By Awoyinfa Ifaloju Ela moyin'boru'boye'bosise I would like to include some of my own learning into this topic, as I seem to not get around on these topics as quick as everyone else. I will have always used the wisdom with the Ifa corpus as the basis of my reply, and will deploy the same here. I presented a paper (non-academic) as the Orisa World conference in Havana in 2003 that talks about this issue, it was titled Discovering Orisa within the Ifa Corpus, Ifa's Central Position with Orisa worship, the reason is far too often we address Ifa and Orisa as seperate, yet the Orisa are within the corpus of Ifa (as one aspect of Ifa literall is the message of Olodumare for humanity, and not the same as Orunmila), so when we start to have questions and need clarity of the fundamentals characteristics of any Orisa we must search within the Ifa corpus, that is where we will find many things (i.e. foods, taboo, mode of worship, place of origin etc.) about every Orisa, even the uncommon Orisa. To answer the question abou birthin an Odu, we are part of Ifa from birth and when we choose our destiny before coming to earth, this destiny (Ori) is seperated into three components: Ayanmo, Akuleyan, & Akunlegba, your Oris is your dynamic force or potentials, natural qualities and the strength of your character. They are elements that mingle with the 3 aforementioned aspects of destiny. Ayanmo, are fixed qualities, don't change, they are race, gender, and the family we're born into. Akunleyan: Virtues & Values, they form our preferences, these are chosen. Akunlegba: are additives to our chosen virtues, given by various Irunmole, in the realm of Onibode and happen during the later stages of pregnancy. We have chosen our Akunleyan a part of that which is of the Irunmole that will assist us in life or Ifa tells us to cling to (different than one's ruling Orisa), again may or may not be one's "ruling deity" but in some way often work together, ( the issue of "ruling" divinity is a complete topic unto itself, as to some regard it would fit into Ayanmo but another it would to Akunleyan) In Yorubaland in most cases ones deity would be hereditary or come during esentaye, but due to our situation in the diaspora, it would have to be divined. It is the combination of Ayanmo and Akunleyan that comprises one's chosen destiny, in addition to the Irunmole thta will assist one in life. This whole matrix is the foundation of one's Odu Ifa, it is his complex combination that tells us who we are, what we are, what we are to do/not do, what our responsibilities in life are, how we will be successful, what will be our hinderances. How to attain goals and what to watch out for as far as detractors, that is one's life or foot print on this world we call Odu Ifa, that is why each of ours is different, and even the same Odu Ifa can have different messages (careful, this is not different in interpretation). The same Odu can have various messages based on many factors predicated on a complex web of indicators. Ifa tells us that we are all born from a woman, women are the progenitors of this earth. The most ancient human was a female. Ifa tells us she was the only human born by Divinity (I think from Olodumare, but my memory slips me) and placed on earth while still very young and was going through many stages/rites to prepare for woman/motherhood, she was to be the wife of the first Oduduwa as the progenitor of humanity on earth, but he was not a human being, she was. Her name is Ninibeni, the complete break down of her name escapes me, but the Eni is where we have Eniyan in Yoruba meaning human being. All of us who claim to be a human being come from this woman. Again, my memory slips me but I think the story is within Odu Ifa IrosunOgbe. So my point is any being that has issues with women or looks down at women has no business on this earth as we All are an aspect of this Woman the special creation of the creator to bring humanity to this world, the other people who do not respect basis for humanity had better find another place to trek upon. Now regarding the issue of Orunmila's first born child, in Iwori Meji Ifa says that one time Orunmila lived on earth, he went for a long time, childless, and when the appropiate ebo was performed and in course, shortly thereafter he gave birth to a baby girl, which was his only child for some time before he had another. During this time he taught her Ifa stanzas, initiated his daughter into Ifa, and lead her through the many rudiments of Ifa apprenticeship. As she grew, Orunmila had another baby, this was a boy which he left a great deal of his study to come from his elder sister. The daughter was called Alara. Now the question is if this is the same Alara, one of the ancient traditional kings of Yorubaland, or the original Alara. That is unclear, but can be cleared with some research, even as such in some cases it is said, Alara was the child of Oduduwa and the other child of Orunmila. So Again, as one starts to dig deeper into the knowledge of Ifa, one can see how these two are closely related, even when Orunmila initiated Oduduwa into Ifa and so on. Last point I would like to make is the issue of balance found within the coded messages of Ifa. When we read or hear a passage of Ifa, one needs to be cautioned as to taking the story out of context, or even the interpretation out of context. The best people to break stories down are people deeply rooted in the tradition of Ifa and can decipher the message properly. Deliver it to people who are still at the dawn of understanding or internalizing this ancient wisdsom we call Ifa. So many of the stories of the adventures of Orunmila or any of the Orisas within the Odu Ifa. Not everyone can be an authority in breaking "it" down to "deliver" to a person who in some cases has never stepped foot in Yorubaland. But Ifa is not about one over the other or issues superiority. We have different roles and that is from nature. We are complimentary. Some areas where women are superior they will need they will still need the help of a male and vice-versa, so we are co-dependant. Olodumare had reason to make it so, or we would have operated in a much different way. Let both genders in the name of peace and harmony, operate in a respectful manner. Seek balance within and with our task partners. Let us enjoy what makes us different. Let us trek softly on this earth. Let us enhance what we do best to compliment our partners task in making this Earth the divine place Ifa designed it to be. In other words, let us live how Orunmila lived, he shows in many ways stanzas of Ifa what happened and all the problems that came about then gave us solutions to rectify them. Now we need to learn these lessons, it is about time. I greet women to study Ifa, you are welcome, we males need th balance within the priesthood of Ifa that you offer, we need more, you are more than welcome. I seek women's knowledge and direction in my daily activities, knowing that what that woman will say will only compliment what thoughts are within my mind, thus make me whole/balanced. Respectfully written and hope I have not offended anyone. May the Irunmole lead us to a higher level of intelligence and balance in our daily lives. Aboru, Aboye, Abosise (Side note, these three important wives of Orunmila, as told to us in Eji Ogbe.) Ifa tells us of the strength of the root which is also poison, but the leaf and the cure and the fruit taste very pleasant. Ifa is hinting to the attributes of his 3 wives which are also essential within Ifa practice and prayer/peace that the words bring to one's life.