Oshanla: Ancient Orisha of the White Glow

Oshanla is one of the paths or avatars of the spirituality of the orisha obatala. It is female. It is a deity that enjoys a lot of respect and adoration by the practitioners of the Osha and Ifa Rule, due to its advanced age and wide wisdom.

Who is Oshanla?     

Some beliefs affirm that Oshanlá is the wife of Obatala Oshagriñán, and others indicate that she is the wife of Olofin. This path of Obatalá is feminine. It is estimated that it may be native to the Owu land, in Nigeria. She is an old woman who is normally found sitting in her rocking chair due to her advanced age. He does not like disturbances or noise. The place where it resides must be painted white and perfumed.

Spiritually Oshanlá represents the appearance of light, therefore, she is also recognized as "the mother of beautiful light." This is due to a luminous phenomenon that started his cult.

It is born in the sign of Ifa Ogunda melli, from which, it is established that the energetic nature of Obatala can be interpreted as feminine or masculine depending on the Odu that is registered. In this, it is defined that it is a female deity whose age cannot be calculated, and that it came to earth during creation in the company of other divinities.

That same sign shows that she has no parents and that she was the mother of all the creatures of creation, in the company of Ogún who would then define herself as the father. That is, both deities were created by Oloddumare. Therefore, Oshanlá is believed to be the female representation of Orishanlá (Obatala) because the two have the same characteristics.

In nigeria

There is a great controversy about this Orisha. Some practitioners of the traditionalist Ifa state that there are no female Obatala paths in Nigeria, in contrast to the beliefs of the practitioners of the Osha rule and Afro-Cuban Ifa.

This statement is based on oral tradition from Igbo, Nigeria. However, to date there is no well-supported demonstration that supports the exact origin of Orisaalá or Obbatalá. In the same way, its name has many interpretations depending on the area where it is located, but it is supposed to be derived from the Yoruba phrases "Oba ti o ni ala", translated as: the king or lord with white clothes, the king who brought in the humans or the king on his trademark terms. These types of interpretations are what lead certain people to think that Obatalá must be masculine.

Even so, the term Orisaalá or Orishanlá, translates as great Orisha or the greatest Orisha. Based on this translation, no allusion is made to a specific genre. According to Dr. Emanuel Abosede in his book Odun Ifá "the Yorubas establish that divinities should not be seen as feminine or masculine, because they reveal themselves in the way they want to."

In such a way, that affirming that there is no female Obbatala in the entire Yoruba territory could be considered an interpretive claim, indeed, certainly in the land of Igara, in Nigeria, there is a record of the existence of a female Obatala, called in the same way that the Afro-Cuban tradition does.


Oshanla santeria

She is described as a very old woman, usually cold and trembling, who dresses in a white tunic. Some indicate that she is blind. Usually she is sitting in a chair knitting or embroidering.


Their number and day is the same as Obatala's. The 8 and its multiples; and its celebration takes place on September 24.

Oshanla Tools

Among your tools or attributes carry: ivory, a lead ring mounted on an ayé; a nostril, a scimitar, two moñingas, 16 slugs, 2 ivory or crystal eggs; cotton, parrot feathers; on some occasions: a metal paoyé and a deaf horn. Weaving and sewing tools and a white rosary can also be attached to it.

Oshanlá in syncretism

Because it is considered one of the vicissitudes or roads of Obatala, its syncretism is the same, it is related to Our Lady of the Virgen de las Mercedes, also known as the Virgin of Mercy or Virgin of Mercy.


Use the same ones as Obatala, such as: white piglet or pyre, atiponlá, white aguinaldo, white basil, cotton, almond tree, guanaba, rice, bell, white coral, custard apple, scourer, marigold, aknot, clover, prickly pear, yagruma, grass milky.

Color and necklaces (Eleke)

Oshanla's Color It is the white mother-of-pearl, and your elekes or necklaces They are made with white beads. Originally, they were made with 16 ivory beads, but, due to the difficulty in obtaining this material, mother-of-pearl was used. Although, others affirm that mother-of-pearl is placed on her necklace as is done with Olofin's, because she is his wife.

What are the sons of Oshanlá like?

sons of Oshanlá

Oshanlá's children are usually kind, but with a strong character. They are not lovers of scandals. When they are well aspected they manage to be very balanced, peaceful, intelligent, hard-working, harmonious, and excellent mediums and fortune-tellers. When they are badly aspected they can become very messy, scandalous, vindictive, excessive, daring, unruly, talkative and quite confrontational.

Taboo for your children

The children of Oshanlá, like all the children of Obatalá in general, should not drink alcoholic beverages to maintain a fresh and clear mental state, since this element damages their spiritual and physical balance, and tends to generate considerable conflicts. They must refrain from smoking any type of substances, from acting in inappropriate ways outside of morality; They should also consume foods such as salt, sugar and oils in moderation, or if possible refrain from ingesting them completely.

How is Oshanlá consecrated or received in Santeria?

Oshanlá is an Orisha whose foundation is given by the initiates in the Osha rule (santeros or santeras). Its ceremonial occurs with the same fluidity and structure as that of Obatalá, with the exception that some additional elements are involved for its consecration, such as the use of goat milk. Their children, according to the customs of the saint's house to which they belong, can be crowned Obatala or Oshanlá directly, which ultimately results in a fairly similar ceremony.

How to attend it?

It can be entertained with dishes made with rice, white corn, yams, cow's milk, goat's milk, white beans, cocoa butter, husks, cotton, honey, fruits, fresh water or coconut water, candles and white flowers. Their preparations do not contain salt.

What is asked of Oshanlá?

What is asked of Oshanlá

Among the requests or benefits related to receiving the Orisha Oshanla, the following stand out:

  • She is the protector of human settlements and communities, and also a benefactor and patron of culture, therefore, she is asked to bless and bring evolution to societies.
  • He is a deity charged with vast knowledge and wisdom. You are asked to evolve intellectually and make the best use of knowledge.
  • It possesses the virtue of the dominion of the light in all the senses. Contributes to the development of spirituality and mediumship.
  • Due to his advanced age, he dominates virtues such as: calm, patience, tolerance, and peace. Your intervention is requested to develop them.

Prayer or Oriki to Oshanla

A dake sirisiri da eni li ejo. Oba bi eye gbogbo bi odun

Wing, wing. Niki, niki Oni panpe ode orun

O hard lehin o so tito, Oro oko abuke,

You look like I bear, Ori sto Olu Ifon.

Lasiko fun ni li ala mun mi ala mu so ko.

O se ohun gbogbo neither funfun nor funfun. Pirlodi aka you ok.

Orisaalá wa gba mi, O Orisaalá. Tint opaque. TOse.


Spirit of power that reigns Ejigbo. Silent in judgment, and in tranquility.

Cloak whose days become a party, bright white cloth cloak.

Who owns the chain of the court, stands behind the people who tell the truth.

He wakes up to create two hundred customs that serve to civilize, and reign in Ifon.

Oshanla grants me a white cloth of my own.

Spirit that does white things. High as a barn, high as a hill.

I am handed Oshanlá Orisha who leans on a white metal staff. Asé.

Work with Oshanlá for health:

They pray in front of Oshanla with a glass of goat's milk and two white candles, realizing that they are imploring for the health of the person concerned. When the candles are consumed, he bathes with that milk and a little fresh water.

Oshanla's Story

It happened that Efunseeke, the daughter of Orisaalá was pregnant, but her pregnancy was very delicate, therefore, her mother Orisaalá went to see the soothsayer Orunmila, to do a bear (consultation) and find out the reason for the discomforts of that pregnancy. Orunmila performed divination with Ifá looking at the Odu Ofun Meyi. He immediately recommended the pertinent sacrifices to Orisaalá.

Oshanla did everything recommended, bringing the sacrificial water to be drunk by Efunseeke, as instructed. Thus it was, that this water paralyzed the discomforts of Efunseeke's pregnancy, who ended up giving birth in the 16th month of pregnancy. That newborn boy was an albino. But due to the sacrifices made he was known as "Omo Orisa or Orisa Adara" which translates to: the children of Orisa or the good Orisha.

After this event, all albinos were blessed by Orisaalá and naturally and intuitively possess the secret of the Cauries (diloggun) as a virtue, which is why they become very good fortune-tellers.


It happened that the inhabitants of the land of Ife asked Oshanla What was the truth of Ife? and she answered them that the truth was Awó Osá Laye Otura, who was a man who had the necklace of the stones I followed and a ring of the blue stone, which represented the ancient ancestors of Ife.

So, they went to the house of Awó Osá Laye Otura and asked him: What is the truth of Ife? To answer them he agreed to make them bear, seeing the Odu Osa Eure and told them: The truth of Ife is Olorun, who is the owner of the sky and guide of the Earth; the truth of Ife is one that cannot be seen and yet guides everything; the truth of Ife is the character of Oloddumare; the truth of Ife is the word of Ifa that cannot be rejected or denied and that is always fulfilled; the truth of Ife is Orunmila, owner of the word of Ifá, which is the ancient wisdom of Oloddumare and that surpasses everything; After that statement the Awo sang the following suyere: "Ododowi ota aro kaye ododowi ifa ota awo kasheye osha yio oluworan baba egun enifa kualeshe."

Immediately, the earth opened and the Otá Seguí came out. With those stones the insignia of the power of truth were made. Through them the Eguns could continue to rule in the land of the living, and Awó Osa Laye Otura decreed for all the people who lived in Ile Ife that they would have the help of the Oshas and the light of the blue stones would never lack.

He also told them that they should feed Oshanla and Olorun, and performed the ebo so that from that moment on the truth would always be with him and with all Oshanla's children. Since then, in the land of Ife, thanks to the Awo Osá Laye Otura, the necklace of the stone followed and the ring of the blue stone began to be used, so that the truth would always shine and come to light in that land.

Learn more about Obatala:

Other Orishas of the Yoruba Religion:

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