African gods: Yemoja, the caring mother

Yemoja, a water goddess is often portrayed as a benevolent mother. Yemoja literally means mother of fish children.

In Yoruba mythology, she is one of 16 Orishas (gods) sent by Olodumare. (The supreme god).

Yemoja descended on a rope to create the earth with other Orishas(gods).

She is also the patron of the river in Ogun state, Nigeria.

They see her as the figure of motherhood and barren women reveres her as she can provides them with children. It is

also believed that she birthed the first mortal men.

However, they often portray Yemoja as a loving caring mother who can become temperamental and violent if crossed.

She is the goddess of fertility and protector of pregnant women and their children.

Yemoja is the goddess water bodies and is also the protector of people who work and travel on the sea. She is the

head of the Gelede society (society of mothers)

In wood carvings, she is depicted as a mermaid. Every year a festival is held in her honour, where they offer sacrifices of

maize, yam, porridge and other foods to her. They also initiate new members.

Many stories have linked her as the wife of gods like, OkereObatalaErinle and Orisha Oko. She is also the mother

of OgunSangoDadaIbeji and many other gods.

She portrays as having humongous breasts so as to breastfeed her many children.

Her symbols are cowries shells symbolizing wealth, fishes, a mother carrying a child, multicolored crystal beads, pigeon,

and also white clothes.

They still worship Yemoja today, and she exists in other countries like Cuba, Uruguay, Haiti, and Brazil.

By Victoria E.I

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