My patron deities- Yemaya (water)

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing about my patron deities.  I have a few, you see.  5 to be exact.  Actually, 6, but one is a special case, and I’ll talk about him last.  They’ve all revealed themselves to me at different times, and I intend to talk about them in that order.

My first spiritual experiences as a budding witch were by the ocean.  I have always felt deeply connected when at the beach, and that’s where I first practiced drawing circles in the sand in which to connect with deity, and also meditation.  I also learned to appreciate the gifts of nature picking up seashells, listening to the roar of the oceans as a soundtrack for my exploration, and feeling how the wind caked salt into my hair and onto my lips.

The ocean has always represented all the typical traits of water to me: emotion, ebb and flow, being pulled by tides and learning to surrender to deeper currents.  But I always felt like there was more to it than that.  There was the deep nurture/destroy dichotomy that reminded me so much of motherhood. Not the connected, personal experience of motherhood between one mother and child, but on a larger, global scale.  She truly is the mother of us all.  From the earliest beginnings of life, the ocean has birthed us, fed us, and her salty waters even flow through our veins in the form of blood.  She is also scary as fuck when she wants to be.

I felt this all one day as I was at the beach with a friend’s family.  We were there for 2 weeks, which was long enough for us to realize that we liked each other, but we didn’t have to spend 24/7 together either.  My friend and I had seen some enormous mantarays from the overlook in the backyard of the house we were renting, and we rushed to the beach to see if we could see them.  She soon got bored and went back to the house to watch TV.  (Who watches TV when by the ocean?  Such a waste.)

I spent time at the place where the water meets sand, watching the ocean, meditating.  (I had read books on meditation and hypnosis before I became interested in Paganism, and that was where I learned how easy it is to slip into alpha with the sound of ocean waves to ride along with.)  I was deep in trance, feeling the water as it washed over my legs, and I got the sense that there was some consciousness at work there.  It wasn’t just water anymore, it was a container for so many consciousnesses.  There were things out there that lived and died and they were held in her salty embrace, just as I was just then.  She was truly my mother then.

Back then, there was no Internet.  I’m very old, you see.  So I spent time when I got back home at the library, and researched as much as possible until I found Yemaya.

Virgin of Regla is the syncretic form of Yemaja

Virgin of Regla is the syncretic form of Yemaja (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It felt really right to me that she originated in Africa, where we did.  She is connected to the earliest primordial mother of the earliest people.  She is our source, and even the most landlocked of us sometimes still hear her siren’s call.

She is one of the Orishas (deities) in the Yoruban religion.  She has evolved into Yemaja, Yemanja, La Sirene, Watra Mama, and Diosa del Mar.  The Yoruban religion has spread and been incorporated all over the world, most specifically African, Caribbean, and Latin American areas, and the Orishas show up in altered forms in Vodun, HooDoo, and Santeria.

So I set out to make a playlist for Yemaya, and it wasn’t at all difficult.  I typed ‘Yemaya’ into the search function of Spotify, and was rewarded with HUNDREDS of songs.  I’m not kidding.  I gave up about half way through, but it just goes to show how she’s inspired so many.  The music is mostly Cuban, African, or a mixture thereof, (with some new age ocean sounds mixed in) and this is now easily one of my favorite playlists.  Enjoy it!

Cowrie shell

Cowrie shell (Photo credit: Gerry & Bonni)

 

EDIT 2/25/2014: I forgot to mention my Yemaya Pinterest board, my Water Pinterest board, and that Yemaya’s feast days are February 2nd, December 8th, and New Year’s Eve.

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3 responses to “My patron deities- Yemaya (water)

  1. I read this entry the morning you posted it, and it pierced me deeply, connecting to a song I was learning the previous evening called “Mary” by Patty Griffin. Mom goes on and on, joy and sorrow without end.

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pattygriffin/mary.html

    Some of my most powerful spiritual ups and downs also involved the ocean. I grew up on the New England coast, spending part of every summer roaming Cape Cod and Boston harbor islands. While in the Navy, I was sent to the island of Cyprus for three years, and became aware of the old way of looking at the world as one big mother. As you say we are older than many and did not have the internet then, so I felt very much alone with no one to share my new ideas.

    One very powerful moment, I was gazing down at the rocky beach below the ruins of a temple of Aphrodite, torn down by the Christians, and ground down further by the Muslims. I could not find the words then to describe the feeling I had of being part of something so much bigger and so much more alive than the beliefs in the father gods that were beaten into me as a child. I knew the history of the myth of her coming out of the sea here at Paphos, but this was knowing in my blood that we and every living thing come from the same Mom, and she will continue even if we blow ourselves into extinction.

    • That’s a beautiful song, thanks for sharing! It’s amazing that though different beaches and ocean locales can have totally different ‘feels’ to them, the mother finds us there nonetheless. I would love SO much to get to Greece one of these days. I would love the chance to sit at the old temples and see what kind of energies are still locked into the stone and the earth there to connect with. 🙂

      Hope things are great for you David! 🙂

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