Everyone has heard of the Greek gods, Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon, and others, but there is also the Yoruba Orishas. The Orishas – just as the Greek gods- are seen as the intermediaries between the supernatural and humankind.
Yemaya was the river goddess of the Yoruba in Nigeria. When her people were hoarded onto the slave ships, Yemaya went with them, thus becoming their Goddess of the Ocean and the mother of all Goddesses. She gives life and offers support to all who inhabit the Earth.
She works with the Orisha (God) Olokun to rule the sea and all of the oceans. Olokun guards the tumultuous depths of the ocean, while Yemaya protects the upper surfaces of the ocean where the light reflects and living things thrive. She oversees the waves and the myriad of life forms that call the ocean their home. Together, these two Orishas create a balance that ebbs and flows as naturally as the tides.
A celebration of the moment when the river meets the ocean
Glowing with the radiance of the sun, Yemaya appears in flowing robes of vibrant blue and white. These colors are her favorites, as they bring to mind the rich blue waves and sea foam of the ocean. She represents the creative and nurturing forces of the sea. The goddess is also seen as a mermaid, with her beautiful blue tail gliding through the water and a necklace of pears and starfish around her neck. Yemaya is a lover of sea shells, pearls, fans and all things silver. Cowrie shells are sacred to her.
Yemaya is that celestial being that when one wants to be held, they can feel her grasps as a mother. She is that mother figure that you can talk to and explain or pour your heart out to and she will always listen. When one doesn’t have a mother to talk to, you can always speak to her. You will feel that warmth embrace hover over you, that’s her. When it comes to caring for others, Goddess Yemaya impulses are comforting and sincere. And she has a love for children that is unequaled.
The mother goddess is also the goddess of home, fertility, love and family. Like water she represents both change and constancy – bringing forth life, protecting it, and changing it as is necessary.
Yemaya is a goddess of comfort and inspiration. She reminds us that even the worst catastrophes can be endured and that, with her help, we can learn to negotiate the ebbs and flows of change in our lives with her wisdom, courage, and grace.
She reminds women to nurture their needs and celebrate their many gifts and their strengths.
According to legend, Yemaya’s first gift to her beloved humans was a sea shell in which her voice could always be heard. If you hold a shell to your ear you will hear her voice, the ocean, talking to you…
The animals associated with her:
Her feast days:
2. February (Maria Lichtmess, Imbolc)
The Summer Solstice
7. & 9. September
New Years Eve