Y is for Yemaya

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have felt drawn to African syncretic religions lately. In particular, the Orishas have been a constant presence in my life for several weeks. Each morning, I pray to my ancestors, then pray to Elegua to open the gates, and then offer a prayer to the other Orishas to bring their presence into my life. For the most part, Elegua has been my homeboy, but I do pray to the other Orishas when I feel that I need to learn something from them. One of the Orishas that has been coming up more recently in my practice is Yemaya.

Yemaya is the Mother of All, including the other Orishas. She is often personified by the ocean. When I asked to describe her presence in my life, I often rely on a quote from the web site About Santeria:

“Water is essential to life, so without Yemaya, life on earth wouldn’t be possible”

Yemaya is a Great Mother aspect of divinity. As such, she offers protection, guidance, and reassurance. Like most mothers, she gets angry when her children disobey her, so it is important to keep all promises you make with Yemaya. However, she is also quick to forgive her children (though this is not an invitation to purposefully break promises to Yemaya in hopes of receiving forgiveness).

I often pray to Yemaya to offer protection and stability. I ask her to guide me through tough times and help me see the right path. When I am feeling depressed, alone, or hopeless, I pray to her to reassure me that everything will eventually be alright. Below is a prayer I often say to invite Yemaya into my life.


Yemaya, Gracious Mother of All,

Please attend to me.

In times of peace, remind me to be grateful.

In times of darkness, remind me of my inner light.

Walk with me Mother.

Be my eyes when I cannot see.

Embolden me Mother, be my strength in my weakness.

Be my knees Mother, hold me up strong and brave.

Dabobo mi iya (Strengthen me Mother)

I yoo tan (I will shine)

Adupe (Thank you.)


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