Fa is in African cult, a system of divination taken from the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and practiced by the Fon of Benin. When the supreme god Mawu completed the creation of the world, two messengers named Koda and Chada were sent to the earth to tell man that each person must have his own Fa. Fa can be loosely defined as the knowledge or destiny given by God to each man whereby he may come to know how to perform the will of the Creator.

It is a system by which one comes to learn the kind of behavior expected of him. One man was selected to contact the oracle by manipulation of nuts from a special palm tree. If the nuts of the palm tree were handled properly, the eyes of Fa would be opened and man would be able to gain a glimpse of the future. This complicated method of divination would permit man to foretell his destiny.

A selected group of heavenly messengers were taught how to work the oracle. The nuts of the palm tree were thrown from one hand to the other. A pattern resulted when one counted the number of nuts left over from the throw. Often this pattern was carved on the skin of a calabash, which was placed in a bag so that the secret of one’s future could remain hidden from those who might use this information against one.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante