Heart of Yemalla 101: How we got our name


Let’s dive in.

Heart of Yemalla got its name from the inspiration of the Orisha (goddess) associated with water, the moon and the feminine mystique.  Her name is Yemoja.  She is the mother of all Orishas, originating from Yoruba religion in West Africa.  She is severely protective and slow to anger, but if rage pierces her mother-heart, her wrath is wild and violent.

Yemoja is a contraction of two Yoruba words – “yeye” meaning “mother” and “ẹja” meaning “fish.”  The rough translation: The mother whose children are like fish.  Often, because of her association with water and fish, Yemoja can be found in art depicted as a mermaid.

Question:  How did we get to Yemalla?

Answer:  Oral tradition.

Oral tradition has a long history in African and African American cultures, even in various religions.  Based upon different global regions, Yemoja has taken on various names. These are derivatives no doubt based upon local dialects and languages throughout the diaspora.

In Western Africa she is known as: Yemọja, Iyemọja, Yemọnja, Iyemọnja, Ymoja, Yemowa

In Brazil she is known as: Yemanjá, Iemajá, Iemanjá, Janaína, Mãe da Água

In Cuba she is: Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya

In the US she is: Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja

There are some other variations in other regions, but you get the point.

Heart of Yemalla is, as its name suggests, inspired by the essence of this Orisha, her strength, her love, her protection and confidence.  Her heart.  As we move forward in the years to come (and we hope there are many) I hope that our team never loses sight of our mission to embody her spirit in all that we do through the company.  I hope that through us she may reveal her heart to you.

Enjoy the rest of your week.