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Vodoun -Life as a Mami Wata Child

Updated on July 19, 2014

Mami Wata Mermaid

Dona Fish. Ovimbundu peoples, Angola. Circa 1950s-1960 Photo by Don Cole.
Dona Fish. Ovimbundu peoples, Angola. Circa 1950s-1960 Photo by Don Cole. | Source

What is Mami Wata Yeveh Vodoun

Mami Wata or Mami, is the known as the self- created divine source of wisdom.From the primordial waters it is she who brought forth the pantheon of spirits known by the Ewe in West Africa as Vodoun. The word Vodoun is simply means "spirit" or "God".Although she has been worshipped in many different cultures throughout history, the origins of her reverence began with the first man and woman in Africa- the cradle of civilization. It is said amongst her followers there that it is said,there are no new religions but in fact, simply translations of the divine truth of Mami/ISIS. Mami Wata also know as Mami ISIS is the divine logos, the firmament on which creation exists.The ancient traditions say that it was Mami Wata that would manifest to the African people as a water deities choosing to take on feminine or masculine features at will. It was through these manifestations that these civilizations were thought survival skills such as hunting, gathering,and order.There are many mysteries that stem from these beliefs. The dogon of Mali speak of a similar origins where the creation of the world was formed by mermen/mermaid like creatures. In Ancient Syria, Babylon, Mesopotamia,Nubia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Crete, Minoa, and as far as the East Asian continents there are similar descriptions of half-human/fish spirits such as Dagon, Aruru,Athena, Kore, Onnaes, Atergatis, Minerva, Poseidon, Tiamat, the Original Isis, Cybele, Ishtar, Ea, Vishnu, Siva, Inanna, and Triton just to name a few. In her temples Mami was often depicted as the triple headed Goddess relating to Fertility, Harvest, and Decay/ Creator,preserver, and destroyer.


Famous depiction of the Mami Wata deity from the 1800's designer by the German artist Schleisinger.
Famous depiction of the Mami Wata deity from the 1800's designer by the German artist Schleisinger. | Source

Mami Wata Traditions in History

In the day where the sacerdotal seat of power was controlled by matriarchal order, the Mami Wata Vodoun traditions reigned.Her temples were led by priestesses known as Mamamissi ( Mami Isis). By divine matrilineal inheritance, the Warrior Queens also known as sybils would function as political authorities. Successful government continued for ages until rivalry between African clans would contribute to its demise.Once the wars broke out, it was not long before ursurpation of all the lands influenced by Mami came under new rulers.These new rulers implemented new religions, destroyed the Mami Wata temples, slaughtered many Mami Wata followers, and forced others to go into hiding .It was with the reconstruction of the political, and ecclesiastical order that the traditions of Mami Wata - became forbidden and considered taboo. So began the rise of the patriarchal spiritual systems, slave trade across the atlantic ocean, and worldwide colonization. Mami Wata and her kingdoms were all but blotted out of history and replaced by newer versions of her truth that allowed for others to take control of her seat of power.


Mami Wata initiates during ceremonial procession.
Mami Wata initiates during ceremonial procession. | Source

Mami Wata by Aubrey Coletti

Mami Wata Symbolized as the Serpent Mother

According to the Mami Wata Priestess, Mamaissi Vivian Hunter- Hindrew, both the word " Mami" and "Naga" are ancient Sanscrit and Sumerian terms that described the androgynous Divine Serpent Mother in her original form. As the serpent she represents both the linga ( phallus) and the yoni (womb). When astrologically manifested she is the Sun and Moon ( Mawu- Lisa) symbolized by the bull and ram or taurus and aries. Mami Wata as the serpent mother is the serpent healer of the caduceus and sacred staff of /Djehuti/Tehuti/ Hermes/Thoth. Her healing powers have been immortalized in the stories of Moses and the Chaldean Magi's. -

Mami Wata Logos

Top coffee house franchise displays the Mermaid , symbol of Mami Wata.
Top coffee house franchise displays the Mermaid , symbol of Mami Wata. | Source

Mami Wata in America

Although much dialogue can be found on the capturing of africans and their efforts to disguise the old religions under the new forms i.e, Christianity, Catholicism, Santeria, Haitian Vodou, Creole Vodoo, and Southern Hoodoo; very few descriptions ever speak of the influence of the Mami Wata Yeveh Vodoun had on these religions.In West African cosmology, the spirit of Mami Wata via her pantheon of Vodou are divinely inherited through biological African bloodlines and the cosmogenetical spiritual lineage. Therefore, the spirit of Mami can never be separated from her children of humanity.Despite the lack of her traditional worship in the present day,her spiritual truths are passed on in the blood. Throughout the Caribbean islands, she is represents the deep mysteries like the body of water- rivers, oceans, and the seas. Currently known by Yemaya, La Siren,Santa Maria, and Olokun. Mami Wata initiates are said to inherit good health, wealth, protection, prosperity, travels, and commerce. Known to communicate with those that she call through dreams and even appearances. It is said in wise tales that Mami Wata's,the mermaid has been known to charm sea travelers luring them below to her realms.if released they are forever protected and granted many riches by her. Mami Wata is symbolized by the conch shell, mirror, comb, and all things shiny. Mami Wata is the guardian of spiritual elevation, secrets of divination, and healing. Mami Wata is the dual feminine and masculine force of purity and passion.

Lady of the Waters
Lady of the Waters | Source

More on Mami Wata Yeveh Vodoun

In the Mami Yeveh Vodoun tradition, it is believed that there is only one source, one supreme, self generated conscious creator of all that exists. They also believe that as humans we are unable to directly communicate with this divine source and must use the spiritual guides (vodoun) which are aspects of that creator in nature and beyond this physical dimension and elevated ancestors to communicate to that source. Do you think that all forms of religions are in fact saying the same thing- we were created by a higher consciousness? Did you know that Vodoun religion was in fact based on Monotheism?

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    • profile image

      Honey Vive 

      3 years ago

      I feel like crying. thanks for this information. i have grown up feeling so empty inside of me til i subconsciously found Mami Wata religion. i think my love for water helped a lot. i have read books and articles of mami wata, i have had dreams too, my feeling is also right about the religion but i have a problem, i feel all alone in my world, no body to confined in, people around me see Mami wata religion as evil. the most difficult part of my mysteries is that i can't find a place of worship. sometimes i talk to the river, i feel something powerful while doing that, but i need a sacred place where i can worship with my kinds. +2348091010956 is my mobile contact. sorry if i sound so emotional, its just that i can't help it. thanks

    • profile image

      elohimsolis 

      4 years ago

      Thank you for this gem! I can simply say Mami Wata found me.

      Much Love !

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