“Yemaja’s themes are providence, blessing, luck and fertility.  Her symbols are fish, the color blue and the crescent moon.  Yemaja, the Nigerian Goddess of flowering water, bears a name that literally means ‘fish mother!’ As such, Yemaja generates providence and fertility, especially on the physical plane. In legends She gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon, and two streams of water that formed a lake. In art she’s often shown as a mermaid or a crescent moon, and Her favorite color is blue.

The name for the day is definitely fishy. Not surprisingly, new year festivities in Nigeria mark the beginning of the fishing season. Having a teeming net today portends prosperity for the rest of the season. So, what is it that you hope to catch today? Cast out your spiritual line to Yemaja for help in meeting or exceeding any goal.

To bite into a little luck, follow the example of Nigerian children. They make candies in fish shapes before this event, then dunk for them. The one to retrieve the most gets the most good fortune. Check out your local supermarket’s bulk candy section. Ours carries gummy fish that work very well for this activity.

Consider including some type of fish in your menu today (even canned tuna will do the trick). Eat it to internalize good luck and a little of Yemaja’s blessings.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Yemaya” by Sandra M. Stanton

Yemaya is the Yoruban Orisha, a very powerful nature spirit or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth.She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.

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.

Yemaya was brought to the New World with the African diaspora and She is now worshipped in many cultures besides Her original Africa. In Brazilian Candomblé, where She is known as Yemanja or Imanje, She is the Sea Mother who brings fish to the fishermen, and the crescent moon is Her sign. As Yemanja Afodo, also of Brazil, She protects boats travelling on the Sea and grants safe passage. In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-Goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale.

Yemaya rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokin (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, Goddess of the winds.

Our Lady of Regla in Brazil may be linked to Her, and She is equated elsewhere in the Americas with the Virgin Mary  as the Great Mother. In parts of Brazil She is honored as the Ocean Goddess at the summer solstice, while in the north east of the country Her festival is held on February 2nd (a day that is also associated with Her daughter Oya, as well as being the feast day of the Celtic Bride), with offerings of blue and white flowers cast into the Sea.

Yemaya’s colors are blue, turquoise and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. Since She is often  depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of Her. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is sacred to Her, also for the seven seas.

“Yamana” by Lisa Iris

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.

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.

Alternate spellings: Yemanja, Yemojá, Yemonja, Yemalla, Yemana, Ymoja, Iamanje, Iemonja, Imanje

Epithets: Achabba, in Her strict aspect; Oqqutte in Her violent aspect: Atarmagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; Olokun or Olokum as Goddess of dreams

Also called: Mama Watta, “Mother of the Waters” [1] [2]

Symbols and Correspondences:

General: Ocean, rivers, mermaids, the Virgin Mary, New Year’s Eve, February 2, the North Star, half moon, rivers, dreams, pound cake, boats and ships, fans, sacred dance, the number 7

Animals: Fish, ducks, doves, peacocks, feathers, chickens, snakes, and all sea creatures

Plants: Oranges, tropical flowers, yams, grain, seaweed, other plants that grow in the ocean

Perfumes/scents: Scented soaps, raspberry, cinnamon, balsam

Gems and metals: Silver, pearls, mother of pearl, coral, moonstone, crystal quartz, turquoise, and any blue gem or bead

Colors: Sky blue, silver, white, green, and especially a blue dress with full skirt of 7 layers to represent ocean waves or the seven seas. [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Yemaya“.

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

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