In the Santeria religion, more properly known as La Regla Lucumi, the Orisha Yemaya is saluted on September 7th. She is associated with motherhood and divine protection. In my experience many are able to connect with her through her maternal ashe, or divine energy. In my post “Oh My Yemaya,” I talk about how
“She is a divine woman of many names: Yemaya, Iemanja, and Yemonja. Her traditional feast day in La Regla Lucumi (Santeria) is celebrated on September 7th. In Brazil celebrations for Iemanja occur on December 31st and are combined with the New Year’s Eve festivities to make quite a show. Some spiritual houses associate Yemaya with Our Lady of Candlearia and thusly use the feast day of February 2, while some people just associate her with Mother’s Day.”
Yemaya is honored with food, offerings and song. Many in the tradition grew up hearing and singing these songs for Yemaya. Here is one of the most famous performed by legend Celia Cruz.
Create A Shrine For Yemaya
Image or representation of Yemaya
Food offerings (Watermelon, plantains, molasses)
In addition to song, another way to connect to the sacred energy of Yemaya is to create a shrine. There are many ready-made kits for Yemaya available on the market. Remember to always consult with your godparents before setting up any type of shrine, or purchasing something. Begin by making sure you have a separate space for your shrine. Many Lucumi devotees even craft separate cabinets so their shrines can have equal but divided space. At the very least set up your shrine on a table, and cover it when you have guests present or are not actively honoring it.Gather the listed ingredients. Be sure to carefully choose the image you will use. Very often the image used for Yemaya is La Virgin de Regla, who you can hear Celia Cruz sing about in the above video. Then there is the image of Diosa del Mar, the goddess of the sea, with stars falling from her hands. Many will recognize this as the face of Yemaya. More recently artists have been developing more authentic images for this Orisha, consider the beautiful depiction by Patricia Grannum who was recently profiled here on Voodoo Universe. Whichever image you choose, remember to include Ocean water, which is said to hold the true Ashe, or life force energy of Yemaya. You may then add flowers, foods, and other items. Be sure to treat the space with respect, it is a place for divine prayer and reflection. Enjoy your Yemaya feast, and if you choose to set up a shrine, or already have one in place, I’d love to hear of your experiences, or if possible see photos posted below.
Many blessings !