Tag Archive: orisha


Goddess Odudua

Art by Drew Flaherty

Art by Drew Flaherty

“Odudua’s themes are kinship, unity, devotion, creativity, community, love and fertility. Her symbols are black items. In the beginning, Odudua created the earth and its people. In Yoruban tradition, She presides over all matter of fertility, love and community. Her sacred color is black.

The African American festival of Kwanzaa celebrates family unity and the black culture. It is also a harvest festival whose name means ‘first fruits’. Every day of the celebration focuses on important themes, including Odudua’s harmony, determination, community responsibility, purpose, creativity and faith.

One lovely tradition easily adapted is that of candle lighting. Each day of the festival, light one red, green or black candle (the colors of Africa). Name the candle after one of Odudua’s attributes you wish to develop (try to choose the color that most closely corresponds to your goal). Igniting it gives energy and visual manifestation to that principle. Also try to keep one black candle lit (in a safe container) to honor the Goddess’s presence during this time.

To inspire Odudua’s peaceful love in your heart and life today, wear something black. This will absorb the negativity around you and put is to rest.”

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

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Patricia Monaghan said that this “primary mother Goddess of the Yoruba of Nigeria…is the great orisha (deity) of the earth as well as its creator.  Her name means ‘She who exists for Herself and to create others,’ and it was Her energy that caused the primal matter which later formed itself ionto this universe.  The spot where She descended from the sky onto the new earth is still pointed out in Yourbaland.  Oddudua is called Saint Claire in Santería” (p. 238).

On mythologydictionary.com, it states: “A creator-Goddess and war-Goddess of the Yoruba. Wife and sister (or, some, say, daughter) of Olodumare or Obatala. Mother of Aganju, Ogun and Yemoja. Some regard her as the founder of the Yoruba. In some accounts, Oduduwa is regarded as male, son of Lamurudu and brother of Obatala, marrying Aje and fathering Oranyan; in others She is female in which role Her father sent Her to earth to sow seeds and She became the wife of Orishako. In some references, called OduduwaOdudua or Odudua. [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oddudua”.

Mythologydictionary.com, “Oduduwa“.

 

Suggested Links:

MXTODIS123. Reclaimingthedarkgoddess.blogspot.com, “Oduduwa“.

Lady of Regla

“Yemaya” by Hrana Janto

“Lady of Regla’s themes are kinship, protection, kindness, the moon, love, devotion, fertility and relationships. Her symbols are fish, the moon, silver (lunar) or blue items (Her favorite color) and the crab.  This West Indian fish mother swims in with summer rains as the bearer of fertility, family unity, prospective life mate and other traditionally lunar energies. Shown in art looking much like a mermaid, the Lady of Regla is also the patroness of the Cancer astrological sign.

In astrology, those born under the sign of Cancer have a great deal of compassion, desire family closeness and stability and are ruled by the moon, all of which characterize this Goddess’s energies to a tee. How you emphasize those powers depends on what you need. For harmony at home, add blue highlights to our decorating scheme and ear pale blue clothing when having difficult conversations.

Eat fish or crab today to digest a little extra self-love or empathy or to encourage fertility in any area of your life. To spice up this magic, serve the fish with a bit of lemon juice – a fruit that emphasizes devotion to kinship.

If you’d like to dream of future loves or get Lady Regla’s perspective on a difficult family situation, leave Her an offering of yams before going to bed. According to local custom, this invokes Regla’s favor and you will experience helpful night visions – so take notes!”

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

One of the original images of the Virgin of Regla from Spain

“The Virgin of Regla is actually named for a seaport in Spain, the city of Regla, Spain. There is an image of the Virgin Mary there known as the Virgen de Regla. Another city was founded on the same bay as the City of Havana, Cuba, and it was named Regla, and so the patron of this city was also the same Virgen de Regla.

Yemaya Orisha of the ocean (Ocean Goddess) and Lady of Regla

Later on, the slaves in Cuba who were followers of the Lukumi religion of Nigeria adopted the Virgin of Regla as the surrogate for the African Goddess Yemaya. It may be that the original Virgen de Regla actually was, originally, an African Goddess who had been adopted into Christianity by way of Catholic syncretism, and then, ironically, She was transformed back into an African Goddess by way of the syncretism of Cuban Santeria. [1]

Concerning the statue, Virgin de Regla, “historians distinguish between legend and history.  According to legend, the statue of the Virgin de Regla was commissioned by Augustine (354-430) himself and brought by Saint Cyprian, deacon, after the death of Augustine and during the invasion of the Vandals to the southern shores of Spain.  The statue found a new home in the seaport city of Chipiona and was venerated in the local monastery by both Augustinian canons and African hermits.  In the eighth century the invasion of Andalusia by the Saracens forced the statue to go underground.  Indeed, the monks hid the image in a cistern next to a fig tree where she remained until the liberation of the country by Alphonse the Wise in the thirteenth century.  In that period, Our Lady manifested herself to a canon regular from León  pointing him to the place where the statue lay hidden.  The rediscovery of the hidden image, chalice, and burning lamp led to the revival of the devotion to the Virgin de Regla. The cistern and fig tree still exist, and the location is called Humilladero.

 

From the point of history, the origin of the name appears shrouded in mystery.  According to some, the name makes reference to the Rule of the Augustinians. Thus the Virgin would be the protector of the Rule (regla). On the other hand, it is known that Don Alonso Perez de Guzman (1580-90) erected in Chipiona, a castle by the name of Castillo de Regla.

Iconographical studies point out that the statue can be dated as early as 1200.  It is believed that the image has always been that of a black Madonna.  The beginning of the devotion and first known miracles can be dated as early as 1330.  The official act of the foundation of the monastery bears the date of August 22, 1399 which corresponds to the date at which the Duke of Arcos, Don Pedro Ponce de León, entrusted the new foundation to the Order of Saint Augustine.  After a long period of neglect and dereliction, the monastery and sanctuary were restored in l833 and again in 1851, thanks especially to the Spanish Infantes, the Dukes of Montpensier.

The patronal feast coincides with the feast of the birthday of Mary on September 8. It is celebrated with a procession in commemoration of that of September 8, 1588 when the proud Spanish Armada sail toward England.  Historians evaluate the number of participants in this grandiose manifestation of devotion at eighty-thousand and the length of the procession at nine kilometers.  The devotion to Our Lady of Regla reached its zenith in the eighteenth century.  Devotion to ‘Our Lady of Regla’ is practiced even today, not only in Spain but also in Cuba, at a location outside of La Havana, called Regla, in Miami, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and in the Netherlands.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Ojinaga.com, “Virgen de Regla“.

Roten, Johann G. University of Dayton, “Who is ‘Our Lady of Regla?

 

 

Suggested Links:

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

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

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

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

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

Wikipedia, “Black Madonna“.

Wikipedia, “Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.

“Oya” by Danilo Lejardi

“Egungun-Oya’s themes are destiny, death, ghosts, divination, foresight and truth. Her symbols are dance and fire.  The Yoruban Mother of the Dead and mistress of spiritual destinies, Egungun-Oya helps us peek into our own futures, being a Goddess of fate. Traditionally She is venerated through folk dances that show Her guiding spirits in the afterlife with the flames of truth in one hand.

As one might expect, the people of Nigeria honor the ancestors on this day, believing that they and Egungun-Oya control the fates of the living. It’s a common custom, therefor, to leave food and gifts for both the deceased and the Goddess today, hoping both will find pleasure in the offering. In your own home, put out pictures of loved ones who have passed on and light a candle in front of these today so that Egungun-Oya’s truth will fill your home. When you light the candle, observe its flame. If it burns out quickly without your assistance, this indicates that you should take care – you’re burning yourself out on too many projects. If it flames up brightly and steadily, anticipate health and longevity. An average-sized flame that burns blue indicates spiritual presences and a normal life span.

To keep any unwanted ghosts out of you house, put a light of any sort in the window, saying,

‘Egungun-Oya is your guide,
return to your sleep and there abide.’

The Goddess will safely guide those spirits back to where they belong.”

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

“Ancestor Spirits” by Willow Arlenea

“In Yoruba mythology, Egungun-oya is a Goddess of divination. ‘Egungun‘ refers to the collective spirits of the ancestral dead; the Orisha ‘Oya‘ is seen as the mother of the Egun.

In Egba and Egbado area, as well as many parts of Yorubaland, Odun Egungun festivals are held in communities to commemorate the ancestors. Egungun masquerade are performed during these annual or biennial ceremonies as well as during specific funeral rites throughout the year. The masquerade is a multifaceted ceremony which includes the making of offerings as well as the honoring of ancestors for past and future aid.

Egungun performances organized for funerary purposes mark the death of important individuals. In this context, the masks reflect a creative response to death as a time of crisis involving mourning and loss. Elaborate performances serve to commemorate the dead through the remembrance of their past life while simultaneously reinforcing the relationship between the living and the recently deceased ancestor.

Among the broad range of themes incorporated in the Egungun masks are representations of numerous societal and cultural stereotypes as well as acrobatic images in which dancers turn their clothing inside out, in part to suggest the power and distance of the ancestral world. Entertaining satirical masks depicting animals and humans are performed during the masquerade and often serve as a social commentary on the life of the community.” [1]

Here is a video highlighting some scenes from a Egungun festival held in the Oyortunji African Village (near Sheldon, South Carolina) from 2010.  This sacred festival is a type of Memorial Day in which the ancestors and deceased are collectively remembered…

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Egungun-oya“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Oya“.

French, Selina. Order of the White Moon, “Oya“.

Hargrow, Tirra. Goddess-Body-Mind-Spirit.com, “The Goddess of Transformation“.

Heathwitch. Order of the White Moon, “Oya: Lady of Storms“.

O., Bommie. MotherlandNigeria.com, “Festivals“.

Revel, Anita.  Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oya“.

Strong, Laura. Mythic Arts, “Egungun: The Masked Ancestors of Yoruba“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Oya“.

Wikipedia, “Egungun“.

Wikipedia, “Oya“.

Goddess Mawu

“Mawu” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Mawu’s themes are creativity, Universal Law, passion, abundance, birth, and inspiration.  Her symbols are clay and the moon.  Mawu arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy. Hers is a wise passion and a timely birth, being ruled by natural laws and universal order. In Africa, She is a lunar-aligned creatrix who made people from clay. As a mother figure, Mawu inspires the universe’s abundance and every dreamers imagination.

Rituals for Mawu rejoice in Her life-giving energy, often through lovemaking. In Africa, people take this seed generation literally and sow the fields, knowing that Mawu will make the land fertile. So get yourself a seedling today and bring it into the house to welcome Mawu and Her creative powers. Name the sprout after one of Mawu’s attributes that you want to cultivate. Each time you water or tend the plant, repeat its name and accept Mawu’s germinating energy into your spirit.

Alternatively, get some non-hardening clay and begin fashioning a symbol of what you need. Devote yourself to spending time on this over twenty-eight days (a lunar cycle), until it’s complete. Each time you work, say:

 ‘Mother Mawu, make me whole
Help me obtain my sacred goal.’

By the time this is finished, you should see the first signs of manifestation.”

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

In Dahomey mythology, Mawu, (pronounced MAH-woo) and sometimes alternatively spelled Mahu, is a West African Mother Earth creator Goddess associated with both the sun and moon.  She is the Goddess of the night, of joy, and of motherhood as well as the ruler of the world’s wisdom and knowledge.   She is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world. Sometimes She is seen as a moon Goddess, the twin sister-wife of the sun god Lisa (alternatively spelled Liza), but sometimes “She” is seen as one androgynous or hermaphroditic deity, Mawu-Lisa.  Mahu and Lisa are the children of Nana Buluku, and are the parents of Xevioso.   [1] [2] [3]

“Mawu and Lisa had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, and they divided the responsibilities of the world among them. Mawu is also the Goddess of motherhood, since it was she that created the first humans out of clay, and she gives humans their souls.”  [4]

“Mawu” by Lisa Iris

“After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When She asked Awe, a monkey She had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only She could give life and that She could also take it away.

This myth is similar to the Yoruba story of Yemaja and Aganju, parents of the Orishas.” [5]

“Mawu” by Lisa Hunt

In another version of Her story I read,  “Mawu is said to have created all of the life on earth with Her husband, Liza, but after doing so, She worried that it might be too heavy…and so She called on the serpent Aido Hwedo for help. Legend has it that the serpent thus curled itself into a ball beneath the earth and pushed it up into the sky; Mawu then retired to the jungle realm of heaven and for awhile, all remained in peace and harmony.

But, before long, the people of the earth began to fight amongst each other….having forgotten that it was Mawu who had provided each of them with not only the world on which they lived, but also the essence of life, their souls.   To fight each other was to fight Mawu as well.  Mawu then sought aid from the monkey, Awe, who turned out to be an insolent braggart who boasted that he was just as powerful as She.  He boasted that he, too, could make life…and when the people of Earth heard this, they began to believe him.

To prove it, he chopped down a tree and carved on it all the features of a person, and when he was finished, he stepped back and said that he had created a person.  Mawu observed that wooden figure lying on the ground and remarked that the figured didn’t do anything and She challenged Awe to breathe life into it.  Awe then gulped a tremendous breath of air and blew it strongly, but the person continued to lie still and mute on the ground.  Once again he tried and this time, he blew so strongly that the wooden figure moved in the wind’s path, but it remained lifeless.  After two more attempts, he admitted that he had been defeated and hung his head in shame, acknowledging that only Mawu could make life; he said that he would return to the world below and tell everyone that he had been wrong.

But, Mawu knew he really didn’t mean it, that he was a charlatan, and once he returned to earth, he would only start boasting again.  So, She made him a bowl of porridge to eat before his long journey, and into this porridge She had put the seed of death.  And only after Awe had finished eating did he learn of the seed he had eaten and would carry back to earth the knowledge that She and no other is the giver and taker of life.” [6]

Sources:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Mawu“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mawu“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Mawu“.

Wikipedia, “Mawu“.

Suggested Links:

Antoine Family Reunion. Antoine Family Reunion, “The Vodun Creation Story“.

Goddess. The Grateful Goddess, “Goddess of the Month ~ Mawu“. 

Iles, Susan. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

The Goddess Temple, Inc. Talk with the Goddess, “Goddess Mawu“.

Moon, Tora. The Goddess Speaks, “Mawu – Goddess of Creation (Dahomey of West Africa)“.

Solarlottery.com, “Mawu-Lisa the Creators: An African Tale“.

West African Diaspora Mami Wata Vodoun, “Exploits of the Gods“.

Goddess Oba

Obá

“Ọba’s themes are protection, manifestation, movement, energy, restoration and flexibility. Her symbols is water.  Ọba, is the Nigerian and Santarian Goddess of rivers, which figuratively represents the flow of time and life. Turn to Her for assistance in learning how to ‘go with the flow’, or when you need to inspire some movement in sluggish projects or goals.

Kuomboka is a holiday in Zambia that literally translates as ‘getting out of the water’. Due to the annual flood cycle, people must make their way to higher ground around this date. So consider what type of figurative hot water you’ve gotten into lately.  Ọba stands ready to get you onto safer footing.

To encourage Her aid, take a glass half filled with hot water, then slowly pour in cold water op to the rim, saying:

 ‘By Ọba’s coursing water, let <…..> improve
to higher and safer ground, my spirit move.’

Drink the water to internalize the energy.

Ọba can abide in any body of flowing water, including your tap or shower. When you get washed up or do the dishes today, invoke her energy by uttering this chant (mentally or verbally):

‘Ọba, flow <……> blessings  bestow
Pour, pour, pour <……> restore, restore, restore.’

Let Ọba’s spiritual waters refresh your energy and your magic.”

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

"Three Yoruban Women" by Consuelo Gamboa

Ọba is the Yoruba Goddess of rivers. She was the daughter of Yemaja and one of the consorts of Sàngó. Ọba represents the power of the flowing waters. The waters of the River Ọba bear Her name. She forms a triad with Her sisters Ọṣhun and Oya and provides the life-giving waters that are needed as drinking water and for irrigation. Ọba is venerated as a Goddess of love in Brazil but considered a guardian of prostitutes in parts of Africa.

Ọba is the heroine of a sad story that began with Her rivalry with Ọṣhun and Her efforts to obtain the exclusive love of their common husband.  According to legend, Shango was the lover of Ọṣhun, but the husband of Ọba and Oya. Ọṣhun was his favorite because She was the best cook of the three. Ọba, jealous because She was the first and legitimate wife, asked Ọṣhun how She kept Shango so happy.

Ọṣhun, filled with resentment because Ọba’s children would inherit the kingdom, told Ọba that many years ago She had cut off a piece of Her ear, dried it into a powder, and sprinkled some on Shango’s food.  This, She said, is what made him desire Her more than the others.  So, Ọba went home and sliced off Her ear, stirring it into Shango’s food. When Shango began eating, he glanced down he saw an ear floating in the stew. Thinking that Ọba was trying to poison him, he drove Her from the house.  Grieving, She fell to earth and became the Ọba River which intersects with the Oṣun river at turbulent rapids, a symbol of the rivalry between the two wives where She is still worshipped today.” [1]

"Water goddess" by rmj7

“Ọba migrated with Her people when they were brought to Cuba.  When Ọba possesses a dancer, she wears a scarf that hides one ear and must be kept from any dancer who embodies Ọṣhun because of the rivalry between the two.  Ọba is syncretized with Saints Catherine and Rita” (Patricia Monaghan, Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, p. 41), Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Martha (Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, Afro-Caribbean Religoins: An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions p. 174)

ASSOCIATIONS

Sacred number: 8
Day of the week: Sunday or Friday
Colors: pink, pink and blue, pink belted or accented with red and white
Domain: marriage, loyalty, fidelity, female honor with regard to wife and motherhood, bonding
Symbols: interlocking wedding rings or circles, head scarves in Her colors that cover the ears and neck (khimar style), the double swords (two machetes or gubasas) with attached scarves, the hooded cape, the baby sling, red and white hearts, red and white roses or other flowers, pink flowers. [2]

Visit Orisha Online Altar, Oba to learn more about Her associations, offerings and altar set up.

Goddess Yemaja

“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“.

Goddess Iemanja

“Iemanja’s themes are foresight, divination and psychic abilities.  Her symbol is water.  In Brazil, Iemanja is considered the ocean’s spirit. Every drop of saltwater bears Her imprint and calls us back to Iemanja, our ancient mother and home. As a water elemental, Iemanja gives Her followers vision, inspiration and the ability to flow smoothly through life’s torrential times.

At daybreak on this day, mediums in Brazil begin singing and dancing to summon the spirit of Iemanja, who provides glimpses of the year ahead. Worshipers take offerings carved with wishes to rivers or to the ocean. Here, Iemanja’s spirit accepts the gifts and the magic of the wish begins. To follow this custom, take any small natural token and toss it in moving water with your wish; the water should be flowing toward you if you wish to bring energy and flowing away from you if you want to carry away problems.

In keeping with today’s theme, soak in a mild saltwater bath to cleanse away any unwanted energy and heighten your senses. Then try your favorite divination tool. Pray to Iemanja beforehand to bless your efforts. See what messages she has for you, especially on emotionally charged matters (water equates with emotions in metaphysical traditions).

Finally, to honor Iemanja, wear ocean-blue clothing today, carry a blue-toned stone (like lace agate of lapis), put a seashell or coral in your pocket, dance in the rain (if the weather cooperates), or play in your sprinkler. Rediscover the element of water.”

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

Iemanjá is also known as Yemanjá or Janaína in Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda religions.

The Umbanda religion worships Iemanjá as one of the seven orixás of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron deity of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight. A syncretism happens between the Catholic Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (Our Lady of the Seafaring) and the orixá Iemanjá of the African Mythology. Sometimes, a feast can honor both.

In Salvador, Bahia, Iemanjá is celebrated by Candomblé on the very same day consecrated by the Catholic Church to Our Lady of Seafaring (Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes). Every February 2, thousands of people line up at dawn to leave their offerings at her shrine in Rio Vermelho.

 

Gifts for Iemanjá usually include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfume, jewelry, combs, lipsticks, mirrors). These are gathered in large baskets and taken out to the sea by local fishermen. Afterwards a massive street party ensues.

Iemanjá is also celebrated every December 8 in Salvador, Bahia. The Festa da Conceição da Praia (Feast to Our Lady of Conception of the church at the beach) is a city holiday dedicated to the Catholic saint and also to Iemanjá. Another feast occurs on this day in the Pedra Furada, Monte Serrat in Salvador, Bahia, called the Gift to Iemanjá, when fishermen celebrate their devotion to the Queen of the Ocean.

Outside Bahia State, Iemanjá is celebrated mainly by followers of the Umbanda religion.

 

On New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, millions of cariocas, of all religions, dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw (white) flowers and other offerings into the sea for the Goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Some send their gifts to Iemanjá in wooden toy boats. Paintings of Iemanjá are sold in Rio shops, next to paintings of Jesus and other Catholic saints. They portray Her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana.

In São Paulo State, Iemanjá is celebrated in the two first weekends of December on the shores of Praia Grande city. During these days many vehicles garnished with Iemanjá icons and colors (white and blue) roam from the São Paulo mountains to the sea littoral, some of them traveling hundreds of miles. Thousands of people rally near Iemanjá’s statue in Praia Grande beach.

 

In Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, on February 2, the image of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes is carried to the port of Pelotas. Before the closing of the Catholic feast, the boats stop and host the Umbanda followers that carry the image of Iemanjá, in a syncretic meeting that is watched by thousand of people on the shore.

 

 

 

Goddess Oshun

“Oshun” by Selina Fenech

“Oshun’s themes are divination and love. Her symbols are flowing water, seashells and amber beads.  Oshun is a beautiful, oracular Goddess of love. Generous and beneficent, she opens her eyes to let us peek into what the future holds for relationships. According to legends, Oshun didn’t always know how to tell the future. She was taught by Obatala, one skilled in divination, in return for retrieving his stolen clothing from Elegba. But Elegba exacted his price too. Once Oshun learned to divine, she had to teach all the other orishas the fortune-telling secrets.

Traditionally, Saint Agnes’s Day is spent divining information about love’s path and relationships in the coming year. Following Oshun’s example, make a fortune-telling tool from three shells, each of which has a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. If shells aren’t handy, use three coins/ Think of a ‘yes’ or’ ‘no’ question related to love. Three tops (or heads) mean ‘yes’. Two tops mean things are generally positive, but uncertain. One top indicates a ‘wait’ or a negative response, and three bottoms is a definite ‘no’. Put the shells under your pillow before you go to bed to dream of future loves.

Or, to encourage Oshun’s problem-solving skills in a relationship, carry a small piece of amber or wear a piece of amber-coloured clothing when you meet your loved one to talk things over.”

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

“Oshun” by Hrana Janto

“Oshun is the Yoruban Orisha (deity) of the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Yemaya). She is widely loved, as She is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, and She especially watches over the poor and brings them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a fish’s tail.

The Yoruba clans inhabit parts of western central Africa, in present-day Nigeria. Oshun is the Goddess of the river of the same name, and She is especially worshipped in river-towns. During Her yearly festival, She is said to choose one or more women dancers to descend into (much like participants in Vodou ceremonies may be ‘mounted’ or ‘possessed’ by a lwa). These women then take new names in honor of Oshun and are thereafter consulted as healers.

Oshun was taught divination with cowrie shells by Obatala, the first of the created gods, and then She brought the teaching to humans. She was at one time the wife of Shango, the storm god, as was Oya, the goddess of the winds and tempests. Oshun is also said to be the mother of the birds or fishes.

“Erzulie” by Kris Waldherr

With the African diaspora, Oshun was brought to the Americas, and adopted into the pantheons that branched out of the African traditions. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which retains close ties with the Yoruban religion, as well as in Cuban Santeriá, She is called Oxum. In Haitian Vodoun She is an inspiration for Erzulie or Ezili, also a Goddess of water and love.

Oshun, like the other Orisha, has a number associated with Her–five; a color–yellow or amber; and a metal–gold or bronze. The peacock and the vulture are sacred to Her. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey, mead, white wine, oranges, sweets, or pumpkins, as well as perfume.

 

Alternate spellings: Oxun, Osun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun.

Titles: Oshun Ana, ‘Goddess of Luxury and Love’; Oshun Telargo, as the modest one; Oshun Yeye Moro, as the coquette; Oshun Yeye Kari, ‘Mother of Sweetness’. [1]

For a very informative and comprehensive list of Oshun’s associations and stories, please click here to visit Tribe of the Sun’s “Oshun” page.

 

 

Source:

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Oshun“.

 

Suggested Link:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Oshun“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oshun

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oshun“.

Wikipedia, “Oshun“.

Goddess Oya

"Oya" by Francisco Santos

“Oya’s themes are justice, tradition, zeal and femininity.  Her symbols are fire, water and the number 9.

A Yoruban mother Goddess and spirit of the river Niger, Oya flowers with us through the last day of January, strengthening our passion for and appreciation of life. She is wild and irrepressible, like the fire she’s said to have created, yet Oya presides over matters of fairness and custom, using that fire as the light of truth. Artistic depictions of Oya show a nine-headed woman whose bosom speaks of fertile femininity.

Enjoy a glass of water when you get up to begin generating Oya’s zest for life in your body and soul. This is also very suited to the energies of the day. Aquarius represents the Water Bearer who continually pours inspiring, creative waters from celestial spheres into our lives.

Get out and do something daring today. Invoke Oya through your pleasure and pure excitement. Dare to dream; then try to make that dream come true somehow.

 If there is some aria of your life that needs more equity, try making this Oya charm:

Take any small candle and carve Oya’s name into it. Have a glass of water nearby. light the candle to invoke the Goddess. Hold the water over the candle, saying something like this:

What injustice consumes
Oya’s water quell.’

Drop a little water on the candle, then trim off the taper, carrying it with you to draw justice to you.”

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

“Oya is one of the most powerful African Goddesses (Orishas). A Warrior-Queen, She is the sister-wife of the God Shango, to whom She gave the power to create storms. Much of Oya’s power is rooted in the natural world; She is the Goddess of thunder, lightning, tornadoes, winds, rainstorms and hurricanes. A Fire Goddess, it is Oya who brings rapid change and aids us in both inner and outer transformation.

Oya is the guardian of the realm between life and death; as such, She is not only the Goddess of spirit communication, funerals and cemeteries but also the Goddess of clairvoyance, psychic abilities, intuition and rebirth. She can call forth the spirit of death, or hold it back — such is the extent of Her power. Because of Her affiliation to the dead, and Her intense knowledge of the magick arts, Oya is also known as “the Great Mother of the Elders of the Night (Witches)”.

"Oya" by Sandra M. Stanton

Oya is both loved and feared, and for good reason: unleashed, Oya is the Savage Warrior, the Protective Mother, She whose power sweeps all injustice, deceit and dishonesty from Her path. She will destroy villages if the need is true enough, for while She understands everything, She will only accept, act upon, and speak the truth (even when it is hard to bear).

Oya is the protectress of women and patron of feminine leadership. Fiercely loving, She is wildly unpredictable and can change from benevolent, caring Mother to destructive Warrior in the blink of an eye. Passionate, fearless, sensual and independent, Oya is not a Goddess to be invoked lightly and must be treated with respect and care.

While She will toss you in Her storms of change, and shelter you in Her caring embrace, She will also strike you down with Her lightning should the need arise. However, do not let that dissuade you from working with Oya, for She is the Strong Woman, the Bringer of Change and Seeker of Truth, who can be a most powerful ally.” (Hedgewitch, Order of the White Moon: an eclectic international order of women dedicated to the Goddess, Oya: Lady of Storms).

Oya has been syncretized in Santería with the Catholic images of the Our Lady Of Candelaria (Saint Patron of the Canary Islands in Spain) and St. Theresa.

A few other fun pages to visit are Anita Revel’s Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess – Oya and An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You – archetypal dimensions of the female self through the old myths – Oya.

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