Eepa Oya O!: Ol’Oya Speaks Out

Thu, May 8, 2008

Elders, Traditional Afrikan

Eepa Oya O!: Ol’Oya Speaks Out

Oya, is a beautiful and powerful Orisa and her ruling odu is Osa Meji. Oya was the Queen of Ira and she was not from Nupe. Before she became Sango’s wife she had a kingdom of her own. Nevertheless, one cannot mention Oya (Ayaba Sango) without mentioning her husband Sango, for it was Sango who took Oya away from her original husband Ogun. It was also Oya, who was responsible for “permanently borrowing” Ogun’s original tools, which were his implements of war; hence, these tools became a part of her arsenal. Out of 16 rival goddesses vying for Sango, Oya who won his heart through her graceful movements, elegance, charm and personality. Warrior queen Oya, the loyal and favorite wife of Sango would often go into battle by her husband’s side and is known to be indispensable to her husband in every way. She is the strong wind that precedes the thunder. She can fan any fire set by Sango’s thunderbolts into a high blaze and she also has the ability to use forked lightening, to assist him in his battles. It is said that without Oya Sango cannot go into battle. She is also known for her intelligence, independence, fearlessness, gracefulness, sensuality, power, razor-sharp tongue, and deep intense passion.

Heavy winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, rainstorms, cyclones are also associated with Oya. She is theowner of the wind (Afefe). It is she who assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change and is not a slow or very patient energy. She also governs over the Niger River and is the Mother of Egungun, (Iyagan meaning firm mother). Egungun (the Ancestors) is the embodiment spirits of a deceased one, who returns from Orun Rere (heaven) to visit his/her people. Oya is the protectress of the tradition and ancestral customs. She is the Orisa of rebirth.

Ol’Oya Types

Oya and Oya-types are known for their clairvoyance, psychic abilities, intuition and the ability to communicate the dead. She is the owner of the Marketplace (Mama Loja). She is a revolutionary and social crusader who fights for the underdog. Oya is a deity who is efficient, strong-willed, and very indispensable in emergency situations. Her power sweeps over all injustice, dishonesty, deceit from her path. Although unpredictable, Oya understands everything, but will only accept the truth. You may not like what is being said or even HOW it is said, but know that Oya speaks the truth. She hears all, sees all and gives of herself selflessly and places other’s needs before her own.

Oya is the guardian of the realm between life and death and she assists those when they make their final transition. The lungs, bronchial passages, and mucous membranes are associated with her. She can either hold back the spirit of death or call it forth; hence, she is the last breath taken. Oya also governs over the cemetery and the dead and is said to have entered the earth’s crust at Ira, upon hearing that Sango died. Oya is associated with the buffalo (Oya Gidigidi); hence, it is good to have buffalo’s horn (rubbed with camwood) on one’s altar for her. She is known for using charms and magic and is known as one of the Great Mothers of the “Elders of the Night (Witches).”

Oya’s the mother of disguises and has many different faces (masks). Many say that Oya is a great amazon who is said to have grown a beard when preparing for war. Legend tells us that no one wants to face Oya in battle for she is as fierce, ruthless, and cunning as any man. She is known to have destroyed towns, villages, uprooted all that was once in its’original state. No one wants to deal with the wrath of Oya or any other Orisa for that matter. We offer epo pupo to supplicate her and shea butter to calm her.

On a windy day, one should pray to Oya, humbly and sincerely of-course, for it is her messenger Afefe (the wind) that carries messages to her. She is not an Orisa to be taken for granted or lightly. Ghede Nimbo, is the aspect of Esu that assists Oya. Upon entering a cemetery or performing ancestral rituals, ceremonies, ebos, or any rituals always appease Ghede Nimbo first. Offer pennies and/or candy, epo pupo (palm oil), oti (gin), obi (kola nut), adura (prayers), and oriki(chants)/orin (songs) to open the way and ensure of blessings and protection.

Although she is both feared and loved. It is said and commonly known that Oya is very loyal to her children and dangerous to their enemies. She can come as smooth and cool as a warm summer breeze or as violent and vicious as a tornado and wreak utter havoc in your world. Oya is about business and she demands and commands respect!

Oya is associated with the colors: maroon, purple, deep dark red, orange, browns, multi-colors, burgundy, and cooper. Her number is 9 and in astrology is compared to the planet Pluto and the sign Scorpio and her metal of choice is copper.

Some of her foods are: female goat, eggplant, cooked corn meal, grape wine, grapes, gin, rum, kola nuts, plantains, palm oil, rooster, hen, black beans w/rice, anything spicy, fruit, okra soup, fish, cornstarch porridge, and akara.

Icons or effergies associated with Oya are: buffalo’s horns, masks, swords, iruba (horse tail whisk), pennies, whips, anything copper, camwood (which she loves), a broom, pictures of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, wind instruments, anything associated with the wind and she loves cloth.

Her taboos are: smoke, palm kernel oil, ram, pork (depending on your road).

Some ewe (herbs) associated with Oya are: Comfrey, Pleurisy Roots, Horehound, Chickweed, Peony, Elecampane, Royal Poinciana, Star Apple, Flamboyan, Yucca, Caimito, Cypress, and Grains of Paradise just to name a few.

Here are some Oriki/Oyin for Ghede Nimbo, for the Egungun, and for Oya.

Oriki/Orin Ghede Nimbo:

Ghede Nimbo, Ghede Nimbo

Okunrin to bulewa

Ghede Nimbo, Ghede Nimbo

Onibode ile iku

repeat 1st verse

Ghede Nimbo Ghede Nimbo (repeat once)

Ghede Nimbo, Ghede Nimbo

Okunrin to bulewa

Ghede Nimbo Ghede Nimbo

Onibode ile iku

Oriki/Orin Egungun:

Mojuba fefe iku, mojuba fefe iku

Mojuba fefe iku, mojuba fefe iku

Iku o, iku o yin ti lo si joba Egungun

Iku o, iku o yin ti lo si joba Egungun


Arabara arabara arabara egungun arabara

Arabara arabara arabara egungun arabara (repeat 3 times)

Eegun arabara, eegun arabara, egungun arabara

Repeat 1st verse


Wole wa Egungun, wole wa . Wole wa Egungun wole wa. Wole wa Egungun wola wa,

o o o wole wa.

Repeat verse

Oriki/Orin Oya:

Oya wima wima, Yansa wima wima oko to bembe aseni Oya

Oya wima wima, Yansa wima wima oko to bembe aseni Oya


Oya gwa e de, Oya gwa e de

Eegun wan ile Oya gwa e de

Repeat 1st verse


Oya Oya Ayaba Sango

Oya Oya Ayaba Oyo ile o

Oya Oya Ayaba Sango

Oya Oya Ayaba Oyo ile o

Repeat verse

I could go on and on about my Iya; however, I do not want to seem biased! Being a devoted and humble servant of the Orisa, one must never forget it is not about who dobale or kunles to you, how many ase oke, agbadas or ilekes you have, or how many titles or names you have ~ it is about the Egungun, the Orisa, and Olodumare! It is not about you or me, it is about reverence, worship, and your servitude them. It is about having iwa pele manifest through your daily words and actions. It is about carrying one’s self in a manner that will not shame one’s self, community, Egungun, Orisa, or Olodumare.

I love my mother dearly with all of my heart and each day is a new transformation for me. The power of the Orisa is amazing and I believe it is safe to say that if Oya is your ruling Orisa, we are truly blessed. Even if she is not your Orisa, you are still blessed because you are a child of Olodumare, a child of the Orisa, and your have the ability to contribute something positive to your community or nothing at all.

The author: My name is HRG (Her Royal Grace) Olori (Queen) Oyadele and I greet everyone in the name of the Egungun, the Orisa, and Olodumare. I was initiated and trained to Oya and coronated (as a Queen) in the Republic of Benin, West Africa and I would like to give my insight of Oya from a Beninese perspective.

This article is the sole property of sole property of Her Royal Grace Olori Oyadele. And can not be republished or reproduced in any form without her express permission. Please contact the HRG at:

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This post was written by:

Olori_O - who has written 2 posts on Roots and Rooted.

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33 Comments For This Post

  1. M Says:

    sniff sniff i loved your article…and please go on writing about it, i could never get enough.

  2. Alicia Says:

    What is the ritual for the masks for and why?

  3. katrina Says:

    wow this was amazing thank you for so much info in one post wow thank you oya is amazing

  4. Omo Oya Says:

    I absolutely loved your piece, but it made me want more… I am truly proud of being her daughter. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

  5. danielle Says:

    I am a daughter of Centella and marked Oya i will hopefully undergo my yawo year in the fall after reading this I am more excited than I was before for me it means so much seeing I have such a great mother in palo and ocha luv it luv it luv it thankyou for this article and may OYA continue to allow u 2 spread her essence ashe’

  6. Segun olarinoye Says:

    History about oya the wife of sango will not be completed without naming Ira town in Kwara state Nigeria where Oya was born and where she died by disappearing .

  7. Segun olarinoye Says:

    Please kindly not that the name of the town Ira (Disappear) originate from Oya. In the village there is Forest called ( Igbo Oya ) meaning Oya forest which the people kept till now. And also oya Shrine where oya use to do is sacrifies. The community always visit those places during Ira day festival. And that of Lage Oya father’s( The first king of Ira).

  8. Pat Gonzalez Says:

    Olori, I thank you from the bottom of my heart to honoring my lovely Oya, on today 9/9/09, may she carry us all on winds of plenty.

  9. rob britton Says:

    Omo Chango
    I was very moved by your article on Oya. It is very evident that you love and are fiercely devoted to Oya. As Chango (praise and honour to his name) is my father, I am also deeply devoted and very respectful to Oya. Your article is much appreciated.

  10. Awodele Oyaseye Says:

    Aboru Aboye Abosise,
    you spoke of your experience on the mountain. i wonder how many diasporic omoIyagan, were called so early on, before realising what was happening.
    as a child i remeber clearly looking at the space between in the sky between myself and the clouds, calling Iyansan and without fail she would come. to this day, she comes to her omo whenever called upon, as she said she would.
    Oya Ire-o

  11. ayedero Says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. I was taken to the water under oya. and given my hand of ifa under the odu osa meji, so this was very good reading.

  12. Segun Olarinoye Says:

    Oya the wife of Sango the king of f Oyo, sink at a forest in Ira (Igbo-Oya) Oyun Local government of Kwara state, Nigeria. while Sango the husband Hanged himself on a tree called “Aran” . Forest where Oya Sinked to the ground is still existing at Ira named Igbo-Oya in Oyun Local Governemt.

  13. Segun Olarinoye Says:

    Ancient town of Ira in Oyun local governement area of Kwara state home of Oya the wife of Sango the mother of Lage the first king of Ira. The historical house of Oya and place where she sinked to the ground is still existing at Igbo-Oya in Ira and that of her son Lage in the town still there. Please make a visit to see yourself those historical place.We also celebrate Ira-day every two year (biannual)festival which this year 2010 is another festival year. For more information contact the above e-address

  14. Oyaniji Says:

    I enjoyed reading the post. I am from Trinidad & Tobago and we are protected by Oya form storms & hurricanes because of the hills of our Northern Range. the color for Oya there is Green, Green & white or heavily patterned fabric. Because the religion is known as Shango Oya has pride of place among most devotees. All of us Oya children need to be doing what you are doing writing and advancing the knowledge of and about this powerful deity. Blessings to you. I pray that Oya will continue to bless and nurture you Ashe! Epa OYA O!!!!!

  15. Gypsy Queen Says:

    As another daughter of Oya I greatly thank you Queen for sharing your insight and clarity on Oya, Give Thanks

  16. Charisma Says:

    I been reading about Yoruba…and i can be iniciated??

  17. Mina Says:

    Thank you very much for writing this piece on Oya, those last two paragraphs at the end of the piece, spoke volumes! Ase’!

  18. Oduservant Says:

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for explaining to us more about Oya. I am not currently in a family and haven’t been in a long time, so I have to learn what little I can on how to worship the Orisa’s on my own. So now I know basically what to offer Oya when I feel the need to make an alter to her. May you always be blessed.

  19. oyaseeke Says:

    This article is very enlightened. Although orisha is the faith of my grand mother and great grand mother i have only recently started to pay interest in the religion. your article gave me another insight to the orisha that rules over my head. Thank you

  20. Olori Oyadele Says:

    Se alafia ni Segun, please tell me more about the Ira festival. I would LOVE to come & bare witness as to how Oya is worshipped and celebrated during that time. Any information or assistance you could offer would not go unnoticed. Adupe pupo in advance!!!! p.s. sorry for the dely of this post, I have been traveling (trying to re-educate & save the world, lol)!

  21. Olori Oyadele Says:

    Se alafia ni to all, modupe pupo (I humbly thank you) for all the kind words. I am a mere vessl that Oya speaks (& rides) thru. I can only speak the truth & try to help those searching for the truth about OYA. In time, I will write another excerpt to show the differences & similarities of Oya as it pertians to her in the Santeria, Lukumi, Candomble, & indigenous (Nigeria & Beninese) perspective. Blessing to everyone for taking time out to leave a comment. May OYA (Eeep Oya o), continue to guide, protect, bless everyone from her gourd(s) of ire!!!!

  22. Oya mi secreto Says:

    As her daughter the article is beautiful. Thank you very much. Bless you.

  23. Pat Gonzalez Says:

    Greetings to you, Queen Olori and glorious and wonderful people here. I love reading this page about my beloved Oya. Her autumn winds of love are blowing outside and I feel happy. She helps me to go deep inside myself and not be afraid. Her winds are like wings of protection and flight.

    I do not know if She rules my head or not, but she does make my weakness strong. May there always be a mother of 9!

  24. Titilayo Says:

    Light and progress to your ancestors. Mafarefun Oya. Thank you for letting Oya manifest through you. I now have a better uunderstanding of the Great Mother and myself. Much love and peace to you. May your heart desires be continuously fulfilled. Excellent work!!!!!

  25. Roya Says:

    Yes Oya is a crafty one. I especialy like how this site pulls together so many of hers! Best wishes from New Zealand *********

  26. Ogunsanya Omolola Says:

    Ma, am happy to contribute to the upliftment of oya the great ascient woman in yoruba segun is my intimate elder brother.and i will be happy if you can make to down to for ira day that is commencing on the 10th to 18th 0f this month.Ma continuing propagate the story of the great heroine of ascient day of our fore fathers.more grease to your elbow. thank

  27. omo oya. iyawo oyadina Says:

    maferefun oya……tanto tiempo atras no conocia nada de esa segnora……pero cada dia que pasa la adoro mucho mas… solo….muchas grazias por estas informaciones…….

  28. kaya Says:

    finally have my own space and ready to built my alter for oya down here in new orleans. thanks all for all the knowledge and love for our beautiful oya!

  29. tito Says:

    blessing to you my devoted quean of mama oya,and may the orisha bless you and give u even more knowledge so you can teach and let us understand the power of the orisha and bring back the culture alive,i am now finding my spritualy and seeking knowledge and you were a big help to me.i would like to know how can i make an offering to her to acknowledge her as mother and pray to her.once again greetings and blessing to you for your knowledge.

  30. adetoyi akeem Says:

    i was very intrested in the history please did oya was born in ira or in nupe or in oyo katuga(oyo ile)

  31. odekunle k. bolaji Says:

    love the educating and interesting message please will you help revive the oyas legacy in ira it is actually dying attempt is been made to eradicate the legacy of our mother OYA. anythig u can do to help oya should be done from the root at ira, oyun l.g.a. kwara state. nigeria.

  32. monk Says:

    The story itself, and how you write the story,is admirable.
    We need you to go on .

  33. Nikki Says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have been told that an African/ Brazilian goddess who matches Oya’s decription is one of my guides and protects me. According to the spiritualist (whom I believe), I am in Oya’s lineage. I have been searching for information about Oya so taht I could learn more. This was extremely helpful. Thanks again, and please keep posting.

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