The development of the 16 tetragrams - Universal Ifa
Adding again a single line and double line to the trigrams then produces the 16 tetragrams. These 16 tetragrams represent the 16 fractals or fractions of light reflected on the moon by the sun. This becomes the universal application of Ifa's 16 signs. The ancients in nearly every culture used lunar calendars first. The lunar calendar reflected 29 1/2 days as seen by the earth in the southern hemisphere. There were 32 actual rotations. The full moon was the epitome of power and some cultures began the cycle at the full moon. From there, the moon would make its descent through the waning moon to the new moon. Then the ascent through the waxing moon crescent to return to the full. So, the 16 is related to the full moon and or the number of days it takes from the dark moon to the full moon. 15 are visible and the 16th is not. Other ways it has been presented is through the 16 phases of the moon. Here we can relate the odus
The 16 primary odus reflect the laws of nature from the cosmic to the personal. These odus reflect nature through the ecology, biology, chemistry, psychology, etc. From the demonstration, we can see that the Ifa Odus principles are an evolution in understanding of how the universe extracts, and expands,and evolves.
What is universal are all of the instances these same principles are reflected throughout the indigenous world. Not only do the 16 mother odus show up in West African traditions including the Yoruba, Dahomey, Igbo, Fon, Ewe, etc, they show up all over the world including the Americas and Indus Valley civilizations.
In Ifa, we express these principles this way as a multiplied or concentrated energy as vertical lines with the open lines being a double line and the closed line being a single row of lines.
Extracting and reflected in nature from our previous posts, we find the 16 Mother Odus as the 16 moon phases.
Native American 16 Directions
The Indus kush valley Tantric texts speaks of the 16 nityas of Kali and the 16 Tithes of Shakti which represent the waning and waxing moon respectively along with the ancient mothers This idea evolved into the 16 kalas of Krishna later and are associated with the Shastra Ramala oracle based on 16 signs. The Skiddy of Madagascar have 16 signs in their oracles along with the 16 katas in the South African oracles. These became the basis of counting and evolved a divination system with over 100 pieces and infinite combinations. The Arabic have a geomantic oracle of 16 signs that is called Al Raml and it evolved to the system of geomancy used in European mystery systems. The Hebrews are said to have 16 signs in the Urim and Thummim oracle. The Native Americans and Sioux have a divination system using 16 stones reflecting the 16 directions on the medicine wheel. The Kemetic people had a binary oracle with the entire 32 aspects and combined 32 x 32 producing 1024 combinations. In addition, the Egyptian mythology where Osirus 's body is cut into 16 parts also reflects the 16 signs as key principles in the cultivating divinity within. The Sumerian oracle called the Datu also reflects the 16 signs.
This is a meditation and reflection journal on Ifa and African Spiritual Traditions. This is not intended to reflect popular or conventional beliefs so much as it is intended to explore the sacred wisdom of Africa beyond religious dogma. Like all traditions, there is a religious component practiced by the lay person, and then there is the esoteric tradition practiced by seekers of spiritual truth. The difference is in the approach. My approach is through understanding the laws of nature itself we can understand Ifa... and vice versa. Through understanding these laws, we gain insight into our very nature and can use these sacred tools and wisdom for our evolution and advancement as souls on the planet. They ultimately allow us to live in harmony on the planet and in alignment with our divine destinies and with nature itself.