Iyanifa Ayele Kumari is an author, a healer, a priestess, and a diviner. She was among the first bone readers I met when I was starting out and we had many good conversations about the bones, and about life. She has been reading the bones for many years and I am grateful to her for sharing her long experience here.
- How did you get started in bone reading?
When I was 5 or 6, I had a dream of talking bones on a deep purple rug. It’s my first memory and for years, I dreamed of bones in one form or another. I began divining when I was 18 or so and my love of divination turned to bones when I first saw a Sangoma give a reading. It resonated with me. I began collecting them and intuitively put some together. Later, a friend who was an Akan priest began giving me more details and helped me developed my system more. Finally, I had an opportunity to train with a Nganga and that rounded out my training. I am also an Ifa and Oya Priestess so I included aspects of Ifa and Orisha into the bones too. For instance, I use Opele pods which are traditionally a part of a divination chain in our tradition. These help me to determine a specific Odu signature in the reading, and each Orisha has a specific bone. Oya is a force of nature that particularly governs the ancestral realm so I find working with bones enhances my Oya work.
- How long have you been reading bones?
I’ve been reading bones for about 15 years.
- Did you have any teachers? Who?
Adenseni Kwame is my main teacher. He is an Akan priest. My ancestors also teach me.
- Where did you get your bone pieces?
Some bought. Some from ritual offerings. Some from food. I also incorporate stones, seeds, metal, and shells into my bone set.
- How many bones in your set?
- How long did it take you to put your set together?
It developed over about 4-5 years.
- Are you still adding pieces?
Yes… as I need evolve it. But I also retire pieces too. Recently I added a technology bone to reflect modern times, computers, phones, devices, etc.
- Do you use a special cloth or reading surface?
Yes. I use a wide basket and a cloth that maps out the cosmology of the world.
- Did you do any consecration ceremony for them?
Yes. I consecrated them like the Akan shrine does…with herbs and spiritual baths.
- Do you cleanse them?
Yes. Smudge, earth and water.
- Do you do anything special before doing a reading – invocations, prayers, etc?
Yes. I invoke the ancestors and Esu in my readings.
- How do you think the bones work?
They are an ancestral oracle traditionally. I have specific ancestors that communicate through them.
- Do you throw all of your bones or some subset?
All of them… but I may not read them all in a reading.
- Do you read for yourself? Some people feel that they do not do well reading for themselves.
Yes, I do but I am also open to receiving readings from others. When I read myself, I do it in the third person, as if I am reading someone else. I find that helps me to detach.
- Do you teach bone reading?
Yes. I do. My bone reading course will be on Asheacademy.com in a month or so.
- What advice do you have for bone readers just starting out?
Do self-development first. Gain a wider perspective of the world.. The clearer you are and more connected with Spirit you are the better your reading will be. Too many people want to be fast food readers and not take the time to master their craft. Along with predicting the future, you should also be able to read remedies for situations. That takes time to learn. I would also say this is an ancient art – connect with your ancestors to help you.
- Do you read professionally?
Yes. My website is www.AyeleKumari.com
Iyanifa Ayele Kumari is also the author of the book: Iyanifa Woman of Wisdom: Insights from the Priestesses of the Ifa Orisha Tradition, Their Stories and Plight for the Divine Feminine