Yemaya – Mother Whose Children are the Fish

I’ve been working on a couple of paintings which are my response to the Gulf Oil Disaster.  I wanted the work to reflect a healing energy so I started looking into what Goddess could offer us some help.  Yemaya is who we need right now.

Yemaya, Yoruba Goddess of the Sea

Offerings to Yemaya, oil on canvas, 14" x 11"

Yemaya is a Goddess who came to the New World with the African Diaspora.  Originally Yemaya was a river goddess of the Yoruba in Nigeria, far from the ocean.  But as her people were hoarded onto the slave ships, Yemaya went with them.  Her power grew, and she became the Goddess of the Ocean.  She is now worshiped in many parts of the New World including New Orleans, Cuba, Brazil and Haiti.

Yemaya, whose name means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” is considered the Mother of All.  She protects home, fertility, love and family.  She rules the living oceans and the seas, in particular blessing the surface of the oceans where life is concentrated.  As Goddess of the Ocean, she brings forth life, protecting it, and changing it as needed.

Of her many sacred symbols and objects, flowers are one of her favorites.  Thus my painting is an offering to Yemaya, praying for her blessings and love to heal the damage done to the Gulf Coast by the oil spill and the chemical dispersants.

Yemaya offers us hope in the face of catastrophe and the knowledge that we can endure.  With her help, we can learn to negotiate the ebbs and flows of change in our lives with her wisdom, courage, and grace.


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