An Orisha is a spirit that reflects one of the manifestations of God in Africa's Yoruba religion. Many Orishas have found their way throughout the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santeria, Candomble, Trinidad Orisha, and Oyotunji.
Yemaya is at first believed to appear as a river goddess of the Yoruba in Nigeria. She is a nature spirit or an Orishas, which is a powerful guardian spirit that reflects an important aspect of the God of the Ife religion. When Yoruba people were hoarded and brought onto the slave ships as captives, they brought Yemaya with them, therefore becoming the Goddess of the Ocean. She is often depicted as a mermaid or simply a beautiful woman standing amidst the waves, and she brings comfort and inspiration to the people who are taken far away from their homelands. She represents the essence of motherhood, and she is worshipped in many countries such as Brazil and Haiti and has various forms and cultural references around the world.