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Cultic Powers of Yoruba Twins: Manifestation of Traditional and Religious Beliefs of the Yoruba

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

T.O. Oruene*
Affiliation:
Collingwood House, London W.I., England
*
Flat 44, Collingwood House, 99 New Cavendish Street, London W.I., England

Abstract

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The birth of twins was believed by the earlier Yoruba communities to be an omen. Drastic measures were adopted in the form of infanticide, or, sometimes, banishment of the twins with their mothers. The ritual killings were gradually replaced by acceptance and reverence of the twins, and thus evolved the kinship cult of twins in which the orisa ibeji, a tutelary deity of twins, became part of the Yoruba pantheon. Twins could be identified in the community by their fixed names of Taiwo and Kehinde. The community prescribes occupations to the mothers, which is learned through consultation with the oracle. The usual forms of occupation, which reflect the nature of the twins, are trading in oil, beans, or clothing, or requesting alms. The orisa ibeji and, by association, the twins were attributed powers of fertility, prosperity, avenger, detector of thieves, and rainmaker. Propitiation and supplication with offerings and sacrifices are an integral part of the cult of twins.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The International Society for Twin Studies 1983

References

REFERENCES

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