Obi divination is a quick and easy form of fortune-telling comprising a cast or thrown reading determined by four coconut pieces, four cowrie shells that have had their tops cut off, or four coins. Obi readings entered hoodoo through contact between American spiritual practitioners of conjure and initiates of African Diasporic religions such as Santeria (also known as Lukumi, or La Regla de Ocha). Obi will only reply to questions that can be answered "Yes” or “No.” To tell your fortune, the psychic reader will hold the set of four items in his or her hand, pray over your question, then gently toss the items down onto the ground or onto a mat, and look to see how they fell. Cowries can fall "mouth" side up (open) or "mouth" side down (closed). Coconut pieces can fall white meat side up or dark skin side up. Coins can fall heads up or or tails up. Mathematically, the toss will generate one of sixteen possible combinations, which are grouped into five possible answers: Four cowrie shells used to perform an Obi reading Four cowrie shells used to perform an Obi reading
Alafia: 4 mouth-up cowries; 4 white coconuts; 4 heads. Blessings! A “Yes” to whatever you asked about — and you may get even more than you requested or it will come sooner than you hoped. Alafia means "peace." It represents all of the light that is available and able to assist you. It is "Yes" with a blessing of peace.
Etawa: 3 mouth-up and 1 mouth-down cowries; 3 white and 1 dark coconut; 3 heads and 1 tails. A "Maybe" answer. Etawa is an unstable response, and requires a second throwing of the Obi to ascertain whether the answer is yes or no. If the second toss is Alafia, Etawa or Ejife, the answer is yes. If the second toss is Okanran or Oyekun then the answer is no.
Ejife: 2 mouth-up and 2 mouth-down; 2 white and 2 dark coconuts; 2 heads and 2 tails. This is an absolute “Yes” -- but you are cautioned not to ask any further questions on this subject, or the Orisha Spirit of Divination may get mad. Ejife is positive because it represents perfect balance. It indicates blessings of knowledge with experience, and, as such, it may require more effort than Alafia.
Okana Sode or Okanran: 1 mouth-up and 3 mouth-down; 1 white and 3 dark coconuts; 1 heads and 3 tails. “No.” What you asked won’t happen. Okanran is a firm no. The level of contraction or opposition indicates much work needed before the blessings in question could come to fruition. Oyekun: 4 mouth-down cowries; 4 dark coconuts; 4 tails. This is a very strong “No,” and it furthermore indicates that you may need serious spiritual cleansing in order to clear away the negative conditions that surround this issue in your life. Oyekun represents total darkness and the spirits of the dead can speak through this answer. There is an elusive element to the situation, or the spirits may be asking for something. Obi readers will proceed with a series of questions to ascertain the nature of the darkness, or if the spirits desire something. Once the obstacle is determined, the remedy is applied and the reading addressing the original issue can resume.Information from http://readersandrootworkers.org
I love using the cowie shells for divination. Especially after you used the tarot cards or pendulum to clarify a question. Mine was given to me as a christmas gift and I can't live without them.