Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mami Wata and Marie Laveau

     I was torn on which of these two characters I wanted to blog about but after not being able to come to a decision, I just decided to blog about both, so this will be a bit long!

M is for Mami Wata:

Mami Wata by Soul Mahogany.com
I originally thought that Mami Wata was a solitary figure, however, after doing further research I learned that Mami Wata is actually a Pantheon of African Water Deities, that are said to be bringers of divine wisdom and laws. They're often depicted as mermaids or mermen, and even sometimes can be depicted as half human/half reptile. Stories of these types of deities are known throughout many tribes and cultures of Africa. One most noticeably are the Dogon people of Mali in West Africa. In the creation mythology of the Dogon their are mermaid like creatures called the Nommos. They were said to have brought great wisdom and knowledge to the Dogon people, they were also said to have originated from the Star System Sirius A and B of Of Orion's Belt; there is so much mystery behind this story because it begs the question how is it that the Dogon people know of the Nommos and further how would they know of the Sirius Star System without having the technology to even view the system? (If you're interested in knowing more about the Dogon People, simply google the name, it is definitely worth reading up on)!!
      Mami Wata actually has it origins from Ancient Kemet/Egypt due to the actually meaning of the name Mami Wata. At www.mamiwata.com it says of the origin of the name Mami Wata that:

According to some renowned scholars, the name “Mami Wata” was originally formulated in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and is derived from a composite of two African words, “Mami,” and “Wata.” Both words are rooted in the ancient Egyptian and Ethiopian (Coptic), Galla and Demotic languages. “Mami” is derived from “Ma” or ”Mama,” meaning “truth/wisdom,” and “Wata” is a corruption of not an English, but the ancient Egyptian word “Uati,” (or "Uat-ur" meaning ocean water), and the Khosian ("Hottentot") "Ouata" meaning “water.”

and further that it even has meaning that likens to being wise or has reference to "wise women":

Uati” is perhaps the first of more than ten thousand appellations of Isis (logos/wisdom) in her oldest generative form as the Divine African Mother, or Sibyl (Mamissii/Amengansie) prophetess. Furthermore, Massey (1994, p. 248) informs us that the word “Wata, Watoa, Wat-Waat” which means “woman,” are all exact spellings in the ancient Sudanic languages spoken by the Baba, Peba and Keh-Doulan groups.
For more information on Mami Wata go to www.mamiwata.com/mami.htm



    Marie Laveau or rather Marie Catherine Laveau was a Creole Voodoo Practitioner who was born a free of slavery in the French Quarter of New Orleans to a wealthy Creole plantation owner named Charles Laveaux, and his mistress Marguerite (both free persons of color back then) on September 10th (the actual date of her birth is debatable ). She was highly influential throughout New Orleans. Thousands of people, both black and white at the time would travel to New Orleans to meet her and ask for her help. Although I must say I do love the mysticism that surrounds her, she wasn't as evil as she is depicted in most hollywood made movies and television shows; she actually used her gifts for healing the sick and feeding the poor. She was also a hairdresser and actually a devout Catholic, having learned Voodoo a bit later on in her life. She actually learned Voodoo from someone by the name of a practitioner by the name of John Bayou.
    It was common for most Voodoo practitioners to be catholic as during slavery most slaves had to hide their religion so they applied the attributes of loas or orishas into the different saints of Catholicism so that they could continue to pray to and worship their deities and practice their religion in secret without slave owners knowing... More about Marie Laveau is that she was married to a carpenter named Jacques Paris who was also free; but shortly after he either went missing so later on Marie Laveau apparently had a common law marriage with Christophe de Glapion, who she had 15 children with.
     Although I do like how she is depicted in some things, for instance, where Anglea Bassett portrays her in American Horror Story:Coven, she does a great job at portraying Marie Laveau; she is strong, powerful and absolutely flawless but I just would like to see a movie that depicts her truthfully and as I said in an earlier blog, I hope that even movies on Voodoo it's self will one day be depicted accurately for a change.

Sources Include:

 The Following photos are Angela Bassett portraying Marie Laveau on American Horror Story: Coven,

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I knew about Marie Laveau, but I've never come across Mami Wata before. What a great character.