An old journal entry about Obatala

Every year I come back to reread this short essay. This year, I thought I’d share it again, hoping to reach a new crop of aborishas, iyawós, and even some olorishas. The most beautiful orisha in Olódumare’s creation is so often overlooked. At some point in life, no matter what orisha is crowned, everyone is held accountable to Obatalá. And no matter what the transgression or the reason for it, Obatalá always forgives.

Ócháni Lele

December 10, 2007
I was in my ocha room this morning, putting fresh flowers to Obatalá and redecorating her shrine. Each time I add something to her, each time I rearrange her implements, each time I clean her and refresh her, I stand back, and cry. Being her child, I know I am heavily prejudiced, but I can’t think of any orisha more beautiful than Obatalá.

Especially my road of Obatalá, Obánlá.

Today, however, I remembered another iyawó who was about to go to the river. She thought I had Oshún crowned; and while she was waiting for ebó de entrada to begin, she told me, “I really wanted to be crowned with your orisha, Oshún.” Before I could correct her, she continued, “I wanted to be crowned any orisha EXCEPT Obatalá.”

The word “except” plunged into my heart like a sharp knife cuts through butter. Only one word came…

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