Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia E. Canson
Within the Yorùbâ spiritual pantheon, Yemonja is celebrated as the giver of life and as the metaphysical “Mother of Orisâ.” Yemonja's name is derived from the Yorùbâ words Yeye or Iya (“mother”), omo (“child/ children”), and eja (“fish”) and thus literally means “Mother whose children are the fish.” According to the itàns (stories) of the Yorùbâ, the Orisa Yemonja was a primordial spiritual entity who was charged by Olófi/Olódùmarè (God) to assist the Orisâ Obàtâlâ with the formation of humans in Olófi's creation of the Earth. She descended to the Earth on a rope with 16 other Orisâ from Orun, the abode of Olófi, and traveled throughout the world engaging with other Orisâ in preparing the world for humankind. She is the owner of the Ogùn River, the largest river within the territory of Yorùbâland, and is the counterpart of Olóòkun, who represents the unknowable bottom of the sea. In ...