This class is beginning soon. Please do not wait until the last minute to register. The syllabus presented here is meant to be fluid and subject to change, but it describes all the material that will be covered in the course of the class. Please read it carefully and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Purpose: In the three years that I have been teaching divination with diloggún, I have discovered that a 33 week course in diloggún (almost 9 months) is too much for the average olorisha to commit to. Our lives and schedules in today’s busy world are fluid; and a course lasting more than 3 or 4 months is impossible for most olorishas to complete comfortably. Therefore the original course has been divided into three parts. This is part one, a course devoted exclusively to the art of casting diloggún, but not interpretation (although the basics of interpretation will be covered). It is a 12 week course, which equals three months. This gives me more time and freedom to explain the “how” and “why” of everything that we do in the process of casting diloggún. Remember: everything we do has its basis in one of the 256 odu of the diloggún. By offering a course focusing exclusively on the process of casting, students come away with a firmer understanding of what happens when the diloggún of Elegguá is put on the mat. And please note: we will be studying divination through the use of Elegguá’s diloggún. This is not a course in itá; it is a course in divination for the olorisha who is not an oriaté.
Teaching Platform: We will be using webex.com as our virtual classroom. For tutorials on how to use WebEx, please see: http://www.webex.com/how-to/index.html
Textbook: Because my process for casting diloggún has changed over the years (most markedly the process of marking ebó), for this course there is no required textbook. When necessary, I will provide essential reading materials throughout the course. We will study casting the diloggún through lectures exclusively. You will need a sturdy notebook to take notes. Material not found in any of my books or any published sources will be presented in this class. Of course it will not hurt if you purchase and read the following books as you take this course. Please note that they are available as eBooks, and most are obtainable at local libraries:
1. The Diloggún: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santeria (Destiny Books, 2003). Author: Ócháni Lele.
2. Teachings of the Santería Gods (Destiny Books, 2010). Author – Ócháni Lele.
3. Diloggún Tales of the Natural World (Destiny Books, 2011). Author – Ócháni Lele.
4. Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería (Destiny Books, 2012). Author – Ócháni Lele.
5. Idana Fun Orisa (Yoruba Theological Archministry, 1999). Author – John Mason.
In addition to these books, as the class progresses I will share videos (dealing with the cooking of adimús), scholarly papers, and other written materials dealing with the religion. You will get a very well-rounded education with this 3 month course. How much you learn and what you come away from it with depends on the amount of work and dedication you put into your studies.
Cost: The cost for the three month course is $300.00. Please note that after this course, two more courses regarding basic diloggún will be offered to those who can pass the final exam for “Casting the Diloggún”. You MUST pass the final exam to continue your studies with me. The follow up courses will focus on the olodu (including some information on the composites), and each will be 18 weeks in length. Part II of Basic Diloggún will be 18 weeks in length and will focus on Okana through Obara. Part III of Basic Diloggún will be 18 weeks and will focus on Odí through Ejila Shebora. At the conclusion of each of those courses there will be a written (as in “bluebook”) final exam. You are required to pass that exam to progress to the next level.
Time: Times vary. Dates and times will be announced at the beginning of the course.
Prerequisites: The prerequisites for this course are as follows: 1. You must be an olorisha; 2. You must have completed ebó meta; 3. If you are a iyawó, you must obtain godparent permission; 4. You must have been presented to the Lucumí igbodu.
Attendance: In the past I have had attendance issues with students. For this course I will be taking attendance, and attendance guidelines will be strict. In a typical college level course, you are allowed to miss 10% of your classes and receive a passing grade. In this 12 week course, I will be lenient and allow 4 absences before you “fail.” That equates to 1/3 of the course (4 sessions). If you miss more than 4 sessions and wish to continue your studies with me, you will have to repeat this course. Second attempts will be offered at ½ price of the full tuition, or $150.00. No third attempts will be allowed. The art and science of divination is one that requires discipline. No audits of this class will be allowed. No recordings beyond that provided by webex.com will be allowed. All students are to understand that classes are taught from the state of Florida, and Florida state law governs the use of voice recordings.
Former divination students: If you have previously taken a divination course with me (obi or diloggún) and you want refresh your basic skills, you can take this class and your tuition will be $100.00 for the complete course. Please note: this special rate only applies to former divination students who want a refresher course. It is not offered to new students.
The proposed syllabus is as follows. Remember this is only a guide. Classes will be fluid and I, as the instructor, may tweak the course material as the class progresses.
Lecture: this is course orientation. Since we will be together for a few months, students will introduce themselves to each other, and I will introduce myself and my lifelong passion: diloggún, odu, and divination. I will answer several questions key to this course: what is the diloggún? What is divination? What are odu? And what is the point of all this, really? Come prepared to take notes. We will examine the concept of Olódumare, Olorún, Olófin, and orisha through the Lucumí/Yoruba etymologies of their names. We will also break down the etymology of the word orisha. It is by understanding the etymology of these names that we acquire a deeper understanding of Lucumí ontology. If there is time (each session for this course is 2 hours with a 10 minute break each hour), I will begin showing cooking videos so olorishas can begin learning how to cook the various adimús required as ebós in divination. That is one of the benefits of WebEx: I have the potential to show videos, whiteboards, PowerPoint presentations, and my own desktop. Please note that if I DO show videos on how to cook adimús for the orishas, your homework for that week will include cooking an adimú for one of your orishas.
Homework: A simpler Lucumí prayer (compared to what is published in my book “The Diloggún” will be given with this class. It is expected that students memorize this prayer. Remember that if you cannot pray in Lucumí you cannot open the oracle of the diloggún. It is important to begin memorization from day one.
We will discuss the casting of entoyale, otherwise known as “the odu” of the reading. Every odu has a specific sacred gesture and prayer associated with it. We will discuss the sacred gestures of each odu Okana (1) through Ejila Shebora (12). Also, we will discuss the special precautions and mandatory ebós of each odu. Please come prepared to take detailed notes. Much of this material is not published anywhere. The sacred prayers associated with each odu will be presented and it is expected that the students attempt memorization; however, you will not be required to have these prayers memorized to pass the course.
Class two will focus on the proper use of ibó. It is important that students come to class knowing what is contained inside their divination bags – the bag that includes Elegguá’s shells. Although the class will focus on the use of the four Lucumí/Oyo ibó, those who have heavier Arara and Egbado influences on their lineages will find this reflected in the ibó washed with their Elegguá. It is important for me, as your teacher, to know what ibó you were born with so I can teach you proper pairings for marking iré and osogbo. In this class we will study, in depth, the process of picking hands and what the various ibó mean. The rules for picking hands and the exceptions to the rules will be discussed. There are several patakís that give the reasons for the exceptions to the rules. We will discuss and learn those patakís as well. Also, the odu of the diloggún have a hierarchy which is separate and distinct from that of Ifá. This hierarchy will be discussed.
Homework: Memorize and perfect the process of picking hands. Memorize the hierarchy of odu as it pertains to the odu of the diloggún.
Exam number one: this will be both an oral and a written exam. In front of the class and without using notes, students will be asked to recite the mojuba for casting diloggún. Each student will be asked to show the sacred gesture associated with all odu Okana through Ejila Shebora. The written part of the exam will consist of a test emailed in which each student will have to write out the hierarchy of the elder and minor odu; and then, the student will have to fill out a chart regarding which hand to pick should an odu fall on the mat in response to a question. This test is 1/3 of your final grade. You will be on your honour to NOT use any notes for this part of the test.
After the entoyale (opening odu) is marked, there is a specific question asked to determine if the client comes with iré or osogbo. We will examine the first question asked; and, we will discuss what to do when the reading opens in iré. We will discuss the patakí from Ofún that explains why this is the first question asked. Also, we will discuss what to do if the answer to the first question is “no.” It is at this point that students will also learn to be accurate transcribers of itá should they ever have to fulfil that function. While the focus of this class is on the marking of iré, it will also detail, at every point, what to do should Elegguá answer, “no” to the question asked.
Homework: Memorize the process of marking iré, and where each negative answer sends you in the process of marking intori with the diloggún.
Again, we will consider the first essential question of divination after casting the entoyale. Also, I will give an introduction to osogbo. We will discuss the 16 osogbos and how they are actual spiritual entities, not abstract concepts. This is another mistake novice diviners make in their early work – osogbo is a living, spiritual creature. We will examine the odu and the olodu in which they were born and the implications they bring to those olodu and odu. Also, we will get to know the osogbos intimately by their patakís, and in doing so, learn their weaknesses. Also, we will cover the proper ibó to use for each osogbo.
Homework: Memorize all 16 osogbos in the order in which they are presented. If you do not know the osogbos, you cannot mark the osogbos; and if you cannot mark the osogbos, you cannot adequately help the clients who come to you for help.
This class is a continuation of marking osogbo. Once you know the osogbo affecting the client, the next step is to identify where the osogbo is coming from. Knowing both the osogbo and its origin is essential to helping your client avoid misfortune. Step-by-step we will cover the process of extracting its point of origin.
Homework: Memorize the various places from which osogbo can manifest. Again, if you do not know all the places from which osogbo comes, you cannot adequately help your client avoid life’s misfortune.
Exam number two: This is a written exam. You will need to know all 16 osogbos in the order of importance and you will need to define them. You will need to know all origins of osogbo. This exam is 1/3 of your final grade.
Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu. A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination.
Homework: Memorize the lists of ebós that are presented in this class. Marking ebó is where you work your “magic” as a diviner, and a properly marked ebó can work a miracle in your client’s life.
Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu (part two). A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination. Also, various orishas have several “taboos” when it comes to the cooking and preparation of adimús. Most of this information has been lost. We will study these special requirements for those orishas in this class.
Homework: Finish memorizing the lists of ebós that are presented in class. Again, marking ebó is where you work your “magic” as a diviner, and a properly marked ebó can work a miracle in your client’s life.
This class focuses on the art of giving a reading. There are many layers of interpretation for odu. In this class, we will examine the process by which an odu is unravelled. There is more to the art that speaking about the composite. Each part of the entoyale has meaning, and those meanings are dependent upon the elder/minor status of the two odu that have come together. The parts of the intori plus its witnesses have meaning, and we will examine how to unravel that. There are clues that give us time placement for our divination, and we will examine that as well. Also, we will cover the various points in a reading at which a diviner should stop and ask “eboda?”
This class is the final exam. Please note that your final exam will count for 1/3 of your final grade. To pass this class, you must have a final grade of 80% or higher if you want to continue your studies with me. The grades of all three exams will be averaged together. At my discretion, if you do poorly on any exam I will give you a second chance to repeat the test for a better grade. In the event that a student falls behind and does poorly on all three exams, you will be offered a second chance to take this class at ½ price. Please note: while I do believe any student can succeed with this class if he or she puts adequate study time into his work, I realize that divination is a complicated art and from time-to-time students will need extra help to succeed. Those students with regular attendance BUT have difficulty with the material will be offered extra help, one-on-one tutoring, on a case-by-case basis. If you do not come to class and do poorly, do not expect me to spent extra time with you catching you up. You MUST attend class on a regular basis. Success depends on you. In the end you will only get out of the class what you put into it.
Thank you so much for considering me as your teacher. I love, value, and cherish all of my students, and while this syllabus might seem challenging, few things in life worth having are easy to attain. If you have the desire and drive to become a force of good in the world; if you have the desire and drive to help others (and yourself) succeed in life; and if you have the desire and drive to learn a new skill that will open incredible doors and innumerable possibilities in life, this is the course for you. Give yourself the gift of education – it is the one thing no one can ever take away from you. And an educated olorisha is an empowered olorisha. Divination is my specialty, and it is my desire to help you reach your highest potential. Please, join us!