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Guidance from a Goddess

As life changes course, often without warning, society treads innumerable paths. Leave it to the mother of all living things to set us straight in the enchanting land of the unknown. Yemaya, the Yoruba goddess and Mother of All, welcomes you to explore your path in this vibrant, multi-day sensory experience. It all begins with a lively opening ceremony where guests praise the goddess, honor the the Dja Dja Warrung Clan as the traditional owners of the land, purge their spirits and bless the incoming days with positive, familial vibes.

Go With the Flow

The Yemaya Festival comes alive with artistic possibilities as animated as its devoted community. Taking place along the Loddon River in Fernihurst, Victoria, guests are given a wide-open landscape to test the waters for the purposes of self-exploration. Immediately upon arrival, people are immersed in a wildly colorful environment that seems to be under a spell of sorts. The scene pops with a playful mix of psychedelic décor, mesmerizing patterns, warm lighting and a family of imaginative participants who are wonderfully free.

The journey is punctuated with a wondrous collection of local and international electronic acts on the main stage—a.k.a. the Yemaya Stage. The tracks ignite the festival with an energy that inspires everyone to guide their physical movements according to the pulsing rhythms. Guests are encouraged to let loose and freely express themselves like water's shape-shifting properties. The Ashaba Temple is another musical endeavor that symbolizes personal transformation. It follows a day-and-night-type of cycle with upbeat tracks during the day and serene, mind-bending sounds once the sun sets.

Self-exploration is hardly productive if you're just a fly on the wall. Because water requires the bonding of molecules to maintain its shape and move, Yemaya Festival encourages total collaboration to foster community. One of the best ways to immerse yourself is to participate in the performing and visual arts. The Performers Hub takes advantage of Fernihurst's open space to let guests add a spark to the music. Pitch-black spaces are illuminated by a medley of kaleidoscopic objects that guests toss and twirl in the air. Guests can even create their own music by jamming the night away with anyone else looking to pick up an instrument.

Creative impulses are further unleashed at the Creation Station. Flooded with arts and crafts supplies, the station is conducive to the simplest ideas snowballing into treasured masterworks. Live art installations, music performances and other activities tend to happen spontaneously, but active participation from the community lets it all come to fruition.

"Mother Whose Children Are Like Fish"

Those not up to speed with Yemaya will benefit from a crash-course in Yoruba mythology. Yemaya — other cultural variations including YemoÌ©ja, Yemanjá, etc. — is a motherly figure who is worshiped by the Yoruba people in a multitude of countries, particularly in West Africa. She is said to reign over the Ogun River, a waterway that connects Nigeria's Ogun State and Lagos State. However, it's very common to see followers conduct worship at a variety of rivers, springs and seas. Yemaya's beauty is complete with a mermaid's tail that enables her to travel across any body of water she desires.

So, what does a deity with fins and maternal instincts have to do with enjoying yourself at a festival? Yemaya's name comes from the Yoruba phrase lye omo eja, which translates to "mother whose children are like fish." As the mother of all living things, she works nonstop to ensure her young'uns are thriving in a world that evolves frequently. The whole family moves as one like a river that's in a constant state of motion, adapting to every change along the way. Yemaya Festival is a bonding experience that relies on regular participation in a collaborative environment. Even if you're an inartistic guppy riddled with social anxiety, the community cherishes unconditional love.

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