Casting the Sacred Reading the Self

The Material Culture and Storied Environment of Ifa Divination and the Holy Odu

Authors

  • Velma Love Florida A&M University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v4i2.217

Keywords:

Ifa Odu, Orisha, divination, embodied experience, scriptures

Abstract

"Casting the Sacred" examines the material culture and storied environment associated with African American engagements with the unwritten scriptures of the Yoruba Ifa tradition of West African origin, and offers a compelling case for expanding conventional notions of scriptures. This essay builds on the work of historians of religion who take a relational approach to the study of scriptures, placing the focus on the people and their engagement with sacred texts as cultural practice and system of meaning-making. Showcasing the diviner as the chief orchestrator of the storied environment, this work draws attention to the set of personal scriptures derived form Oracular utterances. It also notes the physicality of bodies, shells, divining chains, palm nuts, floor mats, and notebooks, all of which are significant aspects of "reading," a means of accessing and engaging a form of sacred knowledge which clients incorporate into their lives.

Author Biography

Velma Love, Florida A&M University

Assistant Professor of Religion Dept. of Visual Arts, Humnaities, and Theatre Florida A&M University

References

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Grillo, Laura S. 1995. Divination in the Religious Systems of West Africa. Ph.D. disser-tation, University of Chicago.

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Levering, Miriam. 1989. Rethinking Scripture: Essays from a Comparative Perspective. New York: State University of New York Press.

Scharmer, C. Otto. 2009. Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges: The Social Technology of Presencing. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

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Wimbush, Vincent L., ed. 2000 African Americans and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures. New York: Continuum.

Published

2010-11-12

How to Cite

Love, V. (2010). Casting the Sacred Reading the Self: The Material Culture and Storied Environment of Ifa Divination and the Holy Odu. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 4(2), 217–227. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v4i2.217

Issue

Section

Articles