Allow me to respond and hopefully, help you out. I am an initiated preist in the Afro-Cuban Lukumi tradition, therefore, I have Yemaya in my house.
First thing - the real deal basics: (and this applies pretty much to all branches of ATR’s - Isese, Vodun, Lukumi, Palo, etc.)
- First, learn about the culture/religion that these spirits come from. Basic info is readily available with a little effort into research.(names, aspects in nature,colors, numbers, foods)
That way, you will soon be able to sift through the internet crap vs legit.
- Be willing to step outside of your western Euro-centric mindset and go beyond limiting terminology, etc. There are so many contradictions, variations,similarities, and methods it will bake your noodle trying to reconcile them all.
- Yes - a non-initiate can make a prayer and simple offering to an Orisha like Yemaya for help and support. You should make every effort to do this in their place in nature. e.g. the Ocean. If not possible OK, but if you have that ability and don’t for convenience, expect a lesser degree of efficacy. The relationship is about sacrifice and blessings. You can light a candle, make a prayer, give an offering only. You cannot make a REAL “altar”. You cannot do REAL “work”… e.g. Make Ebbo or divine or anything for anyone else.
- In order to expect any guarantee of efficacy, that is when you need to either be initiated, or go to someone who is to work on your behalf. You need to be initiated and have received their sacred implements / vessel…that is the altar! You will need that in order to truly clean, bless, pray, ask, divine (communicate directly),offer, feed, birth, etc. anything for anyone.
Now - on to Yemaya:
As an Orisha, Yemaya is the mother of the world. In Nigeria, she was an orisha of a river. In Lukumi, she became the orisha of the ocean. (One of those contradictions mentioned) As the owner of the seas, she is very rich, powerful and is the EPITOMY OF MATERNITY. Her name means “mother of the fishes”. Generally speaking, as their are several paths or aspects which vary, her colors are blue and white / crystal. Her number is 7 (Odi). She likes many things but cane syrup, watermelon are acceptable offerings.
So - for you an example would be. You can’t get to the ocean, you can go to the pet store and purchase some beach sand, or online purchase, or whatever…point is you are simulating going to the beach at the edge of the ocean. Make a mound of the sand. Place a large blue plate with a small watermelon on it. Cut the top off the watermelon and stick a lighted blue 7 day glass candle in the middle. Put 7 pennies around the candle and pour some cane syrup on top of the whole thing. Everyday at the same time for 7 days, make your prayer to Yemaya asking her for what you want. After 7 days, throw it all in the trash, but if you can get to a river that flows to the sea, throw the melon and coins in the river and let Ochun take it to her. Note the environmental responsibilty of not throwing the plate into anything but the trash…better yet, wash it and use it for next time!
Hope that helps.
Also - Aphrodite would be more like Ochun as the epitomy of female sexuality.