Oya is a Great Yoruban Orisha. She is the goddess of Storms and Winds, and Her realm ranges from rainbows to thunder. Her name means “She Who Tore” in Yoruba. She can manifest as winds ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone.
Oya is known as a fierce Warrior goddess and a strong Protectress of women, who call upon Her. It is She who assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change (especially for the good) and is not a slow or very patient energy. According to Luisah Teish in the book, Jambalaya,
“Oya-Yansa is the Queen of the Winds of change. She is feared by many people because She brings about sudden structural change in people and things. Oya does not just rearrange the furniture in the house — She knocks the building to the ground and blows away the floor tiles.”
She is the Orisha of rebirth and new life. Goddesses such as She are referred to as Dark goddesses because They not only pull you into the darkness guide you through the dark and turmoil, but they point you to the light of hope.
Oya is the sentinel between the realm life and death. She gives assistance and guidance to those when they make their final transition into the veils. She can either hold back the spirit of death or call it forth. Hence, she is the last breath taken. Oya also governs over the cemetery and the realm of the dead, and it is said that She entered into the lower world of Ira upon hearing that Shango (Her Husband) died.
She is known for using charms and magic and is known as one of the Primeval Mothers of the “Elders of the Night (Witches).” Oya is also a Water goddess, for She is the goddess of the Niger River in Africa.
Oya is the elder sister to the goddesses Yemaya and Oshun. She is considered the Crone aspect of this Triple goddess trilogy. As a Crone Goddess She is a teacher of truth and a bringer of justice. Do meditate and take in Oya’s power during the wind, rain, snow and thunder storms, for She speak to those who listen. She cleanses that which is sullied with Her mighty broom.
Oya has nine children and Her favorite number is 9.
Goddess of the Wind
Mo juba awo Oya!
Iwo ni Orisha Obinrin Afefe.
Iwo ni Oluwa Awo Iku.
Iwo ni Orisha Obinrin Efufulile.
Iwo ni Ologun Obinrin Julo Nase.
Iwo ni Emi Iye.
I humble myself before the mysteries of Oya!
You are the Goddess of the Wind.
You are the Owner of the Mysteries of Death.
You are the Goddess of the Tempest.
You are the Greatest Female Warrior.
You are the Breath of Life.
Unlike Yemoja and Oshun who command our attention through their grace, beauty, and majesty; Orisa Oya is the invisible Orisha. In fact, Her face is said to be so terrible that none dare behold it. Oya’s presence and action is reflected in the flight of birds, the swaying of trees, the whistling of the atmosphere, the blowing of dust, the hurling of dirt, the movement of the waves, the sound of music, the spoken word, the cry of a baby, the roar of the lion, the movement of clouds, and the life of fire.
It is Orisha Oya who gives us our passport to life [breath] at birth, and requires its return at death. Oya is therefore, the watcher of the doorway between life and death. She is not death but the awareness of its existence. Orisha Obatala, Yemoja, Ogun, and Oshun are all connected with the blood, but if Oya does not embue the blood with her Ase, the life process can not proceed. Not only is Oya’s Ase essential to the life process of the ‘godseekers’ and other creatures that inhabit this region of the Ase, but she is also the one who carries the pollen of the plants and trees from place to place, either directly in her invisible hands, or in the body of birds that fly in her ever present embrace. Orisa Oya is symbolic of things that are, felt more often than seen. In this sense she is associated with ‘covert’ activities and ‘secret’ operations.
Orisa Oya also represents the destruction of old society making way for the new; and the power to completely destroy cities and fields, reverting them back to their original state. She accomplishes this by sending cyclones, tornadoes, and hurricanes which destroy everything in their paths, forcing mankind to rebuild new cities and towns. It is agreed among the scholars of Ifa that Oya was Shango’s favorite wife, and it is said that, when Shango wants to fight he sends Oya ahead of him to fight with the wind.
Without Oya there is nothing Shango can accomplish. When Shango sends his voice of thunder ahead of his approaching lightning, it is the Ase of Oya that gives expression to his voice as thunder which is caused by the sudden expansion of air in the path of an electrical charge. Many santeros [priest of Santeria] believe that Oya is the one who gave Shango power over thunder and lightning. In actuality, Oya is central and essential to the collective workings of the Siete Potencias [7 Principle Orisa].
It is Orisa Oya’s domain and responsibility to clean the atmosphere around the planet and the provide the proper balance of gases to sustain all forms of life. No Orisha should be DISrespected or DISregarded, least of all Oya; “…her wrath is so devastating that it must be absolutely avoided. Not only does Orisa Oya carry pollen and dust, but she also carried disease and other agents of death. It is interesting that scientists today are saying that ‘second-hand cigarette smoke’ can be as deadly as cigarette smoking. The depleting ozone layer, nuclear fallout, greenhouse gases, and the like, are all operating in the domain of Orisha Oya.
Iba se Orisa Oya!