Yemoja is one of the most important female deity in Yoruba spirituality, that has a very close association with water elements. Yemoja is a Goddess of fertility and love because Yemoja name her self means mother of many children who are are as plenty as fish. Yemoja is a good provider of children. This important female diety called Yemoja or Iyemoja is known by different names in different tradition. But her real Yoruba name is Yemoja or Iyemoja. The reason for this different names arise from the slave trade. This female diety went with members of yoruba race that were taken to different parts of the world during slave trade era, that is when this female deity Yemoja was given different names, anyway the efficacy of the name given remain the same.
Yemoja is known in Portuguese as :Yemanja, Lemanja, Janaina Agua. In Spanish Yemoja is known as :Yemaya, Lemanya, Lemanja, Yemalla, Llemaja, Madre del Aqua in etc. But to be sincere her real name is Yemoja or Iyemoja as that is her correct Yoruba name for this Orisa. How the name change in different tradition as a result of slaves trade doesn’t affect the efficacy of invocation of this Orisa by her devotee. Yemoja real name as handle down to me by people before me. It is said that the name emanate from the word ‘yeye-omo-eja wish can be translated to English to mean mother of the fishes. Iyemonja whish also mean mother whose children are as plenty as fishes.
There are myths handle down to us from generation to generation because of lack of documentation unless one is an erudite fractional of Yoruba spirituality it will difficult to bring out the most authentic of these myths to focus because of the adulteration done to to this sacred myth by evil of slaves trade which have taken Africa devotee of this Orisa to foreign soil and shore. There are two most reliable myths handle down to us by our fore father on this Orisa . They are :the myths of marriage of Orisa Yemoja with Okefe (the Orisa oko),the second is the marriage of of Yemoja to Orisa Ogun (God of iron).
It is the myths Yemoja to ogun that is the most reliable. Even the marriage of Yemoja to ogun has be sub-divided into two categorizes on how Yemoja actually turn to water. The first of these categorizes is that of one her son called Orangun who have incestuous relationship with Yemoja because of her astonishing beauty. The second is that of her relationship with Ogun in which Ogun promise not to touch Yemoja breast and that she too will not abuse Ogun for his fierce look and red short eyes the promise which both of them providentially and accidentally broken, which leads to Yemoja turning to water.this last one is the most reliable myths on Yemoja.
The first myth of Yemoja marriage to Orisa oko make us know that Yemoja was a very beautiful woman with succulent breast. Her breast was very large and big. She is very successful in trading before she met Orisa Oko. There relationship goes well until one day when Orisa Oko abuse her by calling her ‘Somugaga’ which can be translated thus a woman with big breast. This myths make us know that this annoy Yemoja so much that she became ashamed of her self and she was forced by this to submerged in the river and and live with Olokun and only come out on rear occasion in river or coastal areas. But as I said earlier this first myth can not be rely upon as the others myth which have more corroborating providential proof.
The second myth about the marriage of Yemoja to Ogun. According to this myth as handle down. It is in two categorizes as I said earlier let examine the two one by one. The first said Yemoja was a very beautiful woman, with beautiful breast and youthful look. Yemoja was said to married to Ogun. The relationship between Yemoja and Ogun produce a son called Orangun. Orangun was very fund of Yemoja astonishing beauty. He lust after her mother Yemoja and committed incest with her. In Yemoja attempt to rescue herself from Orangun and avoid recurring of such hugly incident again.
He ran away and Orangun notice of this and begin to chase her until Yemoja become very tired and unable to run again. Then Yemoja collapsed on the ground and water begin to ooze out of her body until she eventually turn to water and the water begin to turn into lakes. This category of myth claim that Olokun (God of the ocean,) Olosa (Goddess of the lake) oya (Goddess of the wind) Orisa Oko (Goddess of moist/agriculture) Orisa Aje (God of wealth and prosperity) and others.
The second category of Yemoja marriage to Ogun which is the most reliable authority myth on Yemoja. The myth have little or no self contradiction as in cases of the first two I first explain above. This myth goes thus. Yemoja was a very beautiful and powerful woman. She had one succulent big and beautiful breast. She is very successful in her trading career. So she is very rich and lovely and attractive. But despite all her charming look and financial success,Yemoja refuse to get married to any man. The main reason for Yemoja refusal to marry to any man is because she is of the opinion that her husband will be ridiculing or making fun of her if he found out that despite her astonishing beauty that one of her breast is missing. But matter came to the peak one day when Yemoja returned from the market. She felt incomplete, and begin to murmur to her self that what is essence of beauty and money and all the power she has without children or husband to share them with?how will she (Yemoja) coming from market to her house every day alone without children or husband to come to? She feels the irrepressible urge to get marry.
Ogun (God of iron) who was on his hurting expedition has overhear Yemoja murmuring all these things to her self. Ogun (God of iron) who is also facing similar case like Yemoja. Ogun is very fierce looking with a red eye ball. No woman want to marry Ogun. Ogun sees this as a golden opportunity to get married to Yemoja who is also powerful and exceedingly beautiful. He implore Yemoja to marry him. He said to her ‘look Yemoja fear not, don’t be afraid though I look very fierce and and almost every one both male and female fear me and afraid to move close to me, but Ogun promise you (Yemoja) not to ever harm you and I will always protect you as long as you promise not to abuse and make fun of me because of my fierce look and red shot eyes. Yemoja agreed to Ogun proposal and made the promise requested by Ogun but on one condition that Ogun too should promise that will not touch her breast or make fun of her beautiful big breast. The condition which Ogun agree. That is how they became husband and wife. They both kept these promises for a long time. Yemoja gave birth to many children for Ogun.
However Providence change their fate one day. Ogun, a caring and lovely man despite his fierceness want to show kindness and surprise for Yemoja. Ogun came home one afternoon when Yemoja was sleeping. Ogun enter the kitchen to cook food and soup to surprise Yemoja when Yemoja wake up. Ogun has never cook in kitchen before he only goes to war, he is a master in art of war not cooking. As a result of Ogun inexperience in cooking he begins to handle all the utensils that Yemoja do use to cook the way he handle sword in battle field. As a result Ogun accidentally destroy most of all the utensils in the kitchen including Yemoja special cooking pot. The pot fall down and smash to pieces. It is the sound of this broken pot that wake Yemoja up.
When Yemoja woke up and entered the kitchen and saw the havoc that Ogun have wreck on the kitchen including her special pot. Yemoja become uncontrollably angry she shout at the top of her voice that ‘what is this you have done to my kitchen and my pot you this blood shot eyes’. Ogun felt terribly down and embarrassed, and in his attempt to explain the whole situation to Yemoja and appease her. He mistakenly touch Yemoja breast. Yemoja collapsed on the spot. In a twinkle of eye Yemoja turned to water and disappeared. Ogun was very sad and depressed. He has no option that to go back to continue to leave his formal way of highly restless warrior life.
Yemoja image of worship is usually carved out of a precious wood. It is usually consecrated with a spiritual load on it head. This load depends on the power and purpose the Yemoja elements is needed for. The main clothe of Yemoja is white. Yemoja can be appease with one or more of the following items :pepeye(duck) igbin (snail), obe egunsi ati igba (melon stew with garden egg) obi ifin oloju merin(white kolanut with four lobes) obi pupa oloju merin(red kolanut with four lobes). This is just short facts of Yemoja as Orisa..