Delve into a fascinating cultural force and deeply spiritual tradition that comprises the axe--power--of Brazilian magickal religions. Followers of all paths will find something unique to incorporate into their lives.
As we further submerge ourselves into the study of Brazilian folk religions, you should know that many traditions and strands of traditions within traditions exist in Brazil, Africa, Latin America, the U.S., Europe, and beyond. While all have beliefs in common, they differ on many of the details. In my blogs I try to strike a balance somewhere in the middle. This is not an easy task. You may disagree with some of my statements about the orixás, and this is fine by me. I welcome open discussion and viewpoints from all who follow these paths. I learn much that way.
Today I am continuing to blog about the orixá Yemanjá (sometimes spelled Iemanjá). Yemanjá is arguably the most beloved of all the orixás by the Brazilian people. Perhaps her popularity is due to the fact that she represents family and home, a primary value shared by most Brazilians. Yemanjá is also the orixá of procreation, gestation and childrearing. One of her functions is to encourage the young to respect parents, siblings and teachers. In the other side of the coin, she also instructs parents to love and care for their offspring.
This lovely orixá presides over weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and family reunions.
She inspires people to discover their unique identity and inculcates them with a feeling of belonging. This value of kinship and group extends beyond family to friends, neighbors and community. So you can invoke Yemanjá to fulfill your petitions in any of these areas.
By analogy, many practitioners consider this orixá to be the mother of all the orixás. Others, however, believe that the more ancient Nanã is the true mother of the orixás. Personally, I agree with this viewpoint, and for what it’s worth, I am a daughter of Yemanjá.
Most sources state that this orixá’s name is comprised of three parts: yèyè (mother), omon (a diminutive referring to animals) ejá (fish). Therefore, she is known as Mother of Fish; hnce her association with water, especially the sea, and by extension, mermaids. Her sons and daughters (mediums) wear necklaces fabricated from seashells and pearls (Another of her names is Mother of Pearls). In the photo that I hope I can manage to upload to you here, you can see her necklace (called a guia). It is made from blue (the sea) and pearly colored plastic beads. Even if you are not a medium for this entity, but you have been designated as a son or daughter of Yemanjá, you may wear her beads and colors.
In fairness to other traditions, some sources insist that this entity is named after Yemojá, an African river, that they believe is her original abode.
In my next blog I will take up the characteristics of the persona of this orixá as well as some of the legends that surround her. Until then, I would like to leave you with an invocation you can use to contact her. Invocations to the orixás are usually extremely simple and meant to be chanted or sung. If it pleases you, why not set this invocation to music? You can enhance your song by making graceful movements with your hands as if you are parting the waters. I’m writing the invocation in English, but if you would like a Portuguese translation, please comment with your request here or send me an email to email@example.com.
“Yemanjá, Queen of the Earth, Goddess of the Sea. The Crown that our Lord Oxalá* has conferred upon you brings love and happiness. Beautiful Lady, come to me. All hail! Goddess of Prosperity, I invoke you to descend to this earthly plane and visit me, o thou Queen of the Earth, Goddess of the Sea!”
* Oxalá is a the creator god, Father of all the Orixás, and is sometimes associated with Christ or Osiris.
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