Day of the week: Sunday or Friday.
Colors: pink, pink and blue, pink belted or accented with red and white.
Domain: marriage, loyalty, fidelity, female honor with regard to wife and motherhood, bonding.
Herbs: various herbs and spices used in home cooking, canning, preserving, first aid, cleaning and beauty. Aside of cooking herbs, some astringents such as horse chestnut, mahogany, and others are associated with Oba.
Symbols: interlocking wedding rings or circles, head scarves in her colors that cover the ears and neck (khimar style), the double swords (two machetes or gubasas) with attached scarves, the hooded cape, the baby sling, red and white hearts, red and white roses or other flowers, pink flowers.
Oba is the first wife of Shango. She epitomizes loyalty and dutifulness as a wife and as a mother. She is the Orisha of home and hearth, but at the same time, fierce support and love of her husband even if it puts her life in danger, but not taking abuse. She will, in fact, risk her relationship with him to insist upon fair treatment.
In this age of selfishness and overly individualistic “white” feminism, Oba is one of the least popular Orishas who is still remembered at all. One of the reasons she is remembered at all is due to her rivalry with Oshun. Now that most women are being pressured by the spread of the wrong kind of western culture to get away from home and their roles as wives and mothers, of course the Orisha of feminine duty would lose followers. We are pretty well aware of our duties and the catch 22 situation we’re in as Black women, being penalized with a demand of our subservience and acceptance of poverty if we do stay at home, and being cast as neglectful and overly feminist if we do what we’ve always had to do and go out and work. I personally believe that it is time to bring it back. Motherhood has to be taken out of the colonialist context that casts women as the default slave class, and Black women in particular, the slaves of the ethnic and gendered slave classes. We have to stop being the scaffolding for both “white” women’s liberation and everyone else’s at the expense of our own.
Little is known about Oba outside of the community near her river aside of the fact that she was not as pretty as Oshun, but then again, neither was Oya. What is known about Obba is that she was not the weak, submissive, passive type, just dutiful, and in her cautionary tales, overly dutiful and overly trusting. She is said to have been a well trained warrior by Ogun, and a good leader of her people. She was an active queen who held it down while Shango was off to war and doing his other things. She held it down and didn’t do or accept anything she did not want to. Asa Alaafin is trying to help more people understand the legends of Obba. Read their newsletter from December 2017 featuring Orisa Oba. It is suspected that the reason Oba (originally named Asabo Eleeko Oba) was married to Shango is that she was a very good match for him, being fertile and extremely strong in mind and body. She studied martial arts and the use of the sword under Ogun. She was successful very likely because she was kind of a female counterpart of Ogun. She is the practical, dutiful woman archtype. She is straightforward, fiercely protective, and what today, we call a “ride or die” in the non toxic sense.
Today, if someone has an affinity for Oba, they are initiated through Oshun. I believe that this should change mainly because her egbe is likely to grow as more are educated about her, and the infrastructure deficiencies around the world require more resourcefulness. Oya and Oshun may rule the market and marketing, but Oba manages production. Those who are most connected to her should meditate on regaining the paths of Oba. If the old traditions are not revealed, new ones should be invented that give her the respect she deserves and therefore brings her back into the consciousness of womankind.
So I’m going to share what works for me. Try it, and if it works for you, or you have anything to add or adjust, feel free to comment.
Offerings to Oba:
In my experience, Oba likes wholesome, nutritious, natural food and incense made of everyday spice cabinet herbs and spices. She especially likes things that are economical and made to feed a large family. She absolutely hates waste and excess.
So, a food offering to Oba is a feast ebo, not a sacrifice. Make a big pot of stew from animals that have been humanely raised and killed (free range, killed by a priest of Ogun, or at least kosher or halal) and vegetables in season. She is not picky, and doesn’t have patience for picky children, although she is quite indulgent. So the meals should be well balanced and end with a nice dessert made with the more economical palm syrup or sugar, rather than honey. A little honey is fine, but don’t slather it on as you would for an offering to Oshun. Do not use any fake foods like corn oil or canola oil in food for Oba ebos.
Oba does not like her food too spicy. It should be flavorful but not too hot. Peppers should however, be served on the side when you serve men.
Like her husband, Oba also likes corn grits (also known as semolina or mamaliga). When you make a meal for Oba, you serve your husband (or boyfriend), father, or a male elder or good friend first. Then serve the children. Only after that, you can eat. Do this even if you are male. When the husband or respected man is finished and full, you start by eating what is left on his plate that is edible.
Leftovers are fair game, but make sure to store them as soon as they’ve cooled off, and eat them all before they expire. Try not to leave anything in the pots or pans. Use a rubber spatula if you have to. Try not to waste a drop.
When you come into Oba awareness, your kitchen becomes a sacred space. Keep it clean and organized.
Oba can be infused into a sopera (covered soup bowl or pot). You can donate to an ile to obtain an official Lukumi sopera, or consecrate another one that looks right to you and that you receive approval for. Any statues or the face of any sopera you have for her should be oriented towards your Shango items.
It may not be African, but a great presence of Oba on your home altar would be Russian Matryoshka dolls. Try to get pink ones. If you are Christian, the ones with paintings of churches on them are good partly because one of the duties of a good wife and mother is to teach the children good values and service to their community. Being Vodun, Gnostic, or Pagan in addition means that you have a kind of double duty of teaching them the truth that Jesus was a Jew but never attempted to recruit anyone to Judaism or alter their faith in any way but remind them of the power of the Supreme God, and the good that people who remember can do.
Oba is a river goddess, so her outdoor places are with moving water. If you don’t have a river nearby, a fountain will do, similar to Oshun. Look for a place that people go to for practical reasons, like to get water for their home or to bathe for healing purposes.
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Some oriates know how to crown Obba directly. Most do not. I was crowned direct in September, not through Oshuns mysteries. I am a newly iniated priestess of Obba. Obba is a queen. The perfect woman, that did not know it. Oshun is actually her best friend. Depending on the writer, in most stories, it is Oya who tricked her.
Obba was in fact pretty, sensous, and a fighter. She was intelligent, taught the other Orishas to read and use the sword. Her first choice in marriage was actually Babaluaye, not Shango. However, Shango was chosen.
i would love to learn more about oba. i feel a bond with her. will you tell me what she likes as offerings?
I would love to know more about obba I am researching hard. Can Yu help out?
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I would first like to thank you for sharing the information you have about Oba or Obba. (Please let me know the correct spelling of her name).
Majority of the people who meet me automatically assume that I am a child of Ochun. However, I feel that Ochun does not like me at all because I have never experienced someone loving me in a romantic way, or someone truly appreciating my beauty. Also my life was extreemly hard everyting I have I had work extreemly hard for.
After reading the story of how Ochun tricked Oba to cut off her ear in order to please Shango I thought the following:
a) Like Oba – I often people please. I am often very desperate to have someone like me, notice me, or appreciate me. Although I have never mutilated my body I can relate to the symbolic gesture.
b) I also think I may be a child of Oba because Ochun seem to really hate Oba out of jealousy or insecurities. Ochun did not care about the consequences and the pain she subjected Oba to (loneliness, destroying love etc). I think that is why Ochun has done all she cold to blocked love, joy, sex etc from entering my life.
Question if Ochun is suppose to be about love, beauty, joy etc. How could she do something so cruel, unfair, and ugly? From the story I read Oba was simply being Oba. She was not being intentially mean to Ochun. It was Ochuns insecurities that made her act that way.
Like Oba, I just live my life with the spirit God blessed me with. Many women become very jealous, insecure around me and act hateful. When I am clean. I did no wrong to them. But they hate and curse anyway. I will not put out my light (Blessings) in order for them to shine.
I think Oba attributes is love. Oba loves love with passion from her heart and soul. Pure love not to be confused with lust, sex, etc like Ochun. But unconditional love from one soul to another. Her love is undying and she gives her all for those she loves. Be good to her and many blessings will happen in your life. I think Oba’s need to be very careful not to be consumed by other peoples drama. Oba’s need to think more with their mind oppose to their hearts although it can be very difficult. Oba’s need to make sure that she does not become an enabler and create healthy boundarie in love and wile helping others. She is excellent in budgeting, she likes good quality at affordable prices. Because she likes to look good (and her children to look good) she may have excellent sewing skills, and jewelry designer wearing natural stones.
For men who encounter a woman with Oba’s energy I suggest that you step up your game. Treat her like a lady at all times. No cursing, arrive on time, bring gifts of flowers, perfume or gifts that are sentimental. Oba is constantly on a budget. Although she is not materialistic everyone likes to be treated with something special. Unlike Ochun Oba does not want to see you broke. So put your heart into the gift. Oba is not looking for a 1 night stand, jump off etc. You win Oba heart by demonstrating that you love her unconditionally. And that you are seeking marriage and mean it. Each day appreciate her for all she does. This makes her feel secure in the relationship and she will never leave and in return she will treat you very good that you will never want to leave. Show her that you can be a good provider, husband and father. That you can fix things around the house. Fix cars etc
Also, share spirituality with her. Oba is beautiful, sensul and good woman. Dont take her for granted.
I honestly do not know why she is not embrassed and celebrated. It takes a strong (mentally, physically, spiritually) woman to raise remarkable children to be future leaders with good morals and charactor especially in these times.
I love Oba. I hope to find someone who is more knowledgable about her. I would like to know which Orisha “claim me”. I love and respect each one. From what I read there is a need for them all. Especially when they are operating on a high frequence towards good for all mankind.
Child of…… Hello… I’m a child of Oshun and I would like to explain her to you. You see- she is complicated, giving and taking as she pleases- and you should already know- all love is madness. It is a primel force of nature- like all other.
In some patakis Oshun takes away all the power of the other Orishas to do their work. She steals the secrets of divination from Exu or Obatala- her own father… but for those on her good side- she cares for very well… beauty, fame… money and joy, yes romantic death gripping love.
I have an Oba mother… she is very difficult and complexed and very much loved. But, My Oshuness and her Obaness do not mix very well. She wants a clean house with almost nothing- very zen and white. My golden room with lots of vitrines containing My Zuni fetish colection for example buffles her…
anyway- have divination made to see which is your head. Shelloya is very good at this.
Oshun did not trick Oba into cutting off her ear Oya did.
I am quickly writing to say a BIG thank you for having this website here. I am a freelance writer who got tapped by someone to write some articles about Candomble, one article of which is about Oba. You are absolutely correct: there is practically nothing significant out there about Oba, sadly, and I have done SO many Google searches with various key words. I kept getting the same old story: Oba is tricked by either Oya or Oshun and Oba ends up exiled because of the trick. It was not until I did a search specifically about Oba’s “feast days,” colors, etc that I finally found THIS blog!
I humbly thank you for putting this information out there, whether you’re someone on the path of one of the diaspora belief systems, or simply an article writer like me who loves to know more about relatively obscure faith paths. 😉 (I identify as a Druid, myself)
Bless you all!
I think I want to knw more about OBA. Who can put me thru here?
THIS IS SO INFORMATIVE, AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OTHER ORISHAS
I have been studying Oba for several months now and I have learned a lot about this beautiful Orisha (thank you for all that you have shared), however i can’t find any prayers for her. I have small Adimu shrines for the Orishas with prayers and offerings for all except her shrine. Do you have any prayers or Orikis devoted to Oba?
Baba James Hunter