Quick Note: Like other religions, Yoruba Religion (known as Ìṣẹ̀ṣe) comprises spiritual and traditional religious concepts and practices (knows as Àṣà). And the practice is not only limited to the Yoruba people in West Africa, it is also practice in Brazil.
The Yoruba religion has its own unique creation story, in which Olodumare is regarded as the principal agent of creation and He lives in the heavens – sky with the Orishas. At a certain period in the process of creation, Olodumare sent “truth” to explore all the newly created planets and confirm how habitable they were. The earth, being one of the planets was filled with water and not conventional habitable. Meanwhile, Olokun had been ruling in the affairs of the expanse below the heavens – earth.
Obatala Mission to Earth
Obatala upon his request was, charged to develop the earth for habitation. Obatala consulted Orunmila, the god of prophecy and oldest son of Olodumare for ideas to develop the earth. Orunmila advised he got equipped in a bag – a mollusk concealed some soil; clothe material and a winged-beast (some referred to it as white hen), palm nut, a cat, and a golden chain to descend the height. Obatala descent from heaven to accomplish the task through a golden chain because the surface was too wet to inhabit.
Upon journey downwards, at the end of the chain, there was still more distance to cover so he poured the sand and emptied the bag afterward. The hen perched on the surface and gradually scattered the soil with its feet and it began to spread into a large dry land which some areas eventually became hills and valleys. After that, the hen planted the palm nut and it grew and bore fruits and reproduced more palm trees. At this point, Obatala descends on the dry land for exploration. This dry land became Ife.
Considering the loneliness with the cat for a period of time, Obatala began to mold figurines from a handful of clay soil. Meanwhile, as this was happening on earth, Olodumare gathered the gases from the far reaches of space and sparked an explosion that shaped into a fireball. He subsequently sent it to Ife, where it dried much of the land and simultaneously began to bake the motionless figurines. It was at this point that Olodumare released the “breath of life” to blow across the land, and the figurines slowly came into “being” as the first people of Ife.”
The people began to explore the land; reproduced, built huts, among other things. So, Obatala returned to his home in heaven. Olokun, the goddess of the sea and ocean was not happy with what Obatala had done so, Olokun summoned the great waves of her vast oceans and sent them surging across the land and much of the land was underwater and many of the people were drowned.
Some of the people who had fled to the highest land beseeched and offered some sacrifices to the god Eshu who had been visiting, to return to the sky and report what was happening to them.
Eshu returned and deliver the message accordingly. When Orunmila heard about what had happened to Ife, he climbed down the golden chain to the earth and cast many spells which caused the floodwaters to retreat and the dry Ife land reappear. From Ife, the world began and grew to beyond.