Quick Facts – The Yoruba Goddess Yemaya

Copyrighted and written by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt, 2014

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Yemaya is The Great Mother in the Ífa’s and Yoruba’s beliefs and rules over the seas. Just like in many other traditions water is the symbol of life itself. Yemaya is maternal and nurturing, though not in the traditional sense. She nurtures her children much like Angrboda, Wenet or Lilitu by testing their willpower, strength and determination. She is not a meek Mother Goddess figure but represents the hardships of life (birth, rebirth, childbirth as well as death and demise). Her punishments can be terrible, but she’s fair minded and forgiving when remorese is shown and amends are being made. Yemaya is a wise yet cunning Goddess and she is praised for her bravery and unselfishness by her followers. When she goes to war on behalf of her children (followers), she wields a machete and no one can defeat her. She’s often depicted as wearing long flowing blue-white dresses, representing the waves of the ocean – the “waves” (ups and downs) of life.

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