Yemaya

February 22nd, 2008 by sabrina

Yemaya is the Yoruban Goddess of the ocean and motherhood. She is one of the Mami Wata, water spirits known throughout western and central Africa. Worshipped primarily by women, she protects women in childbirth and is called upon to grant fertility. She is the mother of the sun and the moon, two rivers, and eleven other Gods. As Goddess of the ocean, she is also the mother of fish and is sometimes portrayed as a mermaid. When depicted as a woman, she is dressed in skirts of blue and white, symbolizing the ocean. She is a loving mother to her worshippers, but can by turns be as violent and uncontrollable as the sea.

Yemaya’s name is a shortened version of Yey Omo Eja, which means “mother whose children are the fish.” She is known by many names, having been brought from Africa to Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. Depending on location, she is called Iamanja, Iamanje, Iemanya, Imanje, Yemaja, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemanja, Yemayah, Yamoja, Yamoya, Yemoja, or Ymoja. She has also been identified with the Christian saint Our Lady of Regla in syncretized religions such as Santeria. Epithets for her include:
Yemaya Ataramagwa (the wealthy queen of the sea)
Yemaya Achabba (stern)
Yemaya Oqqutte (violent)
Yemaya Olokun (overpowering)
Star of the Sea
Ocean Goddess of the Crescent Moon

This entry was posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at 2:04 pm and is filed under African. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 response about “Yemaya”

  1. ermingarde said:

    I bought a beautiful statue of Iemanja at the thrift store for $1.65! In looking up info on her online I see that many images of her are shown with fringe or beads over her face (as my statue is), does anyone know why? Thanks!