Questions about Obatala

topic posted Tue, September 20, 2011 - 8:12 AM by  T.
Hello everyone,

I have several questions about Obatala:

How is Obatala towards his children, what kind of of blessing does he bestow upon them? (Like Oshun bestows riches and spoils them)

I was told that Obatala is slow in answering prayer request from his children because he is old, is that true?

Is Obatala the most powerful Orisha, I thought Eleggua was?

Also how does his presence normally feel it strong, light, etc? (I have experienced some of the other orisha)
posted by:
offline T.
  • Re: Questions about Obatala

    Tue, September 20, 2011 - 9:45 AM
    Obatala like any of the Oprisha is a loving parent/force, as well as a strict one if need be. He is considered a deputy so to speak of Olofi/olodumare/olorun. He enforces and sets the tones of morality, purity, and ritual. His blessings depend on his children, no generic gifts are ever given by Orisha. What he may teach me and bless me with may be different than what he may bestow upon his other child. He is not slow so to speak, remember the cycle of time we know is different in the realm of the Divine. Our prayers are answered when they need be. I wouldn't say he is the most powerfullest he just has his specialties (ase) and the realms he has control over. He works heavily with Oke, the mountainm the moutain high peaking touching the heavens and conneccted (foundation) here on eaarth. Hence the symbolism, as Obatala is the midway between heavenly to earthly manifestation for creative purposes.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Questions about Obatala

    Tue, September 20, 2011 - 10:09 AM
    Good morning T,

    I will get to your direct questions in a moment, but I'd also like to take a second and discuss expectations of Orishas versus their ultimately reality.

    Orishas are interesting because they are not human, nor are the completely divine (they are still subservient to God and using Western lingo they're "imperfect celestial beings.") In addition, Orisha do not behave like people do. Many people in this religion seem to perpetuate misinformation and pass it on as "blanket" or "one size fits all" doctrine. Oshun most certainly doesn't shower all her priests or worshippers with riches; nor does any Orisha fit into a single personification that can assumed true towards all oloshas or aborishas. If this is confusing, swap out Orisha names for people you know. Since I'm Jim, here's an example:

    How is Jim towards his children? What kinds of blessings does he bestow? I was told Jim is slow in answering his emails because he can't type very well. Etc. Does this help?

    Also, when asking how one should "feel" is an immediate red flag. All human perceptions are subjective in nature; your experience of any given Orisha will not be the same as mine; or vice versa. If you are told that Obatala's presence is "heavy" and "old" then all your mind is going to do is look for those experiences in your perceptions. This line of reasoning is not appropriate for Orishas. My point is that if you go looking for specific information to hold against any Orisha or spirit, you're already putting blinders on and not experiencing the Orisha for what it is. Knowing this, here is my best attempt at answering your specific questions:

    If by "children" you mean aborisha who worship Obatala, blessings will be alll over the map. Just because an Orisha may have theological control over certain aspects of nature or our subconscious, it doesn't mean they only bestow blanket blessings. ANY Orisha that asks a specific set of criteria from you will bestow "blessings" on you if you simply do what he/she tells you to do (or not to do depending on your situation). This is why Odu is so important in this religion. It's through Odu that we learn which Orishas are involved with our life; it's through Odu that we learn how to placate or beseech Orishas; it's through Odu that we learn how to form relationships with Orishas that are specific and customized to your Ori and nobody else's.

    If by "answering prayer requests" you mean "does what you WANT him to instead of doing what you NEED him to do" then I can give no answer. Some paths of Orisha are definitely slower to act than others (Like Asesu versus Ogunte for Yemoja, Oba Moro versus Ajaguna for Obatala, etc.), but there is no "time limit" by which to judge an Orisha's intervention in your life simply because time isn't linear. Time to Orisha is nothing like how we conceive it.

    To summarize, Obatala is towards his children however he needs to be - he's not a computer program. We don't relate to our family members in the same way as we do our co-workers. The same is true of all the Orishas. How they treat you is totally dependant on how you treat them. This being said, however, there are ritual behaviors that are appropriate for US when we approach or communicate with orisha. So in this regard, always maintain the taboos each Orisha demands - the act of listening to their advice is always the "best" way to get a "fast" response from them.

    Also, Obatala is the most powerful Orisha...techincally. :) Elegba plays a very special role in the theology and ritual practice of this religion, but he is still subservient to Obatala and God.

    Sorry if this reply is a bit shim-sham...having a busy morning at work. hehe

    Best wishes,

    Jim / Ogun Funmito
  • Re: Questions about Obatala

    Tue, September 20, 2011 - 10:17 AM
    Alafia T,

    Allow me to add my humble opinion, perhaps it can be of some worth or help in answering your questions.

    How is Obatala towards his children, what kind of of blessing does he bestow upon them? (Like Oshun bestows riches and spoils them)

    Obatala tends to be a "Stern" father if you will, with that said , I believe in cultivating good character and living a life affirmative of life, an Omo/Oni Obatala will enjoy the blessings of Baba Obatala, and all the orisa. The oshun statement tends sounds to me like something that lends its self to the belief that if you are omo Oshun, it is your birthright to enjoy riches and being spoiled. From the omo oshun's ive met thus far, this is far from the the truth, Iyalode can be just as stern as Obatala, Oshun's blessings can be just like water, the more you try to hold them in your hands and own them for yourself, the more it just runs out.

    Blessings are for those whom cultivate them in their lives.

    I was told that Obatala is slow in answering prayer request from his children because he is old, is that true?

    All of the Orisa are "Old" but time (to an extent) matters nothing to the Orisa, it is simply a non-factor, these are agents and manifestations of the supreme divine. With that said, they understand that we are spirits having a human experience, and that in the mundane world we live in, time is sometimes a factor. Though I am the biggest fan of prayer you could meet, if this question is being posed from a place in which you have prayed to obatala, and not had your prayer answered. It is for you to seek divination with an elder, perhaps there is a particular ebbo which will help codify or expedite your request.

    Is Obatala the most powerful Orisha, I thought Eleggua was?
    Power, as it were, is a concern of man, all of the Orisa work in concert together to keep our world going. Obatala is as the person prior to me answered, deputy of Olodumare, with this said, the Orisa are beyond the mundane trivialities of "who got da ashe".

    I will use just a few examples of supposed enemies to illustrate my point;
    Oya vs. Yemaya-
    Can children be born without the amniotic fluid and birthing process which is the domain of Yemaya? No.
    Can a person, even an Omo Yemaya, live without air (domain of oya)? No

    Shango vs Ogun-
    Can we exist without the warmth of fire, the warmth of our bodies (Shango)? No we can not.
    Can we exist without forward progression, technology to enable us to progress (ogun)? No we can not.

    The point I am trying to make is that we need of ALL the orisa. Not just one or two, each and every Orisa is NECESSARY. So the idea of power, is again, a triviality of this mundane world.

    Also how does his presence normally feel it strong, light, etc? (I have experienced some of the other orisha)
    I mean this in a respectful way, figure out for yourself.

    I say this because the Orisa manifest and mean different things to different people, If you have elekes, take some quiet time in the day in which you can dress completely in white, light a white tea candle, place your eleke of Obatala on, and simply meditate and ponder his mysteries.

    Hope that helps!
  • Re: Questions about Obatala

    Tue, October 25, 2011 - 12:24 PM
    I think the orisha reveals in ita how they will work with their child. Personally, I wouldn't say one orisha is more powerful than another. I think that anytime your prayers are answered it is powerful. I am amazed by the power of the orisha and all they have done in my life. For me it has taken years to even remotely get a sense of each orisha and some I still really don't know all that well. Baby steps - they will reveal their nature to them in their own time if your heart is open to them and searching.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Questions about Obatala

      Tue, November 1, 2011 - 6:38 PM

      The above comprehensive posts have allot of truth in them. I am assuming your'e Omo Obatala???
      IF so ( and in browsing the posts...i did not see mention of it) must definitalyy not drink alcahol and should try to dress in white or lighter colors...denfitely not black (until such time as u have a real ITA...hand of IFA or OCHA/Asiento..and it says otherwise). The energy of most OMO Obatala is purer and in a sense has the capacity to be more divine ..than other Orisha Children. Try to accentuate calmness
      in your life..and stay away from loud stressful situations when possible. other words....being party animlas are not omo Obatalas' fortes. Stay away from spicy foods if u can. You may even try being a vegetarian to favorable results. The pure harmonious ways of life are in alignment with Obatala's energy. You are cerebral by nature.... probably. (These are just generalizations).
      In my experience the Orisha are not so much like people/humans...but are simply put... universla energies..aspects of the one god/source...varying" very much" in energy to say Obatala is an old man.......may symbolize the wisdom and divinity expressed by his energy...rather than the image of him as an humanized old man .
      One Odu talks of him as being the orignal Orisha...broken into pieces by his evil servant (Esu is some stories)..thus each piece becoming one of the other orisha. From another aspect Esu is seen as the most powerful ..per my Oluwo....Olorun the source...cannot do anything evil or bad.....and thus Esu....who can .... is like 99% of creation. And of course some elders may say Ogun is the most potent force...... But again obsessing on which is the most powerful is a fruitless process as noted by others.

      Like Ochun takes a long time to get a sense of the orisha...and they can all be taskmasters for one..depending on ones destiny.
      Just try to have sincerity and devotion in your approach to them. However if u are omo Obatala.....great rewards may lie in your ebos to other Orisha. In many cases the guardian Orisha is actually not the one that brings them fulfilment (or at least greatest fortune) of thier destiny as much as another ...again depending on destiny.

      Good Luck..Ire
  • T.
    offline 11

    Re: Questions about Obatala

    Fri, September 28, 2012 - 10:41 PM

    Last year I was the one who started this post with the question about how Obatala are with his Children, well on September 8 of this year I was crowned with Obatala Ayaguna and my mom is Yemaya Okute. I am so excited but I admit I'm trying to learn more about these paths of Obatala and Yemaya.

    I know that these are warrior paths of both Obatala and Yemaya but I was hoping I could be blessed with some more teaching concerning these paths. The knowledge in this tribe is amazing!
    • Re: Questions about Obatala

      Sat, September 29, 2012 - 12:12 PM
      Congratulations and blessings to you.
      I've enjoyed reading the comments here in this thread, very informative and well expressed. Ache.
      If you read Spanish, Proyecto Orunmila publishes books that explain the caminos of the various Orichas, along with other information that's useful for Santeros/as to know. I've learned a lot from these books, they are compilations of writings by the elder Santeros/as from Regla, Habana, Cuba, and my godfather says the information is accurate. Also there is a lot of information on their website that's free, and you can subscribe to their electronic bulletins that are informative, too. Here's their website:
  • Re: Questions about Obatala

    Thu, October 4, 2012 - 9:52 AM
    First, I was just crowned Obatala this summer, so I am still very much growing. However, I have to say, Maferefun Obatala!

    My experience with my father is that his energy is one of peace, wisdom, tranquility, love and grace. He is very Zen. He is about internal development and learning to restrain one's emotions. When my life wasn't working for me, before I came to this faith, I was lliving in a negative way, too much drink and partying. Since I found out who my crowning Orisha was about four years ago, and welcomed him/her into my life and heart, my attitude towards life and other's has changed towards be more spiritual and less material. Wisdom through study, service and cultivation of a peaceful life have been his gifts to me. Obatala is the Father of all Orishas, so I would say, he certainly is powerful. Does he work fast? I would say no, but his energy is one of quiet persistence and firmness, like the mountain.

    When I was crowned his presence felt filled with light and expansiveness. I look forward to growing with him and I pray that he will help me as I develop.


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