OBATALA attacks those who displease him with WORMS. OBATALA is OLODUMARE’S (The Supreme head who has the fullness of all things and remains unchanging and Permanent) ECECUTIVE DEPUTY on Earth, while ORUNMILA (The Owner of ODU) is the DEPUTY in Matters of Knowledge and Wisdom.
The relationship between OBATALA and ORUNMILA is a close one, BUT ORUNMILA was sent to help and advise OBATALA, the SENIOR and LEADER. We refer later to the relationship between OLORUN (The Owner of Heaven) and ESU (The Owner of the Cross Roads) ORUNMILA and ESU, ORUNMILA and OSAYIN (Owner of ewe, herbs & remedies) and SANGO (The Owner of Devine Justice) and two of his wives OSUN (The Owner of the Witches) and OYA (The Owner of the Wind and Guardian of the Cemetery)
ORISANLA, has no children but he has the authority, so all children belong to him. When he was a very old man, he consulted an Oracle on how he could become an ORISA who would be worshipped by everyone. He was asked to sacrifice 200 elephants. How could an old man kill 200 elephants? One day he went to hunt elephant and came to a pit filled with toads, fish and other animals that had become so dry that these animals were in danger of perishing. They heard the sound of his walking and appealed to him to save them. He told them he was hunting for elephants and they said that if they were saved they would kill 200 elephants for him. OBATALA pointed his walking stick to HEAVEN and recited an incantation. Rain started to fall and before day break the well was filled. He expected the creatures in the pit to fulfill their promise, but he did not see them the following morning. He carried his walking stick to the well.
When he asked them to keep their promise, they told him that they could not hold the leg of an elephant to say nothing of killing one. Instead, they would worship him. At that time OBATALA became an ORISA to be worshipped: OBA-TI-O-NLA, the King Who is Great OBATALA’S Color is White, hence the name OBA-TIN-ALA, the Kin in White Clothing. He represents Spiritual Morality and the Laws given by OLODUMARE. He is known for his patience in completing tasks, understanding that patience is the FATHER OF WISDOM. Some of his foods are SNAIL, SHEA BUTTER (Ori) KOLA NUT, WHITE FEMALS GOATS, WHITE PIGEONS, GUINEA FOWL, YAMS, EGGS, and ATARI to name a few. His sacred number is 8 EIGHT.
The musical instruments used in a ceremony include:
IGBIN a large drum covered at one end
IRON with rings around the edge and a large iron bell AJA which announces the beginning of the worship. NO RATTLES ARE USED.
There is a manifestation called OLOFON, which is referred to as a WOMAN’S CULT. Formerly both men and women worshipped OLOFON, but all the men have passed and ordinarily men are not affiliated with the cult. Devotees of OLUFON are believed to be lucky and prosperous people. Through worshipping OLOFON the Women get children and they obtain money with which to build houses or purchases the things they need.
See ORIKI OBATALA