The Creator God
In Yoruba religion, Obatala is a creator god; he made human bodies, and his father, Olorun breathed life into them. While Olorun is considered the creator of the universe, Obatala created the world and Oduduwa created humanity, being seen as the father of orishas and humankind. Obatala is also the owner of all heads. Any orisha may lay claim to an individual, but until that individual is initiated into the priesthood of that orisha, Obatala still owns that head. This stems from the belief that the soul resides in the head.
Obatala also created "defective" (handicapped) individuals while drunk on palm wine, making him the patron deity of such people. People born with congenital defects are called 'eni orisa': literally, "people of Obatala". He is the god of the north. He is always dressed in white, hence the meaning of his name, Obatala (King who wears white cloth). His worshippers strive to practice moral correctness as unblemished as his robe.
In Candomble, Obatala (Oxala or orisaala) is the oldest "Orisa funfun" ("white god", referring to spiritual purity and pure light, both physically and symbolically as in the "light" of consciousness). In the Bahia State (Brazil), Obatala has been syncretized with our Lord of Bonfim and is the subject of a large syncretic religious celebration, the Festa do Bonfim, which takes place in January in the city of Salvador.
In Santeria, "Regla de Ocha branch", Obatala has been syncretized with Our Lady of Mercy.
Obatala is the eldest of all orisa and was granted authority to create the earth. Before he could return to heaven and report to Olodumare however, his rival Oduduwa or Oodua, often described as his younger brother, usurped his position by stealing the satchel and returning to heaven. A great feud ensued between the two that is re-enacted every year in Ile Ife, Nigeria. Ultimately, Oodua and his sons were able to rule without Obatala's consent.
In Yoruba theology, Obatala must never be worshipped with palm wine, palm oil or salt. His worshippers may eat palm oil and salt, but never taste palm wine.more
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