Yemaya is the “Mother of All” and lives and rules over the seven seas and large lakes.   Her realm is the top layer of the ocean which is considered the womb of life where life on earth was birthed.  Legend has it that when her uterine broke, the water caused a great flood on the Earth that created the Ocean and the first Man and Woman were her children. Without Yemaya, life on earth wouldn’t be possible.  With her there is hope.  She is considered the ultimate female power and her male counterpart is Olukun who’s realm is that of the deep ocean and signifies unfathomable wisdom, wealth, and untold treasures.  It is said that without Olukun much of Yemaya’s power would not be known.
Her full name is Yey Omo Eja which means “Mother whose Children are the Fish.” Her children are many and uncountable.  She is known as the Lady of the Rain, the Constantly Changing Woman, the Creator Mother and she is one of the Seven African Powers of the Gods of the Yoruban pantheon. She’s generally regarded as the elder sister of Ochún, and is considered the mother of the most powerful Orishas.  Yemaya is also the patroness of all witches and two of her sacred names are Queen of Witches and Mama Watta (Mother of the Waters) which explain why many of her followers built their altars next to the Ocean.
She is often called “Sirena” and depicited as a double tailed mermaid or a beautiful black woman at the seaside wearing a long flowing dress, cinched by a wide belt with 7 skirts with blue and white ruffles, which represent the waves in the ocean and the 7 Seas.
She is associated with saltwater, rain, healing, ducks, peacocks, fertility, the Full Moon, the Stars, the subconscious, creativity and female mysteries such as menstruation, conception, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Yemaya is the patron of pregnant women.  She also acts as a spiritual mother to all those who feel lost and lonely.  She’ll always listen and offers maternal love to anyone who needs a mother. Yemaya governs the household and she grants protection, security, safety, love and healing to all those who ask her aid.
Yemaya enjoys having a good time and loves to dance.  Her movements are said to reflect the rhythm of the waves.  Although it is also said that this creator goddess does not like being around death and violence, she can be fierce and will go to war on behalf of her children wielding a machete with expertise.  No one can defeat her.
Yemaya is associated with the creative and nurturing forces of the sea, the part of the ocean where there are plants, fish and other marine life that humans can use for food.  Traditionally she was invoked by fishermen to bless their nets and provide food for their families.  In addition, the fishermen’s wives often prayed to Yemaya in order to grant her protection and return their husbands safely back home.
With the forced migration of Africans to Brazil and the subsequent syncretism of African religions with Catholicism, Yemaya became canonized in the form of the Virgin Mary.  She was  often called the Star of the Sea which was a name for Virgin Mary.  According to legends, Yemaya is also the Goddess Isis and it is said that she originated from Egypt.  After the end of slavery, many ex-slaves who returned to Africa after escaping Eygpt brought Isis with them under the new name of Yemaya.  This may be one of the reasons that Yemaya is associated with the element of Water, Magic, Healing and Motherhood.
Alternate spellings:

  • Cuba:  Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya
  • Dominican Republic:  Yemalla, La Diaosa Del Mar, Sirena
  • Brazil:  Iemanja, Janaina (Mestra Jana/Ms. Jana)
  • Uruguay:  Iemanja
  • USA:  Yemaya, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja
  • Africa:  Mami Watta, Yemaya, Ymoja, Ymowo, Yemojá

Symbols:   Seashells, an open shell, the Moon, bodies of water, 7 seas, 7 skirts, and the 5 pointed Star of Isis.  She likes sea shells, fish, nets, sea horses, anchors, and everything related with the sea.  She is often depicted with a wisk made with horse tail hair and adorned with blue and white beads.
Colors:  blue, green, white, silver
Stones:  Turquoise, light blue crystals, mother of pearl, pearls, coral, moonstone, clear crystals
Day of the Week:  Saturday
Flowers:  Trout Lily, Sea Lavender
Fragrance:  Tea Rose, Sandalwood, Lilac, Frangipani (Plumeria), Verbena
Feast & Festival Days:  February 2nd, Summer Solstice, September 7th
Offerings:  Salt water fish, molasses. brown sugar, pineapples, papayas, grapes, pears, watermelon, apples, cane syrup, rice cakes, bananas, mangos, white wine, and clear water. Offerings at the beach can include seven white flowers, cowries, silver (white metal) coins.
The Number 7:  Yemaya is associated with the number 7 and multiples of 7 including the 7 Seas and often is depicted as wearing 7 skirts of blue and white.  In numerology, the interpretation of the number 7 is about faith, spirituality, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, mysticism, intuition, eccentric, religion, thoughtfulness, healing, myth, ritual, peace, emotions, inner-strength, endurance, perseverance.
Yemaya can be invoked to assist with:

  • Healing
  • Protection
  • Traveling especially by sea
  • Dream magic
  • Female Rituals – removing any female reproductive health problems specifically with the ovaries and uterus; grant fertility; bless a newborn; assist in labor; assist in menopause
  • Male reproductive health issues
  • Attracting marriage partner
  • Achieving security in finances, job, love, marriage, home
  • Bad luck surrounding issues of security
  • Bring good health and luck into your home
  • Shape shifting for she is known as the Constantly Changing Woman
  • Learning the art of Magic
  • Creativity
  • Bringing Rain
  • Finding balance

What you need:

  • 1 glass container
  • 7 silver coins
  • 7 white or blue flowers (optional)
  • 2 cups of ocean water (and sand if possible) or spring water
  • 1 white or blue candle (non toxic taper or 7 day candle) + something to inscribe it with

doTerra Oils that we used for this ritual

  1. Whisper – Spritzer bottle with 1 drop applied at the beginning of the ceremony to anywhere if felt appropriate.
  2. Myrrh – 1 -2 drops in the water
  3. Sandalwood – candle anointing
  4. Clary Calm Women’s Monthly Blend Roll On to anoint uterine/ovary reflex points on the ankles at the end of the ritual


  • Create an altar to Yemaya with some the objects that symbolize her
  • Anoint yourself with Whisper spritzer.  Spraying your crown and where ever else feel appropriate.

You who rule the waters, pouring over humankind your protection, O Divine Mother, wash their bodies and their minds, performing a cleansing with your water and instilling in their hearts the respect and veneration due to the force of nature that it symbolizes, let us protect your group of things and what they protect.
We beseech powerful Yemaya, Queen of the waters, to receive this prayer.  With love and justice, give me the required and necessary strength to withstand everything.  In your sea of nature and harmony, I want to live.  Protect my loved ones from all harm and danger.  Hail Yemaya, Queen of the Sea!

    1. Bless and place the water in a container/bowl.  Into the water place 1-2 drops of Myrrh.
    2. If using a taper candle, first cleanse it with sage or salt water, then inscribe it with your request. and anoint it with some blessed sandalwood oil (or olive oil).  When applying the anointing oil stroke it onto the candle moving from the top to the center, then the bottom the the center, then the wick and lastly the bottom of the candle.
    3. Place the candle in the center of the container/bowl
      • turn the candle and ask Yemaya to help with this request
      • light the candle (preferably with matches)
      • make offerings, for example you can place white and/or blue flowers about or into the water. You can also place tropical fruit or some of the other suggested offerings listed above on the altar.
    4. Around the candle you can offer the coins.  First draw the five pointed star of Isis (which looks like a starfish) in an inward drawing way and then toss into the water.
    5. You can dip your fingers into the water and wipe your forehead and anywhere else this purifying water feels appropriate.  Flick any energies ready to be released over your left shoulder.
    6. Then chant or sit in meditation or recite poetry for a while.
    7. When you feel complete anoint the inner ankles with the ClaryCalm oil.
    8. Let the candle burn all of the way down (be careful to make sure it’s in a safe space).
    9. Maintain and the altar for 7 days (or for however long feels appropriate) continuing to burn taper candles or allowing your 7 day candle to complete.
    10. After seven days or time that has felt appropriate has elapsed (on the 8th day) take any flowers/organic matter on your altar plus 7 fresh flowers and release them into the ocean, lake or river.

Traditional Prayer for Yemaya: Iya eya ayaba okun oma ire gbogbo awani Iya.
Short Spanish Prayer for Yemaya
Yemaya, your love, protects me and helps me. Amen.
Yemaya, tu adoro, me proteje y me ayuda, amen..
Strange clouds fragments of glory.
Envisioning glimmering stars of a story.
Commanding you among the goddesses of waters.
With your laughter, the storm you disarm.
With your kind word, you return the calm.
The breeze of the east brings you gentle life.
Goddess of the sea and the living waters.
Your cheek kissed the beautiful moon; and with
majesty and stars it filled your mind.
The waves carry beautiful roses,
which the waters will hide.
Their aromas are the hope that makes you,
the Goddess of the Sea.
Chant to Yemaya
Cords:  A Bm; D E A  A Bm; E A
Yemaya assessu; Assessu Yemaya
Yemaya Olodo; Olodo Yemaya
Kai kai kai Yemaya Olodo, Kai kai kai Assessu Olodo
(Yemaya=mother of all Goddesses and goddess of the ocean. Chant celebrates the joining of river to sea and the Goddess of the Ocean, Yemaya.
A literal translation from the Yoruba language:
Yemanja is the Gush of the Spring.
The Gush of the Spring is Yemanja.
The Mother of the Children of Fishes is the Owner of Rivers.
The Owner of Rivers is the Mother of the Children of Fishes.
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