Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Obba Nani is the orisha of the home and marriage. Obba was the first wife of Chango who he loved dearly and made queen of his kingdom. Obba tended to Chango’s castle and everything that the king requested. She was truly a wife and Olofi made them the first couple to be married and to be called man and wife. Obba is a beautiful woman and she would walk the kingdom and castle making sure all is in order. She taught the kingdom of Chango and the other orishas how to read and write. She was very patient and had the gift to teach. Obba also traveled the world with Yemaya after her separation from Chango to teach humankind. Obba also taught the orishas how to sway their swords, as she is a strong and fierce warrior. Oya her sister was one of them who she taught. They were very close before the betrayal.
Obba is a fair woman and very elegant. Her color is pink and burgundy with touches of red. Obba loves everything that is flowery and that represents the home. She was an excellent cook. In her warrior aspect, she can go head to head with any orisha, as she knows how to fight. People usually see her as a soft and fragile flower, but when she is provoked she can easily bring justice and slice you in half. When at war she is the sound of loud bombs that blast through the air. In her ceremonial coronations, firecrackers are used to call upon the orisha to show her warrior side. Obba is a queen and mother that protects her people with grace and beauty.
Obba lived a warm and joyful life with her husband Chango until her sister Oya betrayed her. From there she went to the woods where her waters run. Her brother in law Ogun made her an anvil made out of wood as a wedding gift when she married Chango. This anvil is one of the most important implements that is used for Obba alongside with other implements. Obba has one ear due to the betrayal of her sister. Obba loves the finest things in life. She loves all types of jewelry and wines. It is said that she gave some of her riches and jewels to her younger sister Oshun when Oshun did not have much. Obba keeps a small elegant treasure box in which she keeps all of her riches and jewels.
Pataki of Obba Nani
One day Obba was tending the castle of Chango. She was cleaning and organizing everything in the castle. Chango was out doing his duties as king of his town. Her sister Ochun was in the castle helping her tend to the kitchen when Obba realized that she forgot to pick something up at the market. She told her younger sister Ochun that she would be right back and hasted to the market.
When Obba reached the market, she began to pick up the items that she missed on her previous trip there. In the marketplace, she noticed her other sister Oya and she walked over to her. They greeted politely and started to shop around together. Obba knew that her husband Chango had a fling with her sister but since she was his faithful wife and knew the actions of the king Chango, she never approached him about the situations. However, Obba would always notice that when Chango spoke about Oya his demeanor would change. Obba approached Oya and told her that she knew Oya was with Chango. She just did not understand how when Oya’s name was mentioned, Chango would light up in a way and how Ogun was so faithful and infatuated with her. Therefore, she asked her sister what was the secret on making these men fall head for her and only think of her only.
Oya smirked and looked at her sister with a jealous face as she Oya was in love with Chango and was jealous that her sister Obba was with the great king.
Oya proceeded to tell Obba a secret that she has kept for years that no one knew. Obba’s face lit up, as she wanted to hear it. She thought that maybe it can work on Chango. Oya told Obba that she had to cook Chango’s favorite food, the amala ila (cornmeal with okra). Oya told her that this particular amala she had to add a special ingredient to it. Obba wanted to know and Oya hesitated to tell her. Obba pleaded with Oya to tell her the secret and Oya told her that what she needed to do was cook the amala and cut off her left ear and place it in the food. Obba put a horrifying face and asked Oya if she was serious. Oya told her that she was and if she wanted Chango to look at her and only her that she needed to do this. Oya started to fill Obba’s head with more lies and told her that once she cut her ear off to mix it in the amala. She said that once her ear hit the bottom of the stomach of Chango, that he would forever be in love and he would not have the heart or stomach to look at another woman. Obba was satisfied and ran home to prepare Chango’s favorite food.
Obba got home and started to pull out the pots and pans to start to cook with such haste. Ochun was wondering why she was acting weird. Obba told Ochun to not to worry to go outside and mingle in the kingdom. Ochun left Obba and started to cook.
Once the amala was boiling up, she added all the ingredients she always added to make the food tasty for her king who was on the way home. It was time to add the last ingredient that Oya told her to add. She grabbed a knife and she was hesitant on doing this, but she kept hearing Oya’s words in her head saying that after this Chango would only have eyes for her. With a great sweep of her hand, Obba’s ear was cut and it fell right on the table. Obba rushed and got something to clean the blood off her shoulders. She then placed her cut off ear inside the amala and stirred it praying that what she did would take effect.
Ochun was in the middle of the town when she saw Oya walking towards her. She stopped Oya and asked her how she was doing. Oya turned and told Ochun that she was good that she was coming to see if Obba did what she told her. Ochun baffled asked Oya what was it that Obba was going to do. Oya told Ochun that she told Obba to cut her ear and feed it to Chango in his amala. At this time, Chango and his men are galloping through the town towards the castle. Oshun runs towards the castle to stop Obba. Chango enters his castle and calls out for his loving wife as he always did. When Chango saw Obba, he saw something strange about her. He noticed that she was wearing a head wrap in which she does not because he loved how her hair was long and silky. The great king paid no attention and gave his wife a hug and a kiss. Chango sat down at his table to see that his wife Obba has prepared him his favorite amala. In this moment Ochun runs in, salutes Chango and of course, Chango’s eyes looked at Ochun very seductively. She grabs her sister very softly and rushes her to the kitchen. Ochun asks Obba what she has done. Obba told her nothing and proceeded to smile as her mind was in the amala and Chango’s love. Ochun noticed the spot of blood where Obba’s ear was and asked her sister why she cut her ear.
Oya walks into the castle and salutes Chango. Immediately Chango salutes her back and proceeds to pick up his spoon to eat his amala. Oya stops the great king and asks how his day was. Chango, very hungry but not to be rude answers Oya. Oya tells Chango that if he noticed anything weird within the castle. He responded no and tried again to reach for his spoon. Oya asked Chango if he noticed anything weird about his lovely wife Obba. Chango looked at Oya and said the only thing weird is that she is wearing a head wrap but usually that is something that woman do when they are tending to their hair. Oya smiled and told him that she over heard Obba talking and that Obba was going to cut off her ear and place it in the amala. Chango asked why and Oya told her it was to trap him so he would not see anyone else. Chango said that Oya was mistaken on what she heard. Obba walks out to find her sister Oya conversing with Chango and she thought nothing of it. Chango tells Obba that Oya had some weird story of her cutting her ear and feeding it to him. Obba stayed quiet looking at Oya with a face as in why would she do that. In that moment, Chango dips his spoon in his amala and the first thing that he brings up on his spoon is Obba’s ear. Chango jumps up out of his seat and asks Obba for an explanation. Obba stays quiet and for her staying quiet, Chango grew very angry. He walked over to her and ripped her head wrap off. When he did this, he noticed that Obba had a nub where her ear is suppose to be. Blood still dripping from the cut, he yells at Obba asking her why. However, before Obba could respond, Chango grabbed her and walked her towards the door. He opened the door and told him that no wife of his could have any defects. With that, he told her to leave his kingdom and to never return. That was the end of their marriage Chango said.
Obba ran out of her former house and kingdom. She ran and ran until she reached a stone that was near a cave. There Obba began to cry and cry. She wondered why her sister Oya would betray her like that and why Chango would not listen to her and just throw her out. The tears that fell from her eyes created a lake that lead into a river. At that moment, Olofi came down and saw the dismay that Obba was in. He told her that he knew what happened to her and why did she do that. Obba, upset asked Olofi to please send her to a place that no one would look at her. Olofi asked Obba if she did indeed want to do that. Obba replied yes. Olofi remembered that he needed someone to dig the holes for the bodies of his creations. Obba immediately took the position before Olofi could continue. Obba was sent to a place that was very solitude. She noticed that she was approaching Oya’s house and she questioned in her mind what was she doing there. Nevertheless, she never did question the great Olofi. It was inside Olofi’s garden where Obba would work. She was then assigned to open the graves of the cemetery.
Ochun came running to see where Obba was at and when she ran through the forest she saw the great Olofi. She asked him what had happened to Obba and Olofi told Ochun that she has now been moved to ile iku (cemetery). Ochun ran to the cemetery and saw her sister opening the holes for the arrivals of the new corpse of man. From that day Obba has not seen Chango and vice versa but there’s not a day that goes by where Obba and Chango think about each other.
Obba’s feast day is November 25th. Her number is 9 or 8 in some houses of worship. She is the legitimate wife of Chango. She does not like infidelity as in her presence that is not allowed. Obba is received when one is married and has lived longevity with their spouse and they have made a concrete marriage. It is said that if you receive her when you are single, then it will be hard for you to have a relationship because Obba does not want you to be hurt. That is true for some people. I believe that Obba like any other orisha will not make you go through anything hard such as a relationship. If she sees your spouse, doing you wrong or cheating on you she will make that spouse leave within a hurry. She reaffirms any relationship. Obba loves all the finest things in life and she contains a golden key that she and her sister Ochun change on a regular basis. This key opens all the treasures in the world. Her weapon is a sword or a dagger in which she knows how to use it with great speed. Daggers are used in her sacrificial ceremonies. Obba sacrificial animals are female goats and in some houses male goats, hens, pigeons and guinea hens. Her animals should be clean and smelling good. It can be either white or a reddish color. In the house of a follower of Obba, she is nowhere or should be nowhere near Oya. She may live wet or dry depending on the house that she is given from. She loves wines, champagnes, fine sweets and cakes. Obba is done Oshun oro Obba in which her children are initiated through Ochun’s mystery. Not a lot of people know the fundamental secrets on initiating her directly but I heard it could still be done. When Obba makes her presence at a festival, she dances with one ear covered swaying her dagger. Her children are very meticulous and very delicate. You must know how to talk and act with them. They like fine arts and dining.
Family of Ochun
Oba Molo Chun
This saint is the young sister of Obba on her side. She lives in the river and she is in charge of bringing happiness to the home and to the marriage. Her bead is a bone color with coral. She also takes an osun with implements of Obba made of gold.