Our vast universe is home to a host of celestial bodies. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Pluto and Uranus; were worshiped by all indigenous cultures around the globe under numerous names. They have influenced the actions of man since time immemorial. The majority of religious mythology was influenced by astrology; was it any wonder man sought out guidance from the heavens.
Between 10,000 and 6,000 BC the Africans of the Nile valley and great lakes region devised the stellar calendar. In 4,000 BC the solar calendar would mark the era of a new age; a dynastic period extended its greatness through an entire millennium. The pyramid builders and monument architects erected monolithic structures that till this day continue to marvel modern architecture.
The foundation of a culture’s spiritual system influenced by the celestial bodies and their movement in the heavens inspired them to erect monuments that marked the solstices and the equinoxes as well as the transits of the planets.
The veneration of the ancestors was also determined by the celestial movements; as translated in “The book of the dead” and “The book of coming forth by day”, “The coffin text, and Pyramid text. These religious text or papyrus scrolls are cryptic descriptions of allegorical stories of the deities that resided in the heavens that have considerably influenced their daily lives to such a high degree that magnificent temples were erected in their honor that are still in existence today.
The descendants of this culture who migrated from the Nile valley and great lakes region over period of generations became known as the Yarib a derivative of Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria in West Africa whose cultural practices were and still are deeply submerged in ancestral veneration. Despite the emergence of Christian missionaries and Islamic Jihads there still resides within this cultural context the traditional Yoruba’s belief system is known as Ifa acknowledging the creator, Oludumare through the essence of nature. Oludumare` the creator force birthed the heavens into existence, thus bringing into existence the extensions of the creator; better known as Orisha a practice consisting of the acknowledgment of the creator through the forces of nature. Within the elements of earth wind water and fire there exist an entire pantheon of West African deities known as Orisha, the indwelling spirit of consciousness that plays a significant role from the heavens in the daily lives of the practioners of the spiritual traditions of Ifa; The Yoruba believe that it is Orisha who guides the consciousness of an individual. It is said that there exist 400 Orisha; facets of nature which are earthly representations of the cosmos; heavenly energies, and therefore nothing exist or happens in the sky that does not have its influence or vibration on earth within nature’s elements and also in human behavior. In other words as above so below.
The traditional Yoruba believe that everything within nature on earth possesses a consciousness; plant animal mineral and man. The Orisha’s characters are based on the characteristic nature of the planets; their movements, such as oppositions, transits, trines, sextiles and conjunctions in astrology and astronomy. These celestial events are interpreted from the Yoruba’s own cultural perspective.
The scope of this article is not intended to discuss the Ifa religious system in its entirety; only the major Orisha as their correspondence to the natal birth chart, the houses, inner and outer planets and transits.
If you could imagine the beginning and end of a circle you would come to understand the never ending cycle of creation, reincarnation transition and that all things created have a destiny that is influenced by the heavens. In traditional Ifa the Orisha or god of destiny is Orumila; also known as the oracle Orisha. Within the divination system of the Yoruba the Opan Ifa; divining board used in Ifa divination is similar to that of the astrological birth or natal chart that is divided into twelve houses equaling thirty degrees, the distance it takes the sun to travel in a day.
The twelve houses of the natal chart are areas of life governed by a particular planet, in regards to the traditional Yoruba’s cultural perception of ones existence these houses would be ruled by a particular essence in nature or Orisha for instance:
The first house the self or outward appearance and surface personality is Aries the ram ruled by Mars, within the Yoruba tradition the Orisha of iron and steel, Ogun the warrior god possessing assertive and aggressive characteristics rules the first house. It is Ogun who is the patron of soldiers, police Officers, surgeons, railroad workers, welders, body builders, or anyone employed to work with iron and steel.
The second house the house of material possessions and money is Taurus ruled by Venus the goddess of love; within the Yoruba pantheon Orisha of the rivers lakes and all bodies of fresh water. Oshun the mother of abundance dominates this area of life; motherhood, wealth, and love.
The third house the house of duality, balance, communication, high energy is Gemini ruled by Mercury. The cosmic twins of the Yoruba pantheon the Ibeji; dominate in this area of life they are the ying and yang, expansion, and contraction, positive and negative energies existing within all life.
The fourth house pertains to issues surrounding the home. Maternal, protective, nurturing and instinctive; qualities dominate in Cancer ruled by the moon. These are the attributes of the Orisha Yemoja, Orisha of the ocean, whose ebb and flow of the tides are a result of the moon which is an attribute of her as well.
The fifth house Leo ruled by the sun; a house of enjoyment romance, children, and most of all creativity in all aspects of existence. Here the illumination of the sun is reflectant of the wisdom of Orumila the Orisha of destiny who sits by the side of Oludumare the creator god of the Yoruba. It is within this aspect of existence where man chooses his or her destiny and it is recorded by Orumila in the presence of Oludumare at which time the breath of life is given to man upon his or her emergence on earth; hence the creation, and destiny of man.
The six house Virgo a house of work, health, and service ruled by Mercury. Out of the Yoruba pantheon of Orisha it is Esu Orisha of the crossroads who is responsible for communication in every aspect of existence between the Orisha, the ancestors, man, and Oludumare. His realm of existence lies between the spirit world and the material world. His domain is within the crossroads; when the sun moon or planet crosses over into a various zodiac signs to assert a particular influence. This is an aspect of Esu, working to ensure that the other Orisha are able to serve their purposes. He is also known as the divine messenger the most important Orisha within the pantheon. His influence may also be found in the third house as well.
The seventh house of partnerships is a house of balance and harmony; a trait of Libra who is ruled by Venus. Here is another domain of Oshun that falls within the realm of love, romance and marriage. Oshun relishes in elegance, beauty, grace, artistry, charm charisma and refinement. She is the Yoruba goddess of love.
The eighth house of Scorpio ruled by Pluto this is a house of absolute power. Scorpio is one of the most powerful signs of the zodiac is it any wonder that the warrior Orisha Oya, also the storm goddess of the Yoruba dominates this eighth house of transformation, regeneration, death, sex reincarnation, and other peoples money; inheritances and financing. She is the hurricanes that form on the West coast of Africa traveling across the Atlantic with winds that generating anywhere from seventy to two hundred miles an hour, she is the tornados and twisters that uproots trees and houses. She is the only force within nature that has the ability to change the face of the earth from her destructive winds. This powerful Orisha is also responsible for carrying the spirits of the newly departed to the spirit world. In Nigeria it is Oya who dominates the market place. In some parts of Nigeria she is Oya of the Niger River; a force within nature to be respected, and a most formidable warrior attribute when invoked to fight for women’s rights.
The ninth house the domain of Sagittarius; a place of higher education, religion, philosophy, and divine law; ruled by Jupiter the planet of expansion, growth, and good fortune is the largest body in our solar system besides the sun. This would be the Yoruba’s planetary counterpart of Obatala the father of the Orisha; owner of the white cloth, he is the purity and illumination at its zenith, the Orisha of wisdom and intelligence, ruling the physical body his domain is all white fluids of the body, the skeletal structure, and the brain.
The tenth house of career status and reputation dominated by Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. The Yoruba pantheon of Orisha associates Babalu-Aiye with the planet Saturn, which is the taskmaster. Saturn is associated with patients, discipline, limitation, and structure. Babalu-Aiye is considered the Orisha of the earth. He can bring forth either prosperity or sickness and disease, for is also known as the deity of small pox, in Catholicism he is referred to as St. Lazarus.
The eleventh house is the house of Aquarius dominated by upheaval, rebellion, and sudden unexpected events. Ruled by Uranus these characteristics of rebellion, upraises, sudden changes, and upheaval are traits of the warrior Orisha Sango the Orisha of thunder lightning and fire. During the course of history when Uranus was transiting Pluto this was a time of great change through acts of war, slave uprisings, and rebellions, especially in the Caribbean islands. The civil rights era was violent and turbulent as well bringing about great change. These historical events throughout history as violent as they were would be associated with the warrior aspects of not only Sango but the Orisha Ogun, and Oya. This fiery energy of the heavens denotes aggressive and assertive influences of the heavenly bodies. Within the Yoruba pantheon such Orisha would be called upon for protection from ones enemies.
The twelfth house of Pieces ruled by Neptune is deeply submerged in secrecy prone to illusionary facets of reality. This house is centered on seclusion and spirituality. This house of the subconscious is dominated by Olokun the Orisha of the ocean floor. Deep and mysterious his realm is; the old Yoruba proverb says that nobody knows what lies on the ocean floor. His aspects are reflectant in the dream time, the subconscious, and the altered state of consciousness when one enters spirit possession, ritual and various levels of initiations and numerous rites of passage. Olokun is considered to be the star of Africa; he would be considered the owner of the great mystery systems of Africa; known by many names. He sparks within us the genius within our being activating our super subconscious.
‘The interchangeable role played by the Orisha, and numerous celestial bodies and their influence on one another can be somewhat overwhelming. As the study of astrology and astronomy becomes more advanced our comprehension of the Orisha and their planetary characteristics and similarities continue to remain a mystery to the initiated and uninitiated. http://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Beginnings-Chaos-Chronicals-Vol/dp/1449034632/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386273128&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=cosmic+beginnings+the+chaos+chronicles+vol+1