June 8th is World Oceans Day, a day the United Nations has set aside each year as a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. This year’s theme is Our Oceans, Our Future, with a conservation focus of “encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future”.
Ocean health is vital to the health of our planet, of our beautiful Mama Earth. Per the UN,
“The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate.”
For those of us who love Mama Earth and are committed to her health and vitality, every day is Earth Day and every day is World Oceans Day. Consider using this day to look for ways you can improve what you are already doing to support the health of our planet and our oceans.
And do take this occasion to honour our Oceans in a special way, with a ritual for cleansing and healing, and a blessing. And because World Oceans Day this year is so very close to the Full Moon (which arrives Friday, June 9th at 6:09 AM Pacific Time), consider bringing elements of your Full Moon ritual into this ritual… perhaps working with Yemaya in a ritual cleanse or release to the waters.
ABOUT THE RITUAL
In this ritual, we honour Yemaya (Mother of the Seas) and her sister Oshun (Mother of the Rivers), and offer a healing to the waters of our world. You can also use this ritual for cleansing the Self.
Do change up the ritual to honour any Goddess(es) of the seas or waters that resonate with you such as Aphrodite, Brigantia, Ganga… so many to choose from.
This ritual can be done at the ocean or any source of fresh water such as a lake, river, stream, pond, etc.
If you are not close to a fresh water source, fill a large bowl with the freshest water possible (such as distilled, from a spring, or simply tap water that has been left in the sun for several hours or to which you have added a handful of ocean salts). Preferably, the bowl should be large enough to either stand in or immerse your feet in. Bathtubs or foot baths are great for this!
PREPARATION FOR THE RITUAL
Prepare for this ritual to Yemaya by first collecting seven shells and seven white flowers. The number seven is special to Yemaya, representing the Seven Seas.
I believe that rituals are not “fixed” or absolute, so feel free to adapt this in your own way if these materials are not available to you. The key is to honour the intent. Do try to have at least one real shell, however, for the ritual, and make sure that whatever you are offering the ocean will not harm it in any way.
Cowrie shells are strongly associated with Yemaya, but use any small shell of your choice. If you are not in a place where wild shells can be collected, use purchased shells (ethically sourced of course) of any kind in this ritual. You could even use small stones stones.
Forage for wild white flowers such as daisy or yarrow, or any white blossom that is local for you, first asking Mama Earth and the plant for permission. Alternatively, you could purchase white blossoms from a florist or pick from your garden. And because both blue and white are the colours associated with Yemaya, you could even mix it up a little with the colours.
Go to the sea, river or other location (unless you are doing this at home) with your shells and flowers, and any other sacred objects that support you in your rituals.
Centre and breathe deeply, connecting to your Wise Inner Self. Meditate first on your intention for this ritual, such as what you want to share with the Oceans, and — if also using this as a cleansing ritual for your Self (so perfect for the Full Moon) — reflect on what you want to release to the Oceans.
Stand in the water, making a connection with the seas and rivers. As you stand in the water, no matter the source, you are connecting to all water.
Call on all your Ancestors, spirit guides, and any other deities and allies. Call to Yemaya (Mother of the Salt Waters) and Oshun (Mother of the Fresh Waters), and any other goddesses of the waters that are important to you.
Holding the shells in your palms, call to the Ancestors of the shells…. to their ancient DNA from the time when the Oceans were pure, teeming with marine life, unpolluted, in balance, and flowing with ease. Call out to these Ancestors and ask them to remember that time of balance and flow in the past and to bring it to our present and future so that the Oceans can be healed again. As you physically connect with the shells, listen to their message. Perhaps they have a blessing for the Sea or wisdom for you as to how you can continue to honour Mama Earth and Lady Ocean.
Immerse the shells in the water to bring the ancient healthy energetic patterns to all our world waters, saying something like:
“Yemaya / Goddess, I bring you these shells and their ancient energy to heal you, to restore your energy and to heal the damage we have done to you.”
Leave the shells as an offering for the seas. If doing this at home, add them to your altar in a small bowl of water (infused with salts) until the next Full Moon has passed.
Holding the seven flowers in your palms, call out to Yemaya, Oshun or other water goddesses. Thank them for the fertility and life they have brought us, for the fresh water that nourishes and cleanses all living things in our world and for the air that fills our lungs. Ask the Goddess(es) for her blessing and a cleansing of all you wish to release. Stand in the water… feel it moving across your feet and ankles…. the coolness… feeling all you wish to release leaving your body and given to the waters for healing.
As you lovingly release the flowers to the water, thank Yemaya — or your Goddess(es) — with a simple affirmation such as
“Yemaya, I offer you these flowers to thank you for your love, protection and healing. I thank you for the waters and air that nourish and sustain our lives.”
Completion and Gratitude
While still standing in the water, take a moment to connect with the wisdom of the Oceans and the Goddess(es) of the waters and reflect on how grateful you are for what they give us. Listen for any messages or wisdom they are sharing with you.
When complete, give your thanks to the oceans, to all waters on our planet, to Yemaya and Oshun, and to your Goddesses, Ancestors, and allies.
When you return to the land, note your experiences, thoughts and wisdom gained in your journal for further use in your Soul Work for this month and for your Full Moon rituals.