Manjioca: Uma Brasilian Feminista…

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” ~Audre Lorde~

Iemanja September 13, 2008

Filed under: cultura indigena/indigenous culture — manjioca @ 4:31 pm

Iemanja was a riverine Orixa in Africa, but became associated with the Sea after the “Middle Passage” (a euphamism for the terror of the slave trade).  She is the Orixa of the phototropic ocean (as opposed to Olokun, who is the Lord of the Deep).  She is also the ultimate mother figure and the “national” Orixa of Brazil.

According to the legends, Iemanja is the mother of most of the Orixa (Aganju and Exu being two of the exceptions).  Her best known son is Xango, The King, and there are many stories about how the children came to be, and Xango’s relationship with his father, Aganju (The Old King).

Iemanja loves children.  All children.  It doesn’t much matter to her who their parents are.  She will be a mother to them.  As Oxala is considered everyone’s “father” because he created humans, Iemanja is considered everyone’s “mother” because she is the essence of motherhood.

She carries with her all the serenity of the tropical seas, as well as the power of the Typhoon.  It is very difficult to anger her.  Please don’t.  She is “terrible in her wrath”.


Seven light blue beads alternating with seven white beads, or crystal.

Colors and Day of the Week
Her most common colors are light blue and white, but clear crystal is often used.  We work with her on Saturday.

Iemanja’s Children
Iemanja children love children.  They may not have a large family but they will “mother” everyone.  They are intensely protective of their children but also highly tolerant of their childish pranks.  “Now, Now, dear.  Mustn’t set the cat on fire”.

Of all of the Orixa, Iemanja is the least likely to forgive an offense.  This may be due to her being so difficult to offend.  Her children share this characteristic.

Her children don’t just love the sea, they need it.  It is the source of their regenerative power, it seems.  When rituals are held by the sea, we keep a very close watch on the Iemanja children.  They want to be close to their mother, and may well get in over their heads – literally.

It is said that Iemanja children who maintain their obligations are completely impervious to negative magic.

Watermelon and Coca-Cola.  She is fond of anything relating to the sea, such as shells or seawater.


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