Orisa Oya is the energy of the wind and ﬁre. She is also the care taker of the cemetery and burial grounds. The favorite color of Oya is Burgundy and bronze is her favorite metal. Some myths said that Oya was once the wife of Ogun and then later was married to Sango. As described by some of the priests and priestesses of Oya in Oyo. They said Oya was a very ﬁerce energy of the woman who was with Sango Alafin Oyo. She was very vast in magic and she gave Sango a lot of power. She moves very fast, like the wind and ﬁre. Oya is also associated with the river called Odo Oya. (River Niger). The Yorubas spread over on both sides of the river before Mongo Park and the Lander brothers came and claimed that they discovered the river Niger in 1796. Oral stories and songs to Oya revealed that the Orisa must have been very close to Tapa and shares Muslim connection. The Yoniba believe that the spirit of Oya resides in the river Niger. Orisa Oya may be found to be worshipped in towns and villages located on both sides of river Niger. Oya was ﬁrst worshipped at a compound in Ile Ife called Ogbon Oya before Christianity was reintroduced to Ife for the third time in 1899.
What the New World Orisa worshippers have done to beautify of the Orisa tradition is very fascinating to me. To some practitioners, it is very expensive and has taking the originality out of the tradition. Looking at this crown of Oya made in the United States, probably in New York for the Lukumi new initiates, it is very clear in my opinion that they have added beauty and elegance to the tradition. Looking at things carefully, one can see some of the positive effects of the synchronism of the Orisa and the Catholic Saints in their worship. A Lukumi Orisa priest or priestess thinks nothing wrong in going to Church. As a matter of fact, they use holy water from the Church as part of the ritual items and mandate the new initiate to go to. Church at least once in their lifetimes. Their outlook is similar to that of Babalawos, who don’t say anything bad to people who go to the Mosque and the Churches. It is the Christians in the Churches and Muslims in the Mosques who say bad things about the Babalawos and the traditional people. We hope this situation will change in the near future and that there could be mutual respect for each other’s faith.