Meet OYA - Yoruba Goddess Of death • illuminaija

Meet OYA – Yoruba Goddess Of death


Meet OYA – Yoruba Goddess Of death

She is considered either the sister of the Orisha of storms Shango or one of His three wives, with Oshun and Oba. She can manifest as winds. ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone.

Oya is an Osha and is closely related to Iku, the divinity of death. She is the promoter of storms, hurricane winds and sparks. She symbolizes the violent and impetuous character. Oya lives at the door of the cemeteries. Represents the intensity of the mournful feelings and the world of the dead. In nature, she is symbolized by the spark. Together with Eleguá, Orunmilala and Obatalá she dominates the four winds. She is called with the sound of the flamboyant pod. Represents the reincarnation of the ancestors, the lack of memory and the feeling of regret in the woman. Oya’s flag, skirts and cloths carry a combination of all colours except black.

She goes forth with Her husband during His thunderstorms, destroying buildings, ripping up trees, and blowing things down. Oya is known as a fierce warrior and strong protectress of women, who call on Her to settle disputes in their favour. As the Orisha of change, She brings down the deadwood 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 Vodou Lwa Maman Brijit, Who, like Oya, guards graveyards.


Oya is the Orisha 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 an Orisha of a very fiery demeanour, also seems to have a far-flung connection with the Celtic Bride or Bridgit, both in Her Vodou counterpart Maman Brijit, and in Her associated Catholic saint, Our Lady of La Candelaria, whose feast day, February 2nd, is shared with Bride.

Meet OYA – Yoruba Goddess Of death

Her receptacle in an earthen vessel with a lid or a tureen of brown or various colours. Normally she lives dry, in some cases, in river water and in others only a little river water is sprayed on its Ota. Her attributes are 9 adanes (handles) of copper, flamboyant sheaths, Irukes (horse’s tail), a hand of snails, tools of work and war, swords, shields, lightning swords, crown, handkerchiefs of 9 different colours except for black, guanaco, peaks, arrow, ray, scythe, stick, hoe, rake, axe, sabre, etc. Her beads are of 1 brown account with black and white stripes for every 9 browns, in some Osha houses, they are made of lilac beads with yellow stripes or alternating 9 white and 9 black beads.

She is presented with coloured fruits, mainly eggplant, sweet potato, Indian plantain, buns of beans, white rice with eggplant, Corojo butter, grapes, cocoa butter, toasted corn, coconut, etc. He is immolated goats, chickens, guineas, pigeons. Her ewe is flamboyán, caimitillo, pump fruit, yucca, pomegranate, marigold, thousand flowers, geranium, purple coralillo, pacific sea, cucumber, verbena, cemetery flower, dead scarecrow, change voice, plantain, shameful, mugwort, cordovan, camphor, curujey, croto, cherimoya, mongoose, etc.

Meet OYA – Yoruba Goddess Of death

They are reserved people, of calm character like a breeze but when they get angry they are a tempest. They are like the wind, they do not like to be locked in a place, they tire easily with the everyday and monotonous behaviour. They are in extremely faithful in some cases, but in others are given to extra conjugal adventures. In all cases, they are very jealous.

A long time ago three sisters lived in a tribe: Yemayá, Oshún and Oya, who, although very poor, were happy. Yemayá was the oldest and kept her two sisters fishing in the sea. Oya was the youngest and Oshun took care of her, while doing this she also fished in the river and collected stones, which they sold. Love among the three sisters was very big. One day the tribe was invaded by enemy troops. Oshún could not hear the cries of Oya, which she tied so that she would not get lost doing her usual pranks since she was submerged in the river, nor heard her Yemayá, which was far away from the coast. Thus, the enemies took Oya as a captive.

Oshún when she discovered the loss of her beloved sister, sick of melancholy began to slowly consume. However, she managed to find out how much the enemies were asking for the rescue of Oya and little by little began to keep copper coins, until she had enough money to rescue Oya. The head of the tribe, who was madly in love with Oshun and who knew the poverty of her, doubled the price of the ransom while the negotiations were being made. Oshún knelt, wept and begged, however, the Oba asked her for her virginity in exchange for her sister’s freedom. Because of her love for Oya, Oshún agreed. When she returned home with Oya, they told everything to Yemayá, and the older sister in recognition of the generous gesture of Oshún never forgot the sacrifice of her sister, she adorned the head and her arms with coins of copper.


While Oya was captive, Olofin had distributed the earthly goods among the inhabitants of her tribe: to Yemayá she made her absolute mistress of the seas, to Oshún, of the rivers; Oggún, metals, and so on. But since Oya was not present, she did not receive anything. Oshun implored her father not to omit her from his earthly representation. Olofin, was thoughtful to realize the fairness of the request and remembered that there was only one place without an owner: the cemetery. Oya gladly accepted, and thus became the mistress of the cemetery. This is why Oya has copper tools to show his eternal gratitude to Oshun’s sacrifice and eats by the river, as a reminder of her childhood. Moforibale Oshún, Moforibale Yemayá, Moforíbale Oya.


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