I’ve been thinking a lot about writing about my patron deities. I have a few, you see. 5 to be exact. Actually, 6, but one is a special case, and I’ll talk about him last. They’ve all revealed themselves to me at different times, and I intend to talk about them in that order.
My first spiritual experiences as a budding witch were by the ocean. I have always felt deeply connected when at the beach, and that’s where I first practiced drawing circles in the sand in which to connect with deity, and also meditation. I also learned to appreciate the gifts of nature picking up seashells, listening to the roar of the oceans as a soundtrack for my exploration, and feeling how the wind caked salt into my hair and onto my lips.
The ocean has always represented all the typical traits of water to me: emotion, ebb and flow, being pulled by tides and learning to surrender to deeper currents. But I always felt like there was more to it than that. There was the deep nurture/destroy dichotomy that reminded me so much of motherhood. Not the connected, personal experience of motherhood between one mother and child, but on a larger, global scale. She truly is the mother of us all. From the earliest beginnings of life, the ocean has birthed us, fed us, and her salty waters even flow through our veins in the form of blood. She is also scary as fuck when she wants to be.
I felt this all one day as I was at the beach with a friend’s family. We were there for 2 weeks, which was long enough for us to realize that we liked each other, but we didn’t have to spend 24/7 together either. My friend and I had seen some enormous mantarays from the overlook in the backyard of the house we were renting, and we rushed to the beach to see if we could see them. She soon got bored and went back to the house to watch TV. (Who watches TV when by the ocean? Such a waste.)
I spent time at the place where the water meets sand, watching the ocean, meditating. (I had read books on meditation and hypnosis before I became interested in Paganism, and that was where I learned how easy it is to slip into alpha with the sound of ocean waves to ride along with.) I was deep in trance, feeling the water as it washed over my legs, and I got the sense that there was some consciousness at work there. It wasn’t just water anymore, it was a container for so many consciousnesses. There were things out there that lived and died and they were held in her salty embrace, just as I was just then. She was truly my mother then.
Back then, there was no Internet. I’m very old, you see. So I spent time when I got back home at the library, and researched as much as possible until I found Yemaya.
It felt really right to me that she originated in Africa, where we did. She is connected to the earliest primordial mother of the earliest people. She is our source, and even the most landlocked of us sometimes still hear her siren’s call.
She is one of the Orishas (deities) in the Yoruban religion. She has evolved into Yemaja, Yemanja, La Sirene, Watra Mama, and Diosa del Mar. The Yoruban religion has spread and been incorporated all over the world, most specifically African, Caribbean, and Latin American areas, and the Orishas show up in altered forms in Vodun, HooDoo, and Santeria.
So I set out to make a playlist for Yemaya, and it wasn’t at all difficult. I typed ‘Yemaya’ into the search function of Spotify, and was rewarded with HUNDREDS of songs. I’m not kidding. I gave up about half way through, but it just goes to show how she’s inspired so many. The music is mostly Cuban, African, or a mixture thereof, (with some new age ocean sounds mixed in) and this is now easily one of my favorite playlists. Enjoy it!