Like most of us, when I was in my mid-teens to early twenties I didn’t understand much about myself. What’s worse, in my case, is that I have always been overly empathetic. It comes easy to me to assess the emotional state of others, and to not only know how they feel but able to understand why. This was an issue because as it got easier to share other people’s feelings, it became harder to understand mine. I could relate to others better than to myself.
As Queen of the Cemetery, Oya guards the gate between the living and the dead. She does not live in the cemetery; think of her role here as a kind of ‘day job’. She stands at the gates, ensuring the boundaries between birth, death, and rebirth are respected, and that every soul is accounted for. As she is the Goddess of Wind, it is said the first breath of life we take and the last breath we give belong to Oya.
Her influence isn’t just about the carnal acts, but the entire experience. The romance of holding another’s hand, of couch cuddling and hot chocolate; the sweet taste of another’s mouth, the smell of perfume and pheromones. The feeling that swells in us when we are inspired by art, our infatuation with a beautiful song or affecting novel, the light and shadow playing across your skin as you watch the sun set… All these experiences are Aphrodite’s gifts.
Yemaya is the personification of a mother’s love, and represents the ideal of divine motherhood. Gentle, nurturing, and protective, she is the unconditional, all-encompassing love that a parent has for their child. She appears in our lives as the loving, nurturing mother who listens to our troubles, soothes our sorrows, and guides us to becoming whole and complete.