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The Historical past of Yemaya, Santeria’s Queenly Ocean Goddess Mermaid

For working towards witches, Yemaya has a fierce, nurturing, mild vitality typically related to the moon and sorcery. Because the “Mom of All,” she is alleged to assist in issues of self-love, fertility, emotional wounds, trauma, and therapeutic work. However in the event you cross her, disrespect her terrain, or harm certainly one of her kids, she has a critical anger streak. Wielding a broad blade, she’s recognized to “bathe within the blood of her enemies,” or manifest within the type of a tidal wave.

The story of Yemaya was initially introduced over to Cuba by way of the transatlantic slave commerce. Since Cuba was occupied and colonized by Catholic Spaniards, the observe of Santería was unlawful. Beneath the highly-censored, Communist rule of Fidel Castro following the Cuban Revolution, the faith continued to be outlawed, and it was solely till just lately that it was overtly acknowledged and legalized within the island nation.

Like many non secular practices outdoors the dominant norm, the Orishas and their symbolism, rituals, and folklore needed to be saved a secret, and ultimately syncretized with these of the Roman Catholic Church. And who’s the reigning Woman in Catholicism? Mom Mary, after all.

Ultimately, the practitioners, clergymen, and priestesses of Santería slowly syncretized the Goddess of the Sea – Yemaya – with the picture of Mom Mary. In iconography, each holy mom figures are proven wearing blue and white. One seen as giving delivery to the son of God and one gave delivery to all residing issues. Though the Virgin Mary is historically depicted as a white lady (a misrepresentation in historical past, however that’s one other story), Yemaya is depicted as a girl of colour. Radiantly rising from the ocean, her darkish pores and skin shining below the moon, Yemaya guidelines over her area with grace, magnificence, and maternal knowledge.

It’s stated that Yemaya’s spirit transcends all, however it’s simpler for us to grasp divine forces after we attribute human qualities to them; from the Greeks to the Christians to the Hindus, just about each world faith has finished this for all iterations of recent “mermaids”.

Yemaya can be typically depicted as a mermaid. However symbols and iconography have a approach of grounding the religious into one thing extra tangible in order that we will higher perceive it. And Yemaya exists outdoors slim containers of classification, outdoors of iconography. She takes all varieties, but we try to place a face to her. It’s not her race, garments, and even geographical limitations that outline her, however reasonably her highly effective presence.

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