Oya – An Ancient Goddess for Modern Feminists

Oya by Francisco Santos

Before I get into the meat of this week’s blog post, I want to apologize for not sharing a fun fairytale, folktale, or myth last week. I’m working hard on getting things ready for the release of “The Telverin Trilogy Book 1: Struggling With the Current” and needed a week to fully concentrate on getting things ready for launch on November 30th, 2020. It’s no surprise that I’m very excited about this upcoming event. So, I wanted to share a little bit about the Yoruban goddess, Oya. Her myths inspired me to write about powerful women, and I think you’ll see why.

I’ve been a little wary of writing about Oya for a few reasons. I’m not African. I am very, very white. I don’t know Yoruba or Santeria as well as those who actually come from cultures deeply embedded with them. There are plenty of other people who could do a much better job explaining this amazing goddess than I can. Also, I have had a great deal of difficulty finding information on her. I found more about the Alkonost than I have about Oya, and I’ve known about Oya much longer.

Still, I wanted to share a bit about her in this short blog because what she symbolizes means so much to me. I hope to inspire others to seek out more information about her. Even from a purely anthropological viewpoint, she indicates that the empowerment of women isn’t a modern concept. However, I’ve decided to keep my interpretation of her very brief and will list links to sites at the end that will offer you more extensive insight in Oya and Yoruba than I can.

She’s very talented.

Oya by Steven Gravel

Oya is the Yoruban Goddess (or Orisha in the Santeria tradition) of wind and storms. She is also the spirit of the River Niger and the Amazon. She is the being who creates the gales in West Africa that later become hurricanes in the Caribbean. She is capable of destroying even the intimidating man-made buildings.

Yet, she isn’t just a nature deity. She’s a bringer of change. She doesn’t rain down destruction for the sake of chaos. She wants justice. She wants to clear away what’s rotten so that something fresh can replace it. She is a goddess that is called upon when the old must make way for the new.

Perhaps because she is so closely tied to change, she is also the guardian of that point between life and death. She aids the living in their communication with those who have passed away. She can hasten your end or hold it at bay.

She cares.

Oya, Storm Mistress of Alkebulan by Melissa Lyn Akuamoah

Oya is also a mother goddess and protector. She had nine children of her own but is the matron of many more. She also aids in fertility and comforts those going through miscarriages. This lines up with the belief of some that she is the mother of Abiku, the child born to die before puberty. She understands the pain women experience, having experienced it herself. She watches over all women and witches, guarding them against abuse and assault.

Like I’ve said before, she doesn’t bring on storms, tornadoes, and the like just for the fun of it. She does this because they’re necessary. She is the epitome of the mother bear, bringing on her tough love. You only invoke her when the need for her outweighs your fear of her. She is not a subtle goddess. If that relationship is bad for you, she will end it. If your lifestyle is detrimental, she will turn your entire world upside down. She is also the goddess you turn to when playing nice no longer works. During times of injustice, she is the one who will right all wrongs.

Learn More

If Oya has intrigued you, I recommend you check out the following sites:

Some points about Yoruba and related faiths from Howard University: https://www.howard.edu/library/reference/cybercamps/camp2002/YorubaFaith.htm

Some points about the culture of Yoruba from The University of Iowa: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Yoruba

An educational video made by PBS on the Yoruba Religion: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/sj14-soc-yorubarel/yoruba-religion-of-southwestern-nigeria/#.X1bYLmdKiYA

This very personal and moving piece written by Nakia Brown: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ywg9w5/i-left-christianity-for-an-ancient-african-faith

Chief Yagbe’s page on Oya is a great resource. I highly recommend visiting the whole site. There is a lot about the African diaspora, and many pages have great music: https://yagbeonilu.com/oya-buffalo-woman/

This fantastic storytelling video about Oya made by Blaque Witch YaYa:

Read the Beginning Now!

Click on the download button below to receive the prologue and first chapter.

Coming November 30th, 2020!

Princess Eya’s life changes forever with the discovery of the Statue of the Goddess Winds, just as she’s coming of age. The long-overlooked kingdom of Hicares finds itself in a war it isn’t prepared for against the far more powerful empire of Pescel. To survive, Eya must flee her home, losing everything and everyone she loves in the process.

Yet, by leaving behind all she’s ever known, she learns that her sheltered life didn’t prepare her for the real world’s strange and frightening nature. She encounters people, places, and creatures beyond anything she ever imagined, along with sinister enemies from every direction. Perhaps her most surprising revelation is that she is developing terrifying powers of her own. Will Eya be able to find happiness in her new life, or will she continue struggling with the current?

Struggling With the Current is the first book of The Telverin Trilogy, a fantasy war story that takes place between several countries in the world of Telverin.

Like reading my blog? Then, you’ll love my book!

Struggling With the Current is the first book in The Telverin Trilogy, a story about an exiled princess who finds herself in a terrifying world with equally frightening powers.

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