OYA, Goddess of the Wind and Storms

According to the history books, Orisha OYA is seen to have been fierce and fearless, one would not want to ascribe her fearlessness to the strange but sad incident of giving birth to 9 still borns.

Oya is the orisha(god) of winds, lightning, violent storms, death, and rebirth. In Yoruba (a popular tribe in Nigeria), she is known as Oya-Iyansan – the “mother of nine”. She is also the patron of the Niger River which is known as the Odo-Oya in Yoruba.


She is celebrated as a warrior and described as unbeatable; she is ascribed to have had great and intense feelings, sensations, and charm. Walked with a face that could not be beheld, this orisa also had control over the dead. Her presence is reflected in the dancing and swaying of trees, the whistling of the wind, flight of birds, sound of music, movement of clouds and waves, the life of fire, etc.

Some of the stories surrounding this Orisa lays claim to the fact that she gives humans the passport to life and takes it back at death; she is therefore regarded as the “Watcher of the doorway between life and death”. Not only that, she is associated with aiding the growth of flowers, plants and trees by either directly carrying the pollen in her invisible hands or on the body of birds that fly, she is also symbolic to the things that are, felt more often than seen.

Furthermore, Orisa Oya also represents the total destruction of the old society making way for the new ( a total revamp of the old); and the power to destroy cities and fields, reverting them back to their original state. She is said to accomplish this by sending cyclones, tornadoes, and hurricanes which destroy everything in their paths, forcing mankind to rebuild new cities and towns.

According to some scholars, Oya was the wife of Shango (god of thunder) and his favorite at that, they conclude that during fights and wars, Shango sends his wife ahead to fight with the wind, it is also to be noted that without her, there is nothing Sango can accomplish. It is agreeable that Oya gives expression to his voice as thunder and many Santeros (priests of Santeria) believe Sango got his power from her.

Oya's attributes are the sword or machete and the flywhisk, and Her animal is the water buffalo, in Whom She sometimes manifests. Her mother is said to be Yemaya, the Great Sea Mother. Oya Herself is said to be the mother of nine children--Egungun and four sets of twins.

Her number is nine, her colour is burgundy or purple, and Her metal is copper. Offerings to Oya include eggplants, coins, red wine, and cloth.

Alternate names: Oya-ajere "Carrier of the Container of Fire," Ayaba Nikua "Queen of Death," Iya Yansan "Mother of Nine," Ayi Lo Da "She Who Turns and Changes," Oia, Yansa, Yansan.


    Salutation: "Eeparrei!", or "Epahhey, Oia!"

    Consecrated day: Wednesday

    Colours: red, purple, and black

    Symbols: eruquerê, a ritual object; or a copper sword

    Prohibitions: pumpkin, stingray, and mutton

    Food: acarajé

Ritual foods

Acarajé, a ball formed from crushed or peeled beans and fried in dendê (palm oil) is a traditional offering to Iansã in the Candomblé tradition of Brazil. A simple, unseasoned form of acarajé is used in rituals, and a version served with various condiments is sold as a common street food in Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. Ipeté and bobo de inhame are also associated with Iansã.



See this beautiful goddess of the wind sculpture for your home — HERE

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