Reflections on autumn and the Goddess Oya

Autumn is the season of change. Perhaps, because I was born in this season; is why I find it to be such a powerful one. Autumn brings to my mind, the power of the Goddess Oya. Oya, the Yoruba Goddess of the winds of change, is one of the most powerful orishas of the Yoruba pantheon. In myth, Oya is said to be one of the three wives of the god Shango-the patron of thunder and lightning.

Her sister Oshun, one of Sango’s other wives, is the goddess of birth, love, creativity, sexuality, and growth, often associated with spring and summer. Oya however, is the sizzling sound you hear just before lightening strikes, (her husband goes no where with out her) the tornado, hurricane and typhoon; and the raging wind-even when no storms are near.

Because the Goddess Oya brings change, she is often associated with the autumn season. The burgundy, gold, brown, and red leaves of autumn are said to be the skirt she wears when she travels on earth.

Like her number, nine the numerological digit of change, Oya brings ending to things which must transform in order to grow. For women, Oya blends the power of femininity with the power of leadership development and business acumen. She is symbolic of the female politician, female warrior and the marketplace woman.

Oya’s autumn is the season when women begin to define for themselves who they are. I feel this is this is fitting for women who are entering or in their thirties. It is the thirties that womanhood looses the timidity of the twenties and true female power is claimed.

Oya, while a warrior woman, does not launch an attack against maleness. Instead, Oya symbolizes the ability of a woman to delve deeply within her own internal self to unearth her own true self.

If her sister Oshun is symbolized by the butterfly, Oya symbolizes the call for the caterpillar to enter its cocoon.  In this moment of dormancy, serious contemplation leads to realizations of profound truth. The soul moves beyond the realm of outwardly focused ego concerns, into the deeper space of consciousness that build toward expansion and growth.

Trivial pursuits are cast away and that which is most important to self development takes precedent over those things which are done simply to please others.

Oya symbolizes also, the power and majesty of high adulthood. Responsibility becomes that not only which must be done, but that which is a joy to do. Oya twist the leaves of life into true purpose and she shows us the hidden meaning and value of our destinies.

Oya also guards the gates of the cemetery. She guards the ancestral realm and thus the continuity of that which was with that which is sure to come. Therefore, like autumn and her number nine, Oya helps us recognize that all things change in preparation for new beginnings.

She also helps us realize, that like the colors of autumn, change need not be a bad thing. Instead, Oya calls on us to view change as a many splendid season, prime for a colorful array of beauty, grace, and personal growth.