She wears a deep blue dress woven from the seven seas and it is from her womb where all of life began to flow. This is Yemaya the Afro-Caribbean goddess of the sea, whose name means “Mother whose children are the fish”.
Yemaya’s roots can be found in the West African religion belonging to the Yoruba people, however like the vastness of the sea itself Yemaya’s presence was brought over to the New World through enslaved Africans where she became a mainstay in many African-diasporic practices such as Santeria, Candomblé, Haitian Vodou, amongst many others.
Get to Know Yemaya
Yemaya is often depicted as a beautiful queenly mermaid and her body is seen as the source of all water. Cowrie shells are sacred to her, and the number seven is synonymous with her presence. Mama Yemaya is also associated with the moon and the changing of the tides and she is often seen as the patron goddess and protector of fishermen and boats. Yemaya is heavily associated with motherhood and is especially caring towards children and women. Yemaya can often heal issues surrounding infertility and she is typically called upon to aid in times of childbirth to ensure safety for both the mother and the child.
And like the sea itself Yemaya can be fierce and even destructive when angered but within her watery breast lies the heart of a deeply nurturing and healing goddess and so she is thus known for ability to cleanse and heal our deepest wounds both mental and physical.
Yemaya like many other gods from the African Diaspora are best worshiped with community such as friends and family. Community is the basis of the majority of diasporic religions and Yemaya being a mother herself greatly cherishes the cultivation of strong bonds. Before working with Yemaya or any of the Orisha it is recommended to initiate yourself in a church or community that practices Santeria or Ìṣẹ̀ṣẹ (the source of traditions and rituals of Yoruba people) in order to learn and better antiquate yourself with the rich culture and practices that these African-Diasporic religions follow.
Typical offerings to Yemaya include foods such as watermelon, coconut, limes, pound cake, plantains, alcohol, fish, and molasses are especially appreciated delights. Seashells and other ocean bearing items such as pearls and pearl encrusted jewelry are wonderful as well. Yemaya also favors blue or white colored items and mermaid iconography is especially sacred to her. Beautifully wrapped bars of natural soap are also appropriate gifts as Yemaya is very picky about cleanliness. The sea goddess also loves sweet smelling oils, and you can shop our Yemaya Manifestation Oil that is handcrafted with the scents of coconut and lime.
Simple Ways to Connect with Yemaya’s Healing Presence
- Swimming in or walking by the sea
- Weekly baths
- Spending time with family, friends, and community
- Calling upon her energy during times of grief and emotional distress
- Dancing (Yemaya loves to move!)
- Carry or wear cowrie shell jewelry on your person
- Connect to her through stones like blue aragonite, aquamarine, or really any kind of blue stone that you feel called to
Becoming a child of Yemaya is to undergo an intense healing that connects us to the source that is life through the nourishment of the sea. It is in this journey that she will often call upon us to traverse our darkest depths and to more importantly nurture our own healing process.