Orula in his own image. Orula's wisdom is believed to complement Obatala's calmness, and he is often called upon to help individuals find clarity and direction in their lives. In some traditions, Orula is also considered to be the teacher of Obatala, sharing his knowledge and insight with the elder Orisha.
Orula's Syncretism With Catholic Saints
One of the most significant Catholic saints associated with Orula is St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day on October 4th is also Orula's feast day. This connection is significant because St. Francis is known for his love of animals and nature, which aligns with Orula's role as the god of plants and remedies. Other Catholic saints associated with Orula include St. John the Baptist and St. Lazarus.
If you wish to pay homage to him on his feast day, create an altar for Orula and make offerings to him of coconuts, wine, sweet cakes, and candles. When honoring this beloved Orisha, be sure to have a Polvera de Orula on your altar. This wooden bowl is the vessel that contains Orula’s spirit and in which his deepest secrets are kept. When the moon is new, light an Orula 7 Day Orisha Candle and make your offering, focusing your intention on invoking his spirit.
Orula represents wisdom and the ability of man to influence his own destiny. His powers of insight make him one of the most commanding and distinguished of all Orishas. Respect his talent and he will help guide you toward your life’s destiny.
Connecting to Orula For His Guidance and Wisdom
Orula communicates with humans through divination with a Babalawo, who is a devoted follower of Orula. Unlike Santeros and Santeras, Babalawos use either an Opele, a divination chain also called an Ekuele, or kola nuts, also known as Obi, and a wooden divining board covered in cascarilla eggshell powder. They may also use a piece of horn from a stag's antler to mark certain sacred signs on the tray.
Orula is present before every birth — he is the one who witnesses the way a spirit influences its destiny before being born. Since he is the Witness of Destiny, the one who knows all, he is petitioned for everything from success to blessing, to strengthening psychic abilities, to healing. When you wish to change your circumstances, whatever they might be, he is the one to seek a connection with.
Fill a bath, and light some incense. Recite the accompanying prayer before stepping into the bath...
O Orula, great and powerful Orisha,
I come to you seeking your guidance and wisdom.
Give me the courage and strength
To face the challenges that lie ahead of me.
As you relax in the warm, fragrant water, be sure to immerse yourself fully in the bath, then envision yourself endowed with Orula's wisdom. Whatever change you seek to make in your life, you are capable of making. However you wish to alter your destiny, you are able to do so. Quiet your mind, and listen for Orula's guidance.
After the bath, allow yourself to air dry. Thank Orula for his wisdom, and make an offering to him in gratitude. Be sure to follow the wise advice you are given, for those who don't become the victims of misfortune sent by his assistant, Eshu.
Orula is privy to every secret, no matter how dark or hidden. He witnesses the life of every living thing, from before they are born until the day they die. There is nothing that escapes his wisdom, and no destiny he cannot help alter. If you are having trouble in your life and you feel stuck and powerless, Orula's wisdom can help set you free and lead you down a path to happiness and success.
In essence, Orula is a guardian and guide who helps us navigate the challenges of life by providing insight into the future. His wisdom and guidance are sought by many who seek to find their path to success, happiness, and fulfillment. Through divination with a Babalawo, and other spiritual practices, we can connect with Orula and receive his guidance to help shape our destiny.