Obatala

Proverbs

Ifa says:
I will get my money's worth out of these trousers; but the grown man only winds up exposing his bare buttocks to the world.

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Oya is the Goddess of the Niger River. She is seen in aspects of warrior-goddess of wind, lightning, fertility, fire and magic. She creates hurricanes and tornadoes and guards the underworld.

Her full name is Oya-Yansan, which means “mother of nine.” In Brazil, in candomble she is generally saluted with the phrase “Èpa heyi!. while in Cuban-derived Yórùbá traditions, the faithful often salute her by saying “Hekua hey Yansa.”

She is closely associated with many Orishas, but most especially Shango/Changó, Oggun, Oba (Obba), Yewá/Euá and Ochún/Oxum. Oyá is also called “the one who puts on pants to go to war” and “the one who grows a beard to go to war”. As the Spirit of the Wind, Oya manifests in Creation in the forms as sudden and drastic change, strong storms, and the flash of the marketplace. Oya’s representation of wind, creation, and death is not as arbitrary as it may seem. Oya has a sister named Ayao that is received by her initiates.

Oya has been syncretized in Santeria with the Catholic images of Our Lady Of Candelaria (Our Lady of the Presentation) and St. Theresa. Her feast day is February 2.

In Brazilian Umbanda she is represented by Saint Barbara.

Yoruba Fokelore

Tortoise and Crab

Everyone knows that Tortoise and Crab are enemies.

One morning on the seashore they decided to fight to see which was the stronger, but, as both of them are protected by a hard shell, neither could succeed in injuring the other.

Finally they came to an agreement that they were equal in strength.

We are so well protected by our armour, said Tortoise, that no one can harm us.

And thus, said Crab, we are the strongest creatures in the world.

But at this moment a boy passed by and picked them both up. Tortoise was boiled in a pot and his shell was made into ornaments, while Crab was cooked in a stew for the boys supper. Since that day the descendants of the two boasters have always been ashamed to meet, and that is why they always shun one another.

Ifa Related

The Story of the Irde

Death (Iku) was gathering humans before there full time on earth had passed.
The Orishas worried about this, until Orumila said he would resolve this matter.

One day when Iku was busy, Orumila went and took his hammer
Iku became furious when he discovered the Hammer missing.
He rushed back to Orumila’s house, and demanded the hammers return.

Orumila said, Oludumare had assigned you the task of gathering humans when thier time had come,
but you are gathering them when you want, prior to thier predetermined death.
Iku answered, if humans do not die, the earth will die.

Orumila answered “you are not right to take humans before their time.
After a long discussion, Orumila began to see the logic of Iku’s task
Orumila aggred to return the Hammer, But Iku must swear not to take any of Orumila’s
children before there full time has passed.

Iku answred, When I see the Irde Ifa on a persons left wrist, I will pass over them, unless it is there predetermined time to die. Orumila and Iku aggreed, and from this day, Ifa devotees wear the Irde on the left wrist, as a sign of the pact between Iku and Orumila.

 

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