Oyá is the ruler of the winds, the tornado and the gates of the cemetery. She guards the gates of the cemetery, making sure that the boundaries between life and death are respected. She is a fierce warrior who rides to war with Shangó (sharing lightning and fire with him). Oyá inspires fear, but she stands up and protects those who respect her. She brings purification into our lives by blowing away all the things that no longer serve us, and allowing fresh winds to blow in new things.

Contrary to what many assume, Oyá does not live in the cemetery. She lives in the marketplace and steers the changing fortunes made through business.

There is also a great misunderstanding about the relationship between Oyá and Yemoja. These two orishas do not have discord between them. This is a misunderstanding perpetuated by author Migene Gonzalez-Whippler that Yemoja supposedly tricked Oya into exchanging the sea for the cemetery. This pataki is not found anywhere in odu – it is a folk tale not based in our religion and originates from a lack of understanding in ceremony.

  • Number: 9
  • Colors: maroon, 9 different colors, flowery patterns
  • Offerings: eggplant, akara, plums, red wine
  • Sacred Place in Nature: the marketplace, wind and the gates of the cemetery
  • Temperament: fierce, temperamental, protective