Pataki of Obatala
Pataki of Obatala Olofi was thinking one day in the heavens about the creation of life down on the planet earth that him and Olodumare created. The planet earth was just water where Olokun ruled. Olofi called his wise court to sit and discuss the creation. Orula who was present told Olofi that life can be created on Olokun’s kingdom but an ebbo needed to be performed. Orula looked into the divination oracle that he had some knowledge of and told Olofi that someone wise had to perform this ebbo so that life can be created. Olofi told Obatala that he would be entrusted to perform this task. Orula looked deeper into the oracles and told Obatala that he had to descend with some items to create the lands where civilization and life can exist. Orula told Obatala that he had to descend on a long chain from the heavens with a hen and sand. Obatala asked Orula if that was all in which Orula replied yes. The day came and Obatala descended onto the watery domain of Olokun and performed the ebbo that Orula spoke to him about. Right before his eyes the land started to appear right beneath his hanging feet. Obatala jumped down and was the first orisha to hit land. When Obatala looked up Elegua was descending on the chain. Obatala asked Elegua what was he doing and Elegua responded to him that he was seeing if he needed any type of help. Obatala started to walk the lands that were created from the heavens. Obatala and Elegua noticed how trees started to grow, grass started to grow, flowers were springing out. Obatala was happy and told Elegua to go back and tell Olofi that the work on earth is being done. Elegua climbed up the rope to tell Olofi what was going on. Olofi pleased, sent a white pigeon down to earth to Obatala which this became his symbol. Olofi came to the earth and told Obatala that it was needed for some type of life form to be on the earth. Olofi said that he wanted mankind to walk the earth but did not want them to have the ashe that the orishas have. Obatala agreed and told Olofi that he would help him create mankind. Olofi told Obatala that he would give him that task as he had other things to create within the heavens and space. Obatala bowed his head and agreed to create mankind. Obatala asked how should he create mankind and Olofi told him to make them in human form just as the orishas. Olofi told Obatala to form them and when he was ready to call him and he would come down and breathe life into them. Obatala agreed and with the sands of the earth he started to form and mold what we are today. After a few hundred of molds Obatala called Olofi to come breath air and life into the molds. Olofi came and saw miles upon miles of human molds lying on the sands of the earth and proceeded to blow life into them. Once life was blown, these humans stood up and were told to make prosperous and humble lives praising Olodumare as the creator. They went in different directions and started to live their lives. This went on for days and Obatala worked hard making human forms. The sun was hot supplying light and energy to the land and it made the job hard to do. But one day Obatala grew very tired and decided to take a break of his task that Olofi asked of him. He walked over to a tree that was giving shade to the land and sat underneath it. He took a breather and reached for his white pouch where he had his oti. Obatala sat under the tree and started to drink his oti to quench his thirst. Without realizing, he drank all of his oti and he had none left. Obatala stood up and staggered over to where his molds were. He began again molding and shaping human forms. But without noticing, his molds and creations were coming out a little weird. He made molds that were missing limps, he made deformed bodies, he made molds with no type of pigmentation and so forth. When he finished he did what he usually does and summoned Olofi to breathe life into them. Olofi came to the earth and saw the molds lying lifeless on the sands and since he trusted and reviewed Obatala’s work in the past he did not notice that these molds were different. Olodumare proceeded to breathe life into these humans. When life was given to them, they stood up and Olofi noticed that they all had different deformed bodies. Olofi got upset and questioned Obatala on this creation he did. Obatala seeing this, knew that he did something wrong and disrespected Olofi’s overall dream. Obatala told Olofi that he was drinking and it made his mind blurry and he did not mean to do this. He begged Olofi for forgiveness and told Olofi that from this day forward he would take all of those creations as children of him. He would take care of them and look after them and keep them from harm. Olofi shook his head and accepted Obatala’s apology and request. Obatala also told Olofi that he would never drink again due to what he did with the creations of man. Obatala’s feast day is September 24th, the same day as the catholic image, The Virgin Mary. His number is 8 and all multiples of it. Obatala is a loving and caring father not only to his children but to the other orishas. The orishas seek advice and give a high respect to the great orisha. Obatala which means father of the cloth is said to cover all man and earth from harm. He loves all that is white and all of his offerings are made of white, whether it is foods or animal sacrifice. He loves white yams, snails, fruits, white cloths and etc. Everything given to him must be topped with efún (powdered egg shell) or orí (cocoa butter). Obatala walks with a tall walking staff and with his white iruke, cleaning himself and the world. Obatala does have children as said above and he is initiated on their heads. His children are very smart and wise and they can also be very sneaky. He is the patron orisha of all deformed humans such as albinos, down syndrome humans, and the medically challenged. He also has children that he created who do not have any of these symptoms but he took their heads due to he loves them dearly. Obatala’s sacrificial animals are all white and they are female goats, hens, pigeons, guinea hens. In some of his aspects he eats roosters and turtles as well. His abode is made up of nothing but the finest and purest white cloths found. He is the owner of silver that the orisha Boyuto found and gave to him. He is a swift and just judge. He is the one that contains the key to his son Ochosi’s house. Whenever there is war or disagreement amongst the orishas, humans or nations, Obatala is summoned to bring peace and restore order.
By: Ota Omi, My Yoruba Exclusive Writer.
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