Onile

October 31st, 2008 by sabrina

Samhain Blessings, everyone! It’s a beautiful evening for trick-or-treating here, and there is just the right amount of wind to feel the spirits as they pass among us. I thought a Goddess involved in the cycle of life and death would be appropriate for this special night.

Onile is the Yoruban Goddess of the earth. A special society called the Ogboni serves Onile, and one of their particular roles is in settling disputes that involve spilling of blood onto Onile’s sacred earth. She is said to have existed before the other orishas or Gods. Onile is very similar to the Ibo Goddess Ala, in that she represents both the fertile and the fallow earth, the beginning and the ending, life and death. Her name, which means “owner of the earth,” is also seen as Ile.

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3 responses about “Onile”

  1. Ijebu said:

    very Nice summary, Just to add. The Yoruba only believe in one god and several deities(Orisa) under God. We don’t have gods or goddesses. However Onile is not one of these deities. Onile is simply the spirit, essence of the earth, it is not orisa.Unlike many other Orisa, Onile never walked the Earth(because she is the Earth), and never appeared in huma form.

  2. Walking Dead said:

    Just to a tid bit to what Ijebu wrote.

    He is correct, Onile would be sort of an avatar, not Orisa.

  3. john mainwaring said:

    I have an old and important piece of Ogboni regalia where Onile is kneeling on 17 heads.
    Is there an explanation for the 17 heads?