Damballah

damballah-veve

Damballah

Also known as: Danballah; Papa Damballah

Origin: Dahomey

Classification: Lwa

Once upon a time, there was only Damballah. He lay beneath Earth, a great snake, cushioning and protecting it from falling into the watery abyss below. Although he lay still for a long time, eventually he had to move. His movements raised mountains and created valleys. Stars were shaken up into the sky. Sacred waters were released, forming oceans, rivers, springs, and streams. The first rain began to fall, and Aïdo-Hwedo, in the guise of the first rainbow, appeared. Damballah and Aïdo-Hwedo fell in love. They remain in love today. The intensive all-pervasive power of that love infiltrated the entire universe. That power is manifest in human beings in the form of white liquids: milk and semen.

Damballah, the primordial snake lwa of life, wealth, and wisdom, is venerated in Dahomey as well as in Haitian Vodou. He may also survive in the New Orleans folk saint Blanc Dani.

Damballah is among the most beloved and important lwa. He bestows wealth, prosperity, good health, and fertility to devotees and can expose the location of missing treasure. He regulates moisture and rain. Damballah and his true love, the rainbow serpent, maintain the balance of forces, which sustains all life on Earth (the equivalent of what East Asian cosmology would describe as yin-yang forces). He is incredibly old and powerful and is usually not bothered for trivial matters. He can be extremely generous, however, and so may be approached when one is genuinely desperate or really in trouble. Despite his venerable age, he remains interested in people. He will engage in sacred marriages with women but also occasionally with men.

Damballah appears in dreams. He does not communicate well. You must pay attention. He is so old and primal that he is pre-articulate; he emerges from a time before speech. Damballah may hiss or make whistling noises but does not speak a human language.

Damballah is syncretized to Saint Patrick and Moses, the law-giver. Damballah is Moses’ staff that transformed into a snake. He enjoys the company of Ezili Freda Dahomey.

He is a stickler for cleanliness. He doesn’t like strong, pervasive odors of any kind, but especially tobacco. If you smoke, then do so far from his altar space or anywhere associated with him. He may object to cleaning products with strong odors, too, as well as air fresheners with strong aromas. Rooms should smell clean and fresh. Open the window to aerate them. He does not object to light floral odors, like rose or orange blossom water, and traditionally expresses a fondness for Pompeii Lotion, a cologne product found in botanicas and spiritual supply stores.

Manifestation: Damballah is a huge snake, so big his body forms seven thousand coils.

Color: White

Plants: Bougainvillea; trees in general, but especially Bombax ceiba (silk cotton tree) and the Royal palm

Day: Thursday

Altar: Keep shallow vessels of clean, fresh water for him to curl up inside.

For a very traditional offering, make a bed or hill of white flour on a perfectly clean, pure white plate. Nestle one whole, raw white egg into the center of the flour and serve.

Offerings: White candles and white foods, like rice; milk; whole, raw eggs (leave them plain or rub gently with rose or other mild-scented, fine-quality floral water); orgeat syrup; for more lavish offerings: luxurious white fabrics, crystal or porcelain eggs, and/or snakes

See also:

From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Voodoo Library - Books

You may be also interested in :

Roots of Haiti's Vodou-Christian Faith: African and Catholic Origins - R. Murray Thomas
Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie -  Wade Davis
The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook - Kenaz Filan
The Spider & The Green Butterfly: Vodoun Crossroads Of Power- E.A. Koetting
Voodoo Sorcery Grimoire - Brujo Negro
Hoodoo, Voodoo and Conjure - Jeffrey E. Anderson
Vodou Money Magic: The Way to Prosperity through the Blessings of the Lwa - Kenaz Filan
Voodoo Dolls In Magick And Ritual - Denise Alvarado
Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English - Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Vodou Shaman: The Haitian Way of Healing and Power - Ross Heaven, Tim Booth
Famous voodoo rituals and spells - H. U Lampe
Urban Voodoo: A Beginners Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic - S. Jason Black, Christopher S. Hyatt
The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook - Denise Alvarado
Cord Of Blood: Possession and the Making of Voodoo - Nadia Lovell
Tell My Horse : Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica  - Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Powers :Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture - Claudine Michel & Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
Faces in the Smoke: An Eyewitness Experience of Voodoo, Shamanism, Psychic Healing, and Other Amazing Human Powers -  Douchan Gersi
Mysteries and Secrets of Voodoo, Santeria, and Obeah - Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe
The Book of Vodou: Charms and Rituals to Empower Your Life - Leah Gordon
Secrets of Voodoo - Milo Rigaud
Vodou Saints: Lessons on Life, Death and Resurrection from Haiti - Arthur Fournier
A Guide to Serving the Seven African Powers - Denise Alvarado
Haitian Vodou: An Introduction to Haiti's Indigenous Spiritual Tradition - Mambo Chita Tann

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This post was last modified on Jul 10, 2019 @ 11:06

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