THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 15, No. 2 (2017)
Ifa Therapeutic Practices among Yoruba People in Oyo State, Nigeria
Bernard E. Owumi & Yusuf B. Okewole
Department of Sociology University of Ibadan, Ibadan
This study examined the Ifa therapeutic system with a view to describing the method, use of herbs and sacrifice employed in treatment process. Although several studies highlighted the importance of traditional healing methods among Yoruba people, none has fully described the systematic process involved in the Ifa practice. Ethnomethodological theory provided the framework. Moniya and Iseyin were purposively selected as study areas. A survey study of 134 respondents was employed through snowballing technique. Twelve In-depth Interviews and two Focus Group Discussions were conducted among Ifa priests in study areas. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data were content analyzed. Ifa, being a word of God containing therapy, was performed through divination. Its systematic method relied on procedures and measures domiciled in the 256 corpuses interpreted by Ifa priests. The system is applied to combating illness linked to both physical and spiritual causal agents. The steps involved in the process of providing cure included consultation (68.7%), making herbal mixtures in combination of many organic and inorganic elements (71.6%) and use of sacrifice (67.9%). Ifa therapeutic system is procedural and mainly includes use of herb and sacrifice. In conclusion, Ifa therapy should be formalized to complement western medical care.
Keywords: Ifa, therapy, divination, consultation, disease