ALSO KNOWN AS:
Aïdo-Hwedo, the primordial cosmic serpent, is the primeval creative force, the power that enabled the Creator to form the universe. Aïdo-Hwedo existed before Creation. Because Mawu-Lisa, Dahomean creator, was carried in Aïdo-Hwedo’s mouth during the process of Creation, Earth’s shape corresponds to a serpent’s movements. When Earth was complete, Mawu realized there was too much; Earth was too heavy and required something on which to rest. Aïdo-Hwedo was directed to coil into a circle and become a cushioning support for Earth.
Earth is extremely heavy; Mawu created the sea so that Aïdo-Hwedo may rest in comfort. When Aïdo-Hwedo shifts, Earth quakes. S/he eats iron bars forged by red undersea monkeys.
When all the iron bars are gone, as eventually they will be, hunger will drive Aïdo-Hwedo to eat her own tail and Earth will collapse into the sea.
Dahomean Aïdo-Hwedo encompasses both male and female: two serpents so intensely bonded and inseparable that from an esoteric perspective they are one even though they are also a pair (in the same sense that marriage unifies two individuals). One serpent supports Earth; the other lives in the sky as the Rainbow. Arriving in Haiti amid the slave trade, Aïdo-Hwedo split into two, although the two parts remain inseparable:
• Damballah Wedo: male snake
• Ayida-Wedo: female rainbow serpent