ORÍ & Self-awareness

Among the indigenous Yòrùbá, answers relating to the universal question “Who Am I?” are believed to be ingrained in one’s subconscious Inner-head/Orí-Inú. Similar to a manual that accompanies a product and is consulted for verification or troubleshooting, the Orí-Inú (a transcendental repository of knowledge relating to an individual’s life purpose and unique personality traits) is viewed as the manual while the physical head/Orí is the outer shell.  Just like the eyes are often referred to as the windows to the Soul, the Orí houses the Orí-Inu. 

Self-awareness involves discovering the “art” or knowledge of the “creative self” contained in the Orí;  

This (self) awareness, sets the precedence for the adoption, adaptation and formulation of everyday practices—hairstyling, praise poetry, sacred dance, tattoos/ethnic/body markings, talismanic and beaded adornments and so forth…


ìpàkó-èlédè "progressive" hairstyle

This hairstyle simulates a progression or movement towards an advanced state.

'Significance of the Orí (Head) in Yòrùbá Lore

An awareness of self provides an opportunity to choose hairstyles (Irun-Orí) that transcend beyond the mere aesthetics to reflect the wearer's state of mind or often a desire to attain a prospective mindset.

For instance, a plea to the Eléda (Supreme Being/Universe) for a progressive day, necessitates a corresponding traditional hairstyle like the Ìpàkó-Elédè hairstyle: strands of hair are gathered and nurtured into plaits—emerging from the back to the front of the head—to simulate a progression or movement towards an advanced state. Essentially, the hair on the Orí (head) is styled like an antenna, to transmit one's desire to the Eléda and receive/attract such energy—Ire-Ìlosíwájú— required for advancement or promotion.