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The Mother Whose Children Are The Fish.


Iyemoja is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in Women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. She does not easily lose her temper, but when angered she can be quite destructive and violent, like the flood waters of turbulent rivers.

Iyemoja is often depicted as a mermaid and is associated with the moon, water, and feminine mysteries. She is the protector of Women. She governs everything about Women; childbirth, conception, parenting, child safety, love, and healing. She oversees deep secrets, ancient wisdom, the moon, sea shells, and the collective unconscious.

According to myth, when her waters broke, it caused a great flood creating rivers and streams and the first mortal humans were created from her womb.
In traditional Yoruba culture and spirituality, Iyemoja is a mother spirit; patron spirit of Women, especially pregnant Women; She is the patron deity of the Ogun river but she is also worshiped at streams, creeks, springs in addition to wells and run-offs. This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity, and her reign over all living things. In West Africa, Iyemoja is worshiped as a high-ranking river deity, but in Brazil and Cuba, she is worshiped mainly as a sea/ocean goddess.

River deities in Yoruba land include Iyemoja, Oshun, Erinle, Ọbà, Yewa, etc. It is Olókun that fills the role of sea deity in Yoruba land, while Iyemoja is a leader of the other river deities. The river deity Iyemoja is often portrayed as a mermaid, even in West Africa, and she can visit all other bodies of water, including lakes, lagoons, and the sea, but her home and the realm she owns are the rivers and streams, especially the Ogun River in Nigeria.

In mythology, the West African and Caribbean Goddess of creation, the sea, moon, ocean and healing is Iyemoja. She is considered to be a guardian of Women and keeper of our mysteries. She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue-green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is Hers, also for the seven seas.

Iyemoja = Yemaya is one of the most powerful Orisas in Santeria. She is the mother of all living things, rules over motherhood and owns all the waters of the Earth. She gave birth to the stars, the moon, the sun and most of the Orisas. Yemaya makes her residence in a life-giving portion of the ocean – although some of her roads can be found in lagoons or lakes in the forest.

Yemaya’s Asé is nurturing, protective and fruitful. Yemaya is just as much a loving mother of Orisa as she is a fierce warrior that kills anyone who threatens her children.
Iyemoja can be found in all the waters of the world, and because of this, she has many aspects of roads, each reflecting the nature of different bodies of water. Contrary to popular belief she is not just a loving mother. Some of Iyemoja’s roads are fierce warriors who fight with sabers or machetes and bathe in the blood of fallen enemies. Other roads are masterful diviners that have been through marriage, divorce and back again. Some roads of Iyemoja have been rape survivors, while other roads betrayed her sisters out of jealousy and spite. No matter what the road of Iyemoja, all are powerful female Orisas and fiercely protective mothers.


Alafia to you – Peace and blessings to you.

Aboru Aboye
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