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OYA Mythology: In Africa, Oya (pronounced oh-yah) is the…

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The Goddess Files: Enlightenment through Discover

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OYA

Mythology:

In Africa, Oya (pronounced oh-yah) is the Yoruban Goddess of weather, especially tornadoes, lightning, destructive rainstorms, fire, female leadership, persuasive charm, and transformation. She is also one of the most powerful of Brazilian Macumba deities. When women find themselves in hard-to-resolve conflicts, she is the one to call on for protection. Wearing wine, her favorite color, and exhibiting nine whirlwinds (nine being her sacred number), she is depicted here with a turban twisted to appear like buffalo horns, for it is said she assumed the shape of a buffalo when wedded to Ogun. (5)


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. (3)

Oya is the powerful Yoruba Goddess of the Winds of Change; the Primeval Mother of Chaos; Queen of the Nine (for the nine tributaries of the Niger River). Using her machete, or sword of truth, she cuts through stagnation and clears the way for new growth. She does what needs to be done. She is the wild woman, the force of change; lightning, fire, tornadoes, earthquakes and storms of all kinds are ruled by Oya. She is also Queen of the Marketplace, a shrewd businesswoman and adept with horses. As the wind, she is the first breath and the last, the one who carries the spirits of the dead to the other world, which is why she is associated with cemeteries. (1)

Oya is known as a fierce warrior and strong protectress of women, who call on Her to settle disputes in their favor. (3)


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As the goddess of change, She brings down the dead wood to make room for the new, and She uses Her machete or sword to clear a path for new growth. She is believed to watch over the newly dead and assist them as they make the transition from life. She is equated with the Vodoun lwa Maman Brijit, who, like Oya, guards graveyards. (3)

Oya is the goddess of the Niger River, and Her violent rainstorms are said to be its source. Like Oshun, She is worshipped not only in Africa but in Brazil, where the Amazon is said to be Her river, and where She is equated with the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of La Candelaria. Oya, who is a goddess of a very fiery demeanor, also seems to have a far-flung connection with the Celtic Bride or Bridgit, both in Her Vodoun counterpart Maman Brijit, and in Her associated Catholic saint, Our Lady of La Candelaria, whose feast day, February 2nd, is shared with Bride. (3)

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. (3)

Oya is one of the most powerful African Goddesses (Orishas). A Warrior-Queen, She is the sister-wife of the God Shango, to whom She gave the power to create storms[2]. Much of Oya's power is rooted in the natural world; She is the Goddess of thunder, lightning, tornadoes, winds, rainstorms and hurricanes. A Fire Goddess, it is Oya who brings rapid change and aids us in both inner and outer transformation[3]. (2)

Oya is the guardian of the realm between life and death; as such, She is not only the Goddess of spirit communication, funerals and cemeteries[4] but also the Goddess of clairvoyance, psychic abilities, intuition and rebirth. She can call forth the spirit of death, or hold it back -- such is the extent of Her power. [3]. Because of Her affiliation to the dead, and Her intense knowledge of the magick arts, Oya is also known as "the Great Mother of the Elders of the Night (Witches)"[3]. (2)

Oya is both loved and feared, and for good reason: unleashed, Oya is the Savage Warrior, the Protective Mother, She whose power sweeps all injustice, deceit and dishonesty from Her path[4]. She will destroy villages if the need is true enough, for while She understands everything, She will only accept, act upon, and speak the truth (even when it is hard to bear)[3]. (2)

Oya is the protectress of women and patron of feminine leadership[4]. Fiercely loving, She is wildly unpredictable and can change from benevolent, caring Mother to destructive Warrior in the blink of an eye. Passionate, fearless, sensual and independent, Oya is not a Goddess to be invoked lightly and must be treated with respect and care. While She will toss you in Her storms of change, and shelter you in Her caring embrace, She will also strike you down with Her lightning should the need arise. However, do not let that dissuade you from working with Oya, for She is the Strong Woman, the Bringer of Change and Seeker of Truth, who can be a most powerful ally. (2)


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Oya storms into your life to tell you that change is calling, beckoning, and camping out on your doorstep. The way to wholeness for you lies in embracing change. Have you been too busy, too stressed, to attend to the changes needed in your life to nurture yourself? Is change so fearful a concept that you push it aside, play hide-and seek with it, or just ignore it? Have you arranged your life so perfectly that there is no room left for potential? Time for change. Time to sweep out, sweep up, and be swept away. Perhaps you are in the midst of the Change (menopause) and are having trouble accepting it. Resistance to change brings more persistent change. Choosing to dance with change means you will flow with it. Let yourself be unsettled, prepare yourself for growth. Enter deeply into change's chaotic dance and you'll be richly blessed with abundant possiblity. It is time for something completely different. The Goddess says that the earth must be dug up before anything can be planted and that change always brings you what you need on your path to wholeness. (5)


Honoring Oya:

Colours: maroon, purple, deep dark red, oranges, browns, multi-colours, burgundy, copper.

Scents: patchouli, sandalwood, geranium.

Gemstones: red stones, particularly garnet, but also bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz.

Foods: eggplant, grape wine, grapes, gin, rum, kola nuts, rooster, hen, porridge, fruit, fish, anything spicy.

Herbs: comfrey, pleurisy roots, horehound, chickweed, peony, elecampane, royal poinciana, star apple, flamboyan, yucca, caimito, cypress, grains of paradise.

Icons: masks, swords, whips, pennies, brooms, camwood, wind instruments, anything associated with wind (e.g. pictures of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc), bright-coloured cloth, buffalo's horns, anything copper.

Metal: Copper.

Number: 9. (2)


Invocation:

Oya can be invoked for change, strength, leadership, authority, courage, justice, weather spells, ancestor-worship, grief, truth, power, magick, protection... (2)

Meditation to Oya:

Oya, Lady of Storms,
Oya, Bringer of Change,
Oya, Warrior of Women,
You who command the winds
And protect the souls of the dead
You whose domain is the tornado, the storm, the thunder,
I thank you for your presence tonight
Your wise words, listening ear, and instigation of change.
Hail, Oya, and Farewell! (2)

Offerings to Oya include eggplants, coins, red wine, and cloth. (3)

(( In other notes.. there is a very interesting magick ritual through one of the websites I used as a reference. This is the link: http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Oya_2.html ))

References:
(1) - http://www.goddessmyths.com/Lucina-Ptesan-Wi.html
(2) - http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Oya.html
(3) - http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/oya.html
(4) - http://www.awakenedwoman.com/oya.htm
(5) - http://www.angelfire.com/va/goddesses/oya.html


Exterior References from MY (2):
[2] Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. Goddesses in World Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford University Press : New York (1995).
[3] http://www.geocities.com/ojedele/oya.html
[4] http://www.goddess.com.au/goddesses/Oya.htm
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