Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yemanjá Day

I heard about Yemanjá one of my first visits to the beach here in Rio de Janeiro. I was wearing some new earrings and my Mother-in-law suggested that I be careful when I entered the water. It wasn't because she feared that I would drown. Instead she informed me that Yemanjá loves jewelry, as any woman does, and has no qualms about taking ours off as an unofficial offering.

A couple weeks later a foreigner friend of mine joined the family and I at the beach. She went into the water and came out shocked. She was surprised that she had lost her bracelet. She never took it off and it had never come off anywhere before. My Mother-in-law smiled and said "Yemanjá must have liked it too."

It was a curious introduction to the goddess and one that sparked a discussion. Why would she be able to do this here and not in other oceans? Why does she have such a presence here and not elsewhere?

My Mother-in-law broke it down into something simple for us foreigners. She has power where people believe in her. Brazilians believe in her.

I have to say that I have never been one to give much credit to this kind of thing. That being said, you feel a different energy here and, if eyes are open enough, see things differently.

While I don't necessarily believe that there is a goddess of the ocean, I do respect the feeling behind it. She is a source of feminine strength in a machismo country. She controls the very thing many Brazilians adore, the ocean.

Have you had any personal experiences with the story of Yemanjá or with her personally?


  1. I love to read the legends about the Orixas :).

    This site has a lot of them (in Portuguese):

    There is also a lot of Brazilian songs that talk about them.

    Such as:

  2. So Yemanjá just takes things that don't belong to her. Is she like a mob entity?

  3. that is an awesome way for your mil to many things gain their power from the belief put into them. i've studied archetypal behavior and mythology, and as a gulf-coastal southern native, have plenty of my own. i feel like it's human nature to make sense of the unsensible.

  4. Fala sério, sua sogra é uma pândega e tirou um sarro da tua cara hein ? Você também é uma pândega, então a dinâmica entre vocês duas dá super certo hahahah !!

  5. That's a very huge generalization. Usually the only brazilians who TEND to believe in Yemanjá are either from Bahia or Rio de Janeiro, mostly because these two are on the coastline and very much influenced by African culture. As for me, a ''mineira'', Yemanjá is simply bullshit. But whatever! It's still fun to jump 7 waves on New Year's Eve.

    1. You can take the generalization up with my MIL ;).

      I always end up jumping 7 waves and then diving in. Can't help it

  6. Dude Yemanjá has been following me around my freaking whole life ;) In fact, my wedding ring etc.. are in a safe in the states as my husband was dead certain I'd lose it or something here, as i'm that talented. Glad I can now blame it all on Yemanjá!