The White Moon Gallery Presents
Oya: Lady of Storms
created by Heathwitch


I work in ways deep
ever present
always moving
I work in ways dramatic
with thunder and lightning
sweeping and uprooting
I work in ways subtle
pushing and prodding
wearing and tearing
I swirl you and twirl you
I splatter you and scatter you
I shock you and rock you
I clear the way for what is to come
I can be slight or stupendous
brief or long lasting
uproaring or uprising
What I can't be is ignored

Oya (c) Hrana Janto
"Ọya" (c) Hrana Janto


Bringer of Changes, Shaper of Storms

Ọya is one of the most powerful rṣ (spirits) in the Yorb religion of the West African diaspora (and often equated to a goddess in the Western world). A Warrior-Queen, She is the third wife of the God Ṣng, to whom She gave the power to create storms[2]. Much of Ọyas power is rooted in the natural world: She is the rṣ of thunder, lightning, tornadoes, winds, rainstorms and hurricanes. Also associated with Fire, it is Ọya who brings rapid change and aids us in both inner and outer transformation[3].

Ọya is the guardian of the realm between life and death; as such, She is not only the rṣ of spirit communication, funerals, and cemeteries[4] but also the rṣ of clairvoyance, psychic abilities, intuition, and rebirth. She can call forth the spirit of death, or hold it back -- such is the extent of Her power [3]. Because of Her affiliation to the dead, and Her intense knowledge of the magick arts, Ọya is also known as "the Great Mother of the Elders of the Night (Witches)"[3].

Ọya is both loved and feared, and for good reason: unleashed, Ọya is the Savage Warrior, the Protective Mother, She whose power sweeps all injustice, deceit and dishonesty from Her path[4]. She will destroy villages if the need is true enough, for while She understands everything, She will only accept, act upon, and speak the truth (even when it is hard to bear)[3].

Ọya is the protectress of women and patron of feminine leadership[4]. Fiercely loving, She is wildly unpredictable and can change from benevolent, caring Mother to destructive Warrior in the blink of an eye. Passionate, fearless, sensual, and independent, Ọya is not an rṣ to be invoked lightly and must be treated with respect and care. While She will toss you in Her storms of change, and shelter you in Her caring embrace, She will also strike you down with Her lightning should the need arise. However, do not let that dissuade you from working with Ọya, for She is the Strong Woman, the Bringer of Change and Seeker of Truth, who can be a most powerful ally.


Ọya (c) Francisco Santos
"Ọya" (c) Francisco Santos

by Heathwitch


Your name calls the winds
Your name weighs the truth
Your name comforts the dead:

May your strength and grace
Shelter me always
May your storms and winds
Bless me with positive change
And may I always know
Your thundering, divine love.


Honouring Oya
Ọya loves shea butter, and you should always try to have some of this on your altar whenever working with Her. To honour Ọya, you can also use any of the following:[3] [4] [5]

Colours: maroon, purple, deep dark red, oranges, browns, multi-colours, burgundy, copper.

Scents: patchouli, sandalwood, geranium.

Gemstones: red stones, particularly garnet, but also bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz.

Foods: eggplant, grape wine, grapes, gin, rum, kola nuts, rooster, hen, porridge, fruit, fish, anything spicy.

Herbs: comfrey, pleurisy roots, horehound, chickweed, peony, elecampane, rỌyal poinciana, star apple, flambỌyan, yucca, caimito, cypress, grains of paradise.

Icons: masks, swords, whips, pennies, brooms, camwood, wind instruments, anything associated with wind (e.g. pictures of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc), bright-coloured cloth, buffalo's horns, anything copper.

Metal: Copper.

Number: 9.

Ọya's taboos are smoke, palm kernel oil, ram and pork.


A Ritual to Oya
Ọya can be invoked for change, strength, leadership, authority, courage, justice, weather spells, ancestor-worship, grief, truth, power, magick, protection...

A Ritual for Change
by Heathwitch

Requirements: Dark red or purple candles, sandalwood incense, an offering to Ọya, pen, paper and dark red or purple ribbon.

Before you start, think of some changes you'd like to make in your life. It could be one change, or several. When you are ready and have them fixed in your mind, cast your circle in your usual way and light the candles and incense. Invoke Ọya with the following words:

Ọya, Lady of Storms,
Ọya, Bringer of Change,
Ọya, Warrior of Women,
You who commmand the winds
And protect the souls of the dead
You whose domain is the tornado, the storm, the thunder,
I ask for you to join me here tonight
And help me bring positive change and action into my life
Hail, Ọya, Lady of Storms!

Once you feel Ọya's presence, sit and talk to her (aloud or silently, whatever you're comfortable with) about the changes you would like to make in your life. These could be small changes or large changes. Focus on the positive aspects of these changes. Pause after each change to hear Ọya's words of aid and wisdom. Then think about each change and how you're going to achieve it.

On the paper, write down the first change you want to make. Then, once you have listened to Ọya and considered your actions, write down how you're going to achieve this. Then determine a realistic timescale and make a note of that, too. Then move on to the next change.

When you've finished writing out the changes, actions and dates, read your list aloud. As you do so, visualise yourself making these changes successfully. When you come to read out the dates, pledge them to Ọya using the following format: "I, [name], pledge to complete this change by [date], in the name of Ọya, Lady of Storms and Change."

When you have finished reading aloud, roll up the paper and tie with the ribbon. Carefully drop some wax from one of the candles on top of the ribbon's knot to seal the package. Place this on your altar as a reminder.

Take up your offering to Ọya. Thank you for Her presence and aid during your ritual. Ask Her to continue to help you as you actively make the changes in your life. If you wish to spend some more time with Ọya, to see if She has any more advice for you, you can do a meditation with Her now if you wish. When you are ready, thank Ọya again and say goodbye to Her using the following words:

Ọya, Lady of Storms,
Ọya, Bringer of Change,
Ọya, Warrior of Women,
You who command the winds
And protect the souls of the dead
You whose domain is the tornado, the storm, the thunder,
I thank you for your presence tonight
Your wise words, listening ear, and instigation of change.
Hail, Ọya, and Farewell!

Take up your circle in your usual way, and follow up each of your pledges in a practical, real-world way. Should you need an extra boost while you're completing your changes, or want to instigate some more, then you can use this ritual again to call on Oya's powerful energy.


Oya References
1. Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle: A Way to Wholeness through the Goddess and Ritual. Element : Boston (1997).
2. Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. Goddesses in World Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford University Press : New York (1995).
5. Personal Meditations and Rituals with Ọya.