Lately, I’ve been stretching my studies far beyond my comfort zone. In my classes I have a psychologist with two Masters’ degrees and one PhD (Obatalá), a Chinese physician who is simultaneously finishing her PhD in herbal pharmacology while studying Western medicine in a Western medical school (Oshun), another Chinese physician (Oshun) who is retired, and an herbalist who is nothing short of a genius (Oshun). Between the mental health professional, the health professionals, and the herbalist who is a health care professional, I’ve been led, gently, to consider disease in relation to the odu. My Chinese physician with an active practice has been pushing me to catalog the various diseases spoken of, foreshadowed, or born in the 16 olodu and 240 odu; and through his work, my herbalist has been asking me to consider the role herbs and the realm of Osain play in our good health or restoration of health. Through it all, the psychologist has me questioning my own sanity as I take up yet another project; and my own health care needs have been leading me to the question: “How do I live and eat and work and exercise so my odu manifests in glowing health, and not disease?” Of course, the mental health care professional wants to know what psychiatric disorders are born in the olodu and odu.
These are all questions I want to answer – or, rather, questions to which I want answers. In relation to odu, I’ve found my next area of research. I began that research today with the only paper I’ve ever read on this topic, a piece written in Spanish by a babalawo. Unfortunatley, this paper has been circulated without a header or a byline, and I have no idea who wrote it, or when. Since it has no author attributed to it, and no title is given, I’ll refer to him as “the author” and the work as “the paper.”
In “the paper,” the author (a babalawo) wrote that in our oral and written corpus, the diseases affecting humans aren’t all catalogued and defined. He encouraged other diviners (speaking to babalawos) to know their oracle deeply so they could establish archetypal relationships, making it easy to catalog all diseases as they rose in the world and ran their course. In my own lifetime, HIV infection is one of the diseases needing archetypal relationships established. I remember once my own godfather speaking on this, and he referred me to Unle Odí where the arrival of new diseases, pandemics, are predicted. “If a new disease comes that we’ve never seen before, it comes because that odu tells us that there will always be something greater around the corner. Each medical advance we make will pale in comparison to the next disease born in this world.” But while Unle Odi speaks of the continual influx of new health threats, that still doesn’t apply the disease against an archetype and an odu through which we can come to know its spiritual nature. And in regards to this, the author of the paper wrote,
“Lamentablemente eso no ocurre, pues el awó ni Orúnmila de hoy, ni se preocupa por estudiar el origen de lo que profesa, y peor aún, su ignorancia supina lo hace declarar que si no está en Ifá no existe.”
Translated, the author wrote, “Unfortunately that does not happen, because the Awo ni Orúnmila today do not care to study the origin of what he professes, and even worse, their crass ignorance declares that if it is not in Ifá it doesn’t exist.”
And then he finishes his brief introductory essay by giving his readers “homework,” so to speak. He encourages them to continue the work he began with his essay, to extract the probable diseases housed in each odu so that more connections and correlations can be drawn. And acknowledging that the work is hard and tedious, he then provides his own research on the first eight signs as they are presented in Ifá. And tonight, because to my knowledge there are no other papers on this topic, I decided to take him up on his homework assignment and do some work on my own. Tonight, I begin with the author’s presentation of the disease and health issues as he presented in his paper, and over the coming days, weeks, and months, I will continue to extract these from the corpus. Perhaps, armed with this information, collectively we can begin to take the author of that paper up on his challenge, and look more deeply into our odu for the keys to good health.
Ejiogbe (Ifá) Unle Meji (diloggún): This is the first odu of Ifá, represented in the diloggún by eight mouths followed by eight mouths; this odu applies to the stomach and diseases of the digestive tract. Gastritis, stomach ulcers, Ménétrier disease, mumps (epidemic parotitis), candidiasis, salivation, oral cancers, esophageal issues, asthma, lung disease, and even cysts or tumors in the breast of women (although breast cancer AND the world’s first mastectomy is born in Okana Irosun). This odu also rules the chest and respiration (my note – the diaphragm). Excess acid production (acid reflux) and bad digestion are issues. This odu also generates personality disorders, such as capricious behavior, lunatics, manias and hypersensitivity of feelings, as well as depression, self-exaltation and self-overstimulation. It marks all diseases related to water and liquids, such as anemia, cholera, botulism, diarrhea, dengue, polio, typhoid, and malaria. [Note: the author of the paper wrote that it was those diseases related to water “among others.” I wonder what other water-related diseases there are?
Oyekun Meji (Ifá) Ejioko Meji (diloggún): According to the author, with this odu one considers the same as Ejiogbe; however, Oyekun does stand on its own. Most of the illnesses here are female disorders, although a few could, under certain circumstances, apply to men. Gynecological disorders, pregnancy disorders (ovarian cancer, breast cancer, personality disorders unrelated to menstruation and personality disorders related to menstruation, menstrual disorders, varices, osteoporosis – these are dealt with in this odu. One must keep in mind that the diseases of this odu remain hidden from doctors, and early detection is often difficult. Please note that this detection issue is also found in Okana; however, disease remains undiagnosed and untreated because of faulty diagnosis, almost always not the medical professional’s fault.
Iwori Meji (Ifá) Marunla Meji (diloggún): This sign governs the bones, knees and the pancreas. that disease of low bone density, Paget’s disease, a disease of low bone density, is found here. Acromegaly or Gigantism, arthritis and rheumatism, gallstone, pancreatitis, knee injuries and other knee problems are common. Also common, but more so in women than men, are sexually transmitted diseases. Extreme psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and paranoia are in this odu as well.
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 Always, brilliance is enshrined by olobatalá and oloshún. Has anyone else noticed that?
 Ménétrier’s disease causes the ridges along the inside of the stomach wall—called rugae—to enlarge, forming giant folds in the stomach lining. The rugae enlarge because of an overgrowth of mucous cells in the stomach wall. n a normal stomach, mucous cells in the rugae release protein-containing mucus. The mucous cells in enlarged rugae release too much mucus, causing proteins to leak from the blood into the stomach. This shortage of protein in the blood is known as hypoproteinemia. Ménétrier’s disease also reduces the number of acid-producing cells in the stomach, which decreases stomach acid. Ménétrier’s disease is also called Ménétrier disease or hypoproteinemic hypertrophic gastropathy. Scientists are unsure about what causes Ménétrier’s disease; however, researchers think that most people acquire, rather than inherit, the disease. In extremely rare cases, siblings have developed Ménétrier’s disease as children, suggesting a genetic link. Studies suggest that people with Ménétrier’s disease have stomachs that make abnormally high amounts of a protein called transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α). TGF-α binds to and activates a receptor called epidermal growth factor receptor. Growth factors are proteins in the body that tell cells what to do, such as grow larger, change shape, or divide to make more cells. Researchers have not yet found a cause for the overproduction of TGF-α. Some studies have found cases of people with Ménétrier’s disease who also had Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori is a bacterium that is a cause of peptic ulcers, or sores on the lining of the stomach or the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. In these cases, treatment for H. pylori reversed and improved the symptoms of Ménétrier’s disease.
 Although breast cancer AND the world’s first mastectomy is born in Okana Irosun).
 Paget’s disease of bone interferes with your body’s normal recycling process, in which new bone tissue gradually replaces old bone tissue. Over time, the disease can cause affected bones to become fragile and misshapen. Paget’s disease of bone most commonly occurs in the pelvis, skull, spine and legs. The risk of Paget’s disease of bone increases with age. Your risk also increases if any family members have the disorder. Complications of Paget’s disease of bone can include broken bones, hearing loss and pinched nerves in your spine. Bisphosphonates — the medications also used to strengthen bones weakened by osteoporosis — are the mainstay of treatment. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.