Mathematical Conversion of the Sixteen Principal Odu in Ifa Divination to Base 16


Religious rituals and taboos characteristics of Ifa are products of the mystery shrouding the sixteen Ifa codes - the sixteen principal Odu. Ifa is transformed from traditional African religion to mathematics and computing by converting the sixteen Ifa codes to base 16.

The sixteen principal Odu, each with its corresponding code in bracket, are Oyeku (|| || || ||), Okanran (|| || || |), Oturupon (|| || | ||), Iwonrin (|| || | |), Ika (|| | || ||), Ofun (|| | || |), Iwori (|| | | ||), Osa (|| | | |), Obara (| || || ||), Odi (| || || |), Ose (| || | ||), Otura (| || | |), Irosun (| | || ||), Irete (| | || |), Ogunda (| | | ||) and Ogbe (| | | |).

Base 16 numerals are the following sixteen digits derived from the Hindu-Arabic decimal numeral system: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Binary numbers occupy an intermediary or transient stage between the sixteen Ifa codes and base 16. The codes are first converted to base 2 (binary numbers), then from base 2 to base 10.

Double line (||) and single line (|) in Ifa are equal to 0 and 1 respectively.

Consequently, the sixteen principal Odu are the sixteen binary numbers:

0000 (Oyeku)
0001 (Okanran)
0010 (Oturupon)
0011 (Iwonrin)
0100 (Ika)
0101 (Ofun)
0110 (Iwori)
0111 (Osa)
1000 (Obara)
1001 (Odi)
1010 (Ose)
1011 (Otura)
1100 (Irosun)
1101 (Irete)
1110 (Ogunda)
1111 (Ogbe)

When converted from base 2 to base 10, 0000 (Oyeku) is equal to 0 and 1111 (Ogbe) is equal to 15.

To convert Oyeku from base 2 to base 10,
Oyeku (0000) = 0x2³ + 0x2² + 0x2¹ + 0x2⁰
                         = 0x8 + 0x4 + 0x2 + 0x1
                         = 0 + 0 + 0 + 0
                         = 0

To convert Ogbe from base 2 to base 10,
Ogbe (1111) = 1x2³ + 1x2² + 1x2¹ + 1x2⁰
                       = 1x8 + 1x4 + 1x2 + 1x1
                       = 8 + 4 + 2 + 1
                       = 15

To convert Iwori from base 2 to base 10,
Iwori (0110) = 0x2³ + 1x2² + 1x2¹ + 0x2⁰
                       = 0x8 + 1x4 + 1x2 + 0×1
                       = 0 + 4 + 2 + 0
                       = 6

To convert Irosun from base 2 to base 10,
Irosun (1100) = 1x2³ + 1x2² + 0x2¹ + 0x2⁰
                         = 1×8 + 1×4 + 0×2 + 0×1
                         = 8 + 4 + 0 + 0
                         = 12

When converted from base 2 to base 10, the sixteen principal Odu and their corresponding decimal numbers are Oyeku (0), Okanran (1), Oturupon (2), Iwonrin (3), Ika (4), Ofun (5), Iwori (6), Osa (7), Obara (8), Odi (9), Ose (10), Otura (11), Irosun (12), Irete (13), Ogunda (14) and Ogbe (15).

Ifa is numbers written in codes. Consulting Ifa oracle is using a base 16 numeral system to count from 0 to 15.

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