Yemoja is the Yoruba Orisha or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All.
She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”.
As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow.
She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth. She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.
Yemoja, saltwater deity, is personalized as woman ebony of color with full large breasts who nurtures the world. From myths, her early incarnation on earth was that of passive energy in the creation process. She evolved into the strong, dominant earth mother after experiencing trials of disrespect and at times violence. According to a patiki, Yemoja’s response to a repugnant act that occurred against her was to plunge from a hill to the earth. This act caused her stomach to burst open from which sprang the sixteen orisas and the first human man and woman. The fluids that came forth from her produced the rivers, lakes and seas. Yemonja teaches us to persevere despite what life brings us.
Though many associate coquetry and sensuality with Oshun, these attributes truly belong to Yemoja. She is the sensuality of woman; her broad hips celebrating the ase to bring forth life. The turbulence of the sea an artistic portrayal of the hormonal changes that may contribute to mood swings in a woman. Once love has grown cold for her, she sends her lover away while she remains firmly rooted on her throne.
Yemoja rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokun (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, goddess of the winds.
Yemoja’s colors are blue and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is Hers, also for the seven seas.