This article was built using excerpts from an email conversation with a friend and customer, who was interested in knowing how to set a sacred space for the Yemanya image she had bought at such a very magickal place as New Orleans. The excerpts are all from my own emails and all private information has been taken off to preserve our intimacy. I thought the general information on Yemanya was very useful and you could be interested in knowing more about the most popular Orisha in the world. Oh, and yes, I made the drawing above :)
Who Is Yemanya And How To Set A Sacred Space For Her
Yemanya is the Orisha archetype of motherhood and nurturing. She is the wealthiest, wisest and most generous of female Orishas, and her sons and daughters are counted by millions in all the Yoruba-related religions like Santeria, Palo Mayombe, Umbanda, Kimbanda, Vodun, and so on. She is also known as Olokum, La Sirène, Mami Wata, Nana Burukum and so many other names. It is very important to understand that the cults brought to America by the African slaves diversified greatly, to a local extent even, so there are many “caminos”, or paths, for every deity.
She is a very popular Orisha, probably the most popular, because she is very compassionate and protective for her sons and daughters on this Earth. As a Queen and Mother herself, she is a great helper for women with home-based businesses – but be careful! She is a very, very powerful Orisha and can put their daughters in great restriction if she doesn’t fell well attended permanently! Many people are attracted to African deities because they really work, but many forget their duties after they’ve got what they want… and then suffer the consequences. She is a protective, loving, fierce, wise mother, not a gentle useless Barbie! We forget easily we have to deserve what is given to us.
So, maybe like my friend you’ve had her statue for a while. You’ve been wanting to do something special for her, because you know she radiates energy permanently, and are often drawn to look back at her. First, choose a beautiful spot for her, with enough space for offerings. Here are some clues for setting the altar:
NEVER give her anything that comes from the sea. No fish or shell offerings! It is like if you cut flowers from somebody’s garden and then give them to that person as a gift.
She loves perfume, metal combs and mirrors, jewels, pearls and silver coins. Fruit and flowers, preferably white, are also favourite offerings for her. Keep her really spoiled! If she is not surrounded by wealth she won’t help you. Cigars and rum are another popular offering for all Orishas, even for female Orishas.
If you ask her something, like her helping you with your business, use white and/or blue candles, whatever offerings you want to make for her (the more luscious the better), and a goblet with unsalted water you have to change frequently (that’s for the spirits), and then PROMISE her something if she gives you help. Promise something you can keep and do it when you said you would! You don’t want to know what an offended Yemanya can do, believe me.
Never keep offerings that can spoil, like fruit or flowers, more than three days on the altar. Keep it clean and change the water of the goblet frequently.
If you want to use anything that has been on the altar, you can do it! You could make very powerful talismans with the offerings that have been on the altar, as long as you give her something in return for what you take – and she likes new gifts from time to time! Also, that will prevent the altar from taking the whole room! In case you are wondering, yes you can sell the items you make with that, as long as you give freely a lot of them too. Yemanya wants you to be wealthy as she is!
Also, something Orishas appreciate very much is that you take the time to learn about them and then speak properly about them. It is our duty to clean the name of something that has been so misunderstood and criticized by ignorants. In many traditional Santeria petitions, like the one to St. Judas, what you have to offer back to him is an ad on the newspaper thanking him and recommending other people to do the same. Not that you are going to start publishing ads :D, but it’s a metaphor for the fact that if you are protected and loved by an Orisha (or any deity) you should not hide it, but speak of it proud, loud and with all love.
Yemanya will test you before she gives you anything: in fact she will test you many times. She wants to see if you are positive, generous and nurturing as she is, so she can connect with your Higher Self (The Observer) and make YOU find your own wealth and stability. Let things come, do not judge any situation (or person) coming to you and keep your mind on giving.
Give her love, recognition and trust, and she will give you back wealth and protection as you have never had! I’m sure you will do WONDERFULLY with Yemanya. Aren’t you glad to have united with her again? You were her daughter, all the time.
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