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Saturday Basic Diloggun Syllabus–an Expanded Class

Basic Course in Divination: Diloggún [Expanded]

Please note that this is a revised, expanded syllabus. I am extending the class by a few weeks. These extra lectures are presented at no extra cost, and previous basic divination students will receive recordings of the extra classes. Also, please note that the syllabus is divided into two sections to show current students how this course will be divided into two separate classes for future students.

Please note that under each class you will find three sections. Those sections are labeled lecture, read, and reaction. The lecture tells you what I will be teaching in that day’s class. The read tells you what you will have to read after class for homework. The reaction topic will be assigned to each student in class. Also, starting with the lecture on Oché, notebook exercises will be assigned. You will learn about these when the time comes for them. Until then, be well-read and take good notes from my lectures!

Reaction papers are simple. After the lecture, I want you to think about my lecture and the topic assigned. Write about what the topic means to you. There is no right or wrong reaction to these assignments. I want 125 to 250 words (no more, no less) written. This is an exercise in critical thinking, which is a diviner’s best tool.

In addition, every few classes starting with section two you will see an odu assigned to the class. This is an exercise in critical thinking, and based on the material in the textbook plus my lectures, and whatever knowledge you already have about the odu, you will interpret that as if you were divining for a client.

Section One:

This is an expanded syllabus from previous Basic Divination classes. We will spend more time on the process of divination, casting diloggún. Eventually this will be a class to itself. Current students get the benefit of the expanded course. Previous students will receive recordings of the lectures to complete their studies on their own.

Class One:

Lecture: this is course orientation. Since we will be together for a few months, students will introduce themselves to each other, and I will introduce myself and my lifelong passion: diloggún, odu, and divination. I will answer several questions key to this course: what is the diloggún? What is divination? What are odu? And what is the point of all this, really? Come prepared to take notes.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. Also, read The Blood that Runs through the Veins, a paper written by Michael Atwood Mason that I will email to you at the end of this class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction (you can write more if you wish) to the Michael Atwood Mason paper. Compare it to your own experiences as a client of the diviners (diloggún or Ifá). Write about the expectations you had that were not fulfilled as a diviner’s client. Write about what you think the role of divination is in this religion. Try to email your papers to me by Friday morning, before the next class. All reaction papers throughout this course are due the Friday morning before the next class, so please keep that in mind!

Class Two:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. Discussion of the opening prayer (a simplified format will be presented). A description of all ibó from textbook with a focus on the odu from which they come. Also, we will weed out the Arara ibó and use only the Lucumí-Oyó ibó for the remainder of this course.

Read: From chapter one, “Opening the Diloggún,” and, “Using Ibó in Divination.” Pages 9 -29. La Division de la Habana by Miguel W. Ramos, a document that I will email to you at the end of this class. Try to memorize the format for the opening prayer that I give you in class. Prayer is essential to opening the diloggún.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the power that women held early in Lucumí history. Compare this to the power that women hold today. Consider the role women should have in the religion today. Try to have this paper in to me Friday morning before the next class.

Class Three:

Lecture: Discussion of the Ramos paper and student reaction papers. Using ibó and picking hands. We will have in-class drills on this material. This is the point where most novice diviners make the most mistakes, and the picking of the proper hand is essential to divination.

Read: “When the reading opens in iré.” Pages 29-33. Read From Hierography to Ethnography and Back: Lydia Cabrera's Texts and the Written Tradition in Afro-Cuban Religions. This is a paper that I will email to everyone at the end of class.

Reaction: Write a 250 word reaction to the paper From Hierography. Consider the role of written resources in the religion, including your own personal training up to this point. Try to have these papers in to me by next Friday morning before class.

Class Four:

Lecture: Discussion of reaction papers. We will discuss two patakís, one from the corpus of the olodu Ejioko and one from the corpus of the odu Osá Irosun, both speaking on the importance of writing and folkloric libraries. The first question asked; and, what to do when the reading opens in iré. We will discuss the patakí from Ofún that explains why this is the first question asked. Also, we will discuss what to do if the answer to the first question is “no.” It is at this point that students will also learn to be accurate transcribers of itá should they ever have to fulfill that function.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: There is no reaction paper due; however, memorize and learn the lists given in the textbook for iré. Diviners must have this material committed to memory before working the diloggún.

Class Five:

Lecture: Again, we will consider the first essential question of divination after casting the entoyale. Also, I will give an introduction to osogbo. We will discuss the osogbos presented in the textbook and how they are actual spiritual entities, not abstract concepts. This is another mistake novice diviners make in their early work – osogbo is a living, spiritual creature. We will examine the odu and the olodu in which they were born and the implications they bring to those olodu and odu. Also, we will get to know the osogbos intimately by their patakís, and in doing so, learn their weaknesses. Also, we will cover the proper ibó to use for each osogbo.

Read: From chapter one, “When the reading opens in osogbo.” Pages 34-40.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, continue memorizing the list of iré and memorize the list of osogbo plus the ibó used for marking them. When divining, a diviner must have all this information safely stored in his or her head.

Class Six:

Lecture: Marking osogbo. Step-by-step we will cover the process of marking osogbo and extracting its point of origin.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Class Seven:

Lecture: Marking the ebós, or remedies for odu. A lot has changed with my process for marking ebó over the years, and we will cover this in depth. Also, we will cover the spiritual origins of various food staples in the Lucumí faith (odu and olodu); and we will cover some of the patakís explaining why some items are used for food, and others are not. We will examine why animal offerings are a last resort, and should be marked rarely in the course of divination.

Read: From chapter one, “Marking the Ebós, or Remedies for Odu,” and “Giving the Reading.” Pages 40-54.

Reaction: Each student will be given one type of adimú and asked to research traditional Cuban recipes for that adimú. As a homework assignment, each student will then cook that adimú for his or her orisha and offer it “just because,” or, out of love for the orisha. Make sure to take a digital photograph of your culinary creation to share with everyone!

Class Seven:

Lecture: The art of giving a reading. There are many layers of interpretation for odu. In this class, we will examine the process by which an odu is unraveled. There is more to the art that speaking about the composite. Each part of the entoyale has meaning, and those meanings are dependent upon the elder/minor status of the two odu that have come together. The parts of the intori plus its witnesses have meaning, and we will examine how to unravel that. There are clues that give us time placement for our divination, and we will examine that as well. Also, we will cover the various points in a reading at which a diviner should stop and ask “eboda?”

Read: All previous textbook assignments and notes.

Reaction: there is no reaction paper due; however, students should review all lecture notes and assignments, preparing for the exam which will come in three weeks. Students must pass the exam to continue with this course.

Class Eight:

Lecture: did you know that almost every odu that opens on the mat has special precautions for the diviner? All of them have ritual gestures, and some have special ebós that must be done either during or immediately after a session. Also, did you know that not only is divination for the client, but also for the diviner? Most of the olodu have special messages for the diviner only that teach him how to deal with the client or godchild he has sitting at the mat. If we know these messages, and pay attention to them, most of the problems arising from the client/diviner or godparent/godchild relationship can be avoided. This lecture will cover the odu Okana through Unle.

Reaction: Write a 250 page reaction to today’s lecture. If you have godchildren, think about them in relation to this material. What had you wished you known about your godchildren when these letters fell on the mat?

Class Nine:

Lecture: did you know that almost every odu that opens on the mat has special precautions for the diviner? All of them have ritual gestures, and some have special ebós that must be done either during or immediately after a session. Also, did you know that not only is divination for the client, but also for the diviner? Most of the olodu have special messages for the diviner only that teach him how to deal with the client or godchild he has sitting at the mat. If we know these messages, and pay attention to them, most of the problems arising from the client/diviner or godparent/godchild relationship can be avoided. This lecture will cover the odu Osá through Merindilogun. Also, we will review why the oriaté, during itá, does not need to follow these special ebós and rituals during itá.

Reaction: Write a 250 page reaction to today’s lecture. If you have godchildren, think about them in relation to this material. What had you wished you known about your godchildren when these letters fell on the mat?

 

Class Ten: EXAM! It will be given during class time and by email. All students must be present on Skype to take this exam.

Read: Chapter two, “Opening Okana – One Mouth on the Mat.” Pages 55-72.

Reaction: Write your reaction to the class so far. Critique your instructor – were all of your needs met with this section of the course? How could the course have been better?

Section Two:

This is an expanded syllabus from previous Basic Divination classes. We will spend more time studying the final four olodu: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunla, and Merindilogun. Eventually this will be a class to itself. Current students get the benefit of the expanded course. Previous students will receive recordings of the lectures to complete their studies on their own.

Class Eleven

Lecture: Okana (1), one mouth on the mat.

Read: Chapter three, “Opening Eji Oko – Two Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 73-90.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class Twelve

Lecture: Eji Oko (2), two mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Four, “Opening Ogundá – Three Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 91-114.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Thirteen

Lecture: Ogundá (3), three mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Five, “Opening Irosun – Four Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 115-136.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assignment: Ogundá Okana (3-1), iré (2) elese eledá (3), yale (2) timbelaye Olódumare (4). As an additional challenge, identify which had was picked for each orientation.

Class Fourteen

Lecture: Irosun (4), four mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Six, “Opening Oché – Five Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 137-160.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Fifteen

Lecture: Oché (5), five mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Seven, “Opening Obara – Six Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 161-184.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class. Odu Notebook exercises begin!

Class Sixteen

Lecture: Obara (6), six mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eight, “Opening Odí – Seven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 185-204.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Oché Ejioko (5-2), osogbo (3), ano (5-2), elese otonowá (4), larishe si (5-4), adimú (4), elese Oshún (5-5), obi y omi tutu (2), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify which hand was picked for each orientation.

Class Seventeen

Lecture: Odí (7), seven mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Nine, “Opening Elleunle/Eji Ogbe – Eight Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 205-230.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Eighteen

Lecture: Eji Ogbe/Unle (8), eight mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Ten, “Opening Osá – Nine Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 231-256.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Nineteen

Lecture: Osá (9), nine mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Eleven, “Opening Ofún – Ten Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 257-288.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Osá Ogundá (9-3), iré (5-5), elese eledá (3), kotoyale (2), ocha onire (4), elese Oyá (9-9), adimú (9-2), obi y omi tutu (3), eboda (9-9). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked for each orientation.

Class Twenty

Lecture: Ofún (10), ten mouths on the mat.

Read: Chapter Twelve, “Opening Owani – Eleven Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 289-312.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Class Twenty-one

Lecture: Owani (11), eleven mouths on mat.

Read: Chapter Thirteen, “Opening Ejila Shebora – Twelve Mouths on the Mat.” Pages 313-342.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

Odu assigned: Ogundá Owani (3-11), osogbo (11-5), arayé (3), elese obini (4), egun onire (11-11), ebo misi (9-9), eboda (3). As an additional challenge, identify the hands picked.

Class twenty-two:

Lecture: Ejila Shebora (12), twelve mouths on the mat.

Read: there are no further reading assignments. All material will be given in lecture.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-three

Please note – there is no well-written material anywhere about these signs: Metanlá, Merinlá, Marunlá, or Merindilogún. Knowledge will come exclusively from lectures.

Lecture: Metanlá (13), thirteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class Twenty-four:

Lecture: Merinlá (14), fourteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-five:

Lecture: Marunlá (15), fifteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-six:

Lecture: Merindilogún (16), sixteen mouths on the mat.

Reaction: Proverbs to be assigned in class.

 

Class twenty-seven: In class final exam! Come prepared to interpret an odu (entoyale and intori), and come prepared to write a lot – from memory!

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