Yemaja

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Yemanja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.

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Name variants

Because the Afro-American religions were transmitted as part of a long oral tradition, there are many regional variations on the goddess's name. She is represented with Our lady of Regla and Stella Maris.

  • Africa: Yemoja, Ymoja, Yemowo
  • Brazil: Yemanjá, Iemanjá, Janaína
  • Cuba: Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya
  • Haiti: La Sirène, LaSiren (in Vodou)
  • USA: Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja
  • Uruguay: Iemanjá

In some places, Yemaja is syncretized with other deities:

Note: Yemeya is the mother of all mothers of Saint Lasado, she also is the spirit of water, and her favorite number is 7.

Africa

In Yorùbá mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river. Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. There are many stories as to how she became the mother of all saints. She was married to Aganju and had one son, Orungan, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango. Other stories would say that Yemaya was always there in the beginning and all life came from her, including all of the orishas.

Her name is a contraction of Yoruba words: "Yeye emo eja" that mean "Mother whose children are like fish." This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity and her reign over all living things.

Yemaya is celebrated in Ifá tradition as Yemoja.[1] As Iemanja Nana Borocum, or Nana Burku, she is pictured as a very old woman, dressed in black and mauve, connected to mud, swamps, earth.[2] Nana Buluku is an ancient god in Dahomey mythology.

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