She Became The Ocean To Guide Them To This Unknown Land

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.” – Odetta. This Orisha watched thousands of her children captured and bound for enslavement. Crying, she felt herself ripping apart, but she wasn’t dying – she was becoming the spirit guide her children needed.

She Became The Ocean To Guide Them To This Unknown Land
Via Fshoq

Called the “mother of all,” Yemoja is the Orisha who, in Yoruba mythology, birthed the world. Originally, Yemoja resided in Nigeria’s Ogun River.

One day, she sensed something was wrong. Her children were in trouble!

She watched her children, the Yoruba people, being shackled and forced onto ships bound for the white man’s world. Salty tears poured down her face until she became the ocean, guiding her children through the unknown.

Many enslaved Yorubans who survived the voyage wished they hadn’t. How did Yemoja help them keep the faith?

Yemoja adapted her name, rituals, and appearance based on her children’s needs. For example, in Brazil and Cuba enslaved Yorubans, forced to practice Roman Catholicism, pretended to worship “The Virgin Mary” when they were really worshiping Yemoja!

Yemoja accepted this so they could worship her without fear.

Today Yemoja has many names, but she’s commonly known as Yemayá. In Cuba, Yemoja’s name was “creolized” to Yemayá when her followers began practicing “La Regla Lucumi,” also called “La Regla de Ocha,” translating to, “the order of the [Orishas].”

Survival means adapting without forgetting your heritage. Adapting is different from assimilating.

Like Yemoja and the enslaved Yorubans, we must adapt through hardships without allowing fear to shake our faith, and find creative ways to continue our spiritual practices.

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