Meaning of Ifa Beads


Ifa beads, a type of African beads are associated with the practice of Ifa, a Yoruba religion and system of divination that originated among the Yoruba people of Nigeria and spread to other parts of West Africa and the African diaspora. Ifa is centered around the worship of Orisha, a complex pantheon of deities, and the consultation of Oracular diviners known as Babalawo.

In the context of Ifa, beads hold special significance and are used in various divinations, rituals and ceremonies.

African Beads (Ifa Beads) and Occult Meaning
The green and brown beands are usually worn by Ifa priests and other Ifa devotees. These beads can be worn during initiation and after initiation into the ifa society.

  • The red and white ifa beads are usually worn by Sango priests.
  • The yellow beads are worn by Osun priestess.
  • The white beads are worn by Obatala priests.
  • The white and red beads are worn by Olokun priests.
  • The blue and white beads are worn by Yemoja priestess.

What Ifa Beads are Used for?

Divination Tool

Ifa divination involves the use of a divination chain or set of sacred palm nuts called “ikin” and a divination tray known as “opele.” Beads are sometimes included in this process and can be used to mark specific patterns or configurations on the divination tray.

Color Symbolism

Colors of beads in Ifa have symbolic meanings. Different Orisha and spiritual concepts are associated with specific colors, and beads of those colors may be worn or used in rituals to align with the energy or symbolism of a particular deity or principle.

Initiation and Rituals

Ifa beads are often worn by practitioners during initiation ceremonies and other rituals. The beads may signify the initiate’s spiritual lineage, rank, or the Orisha to which they are consecrated.

Identification of Devotees

Ifa practitioners may wear specific bead patterns as a way of identifying themselves as followers of the religion. The arrangement and colors of the beads can convey information about the individual’s spiritual path and affiliation.

Protection and Empowerment

Ifa beads are sometimes believed to have protective qualities. Certain bead combinations may be worn to ward off negative influences or to enhance the spiritual strength of the wearer.

Artistic Expression

Ifa beads can be crafted in intricate and artistic designs. The beadwork itself may be considered a form of art, and the patterns may hold cultural and spiritual significance.

Ceremonial Attire

During important ceremonies, Ifa practitioners often wear special attire that includes beads. These beads contribute to the overall regalia and help create a sacred and ceremonial atmosphere.


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