Orisha, Goddess, and Queen of the Sea
by Raven Morgaine
Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC
Publication Date: September 2021
Bright Blessings, Readers!
Red Wheel Weiser LLC has brought us another fantastic book, and this one was written with tender loving care by the charismatic Raven Morgaine. Morgaine is a witch, a Voodoo, Santeria, and Candomblé devotee, an artist, and owner of the shop Familiar Spirits in Rhode Island. He is actually a devotee of this amazing goddess he has written this entire book about. Online reviews of him state he is very helpful in helping with questions about magic, and gives outstanding psychic readings and spiritual advice. How can you go wrong reading about this goddess by one of her very own children whose work for the community is so highly regarded and so appreciated?
The book is broken up into three parts, and I will explore each of them separately. First, I would like to discuss things he says in his prologue. He discusses that she was created from rain touching ocean spray that was evaporating. Her first form was that of Yembo, and when she was born, she said “I am Yembo…Where the light of the sun and moon penetrate the water, there is my kingdom to be found.” He goes on to say that in West Africa, Yembo became Yemaya and he said her appearance “heralded the beginning of the time of the orishas on earth.” He further states she is believed by some to have birthed the first 14 orishas and to have created the sun, the moon, and human beings.
He says she went with those kidnapped and sold into slavery from 1518 into the 1800’s during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He said that both she and Oshun went to succor them and she goes wherever her children go. Originally just a river goddess, as her worship spread throughout the world, she became a goddess of all bodies of water, even the rain. He says “She is the Thrice-Crowned Queen of earth, sea, and moon.”
He writes more about who she is, but one thing he says stands out most to me as a reader. He writes, “I have been a devoted child of Yemaya for thirty-five years. My life, my work, and my art have been dedicated to her. I have known her blessings and I have suffered through her lessons. Like the sea, she provides and punishes. She gives life and takes it back. Her mercy and compassion know no bounds, but neither does her anger. Like a good son, I try my best never to disappoint or anger her. In fact, incurring her wrath is something I wouldn’t wish on my very worst enemy. I know many people who have learned this lesson the hard way.”
Not a bad introduction to tell us about her love and the respect she commands! Each section Morgaine shares takes us through topics about this goddess.
Part 1: Yemaya- Mother of All Life
There are five chapters in this section exploring her power, her many faces, and her roles a mother, lover, magician, healer, and warrior! He talks about finding and embracing her and says she is very compassionate. He then shares many names she has including Ibu Achaba which was the first female diviner. She is Ibu Agana, Ibu Okoto of the fearsome pirates, and also Yamaya Oro, a singing mermaid! He writes of her lovers and her role as a mom, and shares the fact her sexuality is fluid, so many LGBTQI people find a spiritual home with her. Yamaya also reigns over all magic, and helps devotees to be successful in all magic, and she heals as well. Her warrior aspect and her surviving heartbreak and hurt at the hands of those she loves is told about.
Part 2: Yemaya in Myth and Legend
This has only two chapters, exploring various myths including stories about Eleggua and various stories about Yamaya. One thing that is stressed is that Eleggua comes first in communication with all spirits and without him, no communication between humans and the orishas is possible. This is well illustrated in a story he tells about how Yemaya and her sisters struck a deal to give Eleggua ¼ of the pay they received doing work for the people – if he would send people to them. Soon, the sisters were thriving business women and their renown spread far and wide.
But they became frustrated, stating he may have sent people to them, but THEY did all the work, so they tried to figure out how to cut his share. He knew this and found a way to stop all the people from going to see them entirely! When they sisters learned he found out their plan to short his share, they apologized, and Eleggua forgave them and they resumed their partnership.
Part 3: Yemaya in Spiritual Practice
This has four chapters, and it is this section I would like to write most about. The background of who this goddess is gets explored well in the first two parts of the book, but it is in section three where learning how to work with her is taught.
In the chapter about altars, he asks if you want an altar or a shrine, and discusses what is best for both. He explains how best to cleanse and how to “dress” your altar and warns this can get expensive! He discusses what food offerings should be put on this dressed altar and how to pray at the altar as well. He provides songs and prayers.
In the apothecary chapter, Morgaine discusses herbs and plants for Yemaya and warns that many originally intended for her are not available in the West. However, since her children went everywhere, they had to find solutions, and he shares what is used now- angelica, anise, and camphor, for example. Another is pennyroyal, and he writes “a particularly strong herb when used for the promotion of peace and protection. It can inspire harmony and is quite a successful spell-breaker. Those who are pregnant or seeking to become so should avoid contact with this plant.” He also discusses what crystals and gemstones like abalone are used for the goddess, and her numbers, colors, special days and about her sacred necklace and what Catholic saint is attributed to her.
Chapter ten gets interesting. He discusses offerings for Yemaya and even shares some recipes if you would like to cook for her! She likes mako shark, coconut shrimp, and coconut macaroons, for example! He lists some sacred objects like anchors and cowrie shells and ends the chapter with a meditation.
The final chapter is all about invoking Yemaya. He shares recipes for invoking water and instructs how to use spells to sweeten circumstances, ask for divine intervention, and even how to stop gossip. He literally thought of everything, even giving detailed instructions of how to create an artificial body of water for an altar if you live too far from natural bodies of water! He even shares an appendix with an index of aspects and spirits to go along with all the great information he already provides!
No review can ever go into the great detail Morgaine does in this lovingly written book that is a tribute to the majesty and beauty of this glorious goddess, and you are going to just have to read it for yourself! The book explores every aspect of this goddess you could hope to learn about in only a way a devotee of hers who is a master teacher could share. He includes some of his very own beautiful art and photos of other things others have made. Morgaine writes in an easy to read style that draws you in, but also expresses his love and respect for Yemaya.
I will leave you with the final paragraph he wrote in his epilogue chapter before you buy your own copy:
“Every time I paint a picture of the goddess or make a spirit doll in her image, every time I blend her incense or oils, every time I cook gumbo or jambalaya for my friends, every time I place flowers on her altar and sit quietly to hear her council, I remember the first time I knew that it was hers. It was the first time I ever felt that I was truly home.”
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].