CDE of African and African Originated Deities

Earth MotherAfrican and African Originated Deities

This post is work in progress.



The supreme god and creator of the Kalahari Bushmen of southern Africa.

The Creator and supreme god of the Isoko of southern Nigeria. This god is remote to human affairs and is little celebrated. He has no temples or priests.

The Yoruban orisha of thunder, rain, lightning, fire, and masculine fertility.  He is a smooth talking con artist and symbolises the element fire, truth, intelligence, and courage.

A sky god of tehh Korekore people of northern Zimbabwe. Nosenga is his son.

Also called Chuku he is the sky and creator god of the Ibo of Nigeria. He is seen as the source of all that is good.

The supreme sky god of the Tumbuka in Malawi who is responsible for the live giving rains.

The hero gods of the Nyoro of Nort Uganda.

A Nuer rain god.

Haitian Yoruba Vodou Deity. A handsome but apathetic loa. Content with any clothing and eats mixed foods with much pimiento, and is fond of mixed drinks.

Congo Savanne
Haitian Yoruba Vodou Deity. A fierce petro loa. He is malevolent, fierce, and strong. Savanne eats people. He grinds them up as we would grind up corn. His color is white. He is a loa not to be messed with.



Dinclusin & Chalotte: These two loa are among the French “mysteries.” People mounted by these gods talk perfect French and seem to be unable to speak Creole normally or properly. Chalotte often demands upon the most defined forms of ritualistic protocol. Dinclusin can be recognized by his habit of pocketing everything given to him.

Haitian vodou god. Dumballah Wedo (Damballah, Danbala) is known as the serpent god. He is Dahomean in origin. He is one of the most popular loa. As the father figure, he is benevolent, a loving father. He doesn’t communicate well, as though his wisdom were too aloof for us.
Dumballah is the snake. He plunges into a basin of water which is built for him, or climbs up into a tree. Being both snake and aquatic deity, he haunts rivers, springs, and marshes. Again, as the snake he is rather uncommunicative, but a loving quiet presence. Dumballah does not communicate exact messages, but seems to radiate a comforting presence which sort of sends a general spirit of optimism into all people present. Because of this, he is often sought after during ceremonies. When Dumballah mounts someone the special offering to him is the egg, which he crushes with his teeth.
Dumballah is the serpent god, also lightning. He and his wife, Aida-Wedo, are often shown as two snakes who look as if they were diving into the sink and by a rainbow. He is the bringer of rain; this is a necessity for good crops. People possessed by him dart their tongues in and out, slither along the ground, and climb trees, or roof beams, falling like a boa. He is known to whistle because he has no speech. His special day is Thursday, and his favorite tree is the bougainvillea. White is his color. He is in charge of white metal (silver) and must be fed white food and drink. He grants riches and allows treasures to be discovered. Dumballah sustains the world and prevents it from disintegrating. Dumballah and his wife Ayida, represent human sexuality.
He is sometimes referred to as Da. Dumballah is often spoken of as a serpent. In the voodoo culture, the serpent is a symbol of fertility. He is one of the oldest of the ancestors and is so sacred that he doesn’t speak, but expresses himself through hissing sounds, just like that of a serpent. In the voodoo religion Dumballah is closely associated with the Catholic’s St. Patrick.
His favorite foods are eggs, cornmeal, melons, rice, bananas, and grapes. The usual offering to him is a hen and a cock. It is believed that if respects are paid to him by a married couple, he will keep them happy.

Haitian Vodou goddess. Voodoo has a most special place for Erzulie (Ezili), the loa of beauty, the loa who is so uniquely human since she is the differentiating force between human and all other creation. She is the ability to conceptualize, the ability to dream, the artistic ability to create. She is the loa of ideality.
Erzulie is the female energy of Legba. She is the female prototype who represents the moon. She has tremendous power and is feared as much as she is loved. Also, she has several different roles: goddess of the word, love, help, goodwill, health, beauty and fortune, as well as goddess of jealousy, vengeance, and discord. She is usually known as a serpent that coiled upon itself lives on water and bananas. There is a casual connection between the lightness of her color and that of wealth, because only the light skinned elite possess wealth in Haiti. Erzulie is fabulously rich, and, when she mounts someone the first act is always to accomplish her elaborate toilette. The very best of things which the houngan or mambo have are reserved for Erzulie. She will bathe, using soap still in a fresh wrapper if possible. She will dress in silks with fresh flowers and other signs of her femininity and specialness.
She is the most beautiful and sensuous lady in the voodoo pantheon. Voodoo does not have a woman as goddess of fertility. Fertility is regarded as a unified principle, equally held by male and female forces. Thus Dumballah is united to his Ayida. Agwe has his counterpart in La Sirene, the Marasa; the twins are contradictory and complementary forces of nature and so on.  Erzulie is respected and wealthy; wears her hair long; is very jealous and requires her lovers to dedicate a room for her ritual lovemaking. She is a master of coquetry. She may simply visit with her servants, or she may eat or drink with great delicacy. She loves to dance and is the most graceful of all the loa. She is quite special to men and will dance with them, kiss and caress them, even in an often embarrassing manner.
Erzulie is not a loa of elemental forces, but THE loa of ideal dreams, hopes and aspirations. As such she is the most loved loa of all. She is pale in appearance; almost white, even though she is Dahomean in origin. She is known as the earth mother, the goddess of love. She is depicted as a trembling woman who inhabits the water. She has no specific function, but is approachable in a confidential manner. In every sanctuary there is a room, or corner of a room, dedicated to her.
Her sacred days are Tuesday and Thursday. She wears red and blue dresses and jewels. As soon as someone is possessed by her, they are washed and dressed in finery. She is a high class mulatto who walks with a saucy sway to her hips. She is a “woman of the world” and is fond of sugary drinks. She is compared to Aphrodite. She is pleasure-loving, extravagant and likes to give and get presents. She fond of men but mistrusts women as rivals. She is a woman of etiquette, and when she pretends to speak French, she purposely talks in a high pitched voice. Yet she is closely associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and her symbol is the heart, usually one broken with an arrow in much the same way as a dominant Catholic portrait of Mary has it.
The visit of Erzulie is never fully satisfying. In the end she always begins to weep. The world is just too much for her. At first people try to comfort her with more delicate food or drink or other gifts, but her tears continue to flow. It is this tearful and sad side of her that allows the women to accept her in her haughty ways. She is, in the end, one who suffers the burden of the world’s sorrows.
Despite her flirtations and loving ways, Erzulie is a virgin. She is the complete converse of the crude sexuality of Papa Ghede. She may not be a virgin in the physical sense, but in the sense that her love transcends the earth, it is a love of higher forces. She belongs to the family of sea spirits, but has become completely divorced from her origins as to be now almost exclusively a personification of feminine grace and beauty.
Erzulie wears three wedding bands since she has been (or is) wedded to Dumballah, Ogoun and Agwe. She has often flirted with Zaka, but she has completely dismissed his more coarse brother Ghede as unworthy (since he is black and she is mulatto). However, Erzulie is always in charge and may take any servitor present as her lover for the day if she chooses.

Erzulie Jan Petro
Violent spirit loa belonging to the Petro tradition. Jan Petro is called upon to take responsibility for the temple where spells are on display; although she is a neutral entity, when not called upon it is the duty of the devotees to make them behave peacefully or violently, depending on their motivation for dealing with the spirits. Jan Petro as a protector of temples is very powerful; when people come to the temple they soon find out. Jan Petro likes fresh air and water; she is a sea spirit. She likes perfume and lotion–any temple dedicated to her usually smells like lotion, for it is thrown on those things she possesses.


– African and African Originated Deities, by Alun Mandulu Bess El.


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