Una identità in movimento

Magic Number Sixteen. The Significance of the Number 16 in Ifa and Merindilogun Divination

Ewetuga Atare

Oduduwa the Mythological progenitor of the Yoruba people was said to have had 16 sons.

There are 16 basic Odu in Ifa and Meridilogun. 16^2 (16 squared) is 256, the full number of ODU.

If every thing is the same, if it is monolithic, then nothing can exist. Creation happens when there is difference. That difference can be LIGHT coming from DARKNESS, or CHAOS giving way to ORDER. LEFT and RIGHT, UP and DOWN, MAN and WOMAN, EAST and WEST, ORUN and AYE. Or it can be that difference that occurs when Eshu-Elegba screams "No!" in the middle of an endless Night, thus initiating creation of the Universe.

Two is the simplest number in which there is difference. Two times two becomes four, and four times four becomes sixteen. There is a certain basic symmetry to the number 16. If you draw on a sheet of paper or on a divining tray a cross, a holy symbol to us since it represent the cross-road and the divide between Orun and Aye (This world and the unseen world), you divide the paper or tray into four regions. If you then divide each of these regions again by drawing a smaller cross within, you end up with a total of 16 boxes.

16 then becomes a number which holds the memory of Creation when things went from One to Two. (A que no hay malo no hay bue¤o, can be understood also that each thing needs its counterpart, its image) It then takes 2 to the fourth power and makes sixteen. It is taking the cross which represents the cross-roads and then lifts it up to the second power yielding sixteen. It represents all the possible patterns the Diviner can produce.

16 then represents the Created Universe and the basic building blocks of Destiny, that is Differentiation, which is the essence of Eshu-Elegbara.

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