Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Yewa is the preferred child of Olofi. She was the last virgin living in the castle of Olofi. She maintained the garden where Olofi had all of his beautiful and rare flowers. Yewa is represented by beauty and grace as she was the favorite flower of Olofi. Yewa is associated with death or the final resting place when someone is laid to rest. She is the orisha that watched the decay of the cadaver while in the hole. She entrusts the body of the cadaver back to the earth with the aide of her messengers, the maggets. She lives inside the cemetery with the Obba, Oya and Oduduwa. It is said that Yewa walks the entire cemetery and watches all and every tombstone that is present making record of it. She walks slowly and gracefully making sure she does not miss one tomb.
Pataki on Yewa
Yewa was tending the garden and the mischievous Elegua was watching her from outside of the gate. Elegua who knew all, knew that she was the last and only virgin in the kingdom of Olofi. One day Elegua was with Chango having some drinks and they began to converse and make jokes. Elegua listening to Chango bragging about how he has had every female in the kingdom of Olofi. Elegua laughed and giggled. Chango asked him why was he laughing and Elegua told him that there was one female that was the most and last virgin of the land. Chango told Elegua to take him immediately to where this female is at. Elegua took Chango to Olofi's castle, and they both sat hidden by the gate and watched the beautiful Yewa tend to the garden. Chango jumped the gate looking both ways to make sure Olofi was no where to be seen. Chango called Yewa and she did not dare to look at him due to that she was prohibited to look at any man. After Chango's temptation Yewa slowly gazed upon him and was in a trance. Chango took Yewa and they both made love due to Olofi's request from Yewa.
Months passed by and Yewa found out that she was pregnant due to morning sickness and the growth of her stomach that contained a life. Yewa was embarrassed and shameful of what her father would say. Yewa sat on a rock and reached deep into her womb and grabbed out the fetus in which she burried near the castle.
Olofi called Yewa to the garden after some months where he was asking her about the beautiful flowers that was in the garden. Yewa told her father on the new growth of flowers and the ones that died and shrivel up that she had to rip out of the land to give life to the new ones. Olofi looked at Yewa and asked her what did she do with all of the old flowers that she threw out. She told him that she threw them away. Olofi who knows all asked her what did she do with the flower that was blooming inside of her. Yewa shocked, broke down and cried to Olofi to forgive her. She told him how she was wrapped up in how Chango looked and seduced her with his eyes. After being ashamed of letting her father down, Yewa requested that he send her somewhere that she can never look at another man. Olofi heart broken granted her wish and sent her to the cemetery to live with her sisters Oya and Obba.
There Olofi told Yewa that since she did not want to look at the eyes of another man, she will be the Orisha that will consume the body once they are in the ground. Since a cadaver begins to rot and the eyes are nothing but a socket, Yewa starts to consume the body to give it back to the earth. There Yewa lives and tends to the gardens of the dead.
From that day Yewa can not stand to see the prescence of Chango.
Yewa’s feast day is October 30th. She takes 2 irukès (horsetails) that she uses to clean herself and the dead.
Yewa colors are burgandy and pink and she lives in a basket covered with those color fabrics adorned with multiple cowrie shells. She lives in the house of the priest locked away far from the orishas especially Chango. Her implements range from tools that are needed to work in a cemetery to implements that has to deal with death. She takes other tools but those secrets can not be revealed. Unborn children are known to be protected by her she is very mysterious and likes to keep to herself.
Very seldom someone comes out to be a child of Yewa. Back in the land of Africa, Yewa was initiated on the heads of her children, but when she crossed over and came to the New World her secrets were lost. These followers of her refrained from anything sexual. There's only a handful of knowledgeable priests that know of her secrets. To crown her, we do Oshun oro Yewa, Her children usualy are celibate people and do not like noise. They are very quiet and reserved indiviuals. Yewa does not like the smell of anything sexual in front of her or near her vessel. A priest must be clean inside and outside in order to work or to even talk to this orisha. She likes absolute silence and does not like bad words spoken in the house where she dwells.