She is seen in aspects as the warrior-spirit of the wind, lightning, fertility, fire, and magic. She creates hurricanes and tornadoes, and guards the underworld. She is the spirit of tornadoes (which are said to be her whirling skirts as she dances), lightning, and any kind of destruction. Beyond destruction, Oya is the spirit of change, transition, and the chaos that often brings it about. She lives at the gates of cemeteries (as opposed to the entire underworld), which reveals her in her aspect as the facilitator of transition.
Oya's close association with the passage from life into death also means she is one of the only Orisha who is venerated alongside the Egungun, whose cult is most often kept separate from that of the Orisha. The reason she is worshiped with the ancestors is because the beloved dead are her children.
In Yoruba, the name Oya literally means "She Tore". She is known as Ọya- Iyansan, Oya - the "mother of nine." This is due to the Niger River (known to the Yoruba as the Odo-Ọya) traditionally being known for having nine tributaries.
In popular culture
- Sexuality and the world's religions - David W. Machacek. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- A Bahia de Santa Bárbara
- OYA, Judith Gleason, Harper, San Francisco, 1992 (Shamballah, 1987), ISBN 0-06-250461-4
- Charles Spencer King.,"Nature's Ancient Religion" ISBN 978-1-4404-1733-7