top of page

The Hidden Duties of Esteemed Elders

Iyalorisa, Babalorisa, Oba-Oriate and Babalawo hold revered positions as spiritual leaders and custodians of sacred knowledge. While their roles may be visible during rituals and ceremonies, much of their work happens behind the scenes, guiding, supporting, and maintaining the spiritual well-being of their respective iles. In this article, we delve into the hidden duties and responsibilities these esteemed practitioners undertake in their sacred spaces.

Preservation of Sacred Knowledge:

At the heart of their roles, iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo are entrusted with preserving and transmitting sacred knowledge passed down through generations. This includes knowledge of rituals, prayers, divination techniques, and spiritual teachings essential for the practice of Yoruba spirituality. Through rigorous study, meditation, and spiritual discipline, they ensure the continuity and integrity of these ancient traditions within their iles.

Divination and Spiritual Counseling:

One of the primary duties of iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo is to offer divination services and spiritual counseling to members of their community. Using divination tools, they provide insights, guidance, and solutions to the challenges and dilemmas faced by their clients. This may involve interpreting Ifa verses, prescribing rituals or offerings, and offering spiritual advice tailored to the individual's needs.

Maintenance of Sacred Spaces:

Iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness, sanctity, and orderliness of their respective iles. This includes overseeing the upkeep of ancestral altars, shrines, and ritual spaces, ensuring they remain pristine and conducive to spiritual practice. They also perform regular spiritual cleansings, energetic clearings, and protective rituals to safeguard the ile from negative influences and maintain its spiritual vibrancy.

Community Leadership and Guidance:

As spiritual leaders, iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo provide leadership, guidance, and support to members of their community. They serve as mediators in conflicts, mentors to younger initiates, and pillars of strength during times of adversity. Through their wisdom, compassion, and integrity, they inspire devotion, foster unity, and cultivate a sense of belonging within the ile community.

Ceremonial Preparations and Offerings:

Behind every successful ritual or ceremony lies meticulous planning, preparation, and coordination. iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo oversee the logistics of ceremonial preparations, ensuring that all necessary materials, offerings, and participants are present and accounted for. They meticulously follow prescribed protocols, prayers, and invocations to invoke the blessings of the orisa and ancestors, creating an atmosphere conducive to spiritual communion and divine intervention.


The roles of iyalorisa, babalorisa, oriate and babalawo extend far beyond the visible aspects of their practice, encompassing a myriad of responsibilities that ensure the spiritual vitality and integrity of their respective iles. Through their dedication, knowledge, and unwavering commitment, they serve as custodians of Yoruba spirituality, guiding, nurturing, and uplifting their communities with grace and wisdom.


Alaje Fadesiye

0 views0 comments


bottom of page