Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ibram H. Rogers
Under the leadership of the Supreme Being Olurun or Olodumare, who created the universe, Obatala is the god who created humanity and the world in the Yoruba religion in Nigeria. Obatala, who is also known as Oxalâ, Orixalâ, and Orishanla, is the oldest of all Orishas. Some of Obatala's praise names include Oluwa Aiye (Lord of the Earth), Alabalase (he who has divine authority), Baba Arugbo (old man), Alamo Re Re (the one who turns blood into children), O Ho Ho (the father of laughter), and Baba Araye (father of humanity). Obatala descended from Heaven on a chain to mold the first humans and now molds every child in the womb, according to the Yoruba. Obatala created the world and humanity, whereas Olurun breathed life into humanity. Obatala is therefore considered the father of humanity and owner of all the heads where human souls reside. Other Orishas may claim individuals, ...