Mythic Heroes: Exploring Archetypes in West African (IFA Divination) Storytelling Today: Iyanifa Marilyn Omifunke Torres, MS

Marilyn Torres

(Chief Olumeto Agbomola of Imota; Chief Iyasale Egungun of Imota
Village of Imota, Nigeria, West Africa; USA)
Saturday Morning Talk: October 25, 2014

”I do not know what Africa is really saying to me, but it speaks. Imagine a tremendous sun, air clear as in the highest mountains, a sea bluer than any you have ever seen, all colors of incredible power. In the markets you can still buy the amphorae of antiquity—things like that—and the moon!”—C. G. Jung

This interactive talk will introduce the Nigerian Yoruba Ifa divining practices as a form of oral tradition. Storytelling links the world of archetypes to the myths and legends used in transmission of these ancient stories that guide individuals exploring the human journey—past, present and future. Participants will have an opportunity to discover how Jungian typology is linked to African Orisas (deities) myths. This mythology provides insight into patterns of temperament and the stages of the Hero’s Journey.

Saturday Afternoon Workshop: October 25, 2014

Our work will now move from the academic to the experiential. Participants will be able to experience the divination practices of the Nigerian Yoruba tradition. A transmission of OduIfa will be given for the collective community of those taking part in the workshop. Each individual will then have an opportunity to map out his or her own Hero’s Journey as it is linked to this divination and the archetypal forces speaking. We will also work with the story of the Orisas from the Ifa Tradition and discover the link to their temperament (typology). This workshop will include working with the symbols, rituals and elements of the Odu as seen through both a traditional and a Jungian lens. Each participant will be able to “walk” with this process for a year (the time period for the divination given). At the end of the year, the true power of the story will be discovered by all.

Marilyn Torres, MS, has been an ordained storyteller in the West African Yoruba oral traditional for over 33 years. In 1984 she received two chieftaincies in the village of Imota in West Africa, Nigeria, as a descendant of the “children of slavery from the island of Puerto Rico.” During her fieldwork in Nigeria, while visiting among her elders, Marilyn was renamed Omifunke in honor of her father’s lineage and her return to her ancestral lands among the Yoruba people of West Africa.  Professor Torres is a residential faculty member for The Storytelling Institute at South Mountain Community College, as well as a trainer/facilitator for Achieving a College Education program (ACE) at South Mountain Community College. She completed her graduate studies at Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy. In 1985 and 1989 Marilyn was awarded scholar fellowships with the Ford Foundation and The Rockefeller College at Albany University, SUNY Center for Women in Government. In 2013–14, she was awarded a research faculty fellowship with the Maricopa Institute for Learning with Maricopa Community Colleges, focusing on the role of storytelling as a teaching methodology for increasing critical thinking and interactive engagement in a learning environment.