African Mythology : Oya

African Mythology : Oya

Oya is a Yoruba Orisha( a spirit that reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme deity) of the wind, lightning, storms, death and rebirth. Oya in the Yoruba language means she tore. The River Niger, located in Nigeria is known to the Yoruba’s as the Oya River. It has 9 tributaries, this is why Oya is known as the mother of 9.

Oya is also revered in Latin America, this is due to the transatlantic slave trade. The salves taken to Brazil insisted on keeping their traditional mode of worship. Their slave masters did not agree, so the black people kept on worshipping their Orishas under the guise of Catholic saints. By doing this, they kept their roots alive.

Oya is associated with the colours red and white in Candomble (an Afro American religious tradition practiced in Brazil). Attributes of Oya are said to be feelings, sensations and charm. She is said to be a fierce warrior, a bringer of change. She is the third wife of Shango( the male orisha of fire and lightning).

There are many stories in Yoruba mythology of the romantic battles between her and Shango. These stories have been told to children by adults as a form of entertainment. The stories are being passed down from generation to generation. Stories are also being told of Oya being good with money, loving healthy food and good wine (palm wine). Oya can be likened to storm of the X-men and any strong warrior goddess.



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