Yeggua; Yeguá; Ewá



Yewá is a shadowy, mysterious, reclusive orisha. Yewá resides in the graveyard where she works in close partnership with her sister, Oya, the Cemetery Queen. Yewá is Queen of Cadavers, which she guards from time of death through funeral rites and burial, when she delivers them over to Oya. Oya may allow time for Yewá to consume corpses or otherwise preside over the reduction to skeletons at which time Oya takes over.

Yewá didn’t always live in the cemetery. She was originally a marine orisha, Olokun’s most beautiful daughter, ruler of lagoons together with Olosa. She was venerated within a cave that could only be reached by swimming across the lagoon.

Legend has it that when Yewá was still a very young virgin girl, Shango, that womanizer, secretly seduced her. She conceived. Boromu (or another sharp-eyed orisha, depending on the version of the myth) persuaded her to drink an herbal potion causing her to abort. Devastated and overwhelmed by her experiences, which she bore alone, Yewá buried the fetus beneath a tree and exiled herself to the cemetery, the realm of death.

Either before or after she ran away, Boromu went to Olokun to report the events. He brought Olokun to the tree where the remains were unearthed. (The child, named Borosia, resurrected at least in spirit, now serves as a guard of Olokun’s court.) Boromu may or may not now be Yewá’s husband (and whether he always loved her, hence his actions, or whether this was an arranged marriage to salvage her reputation is subject to debate).

Yewá is a severe orisha. In Africa, her devotees were obliged to be celibate. She was attended by eunuchs under the supervision of Logunedé. Although her Western Hemisphere restrictions may be somewhat looser, she still loathes promiscuity and any kind of sexual banter or humor. She doesn’t like explicit discussion of sex, and she doesn’t like innuendo either. She hates any kind of vulgarity and strongly disapproves of foul language and cursing. Don’t indulge in it anywhere near her altar. (And if you can’t resist, then she’s not your goddess.) One must always be fully dressed when in her presence.

• She is syncretized to the Black Madonna of Montserrat.


She has a regal, queen-like bearing.

Elements: Water, earth


Pink, scarlet

Numbers: 7, 9, 11

Creatures: Doves, owls, goats

Day: Friday

Plant: Turnea ulmifolia (yellow alder or marilope), Phyllanthus augustifolia (Panatela)


Offer her the most fragrant flowers (to cover up the stench of the corpses she now guards). Don’t get her just one pink rose or carnation: get lots to maximize their fragrance.


Boromu; Logunedé; Olokun; Olosa; Orisha; Oya; Shango;Yemaya


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.