Yemayá and the Keepers of Her Mysteries

Iddé of Yemayá Okute. To wear an iddé is the equivalent of a badge of office for an iniate.

This month The Mystic Cup dedicates this area to the exploration of the experiences of those who have made a lifetime promise to learn the mysteries of Yemayá, Orisha of the Oceans and embodiment of Motherhood in the Yoruba pantheon.

No two spiritual paths are alike, however some are joined by common themes, experiences and devotions. In such light, I want to share with you how I came to be a priestess of Yemayá. Mine is but one story out of tens of thousands, and I hope, it is but the first to be shared in The Mystic Cup.

Since I can remember, I have known I belong to her. The first memory of my interaction with Yemayá comes to me as if in dreams. I remember the cadence of drums, the lulliby of songs raising energies into the night skies, the salty scent of the ocean and its constant crashing agaisnt the shore. A friendly woman placing a piece of coconut candy in my mouth, said “Eat this for Yemayá loves it and surely she will bless you as well for partaking of her favorite treats”, I remember hearing this and I remember her face, dark and adorned with a broad smile.

I was nearly 7 when one day, my mother took me along with her to visit Maria Remedios, a very famous Puertorrican santero and an initiate of Oshun, he said to my mother that I was a daugther of Yemayá. It was the first time her name resounded in my body as if I was a drum expertly played.

I was warned never to swim in the depths of the ocean, to always stay in the shallow part, and take if I must sand baths rather than plunging myself in her waters. Wise words which I not always respected. At the age of 18, I was pulled from the ocean by my long brown hair. An undertoe had pulled me down in waters no deeper than 2 feet. I have since taken great care to heed the warning about how close I get to the sea.

It was nearly a decade later than I finally knocked at the door of an Igbodu to ask for initiation. Many things happened to lead me there, but, I will let my story unfold parallel to those other stories of sons and daughters of Yemayá whom I trust will be proud enough of their status as initiates to share parts of their story. Post your story or send it on E-mail for posting and translation.

More to come….

Omimelli,
Oní Yemayá Ashagbá

About Omimelli

I am a Olosha or Santera and for years I have been at the service of the Orisha and the community. I am initiated to Yemayá and my father in osha is Aganjú. I am also an initiate of Palo Mayombe and hold the title of Yaya Nkisi. As part of my daily devotional I spend time at my bóveda and work with my spirits on regular basis.
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13 Responses to Yemayá and the Keepers of Her Mysteries

  1. Noemi Oni Yemaya says:

    Alafia, yes, Yemaya is WONDERFUL.

    My story starts in 1998 when I went to a plante to mark my head. for 3 years I believed I was a child of Ochun. I went to a plante in ’98 while I lived in Miami and was truly surprised by the events.

    As I sat waiting my turn, I sat meditating asking who I would turn out to be. I heard a voice in my head clearly say me. I responded ‘who me?’ She said me, take out the cowrie shell necklace in your purse and look. I fished it out, absolutely certain it was Ochun, when I counted the shells on the necklace there were 7 hanging. I can live to be 100 and I will swear I always believed there were 5 not 7.

    When I went in and sat, the babalawo asked me which orisha I thought ruled my head, I immediately answered YEMAYA.

    Omi Yale

    • Omimelli says:

      Alafia ni,

      This made me smile from ear to ear. Orisha gets what orisha wants and when she lays an eye on an omó it is hers to have.

      Omimelli

  2. Oyalenu says:

    When I was a child in California, I used to play in the dust devils (little wind swirls) dancing while my hair flew all over. Of course, back then, I was trying to go to Oz. In Okinawa, during a typhoon, I laughed when I tried to lay down against the wind and it held me up. I’ve always loved the breezes, and winds. But as a life long martial artist, and former member of the Army, I was not surprised when Oya claimed my head. In fact, I told the babalawos that I expected her to claim me when they asked. They all looked surprised.

    • Omimelli says:

      Oyalenu,

      Is she not a darling? I am head over heels over Oyá even if my head belongs to Yemayá. Actually, I am pretty happy these days because I am working on the clothes for an iyawó Oyá and it is turning out to be a really lovely project.

      Maferefún Yansán!

      Omimelli

  3. Sand says:

    ? My childrens father is a babalawo can he help me with my warriors and if one of my elekes brake can I go to him for the help? He was not the one who gave them to me, Him and I have the same padrino in the warriors,and he also did santo to my childrens dad. Our padrino is MIA.

    • Omimelli says:

      Hello Sand,

      Well, it is area of delicacy what you ask about. In theory, your husband or the father of your children should not be dealing with your orisha or with matters of your orisha at all. My husband does not touch mine, period.

      If you have an eleke broken, do try to find a santera or santero to fix it, that is afterall their realm of responsibility, not that of the babalawo.

      Omimelli

      • Sand says:

        Great, thank you, that was my thought also. It is just so hard to trust anyone in the religion.

        • Omimelli says:

          Hello Sand,

          I hear you, trust only comes with knowledge and observation of the person in question. However vigilant we are, there are always smart alecs trying to make a buck or con folks. This does not mean though, that you should close yourself to the opportunity of finding someone to trust and who can help you when needed

          Omimelli

  4. wateriron777 says:

    Here’s my story to the mystic cup, i can remember being about 6 or 7 and watching my brother clean and take care of his Santos, he had many but one that always caught my eye was my beautiful mother Yemaya. At the time i didnt have much knowledge about the religion and i would fool around and play with her fan, mind you there were other things i could have played with as a kid in that room like a toy car from Ellegua. About 10 years later my brother had already dropped out the religion & i picked it up. Well i remember being in my brothers room were he used to keep his Santos and having a dream of us together laying down on his bed watching T.V hes looking at the T.V and i remember looking down at my hands and seeing Yemaya the same way he had her in a statue just much more smaller. I looked to my brother and in the dream i knew she was his, i gave it to him but he shook his head no and told me to keep it.

    • Omimelli says:

      Hello Wateriron777,

      Funny how the orisha touches us in their own particular ways and makes us come into their embrace.

      There is nothing like the feeling of being safe and protected with the certainty of their presence in our lives.

      I hope you always stay in her cool side and thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

      Omimelli

  5. Lieza88 says:

    I have à similar story to yours i was also pulled into an undertoe… About à year or so ago my daughters father and i where having really bad times constant fighting i just couldnt find the courage to pick up and Leave till one beautiful night i dreamt of an océan showering over the there of us i did alot of crying felt Like i was crying all my pain away the following morning i.packed all of my daughters and i belongings and left i truly believe in my heart it was her that gave me the courage to leave …since then we have tried to make it work but then at night i have dreams of him wit others or à voice that tells me no ..i have been lookin for spiritual guidence but dont know WHO to talk to what to do something keeps telling me to set up something for her …i needhelp hopefullly i can get some clarification on what to do …thanku

  6. OceanLove7 says:

    That’s interesting about taking a ‘sand bath.’ When I’m around any water I want to jump right in, even though I can’t swim well. haha
    So here’s another ocean story to add. At age 14 (before I even knew about Yemaya) I was at the Pacific ocean with friends, and stuck my feet into the water–mind you, 2 inches of water tops. The undertow immediately and violently pulled me under into the ocean and I couldn’t get up! I remember thinking ‘ok I’m gonna drown.’ It must not have been my time to go because a guy noticed how I got pulled in the ocean and never came out, so he went in and got me! That was so scary that I still remember this.
    This must be really common for children of Yemaya.
    smiles

  7. OceanLove7 says:

    Building on what happened with the ocean; I remember that a few weeks before my initiation to Yemaya that I had a dream that was more vivid and realistic than ever. I woke up floating on a raft in the MIDDLE of the ocean in this dream and I really thought this was not a dream. I remember that there was no land in sight, that it was just ocean as far as I could see and blue sky above. Everything was calm, no wind, no waves but I panicked and screamed, then I realized ok I’m here in the middle of the ocean for good and if I drown so be it. As soon as I let go of my fear and panic I woke up with a start and found that I was in my bed! Now I’m remembering that my heart was pounding out of my chest because I was so afraid since it seemed realer than real.
    Has anyone else had dreams similar to this before initiating to Yemaya?

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