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Obatala

Orishas

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OBATALA
“The word “Oba” is typically translated to mean King but is actually an elision of “O” meaning spirit and “Ba” meaning male energy or in metaphysical terms expansive energy. Ancient Afrakans recognized the relationship between sunlight (spirit) and matter as Obatala is illumination.  Obatala is the consciousness of creativity (the epitome of Kuumba) and the wisest of the Orisa.
…..He is the white light which contains all colors and yet transcends them through his ability to objectively put all of their energies in proper perspective. He is the fabric/cloth that binds all things in Nature.”  Excerpt from “Grasping the Root of Divine Power”.

In fact Obatala is not an Orisha but rather an emanation of Oludumare. Obatala is the force of ompnipresence.
The Obatala energy is not an Orisha although it is commonly listed as such. This is a mistake. It is among a different type of entities in the Yoruba tradition than the Orisha entity. Obatala is a direct emanation from Olodumare. There are three major emanations- Oduduwa which represents omnipotence, Orumila which represents the omniscience, Obatala for omnipresence. These three faculties are found within a human being, thus one has the ability of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.

The Obatala energy is also known for creativity, solace, meditation. It is a complimentary energy to the Eshu energy, they interoperate with one another. In dealing with the interoperability between Eshu and Obatala, we are dealing with enlightenment (Obatala) and transformation (Eshu). Obatala energy helps the user to come to a place of new knowing, enlightenment which is just as critical as a transformation because through enlightenment one is able to attract attention from the celestial forces which live in the dark. When one increases their capacity to raise their light projection, one becomes more recognizable by spirit beings, more understandable to them. The enlightenment aspect of ones spiritual walk is as critical as the transformation aspect.

Obatalá (Obbatalá) is called the creator of earth and the sculptor of mankind because he was given this job by his father Olodumare, the Most High in the Lucumí pantheon.  According to a patakí (sacred story), Olodumare sent Obalatá to earth at the beginning of time, when there was nothing there but water.  Olodumare gave his son a little bit of dirt and a chicken, and he told him to create the earth with it. Obatalá put the dirt in a pile in the middle of the sea and put the chicken on top of it. Soon, the chicken started scratching the dirt, spreading it around, and that's how the earth took shape.  Once the continents had been formed, Olofi, another manifestation of the Most High, told Obatalá to form human beings.  Obatalá obeyed, adding the final touch by putting heads on the bodies of the humans he created. That's why Obatalá is said to be the owner of all heads.

Another patakí says that Obatalá saved humans from destruction.  On one occasion, the Orichas were having a party and they forgot to invite Yemayá.  She was so angry that she whipped up the oceans and flooded the world.  Humans were terrified and didn't know what to do, so they ran to Obatalá and asked him to intervene.  He ordered Yemayá to retreat, and she did out of respect to him.   Obatalá, as the creator of earth, can be the only one to end it.  Obatalá is the owner of all things that are white, as well as the human head and all of its thoughts and dreams. He also owns silver and white metals, and the ceiba tree. Obatalá likes cotton, cocoa butter, cascarilla (powder made of egg shells), marble eggs, and snails.  As tribute, he likes merengues, white rice, white custard, rice pudding, black eyed peas, fruits with a grainy texture like pomegranates, pears and custard apples, roasted ñamé (sweet potato) and malanga (taro root). Obatalá's food can never be salted.  He's an Oricha who came directly to earth from  the  
celestial realm  
the as the son of the Most High, specifically Olodumare and Olofi.  He was sent to earth to do good and govern as the king of the planet.  Obatalá is calm, wise, understanding, and he loves peace and harmony. He demands proper behavior from his children and, out of respect, they obey him.  No one can swear or blaspheme in front of Obatalá, and no one should appear naked in his presence.  He hates alcohol and prohibits his children from drinking it.  He always dresses in white, and his eleke (beaded necklace) is also white. He lives in a white porcelain sopera (soup tureen) kept on the altar of the home. Obatalá protects against blindness, paralysis and dementia.   

Obatalá Takes Many Forms
Orichas have different paths,  meaning that the same Oricha can be manifested through different avatars.  Obatalá can be either male or female, depending on his paths.  For example, Obatalá Ocha Griñán, Obatalá Obu Moró, and Obatalá Ayáguna are male; Obatalá Obanlá, Obatalá Ochanlá, and Obatalá Alaguema are female.  In all, Obatalá has 24 paths.  Some practitionters will know Obatalá as mother and others will know him as father.  The sons and daughters of Obatalá are strong willed but they're peaceful, calm and trustworthy people.  They're a bit reserved, and don't complain much.  Because Obatalá is the owner of human heads, his children are usually very intelligent and fond of studying.  Obatalá likes order and cleanliness.  He likes to have a calm environment.  He's patient with his children and very loving toward them, but he must be respected and obeyed.  Obatalá's number is 8. His feast day is September 24.  Some lineages say his day of the week is Thursday, and others say Sunday.  In nature, tall majestic mountains are his symbol.  Because Obatalá is considered the creator of human beings, everyone can ask him to intervene and help in times of need.  Obatalá will intercede when other Orichas are turning a deaf ear.
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