Saints Cosme and Damian are the Catholic Saints associated with the Ibeji or Divine Twins in our tradition. This is natural since these Catholic Saints are twins and the only example of twins in the Communion of the Saints. They both were doctors who healed the sick. The Ibeji are directly concerned with healing, but like all the Orishas, they do help in preserving health and well-being. The origen of the Ibeji is with the Ewe or Fon tribes of African, they are not really native to Yoruba tradition. However, throughout all the tribes of Africa, a great respect is held for twins and their magical powers. A family that has twins is considered to be blessed, as the Twins are said to bring good fortune to the families into which they are born.
We are sure that you are wondering what in the world the Devil has to do with the Ibeji. Actually, we refer here to the story of the Melli or Ibeji found in the letter of Ifa called Otura-Di. This is the story of how the Ibeji defeated the Devil. There was a large woods that seperated two villages and the Devil managed to install himself in these woods. Everytime people traveled from one village to the other, they were never seen again. This is because the Devil was eating them as they tried to cross the woods. The Ibeji outsmarted the Devil, by going into the woods and playing the drums. The Devil, facinated by the sounds of the drum music, followed the Ibeji out of the woods. This is the story of how the Ibeji defeated the Devil. When this letter comes out in a reading by Ifa, the seeker is told to make offerings to the Ibeji, so that they will help overcome that person's devils. Often fiestas are given to them, where children are invited and also a pair of drums are placed in front of the Ibeji as a rememberance of how they defeated the Devil. There is another version of this story, where the Devil was keeping the rain from falling and drought and famine was spreading over the land. When the Ibeji heard about this, they came and challenged the Devil to a dance contest. Whoever fell to the ground with exhaustion first lost the contest and had to do the winner's will. The Devil did not know that they were twins and thought he could easily beat the child, so he accepted the challenge. the other Ibeji hid in the bushes and would swap places with his twin brother. The contest went on for days, when finally the Devil fell to the ground exhausted. This is the other version of how the Ibeji defeated the Devil.
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