“Ayizan’s themes are pleasure, playfulness and divination. Her symbols are palm leaves. Ayizan is the first priestess of voodoo tradition, governing the public places where people gather to celebrate the Goddess. As such, she oversees the Mardi Gras exuberant revelry, offering psychic insight and protective energy to keep us out of trouble. According to tradition, Ayizan is the moral governess of humankind, helping us to balance our desire for pleasure with culpability.
Combine Ayizan’s psychic side with a traditional Mardi Gras activity: fortune-telling! And since it’s unlikely that you have a palm leaf handy, use your own palm for divination instead. Get a palmistry guidebook (these are often handy at the supermarket checkout) and see what future your hand predicts.
Mardi Gras is traditionally a time of unbridled fun before the serious Lenten season begins – so much so that the festivities are overseen by a lady and lord of misrule, who make sure folks really let loose. One activity in particular inspires Ayizan’s energies – that of dancing and tossing grain so that pleasure rains down on all participants. This also banishes evil. Try this yourself, tossing rice or any grain-based cereal around the outside of your home. Then the birds can carry your wishes directly to Ayizan in their beaks!”
(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)
She is a racine, or root Loa, associated with Vodoun rites of initiation (called kanzo). Just as Her husband Loko Atisou is the archetypal Houngan (priest), Ayizan is regarded as the first, or archetypal Mambo (priestess), and as such is also associated with priestly knowledge and mysteries, particularly those of initiation, and the natural world.
As the spiritual parents of the priesthood She and Her husband are two of the Loa involved in the kanzo rites in which the Priest/ess-to-be is given the asson (sacred rattle and tool of the priesthood), and are both powerful guardians of “reglemen,” or the correct and appropriate form of Vodoun service.
“Her veve is comprise of her initials, the A€ and the V intersecting across each other. The veve is sometimes further decorated with stars and whirls to imitate the royal palm frond, shredded and worn by every initiate of Vodou.
Chromolithographs of Christ, usually Christ being baptized by St. John are used in association with Ayizan. Her symbol is the royal palm branch, frayed and covering Her face. Offer Her palm fronds, yams, dirt from a market cross road and water.”