Oba (also called Oba within Latin America) is the Orisha of the River Oba, whose source is close to Igbon, Nigeria, where her worship originated. Through the conflicts in the 19th century, her worship centers were relocated to the safer city of Ogbomosho. It is believed that she was Shango’s elder wife, the Oyo Empire’s third King, and an Orisha.
Oba is a multi-faceted and complex god and is associated with a vast variety of domains and qualities that include:
- Lakes and rivers: Oba is the Orisha of the River Oba and is also connected to other lakes and rivers with strong currents. Oba is believed to be the protector of those on the waters and is worshipped by fishermen and sailors for protection and wealth.
- The victory and the war: Oba is known as a goddess of war and often is depicted with a machete or sword. Oba is a symbol of triumph and strength and is sought out for assistance and protection during times of war.
- The Marriage and Love of the Heart: Oba is also associated with marriage and love. Oba is regarded as the protector of married women. She is believed to be a symbol of fertility and healthy family life.
- Oba and Death: Oba is associated with death and the afterlife. Oba is believed to be an ally for people who have passed away and is used to provide comfort and security when grieving.
Oba is a mighty and revered Orisha. People across the globe revere her. She is most well-known among the people of Yorubaland, Nigeria, and in Brazil in Brazil, in Brazil, where she is associated with the saint Catherine from Siena.
Myths and Legends of Oba
There are a myriad of myths and legends regarding Oba. Some of the more popular tales tell how she became Shango’s elder bride.
According to the tale, Oba was initially married to a different Orisha. But Shango was smitten with her beauty and power and was determined to get Oba for his own. Shango used his wit and charm to entice Oba, and eventually, she decided to break off her husband and marry him.
However, Oba’s husband refused to give her up without fighting. He could challenge Shango for a fight as the two Orishas were fiercely opposed. At the final battle, Shango was victorious, and Oba was his wife.
A different well-known tale about Oba is about the time she lost her hearing.
Shango became jealous of the Oba’s affection for other wives a few days ago. He decided to test her devotion by sending Oya, one of his wives, to dress as an older woman and then ask Oba to give her a piece of her heart.
Oba did not know about the disguise and accepted the old lady’s request. The woman cut off a portion of her ear and gave it to the old lady.
After Oya was back with Shango, She gave Shango the earpiece and informed him that it came from the heart of Oba. Shango was elated and could see that Oba was indeed his lover.
But when Oba was aware of what she had accomplished, she became shocked. She had sacrificed a small part of herself to Shango. However, he had not been able to appreciate her sacrifice. In grief and anger, Oba cursed Shango, swearing that he could never again have peace.
Worship of Oba
Oba has been worshiped in various ways, according to the particular customs. In some religions, Oba is revered as an individual Orisha. In other traditions, the worship is performed as part of the larger group of Orishas like the Aje.
Oba’s followers often dress in her adoration colors: white and pink. They also offer offerings to her with her most loved food items, like Okra soup and porridge of yam.
Some of the symbolisms that are associated with Oba’s symbolism include: Oba include:
- The machete or sword is a symbol of her strength and warrior spirit.
- The flywhisk symbolizes her authority and her duty as a protector.
- The water buffalo: It is her most sacred animal.
Oba’s devotees often call on her for assistance in a myriad of ways, such as:
- Marriage and love
- Security in times of war
- Advice in the event of death and afterlife
Oba in the Modern World
The practice of worshiping Oba is still widespread and popular today, both within Africa and in the diaspora. Recently, there has been a rising appreciation for the Yoruba religion and the Orishas. This has resulted in an increased amount of people praying to Oba,