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Praising the Divine Mother in Vodun

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If the Creator, the Originating Mystery as the sacred Hwlengan states, is considered the father (by so many), why cannot It be our Mother! If we are the children of a “Heavenly Father”, why cannot we be the children of our heavenly Mother?” This rhetorical question is the basis of why Vodúnvi (literally meaning “child of Vodún”; a word that is expanded to mean one who loves the Vodún way of life or one who lives/practices Vodún) recognize and accept both the male and female aspects of Nature and worship Nùjíwŭdò, the name of the Creator as the Originating Mystery, in the form of Mother and Father.

The worship of the Creator in its form of Mother is a unique divine feature of Vodún. Through the ages, the doctrine of the Motherhood of God has established a firm root in Afrikan traditions. Today Vodúnvi worship the Divine Mother in many powerful forms such as Nana Buluku, Aveji Da, Oya, Minona, Azunsun, Avlekete, Tokpadun, kwk.

By worshipping the Creator as the Divine Mother, a Vodúnvi more easily connects to the Motherly traits of the Creator, such as tenderness and forgivingness. The natural love between a Mother and her child is the best expression of the Máwù’s (Mother Aspect of the Creator) unconditional love for us as children of the Originating Mystery. In the most representative Vodúnvi view, the universe is the manifestation of the creative power (ace) of Sɛ̀gbo (Gender neutral term for the Creator in Vodún), whose essence is absolute existence, consciousness, and duality of energy. Since all created forms are the product of the incubative womb of the mother, the creative power of the Creator is recognized by Vodúnvi as the female principle or the motherly aspect of nature. In this sense, we are all children of the Divine Mother. We are contained by Her before our manifestation and nourished by Her throughout our existence.

To a Vodúnvi, the motherly aspect of the Creator in nature is full of beauty, gentleness, kindness, and tenderness as represented by Nãnà Bulukú. When we look upon all the wonderful and beautiful things in nature and experience a essence of tenderness within us, we feel the motherly instinct of MáwùLisa. The worship of MáwùLisa in the form of Mother in particular is a unique contribution of the Vodún and Mawuyi worldview in general. When a Vodúnvi worships the Creator as Divine Mother, he or she primarioy appeals to the tenderness and unconditional love of the divine matrix. Such love unites the Vodúnvi with Sɛ̀gbo, like a child with its mother. Just as a child feels safe and secure in the lap of its mother, a Vodúnvi feels safe and secure in the presence of the Divine Mother.

In Vodún, Divine Mother is the first manifestation of Divine Energy. Thus with the name of Divine Mother comes the idea of energy, omnipotence, omnipresence, love, intelligence, creativity, art, knowledge, and wisdom. Just as a child believes the mother to be all powerful, and capable of doing anything, a Vodúnvi knows the Divine Mother to be all merciful, all-powerful and eternally guiding and protecting with her arms of divine light.

The worship of Sɛ̀gbo, while recognizing a Mother-Matrix, has had a significant impact on Vodún. The original position of women in the Vodún way of life is dignified because each woman is considered a parcel of the Divine Mother. Vodúnvi view man and woman as the two wings of the wutu bird (wutu is a sacred bird in Vodún tradition). Through the worship of the Creator in the form of Mother, Vodún offers a unique reverence to womanhood.

However, the current flow within Máwùyi traditions has floated away from this overstanding. It is time to reestablish the balance.