Today is the 25th day of the A to Z April Challenge, with one more day to go! Phew! Almost there, guys. If you've been following this challenge, you know that the participants of this blog hop post on the alphabet every day except Sunday. If you want to go to the main web page to visit other players, click HERE.
I chose Fantasy as my theme, but today I'm posting about the deity Yemanja.
Yemanja is an orisha (a spirit or deity), originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Yoruba people, from what is now called Yorubaland, brought Yemaya/Yemoja and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a fierce protector of children.
Because the Afro-American religions were transmitted as part of a long oral tradition, there many regional variations on the goddess's name. She is represented with Our lady of Regla and Stella Maris.
- Africa: Yemoja, Ymoja, Yemowo, Mami Wata
- Brazil: Lemanja, Janaina
- Cuba: Yemaya, Yemayah, lemanya, Madre Agua
- Haiti: La Sirene, LaSiren
- USA: Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja
- Uruguay: lemanja
- Suriname: Watra Mama
- Dominican Republic: Yemalla or La Diosa del mar (sea goddess)
In Yoruba mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess, patron deity of women especially pregnant women, and the Ogun river. Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. There are many stories as to how she became the mother of all saints. She was married to Aganju and had one son, Orungan, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango. Other stories would say that Yemaya was always there in the beginning and all life came from her, including all of the orishas.
In world building, it's good to know about deities and beliefs so as we write we can make our own deities if we so choose. Many times it's up to the author to establish a belief system for the characters in their story. Have you built a belief system in your stories?