Sacred Animals in the Ifa Tradition

Sacred animals in Ifa

Most traditional spiritual systems consider animals to be sacred because of their characteristics and connection to the astral realm. The Ifa tradition is no different in regarding certain animals as being sacred. In the Ifa religion, a wide variety of spiritual animals represent different aspects of life. In many instances, these animals are connected to specific Orisas or spiritual forces. As such, they are often given as sacrifices in rituals and ceremonies to feed the spirits.

However, particular animals are considered sacred or more holy than others because of certain attributes. These animals include cats, dogs, and snakes. While Ifa adherents believe that all animals and other life forms should be respected, they give special reverence to these beings. This is because these animals often signify the presence of a spirit or foretell certain events or happenings.

Cat Symbology in Ifa Tradition

Cats are a symbol of independence and self-reliance. They are often characterized by the attributes of femininity, grace, and beauty. Small or large, these animals are known for their ability to shape-shift all over the world. Likewise, they are thought to have magical powers by many cultures worldwide.

While many cultures, such as the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, rever cats as gods in some instances, they aren’t always associated with positivity. Folklore typically varies based on the color and circumstances surrounding the appearance of a cat. But sometimes, these creatures are considered omens of bad luck. This is why it is always advisable to be careful whenever you encounter a cat.

In the Ifa tradition, cats are very special because of their connection to the spiritual realm. They have the ability to discover lost or hidden things. Beyond this, cats bring blessings to people by their very essence. If a cat not owned by a person becomes fond of that individual, it is a very powerful sign that the cat foresees good tidings for that person.

However, if a cat runs from or appears afraid of an individual, this is a sign that evil or bad energy is around the person. In this case, that person should receive a spiritual checkup as soon as possible. The cat’s behavior foretells an ominous presence in such instances.

African oracle card deck

Dog Symbology in Ifa Tradition

Dogs are almost ubiquitously linked to the attributes of protection, loyalty, and companionship. They are deemed man’s best friend and, as such, enjoy a fairly unscathed reputation in the spiritual world. This applies to pretty much every religious system and every type of dog on Earth.

Few cultures generally associate the attributes of a dog with ill-fated events or happenings. Instead, a dog typically manifests as an omen when it appears in aggressive or frightening positions in dreams or visions. For example, if one dreams about being viciously attacked by a dog or coming across a severely injured, bleeding, or dead dog, this is typically considered a bad sign. 

In the Ifa tradition, dogs are likewise said to have spiritual vision. When they bark at seemingly “nothing,” this is a clear indication that a spiritual force is present. Typically an innocuous bark indicates that a pleasant or benign energy is around. However, aggressive or fear-filled barking is indicative of negative energetic frequencies.

These protective creatures with sensitive personalities can easily sense the presence of evil. Dogs are said to belong to Ogun, the warrior Orisa. As such, they are poised and ready to fight at a moment’s notice. In many instances, this makes them perfect companions for individuals who encounter spiritual phenomena. But do be careful with dog ownership, as this can be taboo for some individuals.

Snake Symbology in Ifa Tradition 

In many indigenous spiritual systems, snakes are revered for their ability to shed their skin, symbolizing the aspect of rebirth. They are also linked to the underworld because of their habitation patterns. In Hinduism, snakes represent the kundalini energy that moves up the spine to awaken spiritual energy. In Buddhism, they represent wisdom and knowledge. And the list goes on for other traditions around the world.

Snakes are also seen as a symbol of evil among religious and non-religious people alike. They are associated with the devil and other dark forces in certain belief systems. In Christianity, for instance, they are seen as a sign of temptation because they are associated with Eve and Jesus being tempted during different times in the Old and New Testaments. One instance resulted in man’s downfall, and the other led to man’s redemption, according to Biblical text.

In Ifa tradition, snakes are considered to be some of the most powerful and sacred animals. These creatures are often sent to do evil bidding by unscrupulous individuals. In general, snakes do not appear in one’s everyday environment. As such, the sighting of snakes outside of their natural habit is usually not a good sign.

If you often see or dream about snakes, it is usually an indicator that someone has hexed or cursed you. Particularly, if a snake is chasing you in real life or a dream, you should promptly do a spiritual checkup and get spiritual protection. Just as their venom can be poisonous when they bite in real life, their venom in evil spellwork can also be deadly.