A Mother Goddess of the oceans, is She...
Beautiful and voluptuous, fierce, strong,
Loving and nurturing to us all!
Originally, Yemeya was a goddess of the Ogun River to the Yoruban people, of Nigeria, in West Africa. This is the largest river within the territory of the ancient Yoruba. The waters of this river are considered to be healing to those who may be infertile. She is one of "The Seven African Powers", an Orisha and a powerful guardian spirit which reflects an important aspect of the god of the Ifa religion. An Orisha will manifest itself as a force of nature. So when Her people were hoarded onto slave ships during the Atlantic Slave Trade, Yemeya went with them, thus becoming the goddess of the ocean of the New World. She is now worshipped throughout the Caribbean and along the Atlantic Coast of South America, particularly, Brazil.

She is the daughter of the earth goddess Odduddua and the sister/wife of the god Aganju. The divine mother gave birth to the fourteen gods and goddesses who make up the sacred pantheon, it is said that her uterine waters caused a great flood, which created the oceans. This evolved version of Yemeya is of the New World. The ocean is her symbol, her womb of the world. She is of a noble position in the Santeria (meaning the Way of the Saints) religion and is worshipped in many cultures. With the forced infusion of Catholicism and the merging of African religions, Yemeya has been canonized in the form of the Virgin Mary.

Yemeya's name is derived from the Yoruban title, Yeyeomo Eja. Yeyeomo Eja means "The Mother Whose Children Are The Fish." It is said in modern science and in ancient cultures, that from the ocean is where we all originally came, like the waters of our mother's wombs, and it is to these waters and the earth that we shall again return to one day. Her name is spelled many different ways, such as; Yemeya, Yemaya, Iemanja, Yemalla, Yemalia, Yemonja, Yemana, etc. Her many titles are; Queen of Witches, Mother of Fishes, The constant coming Womb-an, The Ocean Mother, Mother of Dreams and Secrets, Holy Queen Sea, The Womb of Creation, Mother of Pearl, Stella Maris (star of the sea), also Mama Watta (Mother of Waters).
She is often viewed as a very beautiful mermaid having dark skin and very full breasts. Her full breasts show that she is a nurturer of us all. She can also have a raging temper, as we see with the 50 foot waves that can be created as a result! Although, loving and nurturing, Yemeya will not give her power away. She is strong and strict and will protect until the very end, yet she is soft, subtle and nurturing. She is usually adorned in shells, pearls and starfish, as these are all sacred to her. Her number is 7 which is representative of the 7 seas and as one of "The Seven African Powers." She wears 7 skirts of blue, white and silver, which are all her colors.
According to legend, Yemeya's first gift to humans was a sea shell in which her voice could always be heard. We honor her when we hold a shell to our ear in order to hear her voice, the ocean. Wishes can be made to her on paper and then cast out into the sea. Here is my wish...
Yemeya, Yemeya, Yemeya

Hear my call to you...

Beautiful, devine, ocean mother, you're fierce and loving,

I feel your whispers on my cheek and your gentle touch on my feet...

I wish for the world to be at peace!

We need peace, we need more love and understanding,

Yemeya, is this too demanding?

Please take my wish and do what you will,

I want everyone to get your fill!

She may be called upon for help during child birth as she is also a fertility goddess, she loves children. You may invoke her for all things to do with motherhood and raising children, protection for unborn babies, help in a crisis to do with a child, She's an eternal parent! Also for all Womyns issues, Witchcraft, washing away sorrows, acquiring ancient wisdom, protecting the home, for beauty, good fortune, good health and for rain. Yemeya rules over the ocean surface and is the patroness deity of surviving shipwrecked persons.

Every February 2nd, there is a celebration to honor Yemeya. It involves large processions of people walking into the ocean giving many thanks for the safe passage of their ancestors, also in the hope that the coming year will bring good prospects to the community that lives on her shores. Photo's of this celebration can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/yemanj%C3%81/interesting Other days that are celebrated in honor of Yemeya are on December 31 in Brazilian tradition. You may find the people lighting candles on the beach at midnight or casting out votive boats made of flowers. It is a good omen if she accepts your boat and carries it out to sea.

Yemeya, Ocean Mother, Goddess of love and discipline,

I honor you!


~ Light candles and incense


Powerful Yemeya, I have a beautiful shell given to me by my mother.

As a child I held this shell to my ear to hear your whispers.

I have been honoring you long before I knew your name.


~ Take shell and hold up to ear, listen...


Yemeya, abundant and consistent,

You called to me in a song not long ago,

I heard and listened, now I am here in your presence,

I honor you!


~ Move fingers through beach sand


Yemeya...a delight to see, smell and hear,

You have been part of my soul since I was swimming in my mothers womb,

Yet it is your womb that I wish to return to in the end!

I honor you!


~ Touch ocean water


As I bask in this moment, I take in your presence Yemeya...

I thank you for my life and for aiding me in the life of my children,

I will return to you my essence of this ritual,

I honor you!


~ Add ocean water to bath and keep altar erect as a constant devotion to Yemeya...