VOODOO PRISM OF POSSIBILITY
Pray bigger. Your dreams should be big, your prayers must be bigger. I did a large public Voodoo ritual many years back dedicated to Aida Wedo, the rainbow serpent bride of Haitian Vodou or Vudu. She is the wife of Damballa Wedo and together they form a divine union. My ritual was about imagining things better than you could possibly imagine. I asked people not to wish for a car but for a vintage Mercedes. They were supposed to expand their desires, try to stop thinking small, stop limiting themselves, to simply believe. I was very excited, but the more I began to explain this concept to people the more afraid they got. They almost automatically went to the “bad place.” When I said just imagine yourself moving into a huge home, with a large garden and wonderful neighbors, they started thinking about losing the home they were in, and dismally ending up on the street.
It reminds me of one of my favorite cult sci-fi television shows, Red Dwarf. In one episode the crew members find a virtual reality game called “Better than Life,” everything the gamer thinks inside the game comes true, and most people have a fantastic time drinking expensive single malt scotch and driving luxury cars. One character however, imagines the worst scenario possible and ends up buried up to his neck in sand being besieged by ants. It saddens me to think some people don’t even want to wish themselves well when given the chance. What happened to possibility? Where have all the rainbows gone?
Damballa Wedo and his wife Aida are the serpent and the rainbow we have heard tale(tail) of. Viewed as creators of our modern existence, they intertwine, meet, mix, and meander throughout the lands of the world. Joined together like the earth and the sky they embody, they are never apart. They represent the cosmic parents of all that followed. In New Orleans Voodoo, we tell a story of how Damballa traveled under the ocean to the New World and Aida arched her serpent body across the sky from Africa to the Americas so they could meet here and bring the religion to these lands. Some view them as fertility deities and pray to them for marital success.
Aida Wedo is the rainbow goddess and she owns that spiritual pot of gold at the end of her display. Lucky for us she is often happy to share. She is a divine goddess of pleasure and supreme joy. Like her husband Damballa Wedo. she presides over healing and strength. Offerings to her include white eggs painted with the colors of the rainbow, flour, rice, cream, white snake sheds, and snake vertebrae.
Luckily for me every time I have performed a Damballa and Aida Wedo ritual a snake has manifested and allowed itself to make its energy known during the ceremony. The New Orleans Voodoo Museum says Aida Wedo is represented by the image of the blessed virgin, while Damballa is represented by Saint Patrick because of his association with snakes.
During possession Aida Wedo comes more through feeling than word, like most of the snake Lwa or gods. It mimics the stillness and silence that snakes are capable of.
I was told by a South African Sangoma (Shaman) that they don’t use snakes in that tradition because their power is too unstable. It has been my experience that snakes are manifestations of focused possibility, they can change from complete stillness to lightning fast speed in a second.
Damballa and Aida Wedo remind us that anything is possible, and can change in an instant. Plan for the best, try not to expect the worst, and remember anything is possible.