Yemanya, Lilies and Gay Love

collage 2014

It’s been a bit of a rough week. Let’s just say I’ll be glad when the PMS is over. But it’s not just that. The past few weeks it seems like I’ve been letting little things get to me too much, throwing me off, putting me in a negative spiral. This morning I was feeling at a loss after pretty much losing it emotionally yesterday. So I was trying to figure out how to leave the house this morning and face the work day. I wanted some clue about how to calm my jagged emotions and live with more gratitude and peace. Now, damnit! Nothing. “Please help me,” I thought, not knowing to whom I was addressing the plea.

Then I caught a glimpse of the 2014 collage I’d made on New Year’s Day, hanging above my altar. I thought – that was so recently, what happened to all the hope and joy I put into that? But I still wasn’t feeling it. Then I saw the Yemanya card I had sitting on my altar, and noticed similarities – in the pose of the figures, and the composition of the pictures. I had made the collage before buying the goddess cards and only just now was noticing the resemblance. It was small, but it felt like a sign for me to remember the divine inside me. I took a breath and felt a smile come across my face.

Feeling just enough reassurance to venture out into the world, I made my way my truck parked on the street. As soon as I opened the door, I saw my leather glove on the floor. It had been a gift from my Mom, which I thought I’d lost for good the night before. Another small opportunity for gratitude. Again I smiled. Then I turned on the car, and heard my current favorite song on the radio starting up: Same Love. “Okay,” I thought, “I get it! Thank you, Goddess, or universe, or myself, or whatever – for hearing my plea.”

So even though I still haven’t found out as much as I want to about Yemanya (I did get a book on Orisa worship out of the library this week), I think that being conscious of a particular personification of the divine feminine has helped focus me – when I’ve taken the time to notice. Looking into Yemanya has also, interestingly, pointed me back to some of my own spiritual roots for reexamination. I turned some of my musings into the following poem. As I keep exploring different traditions, the message for me keeps being one of opening to peace and joy, and letting go of worry and fear – something I’ll probably have to keep learning over and over again.

Consider the Lilies
Saturday mornings I vacuumed
the green carpeted floor
not knowing Jesus had said
to my mother of all people
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious
and troubled about many things!”

at church camp the devil said “cha-ching
with each new soul achieved
so they shepherded us
to salvation
around the vespers fire:
I wanted to be among the standing

twenty years later
I wonder why
I look for god’s love in others
but withhold affection
from the little girl self that paused
by the campfire’s glow

I try on goddesses like my mother’s high heels
and tip toe into cultures I don’t know
Yemanya grabs me
mermaid mother of high seas
and pulls me under
forces me to see

a vision from my own past:
a field of rich green grasses
white lilies bobbing
as Solomon surrenders
to their beauty
and I no longer toil

but sputter to the surface
and breathe full moon in Cancer
coaxing in the waves
looking for the return
it’s time to swaddle myself
as two pelicans barnstorm the tide

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