Greg explains: “The figure represents Yemaja, a Yoruba Orisha & owner of all waters, patron of fishermen and wreck survivors, and manifestation of the feminine principle of creation.” The Zombie explains further, “She is the Yoruba Goddess of the oceans and hence the mother of life itself. You could look at her as the mother of the world and her personality traits are indicative of that role … understanding, patient, loving, and nuturing.”
Some uncanny parallels with Hindu mythology here:
a) The very reason each member of the Hindu trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Siva – has a female counterpart, i.e. Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati/Uma/Shakti, is to symbolize the feminine counterpart of the cycle of life – creation, preservation and destruction. Creation, symbolized by Brahma, cannot happen without knowledge, i.e. Saraswati. Preservation, represented by Vishnu, occurs because of Lakshmi, symbolic of wealth (money, work, food, house, children). Siva the destroyer acts with energy in the form of Parvati or Shakti, in order for creation to begin anew. There is no Hindu god that is totally male or female; they reflect one another, the yin and yang of being.
b) Another tenet of Hinduism is the abhorrence of a vacuum or utter chaos. From pralaya, creation will begin anew.
c) Lastly and most interestingly, Yemaja brings to mind Mathsya, the first of the ten avatars of Vishnu, who manifested as a fish and saved mankind from a flood. Indeed, Mathsya appeared before a very Noah-like Satyavrata/Manu and said to him, “Gather up representative samples of all plants and animals and get in a boat before there’s more water up in here than you’ll know what to do with. You have six days. Go.”
Yemaja, feminine aspect of creation, Shakti, rising from the water, Mathsya, Noah … I dare you to tell me our ancestors didn’t hang out and smoke the Peace Pipe together.
Rising from the water. The rising tide. That is New Orleans itself and what this annual conference is all about – bloggers and other concerned citizens gathering on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and The Federal Flood to talk New Orleans. Register here and, if you can’t make it, please donate. As New Orleans goes, so goes the nation.