Is Oduduwa From Mecca or An Angel who Came from heaven with Chains? Read to know more

For a long time as propagated by early writers of Yoruba history, like the Bayajidda legend of the Hausa people , he was said to be an Eastern prince whose people were driven out of their kingdom in Mecca in Arabia and were forced to migrate in a long march to present day south western Nigeria, though this belief is now thought to reflect later Islamic influences.Through a war lasting many years, Oduduwa was able to defeat the forces of the 13 indigenous communities of Ife led by Obatala and formed these communities into a single Ife unit.

Oduduwa held the praise names Olofin Adimula ,

Olofin Aye and Olufe. Following his posthumous deification, he was admitted to the Yoruba pantheon as an aspect of a primordial divinity of the same name.

Native religious traditions about the dawn of time claim that Oduduwa was Olodumare’s favourite

Orisa. As such, he (or she, as the primordial Oduduwa originally represented the Divine Feminine aspect and Obatala the Divine Masculine) was sent from heaven to create the earth upon the waters, a mission he/she had usurped from his/her consort and sibling Obatala, who had been equipped with a snail shell filled with sand and a rooster to scatter the said sand in order to create land. These beliefs are held by Yoruba traditionalists to be the cornerstone of their story of creation. Obatala and Oduduwa here are represented symbolically by a calabash , with Obatala taking the top and Oduduwa taking the bottom. In this narrative, Oduduwa is also known as Olofin Otete , the one who took the Basket of Existence from Olodumare.

Another depiction of Oduduwa as being the wife of Obatala is presented in Odu Ifa Osa Meji, a verse of the Ifa oracle . In this Odu, Obatala discovers the secret of his wife and steals the masquerade’s robes from her to wear it himself. This is suggested to be a historical representation of a switch from matriarchy to patriarchy. Yoruba women used to own the ancestral cults of Gelede and Egungun . Now, the cults are controlled by men.

This cosmological tradition has sometimes been blended with the tradition of the historical Oduduwa. According to other traditions, the historical Oduduwa is considered to be named after an earlier version of Oduduwa who is female and related to the Earth called Ile.

The earlier traditions of either a gender fluid or an expressly female Oduduwa are seen in the spirit’s representation in the Gelede tradition. Initiates of Gelede receive a shrine to Oduduwa along with a Gelede costume and mask. This speaks to the primacy of Oduduwa as associated with the divine ancestral mothers that are known as Awon iya wa or Iyami. Here, Oduduwa is revered as the great mother of the world.Native religious traditions about the dawn of time claim that Oduduwa was Olodumare’s favourite

Orisa. As such, he (or she, as the primordial Oduduwa originally represented the Divine Feminine aspect and Obatala the Divine Masculine) was sent from heaven to create the earth upon the waters, a mission he/she had usurped from his/her consort and sibling Obatala, who had been equipped with a snail shell filled with sand and a rooster to scatter the said sand in order to create land. These beliefs are held by Yoruba traditionalists to be the cornerstone of their story of creation. Obatala and Oduduwa here are represented symbolically by a calabash , with Obatala taking the top and Oduduwa taking the bottom. In this narrative, Oduduwa is also known as Olofin Otete , the one who took the Basket of Existence from Olodumare.

Another depiction of Oduduwa as being the wife of Obatala is presented in Odu Ifa Osa Meji, a verse of the Ifa oracle . In this Odu, Obatala discovers the secret of his wife and steals the masquerade’s robes from her to wear it himself. This is suggested to be a historical representation of a switch from matriarchy to patriarchy. Yoruba women used to own the ancestral cults of Gelede and Egungun . Now, the cults are controlled by men.

This cosmological tradition has sometimes been blended with the tradition of the historical Oduduwa. According to other traditions, the historical Oduduwa is considered to be named after an earlier version of Oduduwa who is female and related to the Earth called Ile.

The earlier traditions of either a gender fluid or an expressly female Oduduwa are seen in the spirit’s representation in the Gelede tradition. Initiates of Gelede receive a shrine to Oduduwa along with a Gelede costume and mask. This speaks to the primacy of Oduduwa as associated with the divine ancestral mothers that are known as Awon iya wa or Iyami. Here, Oduduwa is revered as the great mother of the world.

Salaudeen Olayinka

A lover of history

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