Yemaya – The Great Mother
Yemaya is the Goddess of the Ocean and is also known as the Great Mother and the Mother of All Creation. She is also the Protector of Children and women, especially pregnant women. She is the Mother of the Fish and the Goddess of Surrender. Yemaya is an Orisha, which is one of the Gods of the Yoruba religion, which was brought to America from Africa. One of the theories is that she traveled from Egypt to Africa and her name changed from Isis to Yemaya. Yemaya is associated with the river of Ogun, because this river is known to cure infertility.
Yemaya has many other names. Known as the Star of The Sea in Brazil, In Macumba, she is known as Ocean Goddess of the Crescent Moon. In Haiti, she is Agwe. New Orleans women worship her as La Balianne. And, in Cuba she has three names, depending on which part of her personality you wish to speak with: Yemaya Ataramagwa, The Wealthy Queen Of The Sea, this is her stern persona. Yemaya Achabba, violent, and, the overpowering, Yemaya Olokun who is said to only be seen in dreams.
Yemaya is associated with many aspects of the sea – ocean, the moon, stars, conch shells, and the female mysteries. One of Yemaya’s stories is that her first gift to the mortals was a conch shell so their voices could be heard. This is attributed to the idea of holding a conch shell to a person’s ear to hear the ocean, which is Yemaya’s voice.
Another story of Yemaya is that she was raped by her son, Orungan. In order to escape further trauma, she falls and from her burst fourteen Yoruban Gods and Goddesses. One of the other stories is that after she is raped by her son, she decides to end her life on a mountain peak. As she dies, she not only gives birth to the fourteen Yoruban Gods and Goddesses but from her uterine waters the oceans of the world were created. From her bones, the first mortals were created. This lends to the idea that from tragedy comes great creation and birth to something new.
Yemaya is someone you can work with in the matters of home, fertility, family and love. She is a mother and represents any issues with children, trying to bear children and mother and/or women issues. She is also concerned with the Healing of Mother Earth so she can be invoked when doing rituals for healing mother earth.