The goddess of the wind, lightning, fertility, fire, and magic. Oya is the spirit of change, transition, and the chaos that often brings it about.
Of all the Orisa, Oya is probably the most difficult to fathom. In one sense, this is because a mysterious quality is essential to her energy. In another, it is because when Oya energy impacts our daily lives, it does so with such abruptness and ferocity that we would prefer to avoid the convergence rather than encourage it. Yet, for those who are children of Oya, or for those adept at tapping into her energy, the possibilities are endless.
The below story chronicles her Journey.
Oya, who had left her original husband, Ogun, for the affections of Sango, discovered that Sango had become enamored with orisa Osun. This captivating goddess of love and sensuality was using her magical charms to lure Sango away from Oya. Oya was furious. She had con-fronted Sango with her knowledge, but he had denied everything. Finally, she took matters into her own hands. Using her powers with the dead, and understanding Sango’s revulsion for them, Oya summoned forth a cadre of the dead to surround the house of Sango and keep
him prisoner. Now it was Sango’s turn to be angry.
"Oya," he screamed, "you cannot hold me prisoner in my own home. I have tasks in my kingdom; my subjects need me; you must call off your minions."
"The only task you are looking to perform," replied Oya, "is one with that hussy Osun! No, my husband, you will remain in your home until her charms have worn off."
And with that, Oya strode haughtily away.
Osun, hearing of her lover’s confinement, waited until Oya left for the marketplace and slipped by the dead guards into Sango’s ile. Once there, she dressed Sango in women’s attire and went out to distract the guards. So great are Osun’s charms that even the dead are not immune to them, and while they were flirting with the orisa of sensuality, Sango slipped away.
When Oya returned from the marketplace and discovered that her husband had escaped with Osun, she was beside herself. Sango, in his haste, had made a tragic error; he had left behind his instruments of fire and thunder. In her anger Oya entered Sango’s private sanctuary and discovered his magical gourd and mortar and pestle. Dipping her finger
into the gourd she felt a pastelike substance. She brought the finger to her mouth and felt a searing heat. The shout that she emitted was almost as shocking as the fire that accompanied it. The jagged flame of lightning that came from her mouth was Sango’s secret of fire. The mortar and pestle yielded the secret of thunder, and now this already powerful female warrior became even more powerful.
Eventually, Sango and Oya reached a kind of mutual understanding. The great love they had once held for each other could no longer exist, but the two would work together in the casting of thunderbolts and the destruction of enemies. The loss of love had been compensated for, in part, by the acquisition of greater knowledge and power.