Oya is a passionate, fierce warrior and the bringer of change. She is a determined, disciplined and powerful woman. She controls the wind and lightning (like her husband Chango) and she is (literally and metaphorically) the tornado. Anytime you are experiencing earth shattering change, know that Oya is close by.
OYA is the Ruler of the Wind and Ruler of Tornadoes and She claims lightning as one of Her powers as well. O-ya means “she tore” in Yoruba. An elemental Goddess – Air, Fire Water – She incorporates all of them into Her. She is the personification of the Niger River and has the power to shapeshift into a water buffalo (and in some stories, other animals in the wilderness). As a Female Warrior, She fights ferociously and is fearless in Her protection of Her children and mates. Hunters and Chieftains seek OYA’s good graces for abundant hunting and in selecting strong leaders. OYA is also the Owner of the Marketplace.
As Queen of the Dead, She safeguards the spirits of those who have passed and keeps the Ancestral connections, reminding future generations from where they came. She is the only Orisha that has a foot in Life and a foot in Death. OYA governs the gates of cemeteries and it is there that She receives offerings from Her children who those seeking Her assistance.
In all that She does, She is independent, unpredictable, fierce and beautiful.
To Her, I turn for transformation, purification, blowing out energy that no longer serves me. She gives voice and movement to the wild bits of my soul and when I dance and whirl with OYA, I am out of my head and intellect, fully inhabiting the elemental power of SHE. As a storm begins to gather, I feel Her energies … toiling, spinning, bubbling. I taste Her promise of rain and see Her in the streaking release of each lightning flash. She is the voice of Independent Women as well – the courage to speak our minds and the authenticity that allows us to live beholden to no man. And when She chooses, as Shakti empowers and enlivens Shiva, so does OYA empower Her mate, Chango. Reflecting the duality of Her nature (and relationship with the male Orishas), the solitary part of my nature that is very comfortable without a relationship with a man is a part that I truly identify with OYA.