WATER SPIRIT (YEMAJA) AND WATSU
Water Spirit, they call her Yemaja, Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is most often depicted as a mermaid, or simply a beautiful woman standing amidst the waves. Her name in Yoruba (West Africa) is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaja. She 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. In Brazil, she is called Imanje, and offerings of blue and white flowers are cast into the sea in her name. Imanje’s colours are blue and white, and 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. To the Yoruba people, Yemaja was everything that sustained them, especially with the diaspora which brought them to the New World on the slave ships. To Brazilian fisherman, she brings plentiful fish and safe passage in stormy seas, and holds closely those that perish into her watery depths. Wherever we live, Yemaja reminds us that even the worst catastrophes can be endured and that, with her help, we can learn to negotiate the ebbs and flows of change in our lives with her wisdom, courage, and grace. Now that we are headed into our yearly migration to the seashores for the upcoming season in the sun, Yemaja is a wonderful symbol to remind us of our deep and lasting connection to the ocean. As modern humans, we draw sustenance, healing, and beauty benefits from the bounty of the seas, much as our ancestors did. But unlike previous people, if we can’t go to the ocean, luckily, we can bring the ocean to us. The most amazing experience that I can think of, that imparts the soulfulness of Yemaja’s spirit, is the...
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