Traditional Colors: Blue and white
Areas of Influence: Motherhood, the ocean, fishermen, family issues, pregnancy, women’s issues, children, healing (especially female plumbing issues)
Entities associated with: Our Lady of Regla
Symbols: Anything ocean related, especially dolphins, fish, shells, etc., 2 tailed mermaid, 7 silver bracelets, a necklace made with alternating 7 blue and 7 white beads.
Offerings: fish, fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, and coconut especially), white wine, all seafood, lettuce, coffee
Feast Days: September 7th (Santeria), January 1st, February 2nd (Brazil), Mother’s day
Astrology: The sign of Cancer
Tarot: The Empress, 3 of cups
Gemstones: Pearls, blue topaz, aquamarine, blue lace agate, mother of pearl, silver
Animals: Dolphins, fish of all kinds, Ducks, geese, swans and other water birds, blue butterflies, sea horses
Yemaya is the life-giving portion of the ocean. This is the area of water near the coasts and around coral reefs and such (most of the open and deep-water ocean is mostly barren and that belongs to a male Orisha, Olokun). In many stories, Yemaya gave birth to everything. Her name has multiple spellings (Yemoja, Yemonja, Yemanya, Iemonja, etc.).
When the slaves were transported across the ocean, it was Yemaya who protected them on their journey and kept them safe. She is many times seen as a double tailed mermaid. She is kind and giving. She takes a long time to anger but when she does, watch out, you have a hurricane on your hands. She is the wife of Obatala, chief and father figure of the Orishas. She is very devoted to him. She does get depressed occasionally, especially over her children (Oshun, Oya, Chango and others). She has excellent taste and does not like gaudy things. In Brazil, they hold a huge festival to her every year. On February 2nd, everyone dresses in white and goes down to the ocean. They put gifts into boats for her and then sail them out into the ocean.
Properly Showing Respect to Yemaya
Yemaya’s offerings should be laid out in a very tasteful setting. This is one classy gal. She prefers silver to gold. A plate of seafood, a bowl of fruit and a good white wine are an excellent offering. When you walk into the ocean, walk in sideways (left side pointing towards the ocean) and say hello to her. Also, throw seven pennies into the ocean or other large body of water as an offering.
Help out a charity devoted to families or children specifically or just help out that single mom who lives across the street. Volunteer to baby-sit your friend’s kids for no reason whatsoever! Call your mother (biological or other) and thank her. Remember Yemaya on Mother’s day. For those coffee fanatics out there, Starbuck’s? mascot is a double-tailed mermaid and Yemaya loves coffee (especially a really foamy latte).
Where to find Yemaya
The ocean or beach or any large (large pond or lake) body of water. Maternity wards or day care centers, weddings
Family is very important to children of Yemaya. Normally, these folks will start having children pretty early in life. They are very devoted parents and will be very involved in their children’s lives. They tend to be very faithful people and their relationships are usually long-term. Her children are caring people who easily show their emotions. They love the ocean. If the don’t live near water, they will vacation there as much as they can. They are compassionate and understanding however, once they get angry about something they will blow their tops. Children of Yemaya are prone to depression and melancholy. They often exhibit psychic abilities.
**Warning, please seek medical attention for all funky health problems**
I met Yemaya for the first time in the summer of 1995. I had a student named “Kathy” who was engaged to a very nice guy named “Steve.” Kathy had all sorts of weird health problems and suffered from numerous ailments and her and Steve were on a limited income. At that time, I had some herbal experience. Steve called one day to say that Kathy was having some sort of health problem and could I come over. I went over to their apartment to see what I could do. When I got there, Kathy was in real distress. She was lying on her bed in the fetal position and seemed to be in pain (to the point of tears) but didn’t know why. I didn’t know where to begin. Steve and Kathy were dirt poor and couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit.
With her health issues, I didn’t know any herbal remedies to her situation but I was pretty sure that she was a child of Yemaya. Since Yemaya has the power to heal, I figured that I would call on her to help Kathy. I ran outside and grabbed some seashells laying in their yard and placed them on their dresser around a white 7-day candle they had handy. I poured a glass of water and set it next to the candle. I very quickly asked (well, begged) Yemaya to come and help Kathy. I swear, within 3 minutes, Yemaya not only showed up but actually went into Kathy’s body. Kathy was still conscious but her eyes rolled up into the back of her head and she started to moan (almost sexually). She kept saying “the waves, I feel the waves” and I seem to remember her having a slight blue tinge. It was like she just melted. The pain seemed to be gone (or she didn’t notice it anymore) and she was stoned on the energy.
Steve and I just stood there and watched. After a few minutes of this, I nonchalantly asked Steve if this had ever happened before. He very quietly answered back “Um, no.” About an hour later, Kathy came out of it and felt just fine. I still to this day don’t know what was wrong but Yemaya was able to take care of it.
Disclaimer: You may find that some of the information on this page differs from the traditional beliefs of some African Diaspora practices. The information on this page has been gathered from personal experiences and while we respect those who walk the more “Traditional” paths, we have some different beliefs concerning the Orishas and Loa.