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Veve of Ayida-Weddo and Damballa, always depicted together.
Rainbow Serpent
Venerated in Vodou, Folk Catholicism
Attributes rainbow, blue, white paket kongo
Patronage fertility, rainbows, wind, water, fire, snakes

In Vodou, especially in Benin and Haiti, Ayida-Weddo is a loa of fertility, rainbows, wind, water, fire, and snakes.[1] Ayida-Weddo is known as the "Rainbow Serpent". Variants of Ayida-Weddo's name include Aida-Weddo, Ayida-Wedo, Aido Quedo, and Aido Hwedo.


Ayida-Weddo is a member of the Rada family and a root, or (Old French) racine Loa. She is married to husband/companion Damballah-Wedo, the Sky God is also a Loa of creation. She shares her husband with his concubine, Erzulie Freda.[2]

Symbols and offerings

Ayida-Weddo's symbols are the rainbow and white paket kongo. Her ceremonial colors are white and blue. Appropriate offerings to her include white chickens, white eggs, rice, and milk. Her favorite plant is cotton.[3]

Function and presentation

The Fon people of Benin believe the rainbow snake Ayida-Weddo, created to serve Nana Buluku, held up the heavens. The creature had a twin personality as the red part of the rainbow was male, while the blue part was female.[4] She is portrayed as a narrow green snake. Like Dambala, she lives in the sky as well as in all the trees, springs, pools, and rivers.[5] In some West African mythology, Mawu the creator sent down Adanhu and Yewa from the sky with the rainbow serpent Ayida-Weddo.[6][7]

"In the beginning there was a vast serpent, whose body formed seven thousand coils beneath the earth, protecting it from descent into the abysmal sea. Then the titanic snake began to move and heave its massive form from the earth to envelop the sky. It scattered stars in the firmament and wound its taught flesh down the mountains to create riverbeds. it shot thunderbolts to the earth to create the sacred thunderstones. From its deepest core it released the sacred waters to fill the earth with life. As the first rains fell, a rainbow encompassed the sky and Danbala took her, Ayida Wedo, as his wife. The spiritual nectar that they created reproduces through all men and women as milk and semen. The serpent and the rainbow taught humankind the link between blood and life, between menstruation and birth, and the ultimate Vodou sacrament of blood sacrifice." [8]

She is syncretised with the Catholic figure of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.[9]


  1. Luisah Teish (1985), page 58 Jambalaya, HarperSanFrancisco ISBN 978-0-06-250859-1.
  2. Leah Gordon (1985), page 62 The Book of Vodou, Barron's Educational Series ISBN 978-0-7641-5249-8.
  3. Leah Gordon (1985), page 50-1 The Book of Vodou, Barron's Educational Series ISBN 978-0-7641-5249-8.
  4. Philip Wilkinson (1998), page 114, Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology, Dorling Kindersley ISBN 978-0-7894-3413-5.
  5. Leah Gordon (1985), page 60 The Book of Vodou, Barron's Educational Series ISBN 978-0-7641-5249-8.
  6. Shannon R. Turlington (2002), page 84 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Voodoo, Pearson Education, Inc ISBN 978-0-02-864236-9.
  7. Neil Philip (1999), page 6, Myths and Legends Explained, Dorling Kindersley ISBN 978-0-7566-2871-0.
  8. Leah Gordon (1985), page 60 The Book of Vodou, Barron's Educational Series ISBN 978-0-7641-5249-8.
  9. Leah Gordon (1985), page 50-1 The Book of Vodou, Barron's Educational Series ISBN 978-0-7641-5249-8

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Ayida-Weddo. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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