Yemaya is the Yorùbá Orisha (Spirit or Deity) of the Sea. She is a great Mother Goddess and protector of women and children. Her name is a contraction of the Yorùbá phrase Yeye emo eja, which means, 'Mother Whose Children Are Like Fish,' i.e., multitudinous. She is honored in many of the sister religions of the African diaspora such as Candomblé, Lukumi (Santería), and Vodoun (where She is known as Lasiren).
In Africa She is the Goddess of the Ogun River in Nigeria; in the Americas She has become associated with the ocean. She is usually said to represent the surface of the ocean, however, not the depths; that is generally the province of the Orisha Olukun. Like the surface of the Sea She is usually fairly calm; but Her tempers are known to be quite stormy.
She is mother to many of the Orishas, and indeed is sometimes considered the mother of all living beings.
She is said to wear seven skirts of blue and white, symbolizing the seven seas.
I hear Her say: Let yourself run down to the Sea.
I think this week is about flow, in all its variations: going along with the flow, letting yourself flow into the path of least resistance, or drifting along with the currents of the ocean, even if the direction or destination is more spread out, less defined than a river's, or even if, like the great gyres of the oceans, the currents are in fact circular.
I am nervous, I will admit, about asking Yemaya what She thinks. I am a white woman, after all, and well aware of Neopaganism's oblivious tendency to appropriation; also I am an outsider and do not follow the Orishas myself. But I ask, because it is polite.
You are all my children. I am the Great Mother. The human race was born in Africa; all of your ancestors trace back to Africa. Some further than others, yes, but ultimately all from there. Remember this. Respect this.
Do not think I am not angry, O I am, very much so.
I am vast. I am the Sea. I am the largest thing by far on this planet. My memory is long and lasting; and what you do to me you do to yourselves.
Go to the water. Lift a shell to your ear and hear me. Listen to me. That is what I ask. That is what I demand. That is what will save you.
And stop being so damned hard on yourselves, you women. It stands in the way of getting things done.