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Yemaija

A story told of Yemaija, for CAYA Coven’s June 2012 Grove of Hekate.

 

In the dawn of the first world, the stories say, Yemaija was born upon this earth when the light of the sinking morning star kissed  the splash of the high tide that raced onto the sands. From this union the goddess was brought forth, and when the tide went out, she remained.

She was not alone on her beaches; Oshun was up the river, and Yemaija could hear her sing. Eleuga was here and there and gone again. The winds of Oya would blow up and down, and Yemaija would smile. But more often, it was the creatures who kept her company; it was the shrieking gulls, the pipping sand pipers. The sonorous squawk of the pelican whose beak ran red as it fed its chicks. The burbled laughter of the otters.

The world grew, and the numbers of people grew, and Yemaija herself grew, and the earth turned, and all things were well.

And yet… slowly, her dreams became disturbed. She’d never slept like the others, in one long bout of 8, 9, 10 hours at a time. She slept to the roar of the surf, for four hours here as the tide turned, four hours there as the sun set. But now… now she could not even rest so long. Every sleep was disturbed by dreams, every dream by voices. Hundreds, thousands of voices, whispering, begging, singing, praying.

“Yemaija, Great One, send me my love!”

“Yemaija, Ocean Mother, I weep and cannot be consoled. Hear me!”

“Yemaija, Beautiful Mermaid, I have done a great thing with your help, and I praise you!”

She couldn’t figure out where they were coming from, who they were. Her sleep grew shorter, her patience thinner. The mystery began to consume her, eat away at her focus, her calm.

Finally, enough was enough. There was no peace or quiet to be found in sleep, so she took herself down to the waters edge and buried herself in the warm damp sand at the low-tide marker. She buried herself all the way up to her neck, leaving only her beautiful head with her tired eyes exposed.

She waited.

The sea came in, inexorable as the night sky. It rose above her chin, her cheeks. It seeped into her mouth, her nose, her ears. She closed her eyes and waited, and slowly, slowly, the water covered her over entire.

She opened her eyes in the deep green murk, unstopped her ears, and all around her she could hear them! Hundreds upon thousands of voices, calling to her, whispering her praises, telling her stories, pleading for her intercession.

“Yemaija, Great One, comfort me in my sorrow!”

“Yemaija, Ocean Mother, I am strength and beauty, and I honor your name!”

“Yemaija, Beautiful Mermaid, bless my child to be as beautiful and compassionate as you!”

The sea shells had opened their mouths and were singing, the whales lifted their voices in alien tune. All around her were the pleas and praises and petitions of the women of the world, circling in the ocean’s depths.

And so, Yemaija listened.

To every phrase, she listened. Every song, she heard. Each boast, she witnessed.

For she is the goddess, and the goddess listens.

 

It is a sacred duty, to listen and bear witness. Pray to Yemaija, and know that she hears you, and witnesses your joy, your pain, and your beauty.

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