In ancient times, a prosperous farmer known as the monkey hunter, lived in a town called Isokun. He was known as the “monkey hunter” because his cultivation was so prolific that monkeys eat his crops and became a plague to him.
Thought he tried to get rid of the monkeys, they keep coming back and eat everything he had. He and his workers even watched the crops throw stones, hit them with stick and even killed the monkeys but monkeys refuse to stay away.
Finally the farmer find a way to keep away the monkeys but the monkeys made Juju (witchcraft) so it started to rain, when the workers saw the rain, they went home thinking that the monkeys wouldn’t eat the crops while it rained, not aware of the monkeys witchcraft so that they could eat in the rain.
When the farmer saw this, he ordered a roof to protect the workers from the rain and he managed to kill many monkeys.
The farmer had many wives and one day when a diviner came to town, he predicted to the farmer, that if he kept killing monkeys.
None of his wife would be able to give him children, this because monkeys are very wise and powerfull and they have the faculty to send Àbíkú (born to die prematurely) to his wives wombs. He was told to let the monkeys eat from his crops on his land.
The farmer did not believe the Babaláwo and kept killing monkeys. The monkeys met up and started to plane a way of vengeance the farmer until they came up with the idea to send the Àbíkús.
Two of the monkeys transformed to Àbíkús and went to the womb of the farmer’s wife and when the wife gave birth, she gave birth to two children at the same time.
This was the first time anybody gave birth to two children at once and some said “good fortune for the farmer” while others said “this is a bad sign to the farmer, since only monkeys give birth to twins.
But because the twins where Àbíkús they soon died, and the monkeys returned to the place of the “unborn”.
Again one of the wives got pregnant and when she gave birth, she also gave to birth to a pair of twins, and because they where monkeys they soon died again, and so all the wives went through the same thing.
The farmer got desperate, because he did not have children to inherit to. He traveled to a faraway place to consult with Òrúnmìlà, and was told that his problems where provoked by the monkeys.
The monkeys where sending Àbíkús to the wombs of his wives, because he caused them a great misery and in vengeance they were doing Juju (witchcraft).
Òrúnmìlà said that if he allow them to eat from his crops, maybe they will stop. The farmer returned to Isokun and stopped the hunt and the killing of the monkeys, soon the monkeys started to eat calmly. Once again one of the wives got pregnant and gave birth to a pair of twins.
The farmer got scared of losing the children the same way he lost the previous once, so he went to consult the Ifá’s oracle, to ensure that his children would not die again, and he was told by Ifá that his twins where not Àbíkús.
He was also told that the monkeys where now appeased. The twins weren’t ordinary children they had the power to reward or punish humans.
Ibeji The Protector
Their protector is Òrìsà Ìbejì and he will send illness, loss (pregnancy) and poverty to anybody who abuse them, and those who treats them well, will be rewarded with children and good fortune.
Ifá also said that no matter what ever made the Ìbejì’s happy has to been given to them. Because the Ìbejì’s where sent to earth by the monkeys, offerings has to been given to Òrìsà Ìbejì. Neither the twins nor their parents are allowed to kill or eat monkeys.
The farmer returned to Isokun and told his wife about Ifa’s revelation. His wives followed Ifa’s recommendations and soon the god fortune returned home to the farmer.
Twins Names In Yoruba
From this day the twins where called: Adanjunkale (sparkling eyes at home). The first one that is borne is called: Taiwo (To-aiye-wo: He who comes to try life).
The second one is called: Kehinde (Ko-ehin-de: He who comes after the other) and is the oldest one. The Yoruba populace believes that Kehinde always sends Taiwo to see if it is worth to live.
The Ìbejìs represents the birth of two or more children at the same time. It is considered that they not only have special powers, they were also sand to earth by Sàngó himself.
In the Òrisà cult, the Ibejis can also descend from other lineages, besides Sàngó, for example from Yemoja or Obàtálá.
On the other hand the Ibejis that belongs to Obàtálá also descends from Sàngó, but because they where born albinos they where hand over to the Òrìsà funfun cult.
Ibeji Benefits And Colours
The Ìbejì are in general the protectors of the children and they are also used for union of people. The Òrìsà Ìbejì rests on two wooden dolls.
When they descend from Yemoja with Sàngó, the male is dressed in red and white and the female in baby blue and white this colours are also used for the necklaces.
When they descend from Òsun with Sàngó they are booth dressed in red white and yellow colours. But there is also another combination and it is when they descend from Oya with Sàngó, and in that case they are dressed in fabrics with 9 sparkling colours.
They are greeted by saying “Beji oro!” (double born Spirit).
Ìbejì Prayers (Incantation) And Translation
Giving birth to twins brings good fortune
B’eji b’eji ‘la
Giving birth to twins brings wealth
B’eji b’eji ‘wo
Giving birth to twins brings money
Iba omo ire
I praise the children they bring good things