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Who Is The Goddess Oya? The Santeria Orisha Of Change


Gods & Goddesses

Who Is The Goddess Oya? The Santeria Orisha Of Change

By Amber Rose

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who is the goddess oya

Who is the Goddess Oya?

Who is the goddess Oya? Oya also called (Oia; Yansa; Iansa) is an Orisha from Yoruba religious belief and a Queen of Niger River. She is a weather goddess and is known as one of Africa’s strongest deities. An unbeatable warrior who is associated with the color red. In the Yoruba religion Orisha “meant a spirit sent by one of 3 manifestations of Supreme God Olodumare.”

She is refer erred to as the Oya-Iyansan meaning “mother of nine” because she was said to gave given birth to 9 stillborn babies, causing her to suffer a childless life. She is an Orisha goddess ruling over death, rebirth, storms, wind, hurricanes, and lightning. In Yoruba, her name means “she tore.” She is very closely related to Mama Brigitte the Haitian god as well as the Catholic Saint Brigit.

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What Oya Means?

“She Tore”

Orisha Oya’s Aspects

  • How to address Goddess Oya: “Eeparrei!”, or “Epahhey, Oia!”
  • Ritual Food: Acaraje
  • Sanctified Day: What Day of the Week is Oya? : Wednesday
  • Associated Colors: Black, Red, Purple
  • Oya Goddess Symbol: Eruquere, a copper sword or a ritual object
  • Oya Exclusions: Mutton, Pumpkin, and Stingray

Goddess Oya History

Who is the goddess Oya was born to the Great Sea Mother aka the Goddess Yemaya, and she had a brother named Shango. The father of the two children remains unknown. Oya is associated with the color red as she was often pictured wearing it. She is also known to wear turbans on her head twisted to look like buffalo’s horns. The true origins of Oya’s married life are unknown as well. There are 2 main theories one is that she married her brother Shango, and the other is she married God of Iron and Metalwork Ogun.

Mythology says she would raise wind in the west and hurricanes would manifest in the Caribbean. Goddess Oya is the Orisha of change and she governs over necromancy divination as well as healing. She has jurisdiction over penalties and awareness. Common reasons people invoke Oya is for reasons of fertility. She might be the mother of the “child born to die” Abiku, although it is unknown for sure.

In recent times the Goddess Orisha Oya has become extremely more popular and is considered to be one of the favorite Orishas in Santeria. Those who worship her usually stop eating mutton. She heals people from diseases of the lungs. You should never try and sacrifice to both Oya and Oshun at the same time. Unless you plan to invoke the Seven African Powers. Both Oya and Oshun are married to Shango and are enemies because of it. They rival because Oya is his trusted adviser and battle side warrior, but who was Shangos wife was the true issue and that was Oshun causing the women friction and jealousy. Goddess Oya can be prayed to along with either Shango or Ogun but not both of them at the same time on her altar.

who is the goddess oya?

Orisha Oya Prayer

“Oh! Orisha Oya, from the storms and the lightning, my Lady Saint Barbara, who delivers him who is desperate and anguished, help me in this moment of pain and despair in my life.

I know how powerful and reliable you are. It is stronger than the violence of hurricanes and the power of the sword!

Just as you have the strength to rid the storm, I ask you, dear Orisha, with prayers, bring the sun and guide my steps, make (name of the person) come back to me and stay with me.

Make him/her call me, seek me, and love me. I can’t stand so much despair and anguish in my life anymore.

I know I don’t have the strength or the power to win this grace alone. That is why I humbly beg you, Oya, help me in this moment of so much pain and suffering.

Help me to achieve this grace so that I can increase my faith and be aware of how powerful and miraculous it is, and I will have thanks for you forever.

Intercede to God the Father, your son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on my behalf, Orisha Oya!

I know you can do it! Bring (name) close to me again!

Free me from this suffering, so that every time this prayer is read by someone desperate and afflicted, it will become stronger.

That is why I will transmit your prayers to the four corners of the world, asking my Orisha Oya, to grant me this grace.

Thanks, Oya! Epa hei Oyá!”

who is the goddess oya?

How to call upon Goddess Oya

This is an easy ritual for invoking Orisha Oya if you want to bring needed change into your life. A word of warning: only invite the goddess if you are very committed to bringing about change. Also it is better to do this ritual outside during a storm as Oya is a storm goddess. If you feel her energy present you can count on your spell work being extra effective! If there is no storms present you can also do this on dark moon Wednesdays. Thing to grab for the ritual include: flower petals either purple red or orange, a purple candle, pen and paper, and an offering of nine copper colored coins.


Oya Ritual

Begin by sitting on the ground with the petals scattered around yourself forming a circle. Now light the candle and call in the directions of the elements and to other spirits, you wish to join you. Then call to Oya, say her name loudly repeat: “Oya, Queen of the rain, the winds, the thunder and the storm, bringer of change, of endings and transformation, I invite you into my circle, and into life!”

Now grab your paper and pen and scibe the changes you wish to bring into your life. Now that you have that written down repeat “Oya, Great Goddess! These are my wishes for change, these are my visions … (state your intentions) … I ask you, and your 9 daughters, to remove the obstacles that are built up around me, and clear the path for this newness to enter into my life! Blow your cleansing winds, and splash your purifying rain through my world and help me to build my visions anew. Let them be strong and clear and true and in the highest good of all. Thank you!.”

Take your coins and give them each a kiss. Bury them in soil. While you perform this action let your intentions go into the elements and know that Oya’s strong energies will now start flooding into your life. Blow out the candle you are done! Know for future uses you may re-invoke Oya’s presence through the candle by reigniting it.

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For more information on Who is the Goddess Oya check out the books linked below:

OYA; Santeria and the Orisha of the Winds By Raul Canizares

Oya: In Praise of an African Goddess By Judith Gleason

African Myths and Egyptian Gods: A Captivating Guide to African Mythology and Gods of Ancient Egypt By Matt Clayton

The Mask of Oya: A Healer’s Journey into the Empowering Realm of Ancestors and Spirits By Flor Fernandez Barrios

Oya: Ifa and the Spirit of the Wind By Original Pubns

Also, check out our post on the Dark Goddesses here!

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