From Hougan Sydney, 2014
Gods in Vodou are known as Loa. Although not invoked first, Damballah is the father of all the Loa. He is the archetypal wise Loa, the patriarchal serpent divinity, associated with wisdom, peace, purity, benevolence, life and innocence.
Damballah is highly respected and is one of the most revered African gods. Along with his companion Ayida Wèdo, the rainbow serpent, he is viewed as the Loa of creation.
Ceremonies for Damballah and/or Ayida Wèdo are extremely particular and highly elaborate, and all rules must be followed to the letters. First, everyone in the assistance must entirely be dressed with freshly clean, immaculate white clothes, women are to have their head tied with silk white scarves. It is very common for people to be asked to leave the temple if they’re not in proper attire when Damballah is expected. Smoking, and alcoholic consumption are strictly forbidden. After many sacred African litanies, Damballah will finally come in possession.
As a snake, he doesn’t have feet; the possessed immediately falls on the ground; undulating just like a snake to get by; does not talk, but only makes hissing and whistling noises. It is believed that his wisdom is too preeminent for us mortals to be expressed through words.
Damballah is not a very demanding Loa in terms of offerings; usually a hen egg placed on a mound of flour, along a bottle of white anisette syrup or honey. A clean white bed sheet usually covers his head while he consumes his offerings.
Damballah is associated with the biblical figure Moses and, the Catholic Saint Patrick, in consideration of his affiliation with snakes.
Alternatives: Damballah Wèdo, Damballah Laflanbo (Damballah the torch),
Damballah Tokan (intelligent snake),Odan (wisdom and endless life), Pyè Damballah.
Damballah Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake, and his veves reflect this aspect of him. His presence brings peace and harmony. As a source of life, he is also strongly associated with water and the rain.
When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. His movements are also snake-like, and can including slithering along the ground, flicking his tongue, and climbing tall objects.
Damballah Wedo is associated with creation and is viewed as a loving father to the world. Damballah Wedo is strongly connected to the ancestors, and he and his companion Ayida-Wedo are the oldest and wisest of the loa.
Ayida Wedo is likewise associated with snakes and is Damballah’s partner in creation. Because the creative process is seen as shared between male and female, Damballah-Wedo’s veves generally depict two snakes rather than just one.
Damballa rules the intellect, the mind, and keeps cosmic balance. He is the protector of the handicapped, deformed, cripples and albinos. He is married to Erzulie Freda, the flirtatious goddess of love.
In his Petro aspect he is Damballah Nan Flambo – Damballah of the Flame – and is believed to speak through flames and fires.
He is linked with Moses whose his staff turned into a serpent.