Sili Kenwa

Sili Kenwa

Also known as: Sili Quenua

Classification: Lwa, Metresa

Origin: Dominican Republic

Sili Kenwa is a Dominican manifestation of the lwa known in Haiti as Ezili Coeur Noir, or “Black Hearted Ezili”. Sili Kenwa is syncretized to Saint Martha. In accordance with Iberian customs, the Dominican spiritual tradition known as the Twenty-One Divisions, distinguishes between Saint Martha and her alter ego, Martha the Dominator whom they identify with the snake spirit Lubana. In recent years, however, Sili Kenwa has come to be associated with Martha the Dominator, too.

In Twenty-One Divisions cosmology, Martha the Dominator is associated with the image identified elsewhere as Mami Waters. This image depicts a beautiful snake charmer with her snake. Sometimes Lubana is envisioned as the woman with the snake, but sometimes Sili Kenwa is identified as that woman and Lubana is the snake she holds. The two spirits often work together. Petitioners invoke the two to work in conjunction when casting magic spells whose goal is domination. Kenwa is associated with the head, while Lubana is associated with feet, so when allied together, the two spirits offer control from top to toe.

Sili Kenwa is a persuasive spirit, invoked by petitioners to help communicate with or convince others. Sili Kenwa can encourage someone to listen to our perspective (and to adopt it). Dedicate a green skull candle to her and request her assistance.

Iconography: She is associated with the traditional image of Saint Martha holding a torch and leading a dragon as well as the modern snake charmer image.

Color: Green

Number: 7

Offering: Unripe coconuts (because they are perceived as resembling human heads)

See also:

  • Ezili
  • Lubana
  • Lwa
  • Mami Waters
  • Metresa
  • Twenty-One Divisions

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.


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