Using Ifa for the exegesis of Jacob’s divine encounter at Bethel (Genesis 28)

After Jacob (this name is re-lexification of “Aku”) received the blessing that was meant for Esau (Isẹdalẹ) his twin brother, his parents advised him to get away for a while due to the malicious grief from his twin. He was also to use the opportunity to get a wife for himself from among his mother’s relatives in Bethuel. On the way, he stopped by at Luz to pass the night, and perhaps used a natural and uncut stone as a pillow. As he slept, he had a vision in which he saw Ọbatala in heaven, and a ladder extending from heaven to earth and imọlẹ (short for irunmọlẹ; re-lexified by Jews to “malakh” and replaced substituted entirely with “angel” which is the appellation of Satan’s ministers) ascending and descending on it. In addition, Ọbatala declared himself to him and assured him of protection and everlasting blessings. Thereafter he awakened, acknowledged and praised Ọbatala, understood that that place was the house of Ọbatala, and rose early in the morning, setting up the aforementioned stone as a pillar and pouring oil on top of it to demonstrate his reverence and propitiation. Thereafter he allegedly renamed the place “Bethel” and declared his willingness to give a tithe of his assured gains to Ọbatala.

Those who are quite familiar with the culture of the Ọmọ Oduduwa (heirs of Oduduwa), and their indigenous spiritual system known as Ifá (written in Bibles as ‘Ephod’) would immediately recognize similar motifs of Jacob’s encounter at Bethel. This observation is further strengthened by the awareness that Jacob is none other than Ọranmiyan (often contracted as Ọranyan which is the authentic pronunciation of the name known to the Greeks as Orion), an eponymous ancestor of the Ọmọ Oduduwa. Similarly, since it is known that the Greek Septuagint, the Greek version of the bible where this encounter is recorded, includes quite faulty translations which points to authorship by Amorite/HELLenist fraudsters, it should be possible to use information from Ifá to reconstruct Jacob’s vision and strip it of HELLenist worldview.

Here we go:

  1. Jacob had a vision while sleeping during which he saw Ọbatala, who is one of the manifestations of Ẹla (Child of the Ruler, the Saviour), standing in heaven. The name Ọbatala is Aku  (Jacob) for ‘King of White Cloth’ or ‘King of White/Pure Light’ or ‘King of Vision/Clarity.’ Light is needed for vision. According to information from Ifa, light consists of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and the absence of these in an individual implies a life of darkness even if that individual sees, hears and perceives (Acts 28:26-27). Jacob, being a direct descendant of Abraham who is remembered by the Ọmọ Oduduwa as Oduduwa, is of the chosen seed (i.e. heir) and thus one of the sons of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and was qualified to be granted that vision of Ọbatala.
  2. In the vision, Jacob saw a chain, never a ladder, extending from heaven to earth and the Irunmalẹ ( ascending and descending upon it. This would have served as a visual reminder and confirmation of what he would have learned from Oduduwa and Ajaka (re-lexified to “Isaac”) about such ascent and descent described severally in Ifá.
  3. 3. Upon awakening, he took the stone he had placed overnight by him, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on it. This act of propitiation is performed till today by Ifá devotees who present shea butter to Ọbatala (other similar examples include giving palm oil to Èṣù Laalu (re-lexified to “Joshua son of Nun).
  4. Next he remarked that the place where he slept and had that vision must be the ‘house of God.’ God in this context would be none other than Ọbatala, and the house most likely refers to an ‘igbodu’ (translated as “womb of the forest” or “spiritual sanctuary”; Such is not strange to the Ọmọ Oduduwa and a current and popular example is the Ọṣun grove in present-day Yorubaland of southwest Nigeria. Sadly, Islam and Christianity have been used by the oyinbo/Gentiles to drive many Ọmọ Oduduwa, including those who don’t revere Olodumare (the Almighty) irrespective of both alien religions, to revile such sanctuaries which are clearly mentioned in the bible. Even ancient Bethel was a well known sanctuary prior to Oduduwa’s (Genesis 12:7-8) and Jacob’s arrival (
  5. Consequently, Jacob renamed the place as Ile Ọbatala (Home of Ọbatala) – “Ọbatala” should be the actual rendering of “Bethel” as both share the same consonant root b-t-l: (Ọ)batal(a) > Batal >Bethel; He did not call the place Ọbatala/Bethel as suggested in Genesis 28:19 but Home of Ọbatala which is rendered in Genesis 35:6-7 as El Bethel; Ile is a noun in the language of the Ọmọ Oduduwa and means “Home” or “dwelling place”.
  6. Jacob then promised to give a tithe of the assured and forthcoming blessings to Ọbatala, a practice which is not strange to Ifá devotees.

Further observations from Genesis 35:1-16

  1. A couple of years later, when Jacob had married and sired children, Ọbatala told him to go to Ile Ọbatala (i.e. Bethel) to dwell and make an altar there to him. He did as instructed and called the place El Bethel which may be more properly rendered as Ẹla Ọbatala (Savior King of Vision/Light), or Ile Ọbatala (House of Ọbatala) which corresponds better with the popular accounts of the site being regarded as sacred. Here, Ọbatala appeared to him again and gave him another name which has been forgotten by his people but is rendered in the bible as “Israel”.
  2. Ọbatala also reassured him of his blessings and then ascended back to heaven following which he set up a pillar of stone and poured a drink offering and then oil. This altar must have been the same as first.

Since the Ọmọ Oduduwa (Ifá devotees actually) are royal priests with the knowledge, wisdom and understanding to teach and be the light of the world (Matthew 28: 18-20), especially the Ifá priests, they are best positioned to thoroughly criticize the assumptions discussed in this essay.

Of Egungun, Albert Einstein And Orunmila…

Source: The Guardian Nigeria (Saturday 22 September 2012, page 16); but the link is no longer active

(Last published on January 17, 2010)


HAVE you ever felt so good, so… so wonderfully good that you could have given God a peck? I felt that way that evening.

The information that sent me into near-raptures had dropped on my laps after months of fruitless sifting through literature on the origin of the Egungun (masquerade) cult, especially among the Yoruba.

My search was sparked by a hunch. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but the semblance between the egungun-in-costume and the astronaut-in-spacesuit had suddenly struck me. I was probably flitting through pictures of astronauts.

And I froze…

My mind went into a spin. Why! The costumes actually look similar… And the Yoruba describe the egungun as Ara Orun (visitor from heaven/the skies). But the astronaut is also Ara Orun – Traveller in, or from deep space.

In Yoruba, not only the spiritual heaven is orun but also the starry heavens, the skies.

Perhaps, the general belief that the egungun are spirits of the “dead from the spiritual heaven” is mistaken…

After all, the egungun are called Ara Orun, not oku orun (The dead of heaven). Oku orun is reserved for the dead. Just like oku eko – frozen fish arriving dead from Lagos.

Like in the phrase Ara Eko (residents of/arrivals from Lagos) or Ara Ibadan (residents of/arrival from Ibadan) Ara Orun suggests live beings resident of arriving from orun (the heavens, space).

In fact, Yoruba folklore relates encounters between Earthlings and Ara Orun which depict the latter as flesh and blood beings who, according to some accounts, relish some of the carnal joys of we humans, e.g. palm wine.

And so I mulled and mulled…

But then another thing got me curious. The full description of the egungun by the Yoruba is Ara Orun kin-in-kin. That kin-in-kin suffix fascinated me. The Yoruba hardly waste words. That kin-in-kin must have a purpose. What does it connote?

My mind was all aglow now.

Two phrases immediately sprang to my mind: Gbin kin-in (Grunt deeply) and Rin kinkin (Be deeply soaked).

When someone grunts, the Yoruba say, O gbin. But when he grunts deeply, they say O gbin kinin (he/she grunts deeply).

Also, when a piece of cloth (or some other absorbent material) is soaked, the Yoruba say O rin (it’s soaked), but when it is deeply soaked, the Yoruba say O rin kinkin (it’s deeply soaked). Back in my younger days, there was a stream in our Yemetu neighbourhood of Ibadan called Arinkinkin.

In all these instances, kin-in / kinkin connotes thoroughly, deeply: is Ara Orun kin-in-kin the Yoruba description of live visitors/travellers from the deep heavens (outer space)?

Speculations, speculations, speculations…

But then, there remained one puzzle: Why would the Yoruba link visitors from outer space with the spirits of long-dead ancestors returned to visit their relations?

I found this puzzler really hard to crack. For days, I mulled over this one… in the kitchen, in the toilet, at work, etc. Even asleep, my mind kept vigil, nudging it, turning it, kicking it round and round.

Then, one day, I remembered Time Dilation. Time dilation is a proven phenomenon in Physics. According to the acclaimed Father of Modern Physics, Albert Einstein, who first “discovered” it, time is “elastic” and passes at different rates for those of us on Earth and those cruising in space at close to the speed of light, that is 300,000 km per second.

Put simply, in a spaceship travelling at such mind-boggling speed, time slows down considerably.

A table from Mayer’s Handbook on Space (published on P.50 of In Search of Ancient Gods by Erich Von Daniken) shows the following differences in time passage between such a spaceship propelled at one G (i.e. 9.8m/sec) and the Earth.

Years for rocket crew Years for Earth inhabitants
1 1.0
2 2.1
5 6.5
10 24
15 80
20 270
25 910
30 3,100
35 10,600
40 36,000
45 121,000
50 420,000

The figures look really crazy, I agree. But physicists know that Time Dilation is a reality.

From that table, we see that when 15 years passes on the spaceship, 80 years would have passed on Earth.

The implications of these are as illuminating as they are staggering. It means that a 25-year-old man (or astronaut) who left a three-year-old daughter on Earth to go on a trip in such a space ship, will return 15 years later at age 40 to meet his daughter a toothless woman of 83 years!

More startling still, if his 83-year-old daughter had her first child at age 30 then the returnee’s grandchild will be 53 years old —- that is, 13 years older than her grandfather.

Imagine what “commotion” such a returnee space traveller (Ara orun kin-in-kin) would cause in the family circle. Should we then be surprised if the Yoruba of those far-off days regarded such a space traveller as a returned grandfather/ancestor who is immortal (perpetually young) or who had somehow resurrected from the dead?

Even our so-called modern time did not get a whiff of Time Dilation until Albert Einstein came with his Relativity Theory.

In fact, as the table shows, if our space traveller had spent 20 years instead of 15 in space, 270 years would have passed on Earth when he returned at age 45. Who would he meet?

If he succeeded in convincing those he met on his return that he was actually their great, great, great… grandfather, how would they describe him?

A returned ancestor!

It was while pondering these matters that the information that sent me into near-raptures came from the airwaves.

It was Wednesday November 20, 1999 in Ibadan. The day dawned like any other. Nothing spectacular. Then at 9.30 p.m., when the day was almost done, I tuned to Radio O-Y-O for my favourite Ifa programme.

The programme was being anchored then by Wale Rufai. It featured question and answer sessions with an Ifa priest, Gbolagade Ogunleke Ifatokun, from Saki, Oyo State.

As usual, Rufai poked the Ifa priest with sundry questions. Then, in one of the Ifa priests responses, he mentioned in passing that Egungun ko gbodo na Babalawo – it’s taboo for an Egungun to whip or harass an Ifa priest.

A curious Rufai asked why that was so. And the Ifa priest’s explanation was this: Nigba Iwase (in antiquity) when there occurred a deluge which threatened to wipe out all life on Earth, it was a collaboration between the Egungun and Orunmila, the patron saint and founder of the Ifa school, that saved the world.

According to Ifatokun, the Irunmale (divinities) were on Earth then. And it was one of them, Orunmila, who sent a Save-Our-Soul (SOS) to “Awon Ara Orun.”

The Ara Orun, in response to the distress call, then came down in “special costumes” to dry up the rising waters.

It is these Ara Orun, he said, who were thereafter hailed far and wide on Earth as Mayegun – those who set the world aright.

According to the Ifa priest, it is the name Mayegun that eventually metamorphosed to Egungun. In fact, he added, it is the special class of Egungun called Babalago whose costumes most closely resemble the ones worn by the original Mayegun of antiquity.

It is not difficult to interpret this account in modern terms: Orunmila contacted some technologically advanced civilization in outer space (very likely his home planet) whose astronauts (hydrologists) came to Earth in spacesuits (and, by inference, spaceships) to dry up the flood that threatened the world.

In short, the Egungun costume is an imitation of spacesuits worn long ago by visitors from other space. And the Egungun cult is in honour or commemoration of extraterrestrial intelligences…

Now, frankly, do you blame me for feeling like giving God a peck that evening?

That was 10 years ago…

Other findings, before and after, have put the lie to many claims made fashionable by the West and its media – which Africans have accepted without question.

There are civilizations in space by far more advanced technologically than our so-called “Super Powers.”

They came in antiquity l-o-n-g before Uri Gagarin’s great, great great, great grandfather…

And many of the “gods” (divinities) are extraterrestrials – including Orunmila and that famous one most favoured of the West: Yahweh.


Glitz, Glamour Of Isinro Festival In Oke-Ila

Source:Isinro Festival Guardian Newspapers – Saturday September 1, 2012, page 41 (the link is no longer active)

Saturday, 01 September 2012 00:00 By Ajibola Amzat


SEATED on a huge armchair made of damask, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Abolarin Adedokun Aroyinkeye I, nodded constantly and waved his horsetail in acknowledgement of the greetings from his chiefs and the people of the ancient town who came to celebrate Isinro Festival with him.

Atop his head is the most ancient crown adorned with beads of many colours.

The beads cascaded down his face, making it difficult for onlookers to study the king’s countenance.

But occasional flash of white teeth behind the dropping beads showed that the Orangun was happy. More distinct is Orangun’s carriage that is every inch of a quintessential royalty.

Likewise, small smile radiates on the face of his wife, Olori Solape who, seated next to the Orangun, was observing the dancing town folks with keen interest.

Sitting on bare floor right in front of the king are the wives from the royal dynasty consisting of Mowa, Arojo and Obasolo families. The women adorned their heads with conical hairstyle, singing Orangun’s praises intermittently in their rich Igbomina dialect. Here, to paraphrase William Shakespeare, were the women whose bosoms have lodged kings and princes. Drawing on the quote of a British writer, Lawrence Durrell, Kabiyesi described the women as women to be loved and suffered for, or to be turned into literature.

This kind of cultural outing by the Orangun and his subjects happens only during Isinro Festival. The festival heralds the New Year in Oke-Ila, the headquarters of Ifedayo local government in the State of Osun, one of those local councils created in 1991 during the regime of President Ibrahim Babangida.

Legend has it that the present Òkè-Ìlá Òràngún formerly existed alongside Ìlá Òràngún as a united kingdom known as Ìlá-Yàrà, a city-state founded by Òràngún, the fourth son of Oduduwa, the Yoruba progenitor.

The kingdom became divided over a disagreement on a choice of relocation site. The two princes Àpàkíìmò’s and his brother, Arútú Olúòkun who were at the centre of the dispute led their supporters to different sites today known as Òkè-Ìlá Òràngún and Ìlá Òràngún.

In the ancient town, the New Year begins in Osu Ogun (August) two days after the Isinro Festival. Like Osun Festival in Osogbo, Isinro or Odun Oro holds at every August.  The New Year customarily coincides with the commencement of the eating of the New Yam. For ages, the peasants of Oke-Ila have been coming home after several months of hard work in the farm to celebrate the harvest of New Yam

The thirteen-day feast, according to Orangun, is a re-creation of the thoughts and the memory of the past.  It is the time of the year when sons and daughters of the agrarian community troop out in large numbers to offer prayers to the gods of the land and the spirits of the ancestors. The Orangun likened the Festival to the Christian’s Christmas celebrated in December 25, or the American’s Thanksgiving celebrated in July or the Jewish’s Hanukkah Day celebrated in November or December.

Being a festival of dance also, each family house and the chief gathered at Odode’s compound to greet and dance before the king. After the dance session, the king himself rose to his feet, followed by the Oba-in –Council, and offered prayers to the gods. Constituted by Iwarefa (the Oba –in-council), Logun (the warriors), the Ikegbe and Ojuwa, these are the men and women who strengthen the administration of Orangun,

Then the procession began to the Obanla house where the king paid homage to the people. The procession, led by Orangun himself, began to dance like a paddleboat sailing on the creek as the drumbeat of iya’lu, the talking drum and emele, the small drum changed to slow rhythm. “Regal dance is measured in slow steps”, says one of the natives.

The king drummers, and the chroniclers of oke-Ila history escorted the throng to Obanla compound.   The high chief who received the king on behalf of the people was the aged Obanla of Oke-Ila, High Chief D.C.A. Olowolagba. Traditionally, Obanla is the second in command to the king. He is also the head of the Iwarefa, the high chiefs who double as the kingmakers in Oke-Ila. Tradition requires that the king dances seven times to meet Obanla where he is seated. But unlike Obanla who must prostrate in

At the end of this ritual, the king is presented with kola nut as a gift from the people. This practice is symbolic of the social contract that exists between the people and the monarch. “Though the king is the custodian of the power, but sovereignty lies with the people”, says Oba Adedokun who is also a political scientist and a lawyer.

This year festival, according to the natives, was better organized than those festivals of yester years because of the many more visitors who attended the festival this year. One of those visitors was Prof Gbemisola Adeoti, the director of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

The Professor who attended the festival on the invitation of the king explored options on how the festival can be made grander in the years ahead. He spoke about introducing the entertaining aspect to the festival in order to make it more appealing to all and sundry in Yorubaland and to those from abroad. “We could introduce artists performances, and entertainment of various kinds to enrich the social and religious dimensions of the festival”, he told The Guardian. “We could also invite corporate organizations to participate so that it can be a festival to be enjoyed by all.” He added.

Hon. Olorunjuwon Abatan , the scribe of Ifedayo Local Government and a member of Olori Awo family said the collective effort of both the people of Oke-Ila and Ila Orangun can bring about cultural renaissance needed to transform the community. Truth is Oke-Ila lay in wait of modernity. The town could use a few more infrastructures to boost the economy of the agrarian community. And the reigning Orangun is not unaware of the limitation of his community. This is the reason he is mobilizing his subjects home and abroad to rise up and work for the progress of Oke-Ila. As a tested administrator, Orangun shared the vision of the State government led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola that Osun can become a cultural haven for tourists from every part of the world.  “We could make the month of August a cultural season in Osun that would attract tourists to the state.”

In spite of the infrastructure challenge in Oke-Ila,  Hon. Abtan said Oke –ila remains one of the few places in Nigeria where the crime rate is low. This is not unconnected to the institutional practice in Oke-Ila where, at the turn of every year, people are reminded of their civic duty to keep the town safe. Two days after Isinro festival is Ofin Odun. The custom requires people of Oke-Ila to converge in the frontage of Orangun’s palace where the laws are reviewed. It is also at this occasion that the monarch is reminded of his social contract with the people. On no account should the king abuse his power.