Column: Caveat Emptor

Odùduwà is the power of the womb, the well of existence in the Yoruba religion. He is the progenitor of the Yoruba people, brother of Orisha Obatalá (the justice bringer) and, in some stories, the first ancestor. When the world was covered in water, it was Odùduwà who first descended from heaven and laid the spell that pulled up the land up from the sea, finishing the work of his brother, Obatalá, who had become inebriated partly through the work of Orisha Eshu. The first bit of land that rose from the waters would become the city of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the spiritual center of the Yoruba religion and the gateway to heaven. When human forms were later molded by Obatalá, Odùduwà became their first emperor, the Oba, of Ile-Ife.