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Yoruba Mythology Gods: Who were Yemanja and Oxumare?

I can trace many of my current interests in Yemanja and Oxumare back to an ayahuasca ceremony. In the ceremony, the spirit reaches out to me, grabs my soul, and whispers, ‘Pay attention here, Derek.’ One of those faint whispers that came to me in the darkness carried between the sweet sounds of icaros was of Yemanja and Oxumare, Yoruba Mythology Gods.

Oxumare and Yemanja are deities in the Yoruba religion (these deities are also called orixas), originating in West Africa. Yoruba is practiced by people in Nigeria, Benin, and other parts of Africa and the diaspora, particularly in Brazil, Cuba, and other parts of the Americas.

Yoruba Mythology Gods: Yemanja Mermaid Goddess of The Sea

Yemaja, also known as Lemanjá, is considered the mother of all living things and is associated with the ocean, fertility, motherhood, and healing. She is often depicted as a beautiful woman with a mermaid’s tail, symbolizing her connection to the sea.

Yoruba Mythology Gods: Mermaid Goddess of The Sea

Yoruba Mythology Gods: Yemanja

Yemaja is considered a powerful deity of childbirth and is often called upon to aid women during pregnancy. She brings comfort and healing to the sick or in need and is known for her nurturing and protective qualities.

In the Yoruba religion, Yemaja has many rituals and offerings associated with her, including the use of white cloth, cowrie shells, and offerings of fruit, flowers, and other items related to the sea. In some traditions, her feast day, celebrated on December 31st, is a time to honor and seek her blessings.

In Brazil, Yemanjá has her day on November 2 of every year, which coincides with the festival of Our Lady of the Temple of the Catholic Church, also venerated under the title of Our Lady of Light. Devotees of the orixá usually offer her flowers, jewelry, perfume bottles, soaps, mirrors, and food. The colors of Iemanjá’s garments are blue and white, the same color as the mantle of the mother of Jesus.

In Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban traditions, Yemaja is often syncretized with the Catholic Virgin Mary and is celebrated with elaborate processions and offerings of flowers, candles, and other items.

Yemaja is a powerful and beloved deity in the Yoruba religion, known for her compassion, strength, and connection to the natural world.

Yoruba Mythology Gods Oxumare: The Rainbow Serpent

Oxumare, also known as Oshumare or Osumare, is a rainbow serpent associated with renewal, transformation, and rebirth. According to legend, he is the son of the goddess Yemaja and the god Orunmila, and he is often depicted as a serpent or a dragon coiled around a rainbow. In some stories, Oxumare is associated with wealth and prosperity and is said to bring good luck and fortune to those who honor him.

Yoruba Mythology Gods Oxumare: The Rainbow Serpent
Yoruba Mythology Gods: Oxumare

In Afro-Brazilian traditions, Oxumare is sometimes syncretized with the Catholic Saint Bartholomew, often associated with green and yellow. In Afro-Cuban traditions, he is sometimes syncretized with the Catholic Saint Francis of Assisi, often associated with green and red.

Oxumare is a complex and multifaceted deity who plays a vital role in many African diaspora religions and is revered for his powers of transformation and renewal, much like the Shiva in Hindu mythology.

Yoruba Creation Story

Creation stories fascinate me, and In Yoruba mythology, a commonly told version is the following:

In the beginning, there was only water and chaos, which was called “Omi Odo” or “Omi Iya,” meaning “the primordial waters.” The supreme god, Olodumare, sent down the first orisha, Obatala, to create the world.

Obatala descended from the sky on a long chain and carried a shell filled with soil and a palm nut. When he reached the surface of the waters, he poured the soil onto the surface of the waters, and the land began to grow and expand until it formed a vast expanse. He then planted the palm nut and grew a tree that provided humans shelter, food, and other resources.

Obatala created the first humans from clay and gave them life with his breath. However, he soon became drunk on palm wine and began to create humans with various deformities and imperfections.

The other orishas then stepped in and corrected the mistakes, with Ogun giving the humans tools and weapons and Oshun giving them beauty and fertility. Shango then gave them the power of fire, and the world continued to evolve and develop.

The Yoruba creation story emphasizes the importance of community, cooperation, and balance in the universe. It also highlights the role of the orishas in creating and maintaining the world and the importance of human beings in the larger cosmic order. Yamanja and Oxumare are essential elements of maintaining that order.

Developing and caring for a community is an integral part of our journeys. That community includes spirit; the orishas walk by our sides, guide us toward our higher selves, and deserve recognition and honor as important Yoruba Mythology Gods.

Music Honoring Yemanja and Oxumare

To connect with the spirit of Yemanja and Oxumare I invite you to listen to this song by Jordão Souza.

Aie aie Oxumaré x2
Aie Oxumaré x4

Eu vim aqui pra trabalhar
Sou filho de Iemanjá
Sou filho de Iemanjá
E meu pai é beira mar

Aie aie Oxumaré x2
Aie Oxumaré x4

Mãe das águas
oh Iemanjá
Ogum das almas
vem triunfar

Eu vim aqui pra trabalhar
Sou filho de Iemanjá
Sou de Iemanjá
E meu pai é beira mar

Ogum das almas
Vem triunfar

Chamo a força
Chamo a força

Flor das águas oh Iemanjá
Em suas ondas nos ensinar
Águas claras vem clarear
Águas profundas, nos ensinar

Aie aie Oxumaré x2
Aie Oxumaré x4

Venho aqui pra trabalhar
É filha de Iemanjá
É Filha de Iemanjá
com as princesas do mar

Aie aie Oxumaré x2
Aie Oxumaré x4

Summary

This journey reminds us of the power of ancient wisdom and spiritual practices in guiding us toward a deeper understanding of our place within the cosmos and our responsibility to each other and the Earth via Yoruba Mythology Gods. Yemanja and Oxumare and the rich tapestry of Yoruba mythology offer invaluable insights into living in harmony with the natural world and the spiritual dimensions that animate our existence.

~ Haux. Haux.

Category:Mythology
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