"Yemaya, Orisha Mother of the Oceans," is the third of my series of orisha portraits. While she was based on a photograph, as were Oshun and Oya, she turned out looking nothing like the woman in that image.
Yemaya rose slowly out of the depths of the background. It took many layers and iterations for her to emerge in the visible range. Her gaze in unwavering and knowing. She is not looking into the future like Oya, or over her shoulder at some out-of-frame admirer. She is looking straight at us, straight into our eyes and our hearts. We sink into her and find ourselves in our deepest selves. From those depths, she calls to us - La Siren, she is named by some. We can dive down to explore those mysterious dark parts of our psyches, knowing that Yemaya holds us.
I am thinking about my visit with her this spring when I took white rose petals and white wine to the ocean as gifts to her. I am remembering a few years back when I gave her waves a heart-shaped piece of red wax one evening, only to find it a quarter-mile down on the beach the next morning. I am feeling her lift me up and drag me down as I swam in her waters this weekend.