Saturday, July 1, 2023

The Ìrókò tree and Àbíkú

The Ìrókò tree and Àbíkú

Ìrókò is the abode of several entities, especially that of infantile spirits ritually known as Àbíkú and such spirits are led by Olúwere. When children are haunted by dreams or any kind of haunting, it is normal to sacrifice to Olúwere at the foot of Ìrókò to ward off the danger that these evil spirits will take the children from the village to Ọ̀run. For seven days and seven nights the ritual is repeated, until the danger of child deaths is removed. These precautions are not always enough to keep the children on the earth. 

Ìyájanjansà (Chief of the society of the male Àbíkú) and Olikó (Head of the society of the female Àbíkú) are much stronger and both do not let what people have prepared, work. "Against certain Àbíkú there are no remedies; Ìyánjanans and Olikó drawn their strength from Heaven."


Numerous meetings of òṣó (wizards) and Àjẹ́ (witches) are held around the tree Ìrókò where sacrifices and offerings are made to the Tutelary Deities of these Societies. The myths also reveal to us that, Yẹ́wà divinity of rare beauty, usually lies between the roots of the Ìrókò, in order to contemplate its beauty and vastness. This vastness is known among the people of òrìsà as àṣẹ gbà-n-gbà.


The Ìrókò tree cannot be cut before certain rituals take place. Obviously this is not always put into practice, since its wood is highly resistant and widely marketed worldwide. Local beliefs reveal that the houses that build with its wood are haunted, the wood itself produces disturbing noises and even a horrible sound. Example of this are doors made with this wood that open and close without logical explanations.


The cult of Ìrókò is one of the most popular in Yorùbá land, and relations with this deity are almost always based on exchange: 

A request made, when answered, should always be paid, because one should not take the risk of displeasing Ìrókò, since he usually chases those who owe him. 


There is Ìrókò, in no case something is promised what cannot be fulfilled. Ìrókò is connected to longevity, to the durability of things and over time because it is a tree that can live for more than 200 years.

~Ifafunmilayo Osunfemi

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