Yewa’s Pink

You might think that Yewa’s primary colour is cute and girly, it is for many of us in the west but in Yoruba culture and religion colours are described and categorised differently than how many of us were taught. Pink belongs to the pupa or red family, the colour of life and vibrancy. Furthermore, many orishas in the Lukumi tradition of orisha worship that incorporate pink into their bead patterns and clothing have a connection to the earth. Pink can be thought of as one that denotes the primordial Earth, untouched. Oro-Iña, Aganju’s father has a necklace of pink beads. Orissa Oko, fertile land dresses in pink (for the earth) and blue (connection with Yemaya). Oba is sometimes adorned with pink – she owns the hole in the ground where our bodies will be buried, earth unused for any other purpose than our resting space. Yewa represents the mud and clay which can be used to mould human forms by Obatala, or grown flowers. Pink is an attribute of Yewa’s capability of regeneration and growth. It is also a warning sign, much like those brightly coloured insects that allowswould-be predators know to not try and make a meal out of them. Yewa’s pink – to the untrained eye – may appear sweetness and light, but she knows where on earth one can tread and not sink, where one can find sustenance from the earth’s vegetal bounty, and where to worship our family who have returned to the land. Yews’s attributes are sequestered behind many of layers, of cloth, in baskets, below heavily beaded implements as she wants you to get on with living, to be a part of this world and, when your own time comes to join the ancestors, a long time in the future, she will help guide you on your next step of the journey.

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