List of Oro Proverbs and enlightenment words

Orò Proverbs


Òwe, Yoruba for proverbs, allow us to take a closer look on the Orò cult in Nigeria. One rule for proverbs is: translating does not mean understanding.





 Without knowing the cultural context often you can not interpret them correctly. It is a good way of getting familiar with another culture.




 Oyekan Owomoyela has published a great book I can recommend to everyone interested into Yorùbá culture (Oyekan Owomoyela: Yoruba Proverbs. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 2005). 




There I found some good examples that express how present-day people think about the Orò-cult.






A kì í dájọ́ Orò ká yẹ̀ ẹ́.One does not set the day for an orò rite and then ignore it. (One must not let important matters slide.)






Etí l’obìnrín fi ngbọ́ ohùn Orò.It is only with the ears that a woman hears the voice of Orò. (One must not intrude into affairs that do not concern one; undesirable people should be kept in the dark about important or delicate matters.)







“Mo mọ̀ ọ́ tán” l’Orò-ó fi ńgbé ọkùnrin.“I know it all” is the reason for Orò’s carrying a man away. (Knowing it all leads to disaster. “I know it all” is used like a name for a person here.)








A kì í rí àjẹkù Orò.No one ever sees the leavings of Orò. (What must be consumed must be completely consumed.)Bí eégún ó bàá wọlẹ̀, Orò ní n ṣe.A masquerader who wishes to disappear into the ground cries “Orò!” (A person intending to do something extraordinary should give prior warning.)








Ẹni tó ránṣẹ́ sí Orò-ó bẹ̀wẹ̀ fún àìsùn.Whoever sends for Orò is contracting for sleeplessness. (Whoever deliberately provokes trouble should be prepared for a difficult time. Orò is feared by all.)Bí ẹnìkán bá fojú di Orò, Orò a gbé e.If anyone defies the Orò mystery, it does away with him or her. (Whoever disdains potential dangers eventually pays for the disdain.)







Bí obìnrín bá wọgbó Orò, a ò lè rí àbọ̀-ọ ẹ̀ mọ́.If a woman enters the ritual grove of the Orò cult, no one will ever see her return. (Any person who engages in forbidden action courts destruction.)Ẹni tí Orò-ó máa mú mba wọn ṣe àìsùn Orò.The person who will be the sacrificial victim of Orò is joining in the revelry onthe eve of the sacrifice. (The intended victim innocently helps in making preparations for his or her own demise; if there is the slightest possibility of peril, one should not act carelessly.)









Obìnrin tó gégi nígbó Orò, ó gé àgémọ.A woman who cuts wood in the grove of Orò has cut her last. (Whoever tempts a fate that is known to strike unfailingly has tempted her last.)Òjò n rọ̀, Orò ń ké; atọ́kùn àlùgbè tí ò l’áṣọ méjì a ṣe ògèdèmgbé sùn.The rain is falling, and the call of the secret cult is sounding loudly outside; the shuttle that lacks a change of clothing will sleep naked. (If one has not made provisions for rainy days, when they come one must suffer the attendant hardship.)










Àpagbé l’Orò n pagi.Killing-without-recourse is Orò’s way ofkilling trees. (When unanswerable disaster befalls a person, there is neither recourse nor response.)







Àwíyé n’Ifẹ̀ n fọ; gba-n-gba l’Orò n pẹran.Explicitly is the way Ife speaks; it is openly that Orò kills animals. (Whatever one has to say, one should say without mincing words. Ife refers tot he oracle here.)







Àgbà l’ó tó Orò-ó lọ̀; ọba l’ó tó ehín erin-ín fun.Only a (male) elder is qualified to invoke Orò; only a king is qualified to blow a horn carved out of elephant tusk. (Certain tasks are for august people only.)Ọ̀pọ̀ èèyàn kì í wọ Orò kí Orò gbé wọn.A multitude of people cannot enter the Orò grove and be carried away by Orò. (There is strength and security in numbers.)







Ní inú ilẹ̀kú l’Orò n jẹ.Where the dead are buried, there Orò feeds. (Some people’s misfortune is other people’s good fortune.)







Awo Eégún l’obìnrín lè ṣe, awo Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ l’obìnrín lè wò; b’óbìnrín bá fojú kan Orò, Orò á gbé e.Only the mystery of Eégun is accessible to women; it is only the mystery of Gelede that women may watch; if a woman catches a glimpse of Orò, Orò will make an end of her. (Only certain rites are allowed to certain people; the rest are proscribed.)








Etí l’obìnrín fi n gbọ́ ohùn Orò.Only with her ears does a woman hear the voice of Orò. (The sight of Orò is forbidden to a certain class of people.)







Obìnrin kì í tóbi k’Órò má gbèe e.A woman is never so large that Orò cannot carry her off. (There are certainoffenses a woman cannot get away with.)

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