Mother of the Waters




Congolese; Bantu

Calunga is a Congolese spirit of death and the sea. The word Calunga literally means “sea” but has implications in Congolese cosmology beyond salty watery depths. Calunga also refers to the realm of the ancestors. The realm of death in many African traditions is located beneath the sea. The ocean is associated with fertility, abundance, and death. Goddess Calunga presides over this realm.

What is called the Calunga Line is the watery frontier between the visible and invisible worlds, the threshold between realms of life and death. Calunga the goddess rules that line and controls that frontier. She is among the most respected and feared deities because she transcends divisions that stymie others, human and spirit alike. There are no barriers to Calunga’s power. At one time, she was considered a supreme deity. She remains the epitome of the protective mother, so powerful that she cannot help but be threatening even if she doesn’t seek to be. She is the great mother of the sea, guardian of life and death.

Calunga made a sea change while crossing the waters from Central Africa to Brazil with the slave trade, emerging as a male spirit. In Brazil, Calunga Grande (“Big Calunga”) refers to the ocean; Calunga Pequena (“Little Calunga”) refers to the graveyard.




Agwé; Pomba Gira


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.

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