A Goddess Dedication By Nina CryingWolf
Initiate, Sisters in The Goddess Tree
Yemaya-Olokun is a West African goddess who originated from the people of Yoruba.
According to 365Goddess, Telesco translates Yemaya's name to literally mean "fish mother".
She is known by different name variations amongst Afro-Caribbean religions, such as Yemonja,
Yemaja, Yemoja, Ymoja or Yemanja in Africa, Iamanja or Imanje in Brazil, Agwe or La Balianne
in Haiti and New Orleans, and Our Lady of Regla or Star of the Sea among Catholics. Yemaya-
Olokun is worshipped in the Macumba and Candomble religions in Brazil, the Lucumi religion in
Cuba, Santeria in Puerto Rico and Voudou or Hoodoo in Haiti and New Orleans. She is
Goddess of the Sea, Holy Queen Sea, Mother of Pearls, Orisha of the Ocean and Motherhood,
The Great Water, Womb of Creation, Mother of Dreams and Mother of Secrets. In Yoruban
culture she is the river mother. Yemaya is also seen as Olokun, the Old Man of the Sea, and
she is the equivalent of the Roman sea god Neptune, sea goddess Juno and the Greek sea god
Poseidon and sea goddess Hera.
In The Book of Goddesses, Waldherr states that Yemaya is believed to be the daughter
of earth goddess Oddudua, and the sister-wife of the god Aganju. She is the great mother of
the Orishas and she gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon and two streams that
formed a lake, better known as the fourteen gods and goddesses that make up the African
Yemaya migrated with the slave trade, when African people were taken from Africa and
shipped to Europe and the Americas to work on plantations. Slaves prayed to Yemaya and
asked her to protect them on their long sea voyages. Once in Europe and the Americas, African
slaves were forbidden to practice their religion, rituals and ceremonies. They were forced to
take on Christian names and accept Christianity as their religion. Many slaves continued to
practice their traditional ritual magick and ceremonies in secret, sometimes adding in Christian
and Catholic deities they saw as similar or powerful enough to be used in their rituals. Mary
was one such deity, and in my opinion, from the reading and research I have come across, the
integration of Mary and Yemaya is a very likely source of the black Madonna.
Her attributes include affection, nurturing, compassion, kindness, mothering, providence,
blessing, luck and fertility. She is depicted as an attractive, dark skinned, large waisted woman
rising out of the sea or as a beautiful mermaid. Yemaya is a moon goddess often shown in all
her glory with the moon shining brightly in the sky. She rules over rivers, oceans, lakes, large
bodies of water, sea creatures and the home.
Blue and white are Yemaya's favorite colors. Cowry shells and seashells are sacred to
her. She likes silver, white flowers, blue and silvery crystals, coral reef and all living creatures of
the sea. Hip spiraling belly dancing mimics the undulation of her ocean waves and she is often
depicted in the ocean wearing a skirt of waves. Her sacred day is Saturday and her number is 7.
Her favorite animals are shorebirds, fish and cockroaches. Yemaya's sacred objects are the
conch shell and gourd rattle. Her favorite food offerings are cornmeal, molasses and
watermelon. The planet Neptune, the crescent moon and full moon are associated with Yemaya
and she is intimately linked with the element of water.
Her celebration takes place during the Summer Solstice, where worshippers wearing all
white release boats, flowers, candles and other gifts to Yemaya in rivers and oceans. In The
Goddess Oracle, Marashinsky states that those who come to Mother Ymoja and surrender to
her find that their troubles dissolve in the water of her embrace. Many worshippers honor
Yemaya by wearing seven silver bracelets, blue and white crystal necklaces and burn blue and
white candles. People who live by the sea or make their living from the sea are likely to worship
Women who are looking to conceive or are having trouble
conceiving a child will pray to Yemaya and ask for blessings,
as she is worshipped as a fertility deity.
Yemaya is the keeper of female mysteries and she guards over women.
She helps women to conceive children, watches over children in the womb
and until they reach puberty, especially girls.
Yemaya rules over the home and alters to her are best suited in the bedroom,
children's room and bathrooms. Alters should be decorated in blue and white,
with ritual objects sacred to Yemaya set up to reflect her favorite number seven. Yemaya-Olokun's ritual greeting is Omio Yemaya.
Rituals to her are best performed during the crescent moon,
full moon, Saturdays and on the 7th day of the month.
Alters can include Olokun's Vessel to bring more power to
the alter dedicated to Yemaya,
the following version comes from Jambalaya by Luisah Teish:
Fill a blue and white-lidded vessel with ocean water (or spring water and sea salt).
Put silver jewelry, seashells, crystals, beads and an image of a mermaid in the jar.
Expose the jar to the light of the full moon.
Entrust Her with your secrets.
Talk to the jar when you can't make it to the ocean.
I chose to research and write about Yemaya-Olokun since I have always had a strong
connection to the sea. The moment I saw my first image of Yemaya and read about her I was
drawn to her. Her attributes spoke to me and she was what I needed in my life at the time. I
found it interesting that her color is blue, as I've always been fond of blue in all shades. I made
the decision to dedicate my alter to her work, to her, to healing, compassion and nurturing
myself, my family, earth mother and all living beings. My alter is my own original creation and it
is inspired by the ocean, the moon, fertility and Yemaya.
Original Ritual Dedicated to Yemaya
by Nina CryingWolf
Purpose: Perform ritual during the full moon for healing and nurturing, go outside in the moonlight if possible. We all need mothering at times in our lives, even as adult women. Allow Yemaya's healing waters and her moons rays to heal and nurture you. Need: blue or white alter cloth, 4 blue candles (directions), 3 white candles (to be lit during the ritual), 7 copper pennies, 7 cowry shells or seashells, silver moon or mermaid pendant (or other silver jewelry), blue or white crystals, white flowers (if available), clear glass bowl of ocean water (or spring water and sea salt), mermaid statue or drawing, essential oil for self blessing, incense (I used lotus oil), lighter, charcoal for loose incense, casting tool (if you use one), journal/pen Preparation: Place the blue or white crystals and silver pendant into the glass bowl filled with water, place the bowl in the moonlight while you prepare your alter. Set the 4 blue candles at each direction. Place the 3 white candles at the center along with the mermaid statue or drawing. Arrange the 7 seashells or cowry shells in a circle around your center candles and
mermaid drawing/statue, leave space for your glass bowl to fit inside the circle of shells. Set the 7 copper pennies in a pile on your alter. Place the white flowers as you like, if you have them. Take your bowl of crystals from the moonlight and set it on your alter near your center candles inside the circle of shells. If your bowl is large enough and allows, place the 3 candles inside the bowl.
Begin Ritual: Light 1 center white candle
Purify with incense
Cast circle and invoke Directions/Elements/Goddesses:
Light blue candles as you call in each direction
East - Air - Isis, Goddess of Magick, for wisdom
South - Fire - Sekhmet, Eye of Ra, for creation and destruction
West - Water - Brigid, Great Goddess, for rebirth
North - Earth - Asase Yaa, Old Woman Earth, for nourishment
Center - Spirit - Yemaya, Mother of the Sea and Moon, for healing
Draw down the moon
Original Yemaya Invocation for Healing and Nurturing:
"I come before the goddess Yemaya on this full moon, I ask you mother Yemaya to bless me
with your healing waters, to nurture me and share your motherly love with me. Guide me to a
place of healing and growth. Thank you goddess, Blessed Be"
Original meditation inspired by Yemaya:
You are standing on the beach during low tide. Watch the tide roll back in,
feel the warm waters of Yemaya touch your toes and rise to your ankles,
calves, knees, thighs, fingertips, hips, hands, belly, waist, elbows, chest, shoulders, throat,
mouth, nose, eyes and the crown of your head. Stay relaxed and breath as your entire body is
submerged under Yemaya's healing waters. Feel your body absorb the healing properties.
Absorb Yemaya's qualities of kindness, fertility, compassion and luck. Allow yourself to feel
nurtured and mothered. Watch the tide go out, feel the water recede from your head, eyes,
nose, mouth, throat, shoulders, chest, elbows, waist, belly, hands, thighs, fingertips, knees,
calves, ankles and away from your toes. You are healed, you are nurtured, you are whole.
Thank Yemaya for sharing her blessings with you.
Light the other 2 white candles.
Use your bowl of water and crystals for watergazing. Place your hands over the bowl, close
your eyes and inhale. Exhale and feel the warmth of your breath on your hands. Open your
eyes, move your hands to the sides of the bowl and begin to gaze into bowl. Concentrate on
the water, let your mind settle, allowing thoughts and images to flow through your mind. You
may see a haze or cloudiness form in the water, keep gazing, keep breathing. Make no
attempts to force images and try not to change any of the images you see. Keep a mental note
of what you see and allow the images to flow freely. Watergaze for 5 minutes or more if you
like. Write down any thoughts or images in your journal to reflect on later. If the images were
positive, use the water for your self blessing or to bless your plants. If the images were
negative, flush the water down the toilet immediately after your ritual.
Take your 7 copper pennies, cup them in your hands and bless them. Ask Yemaya for her
healing attributes or any qualities you need at this time, such as compassion, kindness,
affection, mothering, luck, blessing, fertility, nurturing, protection. Place your pennies in a safe
place or carry them with you when you need any of those qualities you asked for. At a later
date, take the pennies to the ocean and bury them in the sand as an offering to Yemaya, giving
back to her what you once received.
Self Blessing: Using essential oil (or moongazing water if the images were positive) -
"Bless me Mother Yemaya, that I may receive healing and nurturing.
Bless, balance and heal my ____ chakra, so that I may be whole."
Touch each of the 7 chakras, plus hands and feet. Beginning at
the root chakra and working your up to the crown, then hands and feet.
Chanting/Drumming: "Holy Queen Sea, nurturing, she heals me."
Give blessings, gratitude and thanks / Open your circle
Original Devotional Prayer to Yemaya
by Nina CryingWolf
Mother Goddess Yemaya,
Orisha of the Ocean and Motherhood,
Goddess of the Ocean and Mother of Pearls,
I call to you,
Asking for your assistance in protecting and watching over my family,
And empowering myself by my own inner strength.
Thank you goddess, Blessed Be.
Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book, Luisah Teish
365Goddess: A Daily Guide to the Magic and Inspiration of the Goddess, Patricia Telesco
The Goddess Oracle Book, Amy Sophia Marashinsky
The Book of Goddesses: Expanded Anniversary Edition, Kris Waldherr
Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa, Tobe Melora Correal
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the creative property of Nina CryingWolf
Initiate, Sisters in The Goddess Tree