Yemaya and Oshun: The Powerful Relationship of Two Water Goddesses
If you are here reading this article, I’m sure you know about the Orishas. If not, they are a group of deities worshipped in the Yoruba religion, which originated in West Africa and spread to other parts of the world through the African diaspora. Two of the most important Orishas, and part of the legendary Seven African Powers, are Yemaya and Oshun, who are both associated with water and feminine power.
In Afro-Cuban religion, Yemaya and Oshun are known as the "two queens" and are often worshipped together. They are associated with the ocean and the rivers, respectively, and are revered as protectors of women and mothers.
In Brazilian Candomble, Yemaya and Oshun are syncretized with the Catholic saints Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Aparecida, respectively. They are both considered powerful healers and protectors, and their worship involves music, dance, and offerings.
The Symbolism of Yemaya and Oshun
Yemaya (also known as Yemoja and Iemanjá), is the Orisha of the sea, the mother of all waters, the goddess of the new year, and the protector of women and children. She is often depicted as a mermaid or a woman holding a fan and a mirror. Her colors are blue and white, and her offerings include seafood, melon, and honey. Yemaya is associated with emotions, intuition, and maternal love.
Oshun (also known as Osun and Ochun), on the other hand, is the Orisha of the rivers, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She is often depicted as a woman wearing yellow or gold clothing and jewelry, holding a fan and a mirror. Her offerings include honey, cinnamon, and pumpkins. Oshun is associated with creativity, sensuality, and feminine power.
The Myths of Yemaya and Oshun: Stories of Beauty, Conflict, and Collaboration
The relationship between Yemaya and Oshun is one of the most fascinating and complex in Yoruba mythology. It is filled with stories of beauty, conflict, and collaboration, and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of balance and harmony in the natural world. In this section, we will explore three mythological stories that shed light on the complex relationship between Yemaya and Oshun.
The Battle of the Waters
According to Yoruba mythology, there was once a great conflict between Yemaya and Oshun over control of the waters. The conflict was so intense that it caused a great flood that devastated the earth. The other Orishas realized that they needed to intervene to put an end to the conflict and restore balance to the world.
The Orishas called on both Yemaya and Oshun to meet with them to discuss a resolution to their conflict. They reminded the two goddesses that they were both important and that their powers were complementary. Yemaya's power over the vast ocean was necessary for the survival of many species, while Oshun's gentle river was essential for the growth and nourishment of plants and animals.
The two goddesses eventually reconciled and agreed to work together to bring balance to the world. From that day forward, they were often depicted as complementary forces of nature, representing both the power and gentleness of water.
The Myth of the Dancing Maidens
In this myth, Yemaya and Oshun are both present at a festival where they are being praised for their beauty and grace. As the music begins, they are joined by a group of young maidens who begin to dance in honor of the goddesses. The dance is said to represent the interplay between the gentle flow of the river and the powerful waves of the ocean.
As the dancing maidens perform, they begin to transform into mermaids, their legs turning into tails as they dive into the water. Yemaya and Oshun are delighted by the transformation and begin to dance along with the mermaids.
The dance becomes a celebration of the power and beauty of water and a reminder of the importance of respecting and honoring the natural world. The myth of the dancing maidens is often depicted in Yoruba art and serves as a powerful symbol of the interconnectedness of all things.
The Disagreement About Who Was More Beautiful
In another mythological story, there is a disagreement about who between Yemaya and Oshun is the most beautiful. The other Orishas decide to hold a beauty contest to settle the matter.
Yemaya is confident in her beauty and chooses to wear a beautiful gown that symbolizes her power over the ocean. Oshun, on the other hand, chooses to wear a simple white dress that represents her purity and simplicity.
As the contest begins, the Orishas are divided in their opinions, with some arguing that Yemaya's power and beauty are unmatched, while others argue that Oshun's simplicity and purity are more beautiful.
In the end, the Orishas realize that both Yemaya and Oshun are beautiful in their own way and that their different qualities are complementary. The contest ends in a tie, and the two goddesses embrace each other, recognizing the importance of collaboration and harmony.
The Benefits of Invoking the Power of Yemaya and Oshun Together
Yemaya and Oshun are two powerful Orishas who can be called upon together for a variety of reasons. By invoking their energies, individuals can access a deeper level of guidance and support in their lives. Here are some of the reasons why people may want to pray to or invoke the power of both Yemaya and Oshun together:
Balancing Emotions and Creativity
Yemaya and Oshun embody different aspects of feminine power. Yemaya is associated with emotions, intuition, and maternal love, while Oshun represents creativity, sensuality, and feminine power. By invoking their energies together, individuals can find a balance between their emotional and creative energies. This can lead to greater insight, inspiration, and a deeper connection with their own inner wisdom.
Protection and Healing
Both Yemaya and Oshun are revered as protectors and healers, and their energies are often called upon for support during times of difficulty or illness. By combining their energies, individuals can access a deeper level of protection and healing. Whether physical or emotional, their energies can provide comfort and support during challenging times.
Nurturing Abundance and Fertility
Oshun is associated with abundance, beauty, and fertility, while Yemaya is associated with the ocean and its life-giving properties. By invoking both goddesses together, individuals can tap into their energies of abundance and fertility. This can manifest in many ways, including financial prosperity, love, or creative inspiration. Their energies can help individuals to feel more connected to the world around them and to experience a sense of flow and abundance in their lives.
Finding Balance and Harmony
Yemaya and Oshun represent complementary energies in the natural world. Their relationship serves as a reminder of the importance of balance and harmony. By invoking their energies together, individuals can find greater balance and harmony in their lives and in the world around them. This can manifest in many ways, including greater peace of mind, more harmonious relationships, and a deeper sense of connection with the natural world.
Whether for balancing emotions and creativity, protection and healing, nurturing abundance and fertility, or finding balance and harmony, the energies of these two feminine Orishas can provide guidance and inspiration to those who seek it.
How to Invoke the Guidance of Yemaya and Oshun Together
To invoke the guidance and support of Yemaya and Oshun together, you can perform a ritual using specific products that represent their attributes. This ritual can be done individually or in a group, depending on your preference.
Start With a Cleansing
Begin by cleansing yourself and your space with water, adding a pinch of sea salt to the water to purify and cleanse your surroundings. You can use a spray bottle or a bowl of water and sprinkle it around your space while saying a prayer to Yemaya and Oshun to purify and cleanse your surroundings.
Setup Your Altar Space
Create an altar space dedicated to Yemaya and Oshun. Place a Yemaya 7 Day Orisha Candle and an Oshun 7 Day Orisha Candle on the altar, along with offerings of honey, melons, and sea salt. The blue and yellow candles represent the energies of Yemaya and Oshun, while honey represents the abundance and fertility that Oshun brings, and sea salt represents the cleansing and purifying power of Yemaya. You can also add images of Yemaya and Oshun or other items that represent their attributes, such as cowrie shells, conch shells, or mirrors.
Invoke Yemaya and Oshun With Prayer
Light the candles and focus on the energy of Yemaya and Oshun. Add a drop of jasmine oil, rose oil, or lavender oil to the candles or to a diffuser to enhance the energy of the goddesses. Say a prayer or invocation to both goddesses, asking for their guidance and protection. You can recite the following prayer or create your own…
Great Yemaya and Oshun, powerful goddesses of the waters, I call upon your guidance and protection. Help me to navigate life's challenges with strength and grace. Bring me love, abundance, and creativity. I offer you my gratitude and honor your divine presence. Ashe!
Set Out Your Offerings
Offer honey, melons, cinnamon, and sea salt to Yemaya and Oshun as a sign of your devotion and gratitude. You can also light sandalwood incense or frankincense, to purify and cleanse your space and attract the energy of the goddesses.
Set Your Intentions
Spend some time in meditation, focusing on the energy of Yemaya and Oshun. Visualize them surrounding you with their love and protection, guiding you on your path. You can also ask for specific guidance or insight on a particular matter.
By using these ritual products and following the ritual outlined above, you can invite the guidance and protection of Yemaya and Oshun into your life. Remember to always approach these goddesses with respect and gratitude, and to honor their divine presence in your practice.
Honoring Yemaya and Oshun in Our Lives
In addition to performing rituals like the one above, there are various ways to honor Yemaya and Oshun in our daily lives. We can take inspiration from their qualities of femininity, intuition, creativity, and love.
One way to do this is by incorporating elements that represent Yemaya and Oshun into our daily routines. For example, using sea salt and honey in our meals, or wearing blue and yellow clothing. You can also wear blue and yellow jewelry such as a Yemaya Camino Necklace or Oshun Triple Beaded Bracelet to honor these Orishas. We can also offer prayers or meditations to the goddesses, expressing gratitude for their guidance and protection in our lives.
By honoring Yemaya and Oshun in our daily lives, we can deepen our connection to their wisdom and power and bring balance and harmony to our own lives and to the world around us.
Lessons We Can Learn from Oshun and Yemaya
Yemaya and Oshun are two powerful Orishas who represent the beauty and complexity of feminine power. Their relationship symbolizes the importance of sisterhood, support, and collaboration. By working together, they show us that we can achieve greater things than by working alone.
Whether you are a follower of the Yoruba religion or not, the lessons and values that Yemaya and Oshun represent can inspire and guide us all. They remind us of the power of water, the importance of femininity, and the strength of sisterhood.
As we go through life's challenges, we can call upon Yemaya and Oshun for guidance and support. We can offer them our love and gratitude in the form of offerings, prayers, or simply by honoring their presence. By doing so, we connect with a deeper aspect of ourselves and the universe, and we open ourselves to the infinite possibilities of feminine power.