The Goddess Devotions practice has unfolded for the last two Sundays, that is, until Yemaya happened today. We had so many petitions for Guadalupe that I lit a second candle mid-week which mysteriously flickered out this afternoon. I noticed this after arriving back from the market with white roses. There was still no inkling of what Goddess wanted to hear petitions this week, that is, until Yemaya happened.
Saturday is her day after all. With the candle out and white roses on hand, I could do nothing else but move Yemaya as directed, dress a candle for her with gorgeous Yemaya spray from Red Wholistic, offer vervain and cilantro (two of her favorite herbs that were on hand), and pour her a glass of watermelon juice. Another interesting synchronicity, my Mom dropped the watermelon juice off yesterday that she had picked up spontaneously. I hear Yemaya’s soft laughter, because watermelon anything is her favorite.
Yemaya requested to be placed on the working altar, bringing her magic, so I gathered shells from her altar and tucked them around her bowl, as well as blue aragonite, a favorite crystal that embodies the wisdom of the sea, hunks of sea salt, and some of her beads. You will notice that Yemaya is on the altar as the traditional Stella Maris and as her saint form, Our Lady of Regla. Regal beauty in all her forms.
And so here we are for Goddess Devotions on a Saturday this week to honor the Mother of Fishes, Our Lady of the Oceans, the Orisha Goddess of nourishment, sustenance, and deep love for her children. Here is the space where we can release, pour our hearts out, allow our tears to flow, because Yemaya accepts it all for us. She is endless in power, in love, and in fierce protection. She is vast in her capacity to take all things, our love, our sorrow, our prayers, our joy, she has room for it all.
I ask you … what would you like to give to Yemaya? What prayer would you like offered to her? Each one will be honored and placed around Yemaya’s candle. Leave a comment or, if you would like to keep your petition/prayer private, please use the contact form.
May Yemaya keep you and bless you!
About the Orisha Goddess Yemaya:
In Africa, Yemaya’s name comes from the Yoruban phrase “Yeye omo eja” that means “Mother whose children are like fish”. Yemaya is the owner of the Ogun River and a lake that is named for her. Her “hidden” aspect, Olokun, is considered to be the owner of Oceans (and in some traditions, Olokun is a separate Orisha from Yemaya). As the African diaspora occurred and Yemaya traveled west with her children to the Americas and Caribbean, the Mother of Waters became more known as Mother of Oceans. Olokun resides in the deepest depths of the ocean, guarding the source of life and a sacred shrine to the Ancestors. I have always experienced Olokun as a sister of Yemaya, much like Isis and Nepthys, but understand that is my personal opinion and there are many stories that are different.
Yemaya is primal feminine power – watching over women and their birthing cycles. She is a popular Orisha with many children, one book said that it is possible that as many as 25% of children are of Yemaya. This speaks to her fertility and immense capacity for mothering and dispensing love and compassion to her children. She is alert to those who are in need and applies her motherly tendencies to all who cross her path. Yemaya is strong-willed and independent and her daughters tend to be the same.
“She is judgement and reason, but she can also be inflexible when she punishes. Majestic Queen of the Oceans, she is presumptuous and haughty. She protects her children in her skirt, feeds them, and raises them with absolute motherly rigor.” (Creole Religions of the Caribbean)
Orishas have very specific likes (and dislikes in some cases) and Yemaya is no exception. Her favorite colors are blue and white and she is frequently depicted as a mermaid. In Santeria, she is syncretized to Our Lady of Regla and she is the guardian of the Bay of Cuba in that form. Saturday is her day of the week and her number is 7. If you are near the ocean, take 7 copper pennies to leave as an offering for Yemaya, particularly if you take something from the beach like rocks or seashells. Any type of rock or seashell that you find on the beach is a wonderful addition to an altar for the Mother of Oceans. For non-initiates, they will keep a glass bowl for Yemaya with water and all of the things that she likes, including a rubber duck. Add seven pennies to this bowl, change the water frequently, and Yemaya will bring blessings to your home. Here is a picture of my non-initiate altar …
Yemaya loves watermelons, as well as other tropical fruits, and molasses. Her feast day is September 7 (we will be celebrating here on MotherHouse!) and there are massive ceremonies and celebrations around the world in her honor. Herbs and plants that she favors are marjoram, cilantro, watercress, parsley, lettuce, aloe vera, ferns, lotuses, violets, and vervain. Taking a bath with watercress is said to bring a blessing of health from Yemaya and a bath with parsley invites a blessing of money.
Her tools and symbols include a sword, a fan, a half moon, an anchor, and a silver or white metal sun.
Yemaya is a potent All Mother Goddess and for those in need of nurturing, blessings, healing, and cleansing, she is available. Thank you for entrusting me with your prayers.
Blessings of Yemaya and for your week!
Invocation for Yemaya by Brandi Auset:
Goddess who is Mother of All,
Queen of the Deep Sea,
Protectress of women –
Allow your presence to be known throughout this sacred space.
We who call upon you as Yemaya,
Our Mother, Our Womb of Creation,
ask that your love rolls and washes over us
as the waves of the ocean, as the rivers from your breasts.
Yemaya, Mother Whose Children are Fish,
You who are comfort, inspiration, and forgiveness,
We call you forth to enter our hearts.
Yemaya’s Wisdom for the Circle by Brandi Auset:
I am the force that swirls beneath the surface,
She who connects Sea and Sky,
the Infinite Mother who reclaims you.
Feel the sand beneath your feet, hold the conch to your ear,
gaze upon My Blue,
and you know Me.
Submit your troubles upon Me,
cast your cares into the heart of the ocean that is Me.
I will nurture you,
wipe your tears,
soothe the anger,
and shelter you from the coming storms.
In your surrender, I become your voice.
In the giving over, I become your freedom.
Daughter, come home, and allow Me
to make whole
that which is incomplete.
Brandi has a class to connect further with Yemaya – Flow on Mystery School of the Goddess