In Africa, it’s believed that the land’s gods keep the land at peace and the people in check. And that they were here long before we came into existence. In many African mythologies, especially in Nigerian mythologies, it is believed that the gods once walked this earth and even lived here and that they took in wives, had children. When the world got too filthy for them, they moved to a supernatural place, somewhere that we’ve somehow convinced ourselves is up in the sky.
Even though they left this space, it’s also believed that it doesn’t mean that their supernatural presence left the earth; they still heavily influence what goes on here. So, believers call upon them from time to time to give guidance and maybe grant their heart desires, in times of trouble.
We know that not all these gods are the same or operate the same way. They are unique, have different ways of manifesting, likes, and dislikes.
Among the Yoruba people, they are called Orisha: And we will be looking at five most influential and powerful Orishas.
Olodumare is the most powerful God, according to Yoruba mythology. He is the “supreme God.” He is the omnipotent and is the God the creator, the one who breathes life into the creations of Obatala. He is also the creator of the other gods and the creator of the powers in the universe. The Yorubas do not worship him directly: He is called on if the other Orishas do not hear their worshippers’ calls. Many times he is interchanged as the God referred to by Christians, but he isn’t. He is a different entity.
In the Yoruba cosmology, He is the father of all Orishas. The creator of the human race. Until one is initiated into the worship of the Orishas’, it is believed that obatala is their God. He also walked the earth’s face in a mortal body and served as the king of Ife. He was usurped from the throne by his brother on a drunken night.
This is another influential Orisha. It is said that he was there during the creation of the universe. He is the “god of wisdom, knowledge, and divination.” The Yorubas’ would say that he once used to take human forms and visit the earth as a priest and teach priests a very highly spiritual religion called Ifa. The Ifa has 256 books as part of the core of worship called Odu. The Odu Ifa is an oral book exclusive to the priest of the religion and is passed down from generation to generation. It is the encyclopedia of life and the human race. Orunmila gives an insight into the future to his worshippers as visions to guide their actions.
The first Orisha to descend on earth, he took the form of a hunter named Tobe Ode. He is also the first king of Ife. He is the Yoruba “god of war and iron.” he is also a warrior. He is usually worshipped by warriors, hunters, blacksmiths, technologists, and drivers who believe in the old gods. His symbols are metal, dog, and palm frond.
He is the Yoruba mythological “god of Thunder and Lightning.” His statues usually capture him wielding a two-edged axe. He is also called Jakuta and is one of the most worshipped gods in the world today. He is also one of the greatest warriors in mythologies. He was the third king of the Old Oyo Kingdom. He is worshipped on the fifth day of the week. The Bata dance is performed during his festivals, and people who worship him do so in red attires, which is believed to be what he wears.