Goddess of the Month - Oya


Oya by Sandra M Stanton
Oya by Sandra M Stanton from The Goddess in World Mythology

Oya is a powerful Orisha and Goddess Whose origins are in West Africa but Whose worship spread with the African diaspora caused by the slave trade. She is now honored in South America and the Caribbean Islands by various peoples. Oya is a warrior-queen and rules the tempests and all winds. She is creatrix of the storms, especially tornados. She also rules the thunder, lightning, and rain as well as hurricanes. Perhaps paradoxically for one so associated with water and wind, Oya is also Goddess of fire, Who burns away that which is no longer necessary to cleanse the way for new growth.

Oya is a Guardian of the Ways, Whose voice communicates to us through the beloved dead. She is a Mistress of the Clairvoyant Arts, and She can summon forth the Spirit of Death at will or send it away. Oya leads spirits to rebirth if such is their desire. She is known in the Voudoun tradition as Maman Brijit. She is also the beloved and feared Protectress of Womyn. Oya guides the hands of Womyn leaders if they have the wisdom to ask for Her aid. She loves female leadership and will nurture it. However, Oya will swiftly punish those who abuse their positions of leadership to turn its responsibilities to opportunities for power and self-aggrandizement. Some of Her other names include:

Great Mother of the Elders of the Night
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

Invocation and Working with Oya

Oya is a fierce but merciful Goddess. Treat Her with deepest respect but don't be afraid to approach Her when you are in need. If you want to work with Oya on a regular basis, I recommend that you learn Her ways from a Priestess of one of Her modern traditions such as Voudoun, Santeria, or any of the other modern African/Brazilian/Caribbean cultures who honor and respect Her. There is also plentiful information on how to work with Her in many books on the subject which are readily available. But if you only want to invoke Her occasionally, then the following information can help you to learn enough to not make missteps.

Altars to Oya need to be covered in beautiful, rich fabrics in jewel tones of purple, burgundy, and copper. Sandalwood is a favorite incense and is good to use. It is best to invoke Her on a Wednesday or Friday if possible, but if you are truly in need, any time is fine. The altar should be laid out with a dish of boiled black-eyed peas and cooked eggplant and a goblet of rainwater as offerings to Her. A small vase of marigolds would also be quite appropriate and they can be grown indoors if they are not in season. If you wish to use candles, ones in dark red, purple, and coppery colors are recommended. Dress yourself with respect and wear flowing, loose clothing, preferably long skirts and luxurious tops. Copper bangle bracelets are very good and so are necklaces which are long with varicolored beads.

Thunder-Woman by Heathwitch


Your name calls the winds
Your name weighs the truth
Your name comforts the dead:

May your strength and grace
Shelter me always
May your storms and winds
Bless me with positive change
And may I always know
Your thundering, divine love.

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