Yemọja (Yoruba: Yemanjá) was considered the mother of all Orishas and the goddess of the living ocean in African mythology. She was motherly, strongly protective and cared deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She was said to be able to cure infertility in women, with cowrie shells representing her wealth. She didn’t easily lose her temper, but when angered she could be quite destructive and violent, unleashing the flood waters from turbulent rivers. Yemọja was also depicted as a mermaid and heavily associated with the moon (in some Diaspora communities), water, and feminine mysteries. She governed everything pertaining to women; parenting, child safety, love, and healing. According to myth, when her waters broke, it caused a great flood creating rivers and streams and that the first mortal humans were created from her womb. To this day she is still considered the patron spirit of rivers, particularly the Ogun River in Nigeria; and oceans in Cuban and Brazilian orisa religions.
(Georges Hobeika Fall 2018 Haute Couture Collection)