In Yoruba lands, Obatala is one of the most respected and revered deities, known as the King of the city of Iranje. His wife is Yemu, another Orisa funfun. He was one of the original 17 Orisa. He is the only Orisa who has the Aba and Ase: in his left hand the Aba (ideas) and in his right hand the Ase (power to do it). When they come together, they generate ideas and they come true.

Who is Obatala?

Obatala is the Orisa who had the mission to separate the earth from the water and create humans with clean water, but got drunk with Emu (palm wine) and fell asleep. Subsequently, Olodumare asked him again to create humans. He did the job correctly for a while, but then he started making mistakes for being drunk again, using dirty water, and mistakenly created albinos, blind, deaf, lame, dwarves, among others. All of these are believed to have a lot of power or Ase.

As the Orisa creator of human beings, his followers must offer him a crystalline water gourd that must be changed every day.

Obatala, orisha funfun y uno de los Orishas tradicionales

How to get initiated in Oosanla

The person who wishes to be initiated into Obatala must, first of all, acquire knowledge of this Orisa. After she is able to take care of herself, she can begin her initiation with the babalawo with whom she receives her learning. We must remember that in Traditional Yoruba practice the person interested in initiation must acquire knowledge before initiating. Obatala’s initiation is no exception. You can assess your knowledge of Obatala in the tests available in Ojú Odù.

The initiations are not carried out by chance, because each initiation must have an objective in the person’s life and these are recommended in our Odu de Ifá, either the Isefa (first Ifá initiation) or the Itelodu (Ifá initiation) , as well as within divination with an Olorisa (a person initiated into an Orisa).

How to feed Obatala

To attend Obatala there are key materials that should never be missing, while there are others that should never be used.

Materials for offerings

To make offerings to this Orisa, his followers must be dressed completely in white. So it is the Orisa known as the one who gets up and lies down in white. To serve him, Ori (cocoa butter) and Obi Fin (white cola nut) should be used and done under dim light.

Some Obatala taboo

When Obatala is attended to, his followers must not get dirty. Furthermore, as in all cases of Orisas Funfun, Epo (palm oil) cannot be used in offerings, nor can Obi Abata. Another of the taboos of this Orisa is the Emu, that is, palm wine.

Types of Obatala in traditional practice

This is a very important issue since in Afro-Cuban practice it is believed that there are eight male and eight female Obatala. This in Traditional Yoruba practice is not entirely true. There is only one Obatala, and it is masculine. The Yoruba believe that the others that are thought to exist in Afro-Cuban practice is a confusion with other Orisa funfun, that is, Orisa that have the same taboos.

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