Saturday, August 6, 2011
Yemaya, Mother Goddess of the Ocean
Yemaya also spelled Yemanya, is known as the Mother of the oceans. Originating in Africa, her worship spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. She was first known to be a river Goddess worshiped for the rivers of West Africa. She was seen as the source of all water. All waters come from her and all fish were her children. Since life is thought to have originated in the ocean she was also seen as the Great Mother of All.
She was known to cure infertility and help women with childbirth. She was also seen as being very motherly and protective. In Africa she was known as an orisha, a very powerful nature spirit. In her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by her son. After this she fled to a mountaintop and cursed her son until he died. In her sorrows she decided to take her own life. As she died she gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.
Since her worship spread from Africa, she took on different forms in other areas. In Voodoo she is seen as a moon Goddess. In Brazil she is honored at the Summer Solstice as Mother of the Ocean, white and blue flowers are left as her offering. And in the Caribbean she is viewed as the Great Mother of the Oceans.
Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life. Yemaya may also be called on during childbirth or fertility issues.
Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. She is often depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of her. Her sacred colors are blue, turquoise and white. Her sacred number is seven representing the seven seas.
On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.
Enjoy honoring this ancient Goddess of water and creation!
Photo courtesy of Sandra M Stanton
Posted by Tara at 3:30 PM