Tag Archive: vodou


Goddess Erzulie

"Erzulie Mansur-Loa of Love" by NMEZero

“Erzulie’s themes are prosperity, abundance, and love.  Her symbol is the color blue. This Haitian love Goddess extends Her beneficent spring like energy whenever we need it, especially when our pockets or hearts are empty. When life gets out of kilter, petitioning Erzulie sets everything back on track, slowly but surely. Blue is Erzulie’s sacred color, and She is sometimes called ‘the loving one’.

Use peppercorns somehow, of course! The Peppercorn Ceremony began in 1816 when the mayor of Bermuda was given use of the state house for the annual rent of one peppercorn. This rent must be delivered annually, and with all due pageantry, to preserve the island’s prosperity beneath Erzulie’s watchful graze. For us this might translate into eating a peppercorn dressing on a green salad (lettuce represents money) to internalize financial abundance, or keeping a peppercorn in your wallet to safeguard your money and its flow.

Definitely wear blue today to catch Erzulie’s attention, and add  blue foods to your diet – blueberries, blue juice drink, or even blue colored water.

You can also encourage Erzulie’s blessing through selfless actions. Give a friend a hug, pamper your pets, take the kids out for some quality time, and remember to kiss your partner goodbye in the morning. You’ll feel better and find your heart naturally filling with Erzulie’s love.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Erzulie" by Stephen Hamilton

Erzulie, or Ezili, is the Vodou Lwa (spirit or Goddess) of love and women. She has many forms, from coquette to fierce warrior mother to red-eyed weeping crone, and can be counted among either the Rada or Petwo lwa (spirits or gods). The Petwo rites arose in the New World during slavery, and Petwo lwa are characteristically dark and powerful, and called bitter (anme). Erzulie is a love Goddess who developed during a time when slave owners broke up families and separated husbands and wives at will, and considered raping female slaves a pleasant way to produce more slaves.

Erzulie manifests deep, deep passion, and Her moods can range from the height of joy to the depths of misery–when She mounts (spiritually possesses) a follower she or he goes from coquettish and seductive to crying her or himself to sleep, weeping for the limitations of love. There are numerous sister forms of Erzulie, and She is sometimes considered a triple Goddess. As such She has three husbands–Damballah (the sky god), Agwe (the sea god), and Ogoun (a god of fire and iron), and She wears three wedding bands. Offerings to Erzulie are all the sweet things She loves–perfume, sweet food, and desserts such as bananas fried in sugar.” [1]

According to the Mystic Voodoo website, “In the Voodoo Pantheon, there is an important group of female loa (Goddesses) whose first name is Erzulie. While all of them share in their role as Goddess of love, art, and sex, each has additional areas of life which is theirs to defend and assist. Erzulie is three in aspect:  She can be Erzulie Freda, a virgin Goddess likened to the Virgin Mary; Erzulie Dantor,  loa of jealousy and passion; or La Siren, a personification of the sea and Goddess of motherhood.  Her color is pink, Her animal a white dove. She is associated with the Lukumi Orisha Oshun, and sometimes Chango (as Erzulie Dantor).

Erzulie Dantor

"Erzulie Dantor" by Christy Freeman

Erzulie Dantor is the Voodoo Goddess of love, romance, art, jealousy, passion, & sex. Erzulie Dantor is the patron loa of lesbian women, fierce protector of women experiencing domestic violence and patron loa of New Orleans. Beauty, love, and sensuality are Her Creations. Emotions are what link Her to the endless reservoir of universal creativity. Erzulie Dantor offers to you protection and possibilities beyond the imagination.  Erzulie Dantor is a mulatto woman who is often portrayed as the Black Madonna, or the Roman Catholic “Saint Barbara Africana”. She has tribal scars on Her cheek, and is considered heterosexual because She has children, but She is also the patron loa of lesbian women. Thus, She loves women fiercely, and will defend them to the death. She loves knives and is considered the protector of newly consecrated Voodoo priests and priestesses, as well as of women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and women who have been betrayed by a lover.

She is highly respected and much feared due to Her Woman Power. Most Haitian women serve Dantor, and She is also the patron loa of New Orleans and so She is served by many there as well. She also supports independent business women and is the patron of women’s finances. Many women invoked Erzulie Dantor against their partners (male or female) should they become violent. And enlightened men also serve Dantor, especially men who honor, love and respect women.” [2]

“A common syncretic depiction of Erzulie Dantor is St. Jeanne D’Arc, who is displayed carrying or supporting a sword. Another is as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, as She is represented as being dark-skinned. Her colors are red, gold and navy blue. Her symbols are a pierced heart and knives or swords. Her favorite sacrifices include black pigs, griot (seasoned fried pork), and rum.” [3]

Erzulie Fréda

"Erzulie Freda" by Shelley Hakonson

“Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the spirit of love, beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury, and flowers. She wears three wedding rings, one for each husband – Damballa, Agwe and Ogoun. Her symbol is a heart, Her colors are pink, blue, white and gold, and Her favorite sacrifices include jewelry, perfume, sweet cakes and liqueurs. Coquettish and very fond of beauty and finery, Erzulie Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet She also has a darker side; She is seen as jealous and spoiled and within some vodoun circles is considered to be lazy. When She mounts a serviteur She flirts with all the men, and treats all the women as rivals.

In Christian iconography She is often identified with the Mater Dolorosa. She is conceived of as never able to attain Her heart’s most fervent desire. For this reason She always leaves a service in tears. Her syncretic iconographical depiction is usually based on that of the Virgin and Child, because She is the mother of Ti. Common syncretizations include Our Lady of Lourdes because She is usually depicted as light-skinned.” [4]

Erzulie Freda Altar Poster

According to the Sosyete du Marche, Inc. (an American Vodou House in Pennsylvania), “Erzulie Freda is the sister of Ezili Dantor, and Her opposite in every way.  Where Dantor is a hard working single mother, Freda is a glamor girl.  The mistress of three powerful spirits – Ogoun, Agwe and Danbala – She  is said to be the most powerful sorceress in the pantheon. So pure and  so good is Freda, that nothing malefic may happen in Her presence. She  is purity – Her horses must be clean, dressed immaculately and scented  with Her favorite Pompie lotion, before She will manifest in service.

Syncretized with Our Lady of Calvary, Freda is seen to  have the wealth of the world at Her finger tips and yet, She weeps  uncontrollably in service. There is never enough champagne (pink) or  cakes (white with white frosting) or candies or clothing or jewelry to  satisfy Her. Her desires must be met or She turns in upon herself and  becomes Je Rouge (Red Eyed), the most fearsome of the Ezili group. Sister to Dantor, LaSiren and Clermizine, Freda is the  most audacious, both in dress and behavior. She will typically greet the women with just Her pinkies, but will lavish hugs and kisses to the men present. She loves the colors pink and pale blue, Pompiea lotion, pink champagne and roses, frosted cakes, jewelry, makeup and gifts. Keep Her  things clean or she will not arrive in the temple.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

The Mystic Voodoo, “Erzulie, Voodoo Goddess of Love“.

Sosyete du Marche, Inc., “Erzulie Freda“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Erzulie“.

Wikipedia, “Erzulie“.

Goddess Yemaja

“Yemaja’s themes are providence, blessing, luck and fertility.  Her symbols are fish, the color blue and the crescent moon.  Yemaja, the Nigerian Goddess of flowering water, bears a name that literally means ‘fish mother!’ As such, Yemaja generates providence and fertility, especially on the physical plane. In legends She gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon, and two streams of water that formed a lake. In art she’s often shown as a mermaid or a crescent moon, and Her favorite color is blue.

The name for the day is definitely fishy. Not surprisingly, new year festivities in Nigeria mark the beginning of the fishing season. Having a teeming net today portends prosperity for the rest of the season. So, what is it that you hope to catch today? Cast out your spiritual line to Yemaja for help in meeting or exceeding any goal.

To bite into a little luck, follow the example of Nigerian children. They make candies in fish shapes before this event, then dunk for them. The one to retrieve the most gets the most good fortune. Check out your local supermarket’s bulk candy section. Ours carries gummy fish that work very well for this activity.

Consider including some type of fish in your menu today (even canned tuna will do the trick). Eat it to internalize good luck and a little of Yemaja’s blessings.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Yemaya” by Sandra M. Stanton

Yemaya is the Yoruban Orisha, a very powerful nature spirit or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth.She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.

In Her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by Her son. After this She fled to a mountaintop and cursed Her son until he died. In Her sorrows She decided to take Her own life. As She died She gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when Her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.

Yemaya was brought to the New World with the African diaspora and She is now worshipped in many cultures besides Her original Africa. In Brazilian Candomblé, where She is known as Yemanja or Imanje, She is the Sea Mother who brings fish to the fishermen, and the crescent moon is Her sign. As Yemanja Afodo, also of Brazil, She protects boats travelling on the Sea and grants safe passage. In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-Goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale.

Yemaya rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokin (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, Goddess of the winds.

Our Lady of Regla in Brazil may be linked to Her, and She is equated elsewhere in the Americas with the Virgin Mary  as the Great Mother. In parts of Brazil She is honored as the Ocean Goddess at the summer solstice, while in the north east of the country Her festival is held on February 2nd (a day that is also associated with Her daughter Oya, as well as being the feast day of the Celtic Bride), with offerings of blue and white flowers cast into the Sea.

Yemaya’s colors are blue, turquoise and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. Since She is often  depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of Her. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is sacred to Her, also for the seven seas.

“Yamana” by Lisa Iris

Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life.

On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.

Alternate spellings: Yemanja, Yemojá, Yemonja, Yemalla, Yemana, Ymoja, Iamanje, Iemonja, Imanje

Epithets: Achabba, in Her strict aspect; Oqqutte in Her violent aspect: Atarmagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; Olokun or Olokum as Goddess of dreams

Also called: Mama Watta, “Mother of the Waters” [1] [2]

Symbols and Correspondences:

General: Ocean, rivers, mermaids, the Virgin Mary, New Year’s Eve, February 2, the North Star, half moon, rivers, dreams, pound cake, boats and ships, fans, sacred dance, the number 7

Animals: Fish, ducks, doves, peacocks, feathers, chickens, snakes, and all sea creatures

Plants: Oranges, tropical flowers, yams, grain, seaweed, other plants that grow in the ocean

Perfumes/scents: Scented soaps, raspberry, cinnamon, balsam

Gems and metals: Silver, pearls, mother of pearl, coral, moonstone, crystal quartz, turquoise, and any blue gem or bead

Colors: Sky blue, silver, white, green, and especially a blue dress with full skirt of 7 layers to represent ocean waves or the seven seas. [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Yemaya“.

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

Goddess Oshun

“Oshun” by Selina Fenech

“Oshun’s themes are divination and love. Her symbols are flowing water, seashells and amber beads.  Oshun is a beautiful, oracular Goddess of love. Generous and beneficent, she opens her eyes to let us peek into what the future holds for relationships. According to legends, Oshun didn’t always know how to tell the future. She was taught by Obatala, one skilled in divination, in return for retrieving his stolen clothing from Elegba. But Elegba exacted his price too. Once Oshun learned to divine, she had to teach all the other orishas the fortune-telling secrets.

Traditionally, Saint Agnes’s Day is spent divining information about love’s path and relationships in the coming year. Following Oshun’s example, make a fortune-telling tool from three shells, each of which has a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. If shells aren’t handy, use three coins/ Think of a ‘yes’ or’ ‘no’ question related to love. Three tops (or heads) mean ‘yes’. Two tops mean things are generally positive, but uncertain. One top indicates a ‘wait’ or a negative response, and three bottoms is a definite ‘no’. Put the shells under your pillow before you go to bed to dream of future loves.

Or, to encourage Oshun’s problem-solving skills in a relationship, carry a small piece of amber or wear a piece of amber-coloured clothing when you meet your loved one to talk things over.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Oshun” by Hrana Janto

“Oshun is the Yoruban Orisha (deity) of the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Yemaya). She is widely loved, as She is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, and She especially watches over the poor and brings them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a fish’s tail.

The Yoruba clans inhabit parts of western central Africa, in present-day Nigeria. Oshun is the Goddess of the river of the same name, and She is especially worshipped in river-towns. During Her yearly festival, She is said to choose one or more women dancers to descend into (much like participants in Vodou ceremonies may be ‘mounted’ or ‘possessed’ by a lwa). These women then take new names in honor of Oshun and are thereafter consulted as healers.

Oshun was taught divination with cowrie shells by Obatala, the first of the created gods, and then She brought the teaching to humans. She was at one time the wife of Shango, the storm god, as was Oya, the goddess of the winds and tempests. Oshun is also said to be the mother of the birds or fishes.

“Erzulie” by Kris Waldherr

With the African diaspora, Oshun was brought to the Americas, and adopted into the pantheons that branched out of the African traditions. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which retains close ties with the Yoruban religion, as well as in Cuban Santeriá, She is called Oxum. In Haitian Vodoun She is an inspiration for Erzulie or Ezili, also a Goddess of water and love.

Oshun, like the other Orisha, has a number associated with Her–five; a color–yellow or amber; and a metal–gold or bronze. The peacock and the vulture are sacred to Her. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey, mead, white wine, oranges, sweets, or pumpkins, as well as perfume.

 

Alternate spellings: Oxun, Osun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun.

Titles: Oshun Ana, ‘Goddess of Luxury and Love’; Oshun Telargo, as the modest one; Oshun Yeye Moro, as the coquette; Oshun Yeye Kari, ‘Mother of Sweetness’. [1]

For a very informative and comprehensive list of Oshun’s associations and stories, please click here to visit Tribe of the Sun’s “Oshun” page.

 

 

Source:

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Oshun“.

 

Suggested Link:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Oshun“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oshun

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oshun“.

Wikipedia, “Oshun“.

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