Obatala is referred to as the father of Ajibosin alias Asunkungbade the first Olowu of Owu according to Owu culture. A cotton farmer and Ifa consultant. At Ife, he was also the first ruler of the community before the arrival of Odùduwà. This earthly Ọbàtálá is however only an avatar of a highly respected entity of the afterlife. Ọbàtálá is an Òrìṣà, a deity and animistic god!
The Òrìṣà Ọbàtálá is vital to the creation myth of Yoruba cultures of West Africa, where he is also manifest in the “white gods” of creativity and justice: Òrìṣàńlá , Oshala, Oshagiyan, Oshalufon, Òrìṣà Ókó, and Òṣà Fúnfún. He also provides the moral purpose of the historical king Ṣango, the Òrìṣà of lightning and thunder. Ọbàtálá is said to have descended from heaven on a chain to mould the first humans and indeed to mould every child in the womb, although he is regarded as only one aspect of Olódùmarè, the Almighty God, who alone can breathe life into the creations of Ọbàtálá.
Ọbàtálá is honored as the patron of children, childbirth, albinos, and anyone with a birthmark. In the New World as in the Old it is said that “Ọbàtálá marks his children”, in order words, they come to life with certain birthmarks, or mutant stigmatizations!
In Yoruba Language, Ọba means “king”, and tala [ala] is undyed fabric, the blank canvas, which is why the King of the White Cloth is said to be a calm judge. Ọbàtálá is honored with brilliant white cloth, white lace, white beads and cowries, white flowers, silver coins, and silver jewelry. He is honored with white hens, snails, white melon soup, pounded yams, and other white food such as ẹ̀kọ́; fermented corn wrapped in plantain leaves. His priests and priestesses wear only white, although his warrior avatars Ajaguna & Ọ́bamoro add a dash of blood red. Ochosi, the Orisha of the hunt is Ọbàtálá’s scout and surveyor and guards an inner court of the alter of Ọbàtálá in the ancient city of Ilé Ìfẹ̀,
The gentle Ọbàtálá is associated with honesty, purpose, purity, peace, the New Year, forgiveness, and resurrection, which is why some authorities associate him with Christ and the Egyptian Osiris. As the divinity of created form, “the old man” is the patron saint of artists, called the Divine Sculptor. He is also called Alamọ̀ Re Re; the One Who Turns Blood into Children. He is Alábáláṣe; the Wielder of the Scepter of Life, and he is O Ho Ho; the Father of Laughter, “Who sits in the sky like a swarm of bees.”
Ọbàtálá is the kindly father of all the òrìṣàs and all humanity. He is also the owner of all heads and the mind. Though it was Ọ́lọ́rún who created the universe, it is Ọbàtálá who is the creator of the world and humanity. Ọbàtálá is the source of all that is pure, wise peaceful and compassionate. He has a warrior side though, through which he enforces justice in the world. His color is white which is often accented with red, purple, and other colors to represent his/her different paths. White is most appropriate for Ọbàtálá as it contains all the colors of the rainbow yet is above them. Ọbàtálá is also the only Òrìṣà that has both male and female paths.
In the religion of the Yoruba people, Obàtálá is the creator of human bodies, which were brought to life by God's breath.
Obàtálá is also the owner of all ori or heads. Any orisha may lay claim to an individual, but until that individual is initiated into the priesthood of that orisha, Obàtálá still owns that head. This stems from the belief that the soul resides in the head.
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