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Oya

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Oyá
Oyá

Oya (also known as Yansa or Yansan) is a powerful female warrior orisha, one of Shango's wives, owner of the marketplace, owner of the cemetery and the ruler of winds in the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas. She, along with Orunmila, are the only two orishas who defeated Ikú, the force of death. She stole Shango's secret of fire and now throws lightning bolts just like him. She raises up the dead and commands them as her armies. She carries a machete and screams as she rides into battle on the tornado.

Oya is often depicted as a muscular, dark, and seductive black woman, dressed in a skirt of 9 different colors, wielding a machete in one hand and a horse-tail fly-whisk in the other. Her shrine is a glazed ceramic pot, usually maroon or multicolored, filled with her mysteries and 18 loose cowries for diloggun, through which she speaks. The pot is topped with a copper crown from which hang 9 different tools. A large, dried seed pod from the red-flowered flamboyant tree (also known as the flame tree or royal poinciana) is used to speak with her by shaking it while praying at her shrine. There is only one road or avatar of Oya. Her ritual number is 9. Her beaded necklace usually features brown beads with white and black stripes, along with coral beads. Her garments are maroon with 9 different colors. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Oya within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices to Oya include: she-goat, hens, pigeons and guinea hens. She abhors ram, lamb, or mutton, and animal sacrifices of members of this species are strictly taboo for her. altar offerings for Oya include eggplant, chocolate, pomegranate, plums, and multi-colored flowers.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representatives of Oya are Our Lady of Candelaria and Saint Theresa and her feast day is February 2. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions and who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Oya when there are pending issues involving money and business, protection and warding off evil, steady work and personal power, mediumship and working with spiits of the dead, breaking jinxes and reversing curses, and spiritual revenge or curing an enemy,

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