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?