Throughout the ages, the sea was always seen as mysterious, a gateway to the divine. Here is a collection of sea gods and goddesses that are still being worshipped around the world.
Mazu appears as a young girl with red robes who rescues people from storms by the power of her prayer. She is worshipped by fishermen and immigrants, and is one of the few gods with an actual tomb on Nankan Island just off mainland China.
The Indian god of the sea Varuna lives in a celestial ocean in which every star is his spy, watching the deeds of folks down below. In a ritual known as the 'Varuna Yajna', followers of Varuna stand neck-deep in buckets of water and invoke the deity for peace and prosperity.
Japanese religion is rich with gods and spirits, so it’s no wonder that there are two gods in charge of the seas: Susanoo is the god of ocean storms, while Ryujin, who appears as a dragon, carries magical jewels that control the tides.
The Inuit goddess of the polar seas, when Sedna was born she was so hungry that she gnawed off one of her father’s arms. He then cut off her fingers, which later became the seals, whales and walruses of this world. They still obey her as fingers obey a hand.
Yemaya is the goddess of the sea in a number of Carribean and South American folk religions. In the Afro-American Yoruba faith, she protects pregnant women and those who sail the sea. The name ‘Yemaya’ is a contraction of the words ‘Yeye emo eja’: ‘Mother whose children are like fish’.
Dakuwaqa assumes one of the coolest forms any god can take - that of a shark. Despite his appearance, Dakuwaqa is not evil, he protects seafarers from danger. Although most of Fiji has been converted to Christianity, underground belief in Dakuwaqa lives on. Fijian sailors still pour 'kava' into the sea to ward off sharks and appease Dakuwaqa.