OBATALA.

Obatala

The orisha of the white cloth is Obatala. Obatala is the only Orisha that has male and female aspects. He is the orisha that is the owner of all heads whether crowned or not crowned. Obatala is the Orisha that Olofi entrusted to judge justice on the earth. Obatala is the purest of all Orishas and one of the wisest Orishas. He is said to vary from an old man that is always trembling to a young person that is riding a horse. Depending on the path, his main color is white with touches of other colors. Everything put to Obatala is white. He lives in a white tureen that contains his secrets and mysteries. He is a compassionate father and a good listener. He is the father that all that the Orishas look for.

Obatala created mankind and it’s said that Olofi came and breathed life into his creations. Obatala as much as he is the owner of peace and tranquility, he is also a great and fierce warrior when he wants to. With his sword, he battles against evil and triumphs over all. But when he is summoned it is to bring order and peace. He is the white pigeon that is seen flying over to announce peace is here. Obatala is associated with the mountains and high elevated place.

Path Of Obatala.

As the year’s pass, we learn the different Camino’s (paths) of the Orisha. Always, starting with our own Title Orishas. The works I will present is taken from my notes that I have taken over the years from my Padrino’s and other Santero’s Mayores (elders). By no means does this mean… this is the correct way or that one should doubt their godparents (Padrino’s) by any means, in the way you have received your Orishas… These just note that I have taken and collected for my personal use that I would like to share with anyone that would like to have a copy or a deeper understanding of each Avatar of the Orishas. Again, these works are my own and my own personal views, our religion by no means has a uniform base’s… each Rama (branch) and ILE (casa) give the Orisha according to their Tradition. These Posts are only the way some ILES and Ramas re-enforce the Orishas.

And, explain a bit about each Orisha and their Avatars (Camino’s). Again these are from notes taken with my Padrino’s and other Mayores. You may add to these notes if you like or add to your specific Orisha notes that you have accumulated or just notes you would like to add. YOU may find some Camino’s that you never heard of or a Camino of interest. Each time I get a chance I will add to these posts in hopes that you may enjoy or find something you did not know about that particular Camino or Avatar of Orisha. To speak with Obatala is to talk about the soul and spirit. To name the father of all humanity He is the love and the guide to its Maximum expression. His name is divided by words OBBA- translated to Powerful King… and TALA: spilled, extension, expansion. Together the two words become OBATALA, King of all the Santos.

He is also called by many names… example: ORISHA POPO (Orisha that works with Clay) and ORISHA ALA MORERE (the Orisha that possesses the clay). These last two names are associated with the myths that describe Obatala as the creator of the first man and woman of clay.

Other names that are given to Obatala.

  • Orisa Ojenia: the orisha that made and created life and existence to mankind.
  • ALA Baniase: He who gives fourth and takes this name given for his great powers.
  • Orisana: The great orisha.
  • OBA Ba Arubo: the ancient father king or the father of the gray beard.
  • Orisa Gisbiniki: The Great and Understanding King Orisha.

 The origin of the history of Obatala.

First is his name. OBBA that means King, TI that means of or belonging to, and ALA which has been misinterpreted by many to mean. ”white” so “King of white” would be the result, which would be easy but if the accent placed on ALA is changed from acute to Grave. Another, word derived from ALA is… limit or frontier. The ideas that associate with the god are referred with this from ancient Egypt. This could be discovered that Obatala was a king from the river Nile. The word ALA is a form modified from the words Latur au, laur-au, which is a name given by the Ancient Egyptians to the River Nile. Timn, the mathematician used the same name ALA is the designing of the spring off the Nile, which is called PHI- ALA. For this OBATALA could mean King of the Nile in a literary sense. Or God of the Nile in another sense religiously. Once we determine the significance of the name it is not hard to find the original God of the Nile, and where Obatala derives from.

Obatala has been described as the Alpha or the person that works with clay, mud, etc. (Orisa -POPO-ALAMORE), “father of the gray Beard” (OBABA ARUPO). The Egyptian Path or God of Egypt is called Khu-MU he is described equally to Obatala from Ancient Egypt. IN PHILS, KHUMN is described as the same a potter who created man and the gods from clay. For this reason, he is known as the creator of everything that exists… Father of all fathers, the mother of all mothers, creator of the heavens and the world below, the water and the mountains, creator of the female and male birds, fish and animals and assigned to give life to small children. As exposed before with KHUMN, Obatala has attributed these qualities as well to almost every detail. We could then come to the conclusion that Obatala is a survivor of the Khumn of old Egypt.

We could take other factors into account to come to this conclusion as well. Specialist’s that have been working in ancient Egypt have found a large community of black residents lived in ancient Egypt who were originally from sub-Sahara of ELEPHANTINE. It is possible that the contact of these blacks of Africa, with ancient Egypt, have produced the worshiping of KHUMN and changed the name to OBATALA. Here is another great factor the word in ancient Egyptian (MASU) had the meaning of molded of Clay. And similar words found in Yoruba which are (MA) and (SU) which meant to mold and to be a molder. The name KHUMN also is found in Yoruba. Its form in Egyptians is KHUMN-MU and this word in Yoruba is found in the derivative of OCURRI or OCU (n) RI (n) or OCONRI (n) meaning Man. So it could be possible that OBATALA survived in ELEPHANT, re-placing KHUMN-MU as the great god of that city due to the mix of the cultures of Ancient Egypt and the culture Yoruba.

In the importance of IFA, we find OBATALA. WE find him in the line of ascension situated below OLODUMARE. IFA shows that the higher rank of importance was given and understood that He created man upon the earth. Obatala is such a higher elevated Orisha although he may not be our title Orisha he is given the same respect as if he was and adored as such. He is so important to our head for he is the

          “OWNER OF ALL HEADS ON EARTH”.

 

OLODDUMARE.  is to say God and the creator, OBATALA However, archetype within our sight-able and tangible world that together with OLODDUMARE they created mankind.

    Obatala is known like the great God.

He belongs to the psychic system that is to the belief in the being of the spirit and the soul. He dominates in the adoration and respect to a great number of Yoruba’s and influences easily in their religious feelings. His anthropomorphic description (that attributes to God in a human figure), it takes him near the humanity, While is OLODDUMARE, is found to be sublime and cloudy the adoration is popular towards Obatala. The tradition says that OBATALA this only lower to OLODDUMARE and that therefore, He presides over to all the other deities.

Myths or legends.

There are many myths associated with OBATALA One he is represented second in command under Oloddumare. Olodumare, says the legend, created everything including Obatala. But he did not conclude the work. Before going away to the celestial kingdom to live like an absent God he entrusted to Obatala the task of the creation. It is also said that Olodumare created man only leaving Obatala in charge of making the face, mouth, nose, eyes and skin. Another Obatala as the creator of man and the first woman on earth formed from clay. Another Pataki says he created the first child in the womb of the mother and created deformities in people. The Albinos adore Obatala and are said to be his legitimate children. And, yet another myth is that Obatala has the custody over the people entering and leaving the cities that are adored by him. For this reason, he is said to be on the horse with a lance accompanied by a snake, fish, turtle and a leopard.

Some of the Paths of Obatala.

This Orisha has many forms of character from the purist to the more sacred and venerable’s.

  • Ochanla: the old grandmother oldest of the female paths of Obatala. Also said to be involved in the act of creation. Trembling, she loves peace the calmness and silence. She deals with the intelligence of mankind. In ARARA they call her SOFIAKUTE. Born in the Odu  Ogunda Melli  and is the wife of Obatala OshaGrinañan, although some state she is the wife of Olofin himself, and for this, she takes a necklace of  nácar like that of Olofin, that is of complete ácar. One of her attributes is Marfil (ivory), for which takes 16 counts of Marfil and a glory of ácar. Oshanla is the light that appears, the mother of the beautiful light. She is called this way because of the phenomenon of light she used to create her cult. Oshanla protects the human community and is the Patron and supporter of the religion.
  • Obatala Orisha Nlá: Orishanla is one of the paths of Obatala, His name comes from the union of the Orisha and the Nlá, which signifies the cover of white, the authority, the superior and the grandeur. He is the representative of Olodumare on earth, he is divine and takes authority willingly, and he dresses in complete white. Orishanla must demonstrate the same desires as those of Olodumare and treat all with the bond of Orisha and mankind. Olodumare gave the superior authority to this Orisha and he created him lastly to oppose the negative influences of Esu. This Orisha represents Olodumare on earth.  He is represented as an ancient aspect pure and vulnerable, in which combined with grandeur and splendor. Very helpful but always in control, he dresses in a white tunic and lives is a completely white space, he is the only Orisha not to be moved or persuaded by Esu. When he mounts on earth he urgently asks for shea butter which he makes a cross in the palm of his hand and applies it to the occipital bone around his head.  He eats some of the Shea butter which is said to clear his intelligence. Oshanala is from the town of OWO and is very tranquil. It is said he liberates his children from traps with his long hands. In the land of the ARARA he is given the name Orisasá, before him the spray perfume. He is very old and is known to be very firm, he has a relationship with the truth, all things that come to light, the justice, the reason and the purity. He is a direct descendant of Oldsmar. There exist direct debates whether Oshanla and Orishanla are one in the same both represent the ancient Obatala and share many of the same characteristics.
  • Oba IGBO: Is the eye of the “Santisima” Providence. With his wife IYEMU they represent the Fathers of creation and the ancestors of all the orisha.
  • Obanla: She was original to be wed to Eleggua, but Eleggua got cold feet and when he didn’t show up, Ayagunna saved her from disgrace by taking her hand in marriage. Which is why she always wears white. She was a virgin when she married ayagunna. Her colors are white and coral pink. She avenged the death of Obatala when Orishanla threw him off the mountain. Obatala was cut into 16 pieces by that fall, and Obanla was born from one of those pieces. She killed Orishanla and took over his domain in the sky. She rides a horse is about 26 year’s old fights with a Smitar. No one wields that instrument better than she, not even ayagunna. She is the godmother of Ile Ife. And was one of Ayagunna’s many wives when he ruled Elejigbo. Seyitenu is the Arara name of Obanla meaning. “She who gave light to the world”.
  • OshaGrinan: Is the king of the lands of Ketu. He is old a magnificent one. Others say that he is the land of Iyesa. Messenger of Olofin, but also a gentleman of much calm. Takes a walking stick with a Lechuza on top in a metal figure. He represents intelligence, discretion, and experience. He lives on the Hill. Some old ones informed me that he was syncretized with San Jose of the mountain and that between His attributes took a hammer, a nail, a hand saw and a ruler in white metal. He is the owner of the Ibeyi’s on earth. He can hide in the air and walks with a cane, but when angered he will lose the cane and carry a machete. Oshagriñana is considered a son of Oduduwa, King of the Egigbo and Ogbomoshe, He is considered like Makenu the land of the ARARA. When this Obatala is crowned on the head of the Iyawo they must place a crown on top of the Sopera that has  16 Loro feathers  re-parted in 4 arcs on the crown with a sun, moon, spear, fan, axe, a face, a feather, a addá, star, snake, chameleon, Santisimo, a mirror, a chair, a male figure and a horse. He dresses in red and white. His Eleke has nine counts of nácar and one of coral. He is considered the husband of Oshanlá even though he had relations with Yewa. He cannot resist being in the breezes and direct light, and his Otans are kept in wrapped cotton.
  • Ayaguna: Young imperfect, revolutionary and problem maker. My Padrino related things that he had listened to the old ones say that being albino (Ayaguna) He has considered for the race of that time an imperfection. For that reason, his father Olodumare hide him in a room. But he needed Shango to bring the 16 Omolus to the house of Olofin to overcome them battle and to secure the crown of Olodumare. Being Shango the guide, he considered that if he did judge them before Olofin, he would lose his political power and his force of control. Shango do not appear. But Ayaguna, seeing this, called to his father, and put on the clothes of Shango, his crown, and his sword, and mounted his horse and guided the Omolu to the house of Olodumare, Recuperating all that was lost. Olodumare looked at his son and said: Look at my shame, with you, my son, you have saved me you will be called Ayaguna ALLA DE GUMA, For this name means; loyal friend, and you will Be the only Obatala with the power to fight against death. Invincible, undefeated and proud. In our history, the stories of Ayaguna tell us that Ayaguna brought the wars the revolutions to the world and also Gunpowder. The arara calls him EGUETU. There is another Pataki of Ayaguna that says the world was in battles and Olodumare sent each Orisha to try and stop it and none could. One day Ayaguna said he could stop the wars and Olodumare sent him… later that day Ayaguna returned and told Olodumare that peace was now reining of the land. Olodumare in surprise asked how he did it. Ayaguna told him he used his gunpowder and killed them all. He represents the will of the character, voluntary and not to regret the decisions are what they are. If there is no discord there is no progress and it does not advance the world. His wife is called Eyuaro, she is the favorite daughter of Olodumare (she has no power in Ocha). She is only represented by a doll dressed in white next to his Sopera. This Obatala spreads gunpowder and war by wherever he wants and goes. He is strong, young, it does not shake, and He dresses in white with a red strip that crosses his chest, since when cutting heads with his sword he wipes the blood clean on his white clothes. It was this Obatala that said to OLodumare; I will make the war until the day’s end. And Olodumare answered. Until you feel the need to rest they will spend a millennium till that day arrives.
  • Oba Lufon: This Obatala is very primitive. He is synchronized with Jesus of Nazareth. Also, it is said that he is an old woman that when he comes down he is all wrinkled up, very small and shakes from being cold. He is covered from head to toe with a clean white sheet. All the Orisha Obey the commands of this Obatala, For by lifting his right hand and putting on their face, They become more tranquil and agree to follow his orders. His dance is very hard to do… when he dances he almost bends over to the ground and his hands drag on the floor. The spine is completely curved and with grace and timed moves he takes possession. Lydia Cabrera said that this Obatala comes from the lands of OYO, YEBU and EGGWADDO. He is the first to talk and gave humans the right to practice sex. Whenever you ask him something you must ask backward, he was the one who invented sewing with a needle, and the carpentry work , he is the favorite son of Oddua. He is the Obatala that made Oshogbo a great kingdom.
  • Acho, Acholo, and Baba Acho: Is a male path of Obatala he is young and is the king of Ibadán where they give him the name of Alashó Alá. He dances on one foot .In the lands of the Arará they call him Awodó o Akuadó.
  • Oba Moro/Obamoro: Is a male Represented by Jesus of Nazareth. He was the King of Ibao, The son of Olofin. His Otans are four when he mounts his HORSE he comes in the form of Jesus carrying the cross and all the attributes of the passion are applied to him. He falls when mounted and in need have support. He wears white and purple. In the Arará he is known as Jué Até.
  • Yeku-Yeku, Yeku Ono: Some take him as an elderly man and others an Elderly woman. Synchronized with Cristo de Limpias and San Joaquin. He represents Patience and humility. His Eleke is made of white Cuentas with a ball of nectar and Ivory. He takes a cane. One puts a ball from the stomach of a cow he is also synchronized with the Holy Trinity.
  • Aleguema, Aguemo Yema, Aguema: Is female synchronized with Santa Lucia y for others the sacred heart. The chameleon is her messenger, it is said that she is the owner of the Ceiba tree. Lydia Cabrera synchronized this Obatala with San Jose. The messenger of Shango and possesses his secrets. Is the city of the Oduaremú, de Yebú and Inle. Accompanies and protects Odduduwa.
  • Ekenike: From the land of Iyebu, Guardian of the town, war and an ancient who trembles. When he comes down one has to cover the room of Ocha, also where there is a Tambor. The HORSE must be dressed in white or covered in white. And given a toy broom to go out and dance before the Tambor he jumps in the air like a rocket. This Santo is surprised, gives I jump and soon begins to dance. In the lands of the Arará they call him Ahado.
  • Talabi: This Obatala plays like she is deaf. Obatala female who is synchronized with Santa Rita de Casia. Talabi, is called in one chorus of the Jimaguas or Ibeyi. Also, her name is given to the Ibeyi who is female.
  • Baba Fururu:  Is masculine he was the king of the land of Baribá. He gives instructions and balances the problems of the youth. In the Arará they give him the name of Agótigagá.
  • Obatala Orisa Aye: A female Obatala, Represents the mystic aspects of the female Obatala’s, they say she was born in the ocean, while is male on the land. Orisha Aye was the first to come from the ocean. Born in the Odu of Baba Eyiogbe many consider her the messenger of Oshun. She dominates Okinkonko. Her tools take a crown the same as Oshun. Her Eleke is yellow beads to the count of 25 then a cowrie is placed.
  • Obatala Ondo: Another female path of Obatala. Obatala Ondo is virgin and lives in the rocks on the border of the sea.
  • Obatala Ayalua: Female, is known in the land of Ife with the name of Alajúa. This Obatala is a warrior and exterminator she is the opponent of her brother Ayalá, who fabricated the heads on earth. Ayaluá receives no Oriki when feeding her. She lives in a Sopera that is white and green and is covered with a Jicara that is Green outside and is painted with all the colors of Ozun on the inside. She accompanies Oddua. This Obatala is the land of the Egwadó, In the Arará she is known as Bejueleso, the mother of Shango, who was born from the lighting strike.
  • Obatala Alabalache: Born in the Odu Ogbe tura, This Obatala speaks to his children in prophetic dreams. The Arara call him Amukato. He represents the past present and future.
  • Obatala Olufon: Masculine, represent the ancient Obatala who cannot stand to be in the darkness and must always have a light on. He is of the lands of Ifón and the Arará call him Oliseto.
  • Obatala Oloyu Okuni: Is the owner of the eyes of mankind his name in the Arará os Nuetodosú.
  • Obatala OSHA Orolu: Is the king of the Egwadó. His Sopera is crossed outside with a silver chain in the lands of the Arará they call him Agasako.
  • Obatala Okeylu: King of the Kkiti and Abeokuta, he lives in the highest of places. He is also called by the name of Atawé Oré. He is known as Akualisa in the Arará.
  • Obatala Ana Suare: Masculine, has suffered much on earth he accompanies Oba Moro. His children cannot throw anyone out of their home nor raise their hands in anger. In the Arará he is known as Anuá Jono.
  • Obatala Oshalufon: Is masculine and is was he that gave mankind the case to speak, he is of the aid of Ifón. In the Arará they call him Foduya.
  • Obatala Oguiniyan: Male never allows anyone to see his face in the Arará they call him Awémayú.
  • Obatala Obalabi: The Originator of Oyó, they say is deaf. The Arará call him Kuosineo.
  • Obatala Elefuro:  Female. Queen of the oil also known as Imolé. In the Arará she is known as Oñoro.
  • Obatala Oba Ayiká: Protects the homes one always asks this Obatala for a secure home.
  • Obatala Oba Malu: helps in the hardest of times and overcoming obstacles in people lives.
  • Obatala Efun Yobi: Protect his children and those of his enemies. He helps alleviates the pains in the legs and brings harmony to the home
  • Obatala Alarmorere: This Obatala takes in his tools a saw and hammer of silver.
  • Obatala Orisha Yeye:  Is female and is considered one of the eldest of the female paths she is from the lands of Iya Yé, she takes a manilla of cooper for this they say she is close to Oya. Owner of the monkeys  and they also call her dundalé, she speaks in the Odu Odi Ka and Otura Melli, she lives on beach sand  and the Arará call her  Gagá.
  • Obatala Ogbon:  walks with his brother Oggán. In charge of all the spirits of those children of Obatala when they pass to Orun. In the land of Arará they call him Agasawé.
  • Obatala Aikalambo: Male, King of Iká close to Ibadán, born in the Odu Ofun SA. Is called Ajá Nuto in Arará.
  • Obatala Oshereilbo:  Always walks with Shango masculine and is called Amasobi in Arará.
  • Obatala Airanike: warrior walks with Oshalufón is called Ajósupato in Arará.
  • Obatala Oyu Alueko: Is male and does not want any orisha to have other children other than himself he speaks in the Odu Osa Iroso.
  • Obatala Orisha Iwin: Is from Owó Protector of the palace of Obatala born in the Odu Oyekun Melli the Arará call him Jujewe.
  • Obatala Oye Lade: The hunter king of Ekiti. Always walks with Oshosi in the Arará they call him Bajelo.
  • Obatala Ekundire: Male from the land of Iyesá accompanies Oddua the Arará call him Kinisu.
  • Obatala Orisha Obrala: male and very young.
  • Obatala Bibi Nike: male and rides a horse.
  • Obatala Edegu: King of the lands of Efushé, The Arará call him Ayayá.
  • Obatala Abany: Teacher of Iyebú, is blind, lives in water and has a life preserver, is washed in coconut water from green coconuts The Arará call him Mawetón.
  • Obatalá Ayenolú: Male also called Yelú and Laguelu in the city of Ibadán. The Arará call him Akefún y Akuadó.
  • Obatala Yemu:  female sees Avatars of Yemaya.
  • Obatala Agguidai: Male he is in charge of the messages with Olofi, he has four stones and tools that are sealed and they are not allowed the sun, air or dew to touch them.
  • Obatala Orisha Aye: They say he brought order to the world he gave Orunmila the secret of the Ashe of Yefa of the ñame.
  • Orishas related to Obatala.
  • Orisha Boromu: Boromu and Borosia, are two Egbado orishas and for part of the orisha funfun or white deities associated with Obatala. They are believed to be twin offspring of Yewa. The father of these orishas may be Orunmila, yet in Cuba, Olorishas maintain that it is Shango. They are closely tied into the worship of Oduduwa, Olokun, Erinle, and Yewa. It is believed that when Yewa first learned of her pregnancy, the embarrassment led her to attempt to provoke a miscarriage.
  • Eyuaro, Eruadye: Is the favorite daughter of Olofi and Iya. Married with Allaguna. She is unalterable Santa, does not move. It is necessary to speak with her so that Oba Moro sanctions your requests.
  • Oke: The Loyal companion to Obatala Orisha funfun, some say the spirit of the Loma or Montaña.
By: Ota Omi,
My Yoruba Exclusive Writer.
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