Mambo La Sirene
La Sirene is the wife of Met Agwe. She owns a beautiful palace beneath the seas and is a Lwa of wealth. She owns all the riches of the seas. All those pearls, sunken treasure ships, coral, are just a few of the treasures she owns. LaSirene is sometimes referred to as Mambo LaSirene.
She can often be seen sitting on the edge of a large rock, in the sea, combing her long beautiful black hair and looking at herself in the mirror. In fact, LaSirene is the ruler of vanity, as she herself loves to look at herself. She is a very beautiful mermaid, a siren. She rules over the musical arts too. LaSirene is very enchanting and can sometimes lure people into the depths of her waters.
The image that corresponds to LaSirene is La Diosa Del Mar. She is indeed, often seen in the same light. She is queen of the seas and rules the power of it. She is a tireless Lwa, just as the sea is restless, and is a wonderful “lwa travay” or work Lwa.
She rules the moon too. She is an elegant, beautiful woman. As her role of siren, she is a temptress. LaSirene has the ability to hypnotize people with her beauty. Many say that she is thus deceptive. She rules over dreams and can often be seen there.
She can bestow great wealth and beauty upon her children and servants. But be sure to serve her well, or she will take it all away. She drowns people as punishment too.
LaSirene is also known by another praise name, LaBalen. La Balen is the whale. This name refers to the things that lie on the bottom of the sea. Someone possessed by La Sirene may indeed imitate a whale laying on the ground, waving its fins.
People possessed by La Sirene usually have a hard time walking. This being of course because La Sirene is a mermaid and has a fin instead of legs. Hounsis often interlock their arms with that of La Sirene and swing her around. They will also lead her around the peristyle like this.
LaSirene also finds it hard to breathe just air for long periods of time. This is the reason behind why people will douse someone possessed by her with water. Sometimes, the Lwa will pick up buckets and dump them over herself. Some peristyles have small pools for La Sirene and other lwa to swim in when they make an appearance.
La Sirene is a Rada Lwa, but she does have a Petro aspect. The rhythms of one of La Sirene’s most popular songs, if not the most popular, are Kongo. Again, the Kongo nation is usually honored during the Petro rite, but this song is sung during the Rada rite in La Sirene’s service.
La Sirene has also been known to take people under the water. In this underwater realm, the person will learn spiritual secrets and magick. When the person returns from their visit, he or she will invariably have lighter skin and longer, straighter hair. In this sense, they will somewhat change to take upon the attributes (as far as the look) of La Sirene.
For the reason above, people who are possessed by her at the beach are not allowed to enter the waters. This holds especially true for Houngans and Mambos, who are not to have their heads ever fully submersed underwater again. The fear is that an aquatic spirit, such as La Sirene, will possess them and swim away with them. In the rare occasion that La Sirene gets in the water at the beach, the person possessed will be watched carefully and monitored, and initiates present will also try to entice the Lwa - in the person’s body - to come out of the water.
You can serve La Sirene with many of the foods that are served Met Agwe. She likes:
- white rum
- melon liqueur
- white cakes trimmed in blue
She also carries a trumpet. Her colors are pale blue and white. You can give her the gift of a mirror and comb too.
YEMAYA, YEMONJA, YEMANYA, IEMONJA
"…Orunmila, who, during a time when the water orisa were said to be angry with men, was informed in a dream to go to the ocean shore and offer sacrifice. Others had been afraid to approach the awesome angry ocean energy, but Orunmila did as instructed. After he had offered sacrifice, a huge wind began to whip the ocean in to mountainous waves. Suddenly one wave, so huge that it blotted out the sky and sun, rose directly in front of Orunmila. He was afraid that he would be swept away to his death by it. Instead of sweeping him away, however, the wave hovered directly over his head and then seemed to settle gently to the shore at his feet. As the water receded back in to the ocean, Orunmila looked down to see mounds of pearls and precious stones left by the water. Once again, the orisa had been appeased and humankind had been rewarded." One transcendental theme carried from the Ifa religion throughout Cuba, Brazil and the New World is the personification of African gods. Each orisha has unique characteristics, both good and bad, that manifest in human life. The aforementioned story illustrates the deep, powerful anger of Olukun offset by the caring and generous attitude of Yemonja. Those individuals who associate with Yemonja/Olukun exhibit these characteristics. Some other characteristics associated with Yemonja/Olukun are:
- love for children
- a very strong temper which is slow to erupt
- a sincere caring feeling for others
- ability to see other perspectives
- very domestic
- very protective of offspring
- attraction for streams, oceans, and lakes
- able to forgive easily
- a calm attitude
- money comes easily and without worry
- emotional well being is most important
- very caring and comforting
- a quiet sense of sensuality
By exploring Yemaya’s symbol as the ocean we notice these characteristics. The tides represent Yemaya desires to protect and nurture all her children, by rocking the world as if it were a cradle. The tides demonstrate that Yemaya is “sometimes still, sometimes violent.” Since Yemaya is considered the greatest mother there is no surprise that she is very sexual. The motion of the tides is reflective of her seductive hips which she moves side to side. In many cases she is portrayed as having large buttocks and healthy hips. This duality of beauty and destructive power illustrates the widely held view that Yemaya represents the dynamic play of opposites. Yemaya is very moody and protective. Since nothing can resist water she is also respected for her strength. Yemaya drowns those who hurt her children.
Besides the fish, peacocks with their beautiful blue iridescent feathers and ducks also represent Yemaya. Blue is her color and those who worship Yemaya wear a necklace of clear and blue beads. In addition to a necklace, those who worship Yemaya wear a blue dress complete with seven layers to represent the seven seas. In a Yemaya ceremony everyone dances in a circle and the altar is in the form of a circle. A circle represents the eternal cycle of life. Both the half moon and a star are symbols of Yemaya to show that her beauty can’t be represented by just one heavenly body. Since Yemaya is very vain, she appreciates jewelry, perfume, and flowers. Anything that come from the sea is a symbol of Yemaya. It is said that her axé, her energy comes through rocks and shells from the sea.