Iya Funlayo E. Wood, PhD is a scholar-priestess of Ifa-Orisa, intuitive tarot reader, traveler, researcher, writer and public speaker whose mantra is “scholarship, service, and spirit!” Spirit permeates both her scholarship and her service, and she founded Ase Ire in 2012 as a place to share her spiritual gifts and the things she has learned from her teachers with the world, especially those new to African Spirituality.
Iya Funlayo has communed with the spirit world since she was a child and has been reading tarot intuitively since she was a teenager, for more than 20 years. She was initiated to Obatala, Osun, and Ifa in 2008 in Isara Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria by Chief Efuwape Olatunji and Yeye Olasuinbo Olomowewe. Since her initiation, she has studied intensively with her master-teacher Chief Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu Alagbede with whom she has deepened her knowledge of Ifa-Orisa as well as many other spiritual modalities. Iya Funlayo has participated in many types of indigenous ceremony around the world including communion with La Madre in Peru under the guidance of Doña Cotrina in 2014.
Turning to scholarship, Iya Funlayo earned her PhD in African and African American Studies and Religion at Harvard University (2017) and her research centers philosophical and theological aspects of Ifá-Òrìsà tradition as practiced in Nigeria and in the Americas, and cross-cultural analysis of Yoruba religious concepts and practice – within all of which she privileges Yoruba language as a conduit to understanding. Her work has been published in various scholarly and public venues and she has appeared in documentaries for PBS and the National Geographic Channel. For more on her scholarly work, visit her here.