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The Orishas (Gods of Santeria)- The 7 African Powers - Siete potencias:
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Obatala o Virgen de las Mercedes

This page is dedicated to Obatala: Obatala- Español

Obatala (La Virgen de Las Mercedes). He is also referred to as Obatalá, Osala, Oshala, Oxalá, Orisala, Orishala, Orixalá. He is the father of all who are not initiated. The owner of every “head” on earth (whether the person knows it or not). Peace, the color white all belong to him.
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Obatala

Obatala, the King of the White Cloth, is the oldest Orisha. He is considered to be the Father of all the other Orishas. There are 16 caminos of Obatala, eight of them male and eight of them female. He is the servant of Olofi, and under the direction of Olofi, he became the creator of the mankind. Legend goes that Obatala was very fond of palm wine, and one day he drank a little too much while he was engaged in his work of fashioning the bodies of those to be born. The result was that some of his creations were born less than perfect with deformaties in their bodies. Naturally Olofi scolded Obatala for his error and forbid him to drink palm wine while engaged in that most important work. Since that time, those born with deformaties are considered to be children of Obatala and it is forbidden to make fun of them. Likewise, albinos are considered to be children of Obatala. White is the color of Obatala, representing purity and cleanliness and his children often wear white to please him and also as a protection. It is said that Obatala throws his white mantle over his children so that evil cannot touch them. Obatala is syncrenized in Cuba as Our Lady of Mercy. In Brazil, he is often identified with Christ the Redeamer (Cristo Redentor). Certain other Catholic Saints are associated with the different caminos of Obatala such as Saint Joseph, Saint Anne or even Saint James.

In Yoruba orisha (also spelt orisa or orixa) veneration, Obàtálá, through the power of God, the Supreme Being, (called by various names in the Yoruba language such as Olodumare, Eledumare, Olofin-Orun, Eleda, and Olorun), made human bodies, and Olorun (God) breathed life into them. 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.

According to mythical stories Obatala 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 also referred to as the orisha of the north. He is always dressed in white, hence the meaning of his name, Obatala (King or ruler of the white cloth). His worshippers strive to practice moral correctness as unblemished as his robe.

In Candomblé, Obatalá (Oxalá) is the oldest "Orixa funfun" ("white deity"), 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 and includes the wash, with a special water, made with flowers, the stairs of the church.

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In Santería, "Regla de Ocha branch", Obàtálá has been syncretized with Our Lady of Mercy.

video: fiesta for Obatala

video: Festival of Obatala

According to mythical stories Obatala is the eldest of all orisha and was granted authority to create the earth. Before he could return to heaven and report to Olodumare however, his rival Oduduwa (also called Oduwa, Oodua, Odudua or Eleduwa), often described as his younger brother, usurped his position by taking the satchel and returning to heaven. A great feud ensued between the two that is re-enacted every year in Ile Ife, Nigeria. Ultimately, Oduduwa 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.

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Olodumare Elegua Obatala Yemaya Chango Oya Ochun Ogun osain