Nana Buluku

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Anana Buluku, Nana Buluku, Buluku

As millions of West Africans were captured and enslaved during the colonial era – taken to the Americas to work on sugarcane, cotton and tobacco plantations – they brought with them their own religion. The Gods and deities prayed to included Nana Buluku.

Nana Buluku, Nana Buruku, Nana Buku or Nanan-bouclou, is the female Supreme Being in the West African traditional religion of the Fon people (Benin, Dahomey), the Akan people (Ghana) and the Ewe people (Togo). She is called the Nana Bukuu among the Yoruba people.

She is celebrated as Nanã in Candomblé Jejé and as Nana Burukú in Candomblé Ketu, where she is pictured as a very old woman, older than creation itself. She is found in French, Dutch and British West Indies in particular, such as among the African-Caribbean communities of French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Trinidad, Martinique, Haiti and other Caribbean islands.

According to the Fon mythology, Nana Buluku is the mother Supreme Creator who gave birth to the cosmic twins, moon spirit Mawu and the sun spirit Lisa, and all of the Universe. After giving birth to these, she retired and left the matters of the world to Mawu-Lisa. She is the primary creator, Mawu-Lisa the secondary creator and the theology based on these is called Vodoun.

Anana Buluku is a Creator Goddess, the great grandmother of all the Orisha. She is also a patron of herbs and spell-craft. She used these magical tools to create the cosmos, including the human race. Her first children Mawu (Moon Goddess) and Lisa (Sun God), came down to earth to be the first man and woman. Mawu was a creative goddess tasked with fashioning all other life on Earth. With the help of Aido Hwedo, a primeval serpent, and Agwe, a divine monkey, they shaped all the worlds living creatures out of clay.

In many African cultures especially the Bantu it was believed that the first two human souls, one male and the other female “children of Mawu the Moon and Lisa the Sun and grandchildren of Nana Buluku” traveled to the earth on Da’s golden thread which was symbolic of a Spider’s web or a Serpent’s coil “Lightning” and then took human form. They lived a long and fruitful life in a place called Ife, that was made suitable for them to inhabit by elder Primordials. When they died they became the first Dead, the first Ghede: Ti Ghede and Ghede Zaina. Ghede Zaina is known as brother of Gun and Da (Ogun and Dambala). Mahu and Lisa are the parents of Hevioso.


After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When she asked Agwe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Agwe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only she could give life and that she could also take it away. This myth is similar to the Yoruba story of Yemaja and Aganju, parents of the Orishas.

Sources: and Wikipedia


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