Tuesday, April 29, 2014


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)
Yemaja is said to be the mother of all orisha. She is also the spirit of water, and her favorite number is 7.

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?


  1. This is something I have to remember. That different geographic regions might have different names for the same goddess.

    1. Susan: It is fascinating and gives a new light on the subject.

  2. Good post, Karen, and interesting. I went through my list of writing geniuses on my sidebar, and thought I'd come and see what's new with you. And here you are, doing the A to Z as well. :-) I love your theme! I'll be back to use it as a reference.

    Hope all is well! Teresa

    1. Teresa: Thanks! And to think it's almost over. I'm happy to have done it, but am going to ease off a little next month.

  3. Not a goddess I have ever heard of.