Oya is the powerful Yoruba Orisha of the winds and tempests. She is considered either the sister of the storm-god Shango, or one of His three wives, with Oshun and Oba. She can manifest as winds ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone. She goes forth with Her husband during His thunderstorms, destroying buildings, ripping up trees, and blowing things down. Oya is known as a fierce warrior and strong protectress of women, who call on Her to settle disputes in their favor.
As the goddess of change, She brings down the dead wood to make room for the new, and She uses Her machete or sword to clear a path for new growth. She is believed to watch over the newly dead and assist them as they make the transition from life. She is equated with the Vodoun Lwa Maman Brijit, who, like Oya, guards graveyards.