Oya


 Origin: Yoruba
Gender: Female
Meaning: "She tore"
Pronunciation: OY-uh?
Other forms: Oiá

The Goddess Oya represents the warrior-spirit of the wind, lightning, fire, magic, and fertility. She guards the Underworld, and creates hurricanes and tornadoes, which are said to be her twirling skirts as she dances. She is also the spirit of change, and the changes that come from destruction. Oya wears every color but black, and she sleeps at the gates of cemeteries. She is not only a Goddess, but an Orisha, which is an elemental spirit, her element being lightning. She holds the power to call forth the spirit of death, or even send him back. Oya is the protector of women, and her knowledge of magic makes her associated with witches.

When she dances, she is said to have a horse tail, and she can transform into a water buffalo. Some of her favorite offerings are shea butter, eggplants, rum, pennies, masks, and wind instruments. She is called "the one who uses air as her cutlass", and "the one who puts on pants to go to war", among many other things. Shango is either her husband or brother, and in battle she leads him, as he is the Orisha of thunder, which follows lightning.

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