The Story of Yamoya

Yamoya is the name of our boat.

Yamoya is a variation on the names Ymoja, Yemaya and Yemanja, which are the various names given to the sea goddess in the West African, Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean cultures. We changed the spelling to make the name sound as it is spelled, for the English language. For a boat, this is important as it makes radio communication easier.

Ymoja is the Yoruban (Nigeria) Mother of Waters (aka Mama Watta) who gave birth to all the world’s waters. Throughout the African Diaspora, Ymoja has remained a popular divinity. In Brazil She is Yemanja, where She is the Ocean Goddess of the Crescent Moon. In Cuba Her name is Yemaya, appearing in many variants: Yemaya Ataramagwa, the wealthy Queen of the Sea; stern Yemaya Achabba; violent Yemaya Oggutte; and the over-powering Yemaya Olokun, who can be seen only in dreams. On New year’s Eve in Brazil, devotees of Yemanja gather at midnight on Coco Caba-a Beach and light a candle in Her name. Then, little boats made of flowers are set adrift on the waves. If Yemanja takes them out to sea, a good year will come.

Yamoya’s energy is depicted with sky blue, white and silver swirling colour. She is often depicted as a mermaid or a beautiful woman. Yamoya brings forth and protects life through all the highs and lows, even during the worst atrocities that can be suffered. She is associated with the moon and the ocean. The cowrie shell is Yamoya’s symbol, and fish are sacred to Her. Seven is her number.

Related essences: Frangipani, tea rose, lilac, lily of the valley, sandalwood.

Related gemstones: Lapis lazuli, aquamarine, turquoise (light blue stones), pearl, coral, mother-of-pearl (ocean-sourced).

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