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Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Lady Saoirse
By Lady Saoirse
October 02, 2022
Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation
Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation
TL;DRThe Yoruban goddess Oya is goddess of storms, guardian of the grave yards, and a deity of transformation. She is a protective goddess, especially of women, and has powerful psychic powers, and is also a deity of compassion. Learn about her and how she can bless you today with Mysticsense!

“Oya, Oya, mother of storms, guardian of the dead, she who delivers the ancestors to the other side, hear my prayer!”

The storm, the rainbow, new life- all things the goddess Oya embodies. She is a mother deity who protects the living and the dead, and she creates life, sometimes by destroying things. Oya is a powerful mystic and can be prayed to in order to strengthen your ability to tell the future. A goddess of hope, a goddess of truth, and a goddess of guidance, she can come into your life, and help you to grow and change for the better. Read on to learn about the goddess Oya today!

Who is Oya?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Oya is an orisha, or spirit, who some refer to as a goddess. Oya is a goddess of many things who is venerated in many places and by many people. She is venerated by Yorubas, those who practice some sects of Voodoo, those who practice Brazilian Candomblé, Santeríans, as well as some new age people who feel called by her. Her name means “she tore” after how she uses groundbreaking things to rip away old things to create room for change.

Oya has many names including Oia, Yansa, Yansan-an, Iansa, and Oya-lynsan-an. She is the spirit of the Niger River and is a warrior who can never be defeated. She has the power to command storms, winds, lightning, and hurricanes. She is characterized by violent storms that fell dead trees, so new trees can grow. Like she tears away dead trees with the storm, she pulls things away from us that no longer serve us so we can step forward into new phases of life. Her method is characterized as using ceremonial swords to slash away old things, clearing the path for the new things.

She got the power to harness storms from her husband, the god Shango, who is the most revered and feared god. He is mighty and is necessary at all royal coronations in Nigeria even today. When Shango speaks, fire comes from his mouth, and he will send fire, or thunder and lightning to destroy those who displease him. It is said that when a worshipper of Shango is ridden by him, or has his spirit within them, they can eat fire and not be harmed. It is said that before Shango arrives to wreak destruction, he sends Oya before him to begin desecrating things, and she is more feared than even he is!

However, don’t assume that Oya is just a punisher! She delivers the dead to the other side when they pass and guards them protectively. It is she that allows communication between the dead and the living and she can block that communication if she so chooses. She has also been known to raise the dead as warriors to fight with her sometimes. Not only will she take the dead into battle with her, but she will also ride the winds and storms into the fight!

Wednesday is her special day, and the number nine is her number. One story said that Ogun, who she left to be with Shango, struck her with a wand to try and break her into pieces, and she was split into nine different pieces. She managed to survive, and struck him also, splitting him into seven pieces! She knows heartache, having lost nine babies to death while she was birthing them, and she wears nine different colored sashes at her waist in memory of them. She also made a ritual sacrifice of rainbow-colored cloth and after this sacrifice, she was miraculously able to have children. She birthed nine children afterwards and is called “mother of nine” now.

Dances for Oya include a folkloric performance that tourists are welcome to, and this focuses on the beauty and power of Oya as a mighty goddess. Often, the dancer portraying her dances with ceremonial fly whisks, which denotes power, and royalty often carries them also. One such dance from Cuba can be watched here. Note the strength, pride, and power in the dancers face as she portrays Oya! (2) Orisha Oya Dance from Cuba - YouTube

Rituals, however, will focus on veneration of her, and welcoming her to bless the people. Here is a video of a gathering where Oya appears lovingly to the devotees: OYA GODDESS FALLS INTO A TRANCE - FESTOUR - YouTube

What is a Good Offering for Oya?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Ritual foods offered to Oya include sweet and dark foods like chocolate, eggplants, plums, red wine, black she goats, black hens, guinea hens, pigeons, and special cakes that are called akara. Nine eggplants can be offered to her but if that is not in your budget, you can slice an eggplant into nine pieces for her. You can cook akara at home and give as offerings to Oya. There are plenty of different recipes for it, but a basic recipe is as follows from Tinoulasblog online. You can also watch her video of her making it here: (2) HOW TO MAKE PERFECT NIGERIAN AKARA: FLUFFY AND CRUNCHY RECIPE - YouTube


· 2 cups beans (honey/black eye beans)

· 2 medium-size onions (Blend one and slice one)

· 1 big egg or 2 small eggs

· 2 scotch bonnet pepper (Atarodo)

· 1 garlic clove · salt to taste

· Redball pepper

· 5 Spring onions

· 2 tablespoon grounded crayfish

· frying oil


1. Soak the beans for 30 minutes

2. Wash and remove the beans coat.

3. Blend with 1 onion, and garlic clove. Do not add so much water to blend, make sure the beans is soft enough before blending.

4. Turn everything back in the blender to blend again, this is called the fail-proof method. By then the batter must have been doubled in size.

5. Add the egg(s) and beat in the batter

6. Add sliced scotch bonnet pepper (Atarodo) use according to the hotness of the pepper, Sliced red-all pepper, sliced onions, sliced spring onions, and grounded crayfish.

7. Add salt to taste and mix everything together thoroughly

8. Place the frying oil on medium heat, when you have the right temperature. Start frying the Akara.

9. Scoop the batter with a tablespoon or with any round cooking utensils.

10. Then one side is properly cooked and golden brown, Flip to the other side and fry until golden brown.

11. Remove and drain.

12. Enjoy your Akara alongside Bread, Pap, Custard or alone.

What are Oya’s Animal Soulmates?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Like all lwas or spirits, Oya has an animal spirit and it is the water buffalo. She carries the horns of the water buffalo as a symbol, and her husband Shango will click water buffalo horns together to summon her to help him. She has also been known to transform onto the water buffalo, and relax in the waters of her river, the Niger River. It is said her first husband Egun knew she transformed into a water buffalo, and she made him swear he would never reveal this. However, one day they had a fight, and he said something about it- and other people heard! She left him immediately, transforming into the water buffalo and some say she resides there as one to this day!

What are Oya’s Colors?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Her special colors are reds, purples, wine colors, and all colors of the rainbow- except for black. Some say that all colors are Oya’s colors except for black. Typically, images of her show her wearing a beautiful dress in red or burgundy with nine scarves of different colors around her waist. She is often portrayed with her eyes open very wide, communicating her power, but also how psychically awake she is. Her head is held high in pride and royal splendor, and altars for her are often covered in offerings for her as well as silks and laces of her colors.

How to Communicate with Dead Loved Ones through Oya

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Oya can be asked to prevent haunting by the recently deceased, and she can also help send telepathic messages to the dead. How to communicate with deceased loved ones in many cultures and traditions is the same- respectfully! Oya knows how to communicate with the dead and that is by asking her to open communication. Another way to communicate with the deceased is to ask Papa Legba to open communication with spirits, of course, but today we read about Oya! Oya opportunities to speak with the dead will help protect against hauntings, and she will guard the dead from the living as well. If you have a grudge against a deceased loved one, Oya may refuse to allow you to send them messages. Unless you are an initiate of a tradition that venerates Oya and use that system of belief to contact Oya, if you have established communication with her, simply give her an offering, and ask her to open communication with you and a deceased loved one- then listen!

If she grants permission, the communication could come at any time and in any form. It might be lyrics from a song your loved one favored, or words they would have used coming from somebody else’s mouth. It might be in a dream, or it might be words in the pages of a book that falls off the shelf, waiting for you to read them. The answer will be clear, however, whether she says “No, you may not communicate” or “Yes, you may!” Make sure to give an offering of thanks to both the deceased and Oya for this answer and whatever messages that come.

Will Oya Take Pity on Me?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

Yes and no. Remember, Oya is no helpless princess waiting to be rescued! She is a powerful spirit whose help is called upon by her husband, the feared Shango, and by both the dead and the living. The definition of pity is pretty much feeling sorry for somebody, and Oya does not want you to be a helpless waif who needs saving. If Oya says “I pity you” it can be because she is angry and is tearing you down. The difference between compassion and pity is immense. Compassion is for everybody, including people who are proactive in their own wellbeing and are working to make a good life for themselves. If Oya pities and feels sorry for you, as opposed to being compassionate, she might not see you as somebody working for your own improvement, and she may walk past you.

Oya is a goddess who wants the best for her children and doing everything for us is not her way. She wants us to be powerful like she is, and she wants to help us to realize our talents and work to be proud of ourselves. Oya wants to give a hand up, not a handout! Doing things for us that we need to do for ourselves is not what Oya will do. Never ask her for pity but ask for her compassion and for her to inspire you to improve. Ask her for the tools to improve yourself, and she will answer your prayers.

Is Oya Someone Who Can See the Future?

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

If you are someone who sees the future, you may want to know if Oya is a goddess who can see the future. Oh yes, she is! Seeing visions of the future, the ability to predict the future, and having a sixth sense are things that Oya is gifted with. If you are a person who can read the future, you can ask Oya to help you learn how to increase intuition. Be patient and give it time. We are always developing our gifts, and nobody is born fully educated in anything. The goddess will guide you gradually and show you where to find teachers and books to learn better psychic abilities. Of course, there are many ways of how to increase intuition, and we have shared some techniques here: How to Develop Your Intuitive Abilities | Mysticsense

Oya and Transformation

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

As written above, Oya is a goddess of transformation, but she won’t help you transform gently. She does so powerfully. If you have taken a dead-end job and ask her to help you find a new one, she may find a way for you to lose the bad job before you find another. Not all change is blissful and joyous, but sometimes it entails sacrifice and hardship. Oya expects us to be strong and resilient, finding new ways to be resourceful, and to be smart about how we navigate life. She favors those who seek self-improvement and will destroy things that belong to us she feels we should not. She has been known to destroy entire villages as well as helping people find their personal power to succeed. When you call on Oya for help, be ready, because she expects hard work on your part after she clears the way for new things.

Oya and Women

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of Transformation

She is evoked after miscarriage by women who hope to have a successful birth of a healthy baby. Oya remembers what it was like to lose her own children and can be helpful to you in your time of need also. She is also a matron of the marketplace, where many women thrive. Myths speak of her being a superior saleswoman who could outdo many, and she is protective of women and their businesses in the markets and bazaars. Women warriors are also under her protection, and she is a warrior as well- and an invincible one at that. Her power, strength, and intelligence in motherhood, business, and as a warrior can be learned by women everyplace, and you need only pray to her for guidance for her to help you learn to excel at these things.

A goddess of protection and motherhood, Oya does all she can to take care of and defend her family. Her husband, mighty Shango even acknowledges she is the one who goes before him often before he displays his majesty. She is a compassionate goddess who knows what it is to suffer, and will not leave her devotees, or human children stay stuck in situations that no longer serve them. She gives us the stab in the backside we need to get up, take action, and discard the parts of ourselves and experiences we have moved beyond. Even after we die, she is guarding us and loving us.

If you just want a deity to “work with” to get favors, Oya is not one to call upon, no matter how many times you say “Oya, Oya, Oya, help me!” However, if you can feel her power and love for her while reading about her, she may be calling you. It is true that Voodoo works, but only for those devoted to it. You might not need to be an initiate of any of the traditions that venerate Oya to establish a relationship with her though, and if she chooses you, the strength of Oya will be yours to draw from. She’s a goddess of many things and may very well be a goddess of your own heart!

Oya, Yoruba Goddess of TransformationAbout the Author: Lady Saoirse has studied magic and lore for most of her life, but started walking her own Magical Path after being spiritually reborn in the desert. Today she shares her gifts as a Psychic and Content Writer for Mysticsense and she writes for Pagan Pages emag.

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