It is believed that many illnesses are caused by witches who take the form of birds. A Yoruba witch transforms her “heart/soul” into bird form and travels during the night in search of victims. In order to combat them the diviner/herbalist uses staffs with bird shapes as protective devices. This results in a sort of fighting fire with fire, utilizing a particular manifestation represented in art to counteract evil forces. The beautiful grouping of bird and plant-like shapes on the top of this staff combines pure abstraction and semi-realism in a dramatic visual depiction of the real and non-real worlds. The obo diviner must be an expert in herbs and medicinal plants in order to transform himself into a bird to fight the witches on an equal level. The staff depicts this metamorphosis, as the vertical shaft shoots towards the sky suddenly turning into a lovely bird about to spread its wings. What was once made as an essential “tool” for a powerful diviner has become a work of art - continuing its tradition of transformation!