Oh, Yemaya, Goddess of the Sea,
With utmost respect, I bow before Thee.
Admiring thy power, thy energy,
I wish upon thy sacred, healing waters, to one day, be set free.
Governing the moon, childbirth and all female cycles,
Coming, going and resting, in between.
Alive in every breath within me,
The Alma Matar of every single African teen.
Oh joyful Queen of the Sea, Reader of secrets and dreams,
Please connect me, to him, who to me, the most means.
Heal the lives of those I love,
Release their old fears & burdens cumbersome.
Oh beloved Goddess, all-powerful, so kind,
Radiating beauty, love and peace divine.
Filling my soul with pure sweet love,
You make me feel like, the purest white dove.
Smiling upon devotees from the womb of creation{the Sea},
I worship You in music, ritual, song, and celebration.
Oh, Almighty, Queen of the Sea,
With my heart and soul, I implore Thee!

– Charishma Ramchandani

If it is Oshun that lights the flame, it is Yemaya that tends to the fire.

Although I call her Yemaya, this is one of the many versions of this Goddesses original Yoruba name- Yemoja. ”Yeye emo eja” meaning “Mother whose children are like fishes.” She is a mother to a countless amount of children- countless like the number of fish in her seas.

In West Africa, Yemaya is the Goddess of the rivers, lakes and smaller waters. There she has the nickname, “mama wata.” But as she crossed the Atlantic during the slave trade, her domain grew with her worshippers. Now she is widely known as a Goddess of the Sea.

Yemaya is the embodiment of motherhood. A vessel of what I consider to be the most precious magic we have on this Earth- life. Water has been the birthplace for all life. Even we are held by her waters in our mother’s wombs. As the source of life, our mothers have a depth of knowledge, and a source of intuition, that is as deep and dark as the sea. But within that darkness, she carries our light.

In the images, drawings, and artwork I have found for Yemeya, she is strong, proud, and full of movement. The beauty she carries is the first we experience in this world. Our mother’s milk, her soothing touch, and her warmth. When we see our mothers, we see womanhood, feminity, a lioness. I specifically see my own mother’s softness and her fierceness. A fierceness that is lead by the need to protect the vulnerable parts of both she and I. She has lent me both her milk and her fear. She has lent me her beauty and her brokenness. I carry it all with pride. Tender kisses, bountiful breasts, her charming smile, and her legs. The Legs that chased me around our home, legs that stood in the kitchen to make each meal, legs that lead her to and from work, the legs that were held by my father’s arms and the legs that stand tall on the pedestal on which she deserves to stand.

Yemaya’s feminine energy intertwines with the masculine energy of the God Olokun. His spirit merges with her to provide a source of all riches and power that she freely shares with her little sister, Oshun. The spirit of a mother is strong. It is a force to reckon with. That merged with a source of riches provide, love, energy, and guidance. This is the best opportunity we can be given in life.

Yemaya and Oshun

Yemaya is the older sister of Oshun. This may be one of the reasons I relate to Oshun so well! I have 3 older sisters myself by a margin of about 10 years. Here is the origin story of their relationship:

As you know, Yemaya is “mama wata.” And according to this story, she ruled all the waters before Oshun was the river Goddess we know now.

One day our golden goddess was being chased by the warrior God Ogun. He chased Oshun through the forest, until she eventually lost her balance, and fell into a whirlpool.

As older sisters do, Yemaya provided protection for Oshun by providing her with her own domain of the rivers. After giving away the rivers, Yemaya ruled over the Oceans.

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Through these photos, I want to share with you softness and strength. I want to show the strength of a woman’s confidence. Beauty as a virtue that can be held not only externally, but also within. Desire as a strength that lies within beauty. I share the timelessness and simplicity of these concepts stylistically.