Maman Brigitte by Gypsy Willowmoon
Is a death Loa and wife of Baron Samedi in Hoodoo.
She is Mother of the Ghede Nation. Ghede are an enormous family, varied and many. They are all members of the same family, spiritual children of Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte - They ALL have the same last name - La Croix
Her Catholic merging is with St Bridget who as we know was merged with Goddess Brighid by the Christians when they tried to wipe out Paganism - Pesky Christians Wink
She is guardian of the dead, she can manifest in graveyards to bless graves; she leads the dead to Vilokan the spirit world. She punishes those whom disrespect the dead and fail to provide them with a proper burial.
Her animal representation in Haiti is a black rooster in England it is a goose or swan.
She has her own Veve, a symbol that acts as a representation of her and enables her to be invoked.
The Veve is drawn on the floor with flour or salt- traditionally - note this is not done in West or Central Africa, so may have its origins in the sand painting of the Native Americans, this in turn may have been taken from the Taino tribe whom lived in Haiti before Columbus.
Maman is a VERY strong character, whom swears and drinks Kleren - Rum infused with hot peppers and black pepper corns. Her rum and hot pepper is so hot, that a person possessed by Loa could NEVER drink it! She is also known to pass hot Haitian peppers on the skin of her genitals! OH MY! Which women are subjected to, if they are accused of 'faking' a possession by the Loa. She dances a very sexually suggestive and remarkably artistic dance - similar to belly dancing almost- called the Banda, the competency of her Banda dancing is legendary.
The reason for Maman Brigitte's drinking and swearing and sexual talk is because she is dead - beyond all punishment. So, nothing further can be done to them (a lot of the Loa act in this way).
Swearing to a normally formal Haitian is a way of saying ' I don't care! I have passed beyond all suffering and cannot be hurt!
She is mostly called on for healing and bringing justice.
When people are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, she can either ease their pain or intervene on their behalf and heal them.
Her colours are black and purple.
Maman Brigitte is unusual amongst the Loa - as she is shown as white skinned / fair skin and fair/ red hair (depending the picture) suggesting the European roots of her name.
In other syncretic (blended) belief systems she is depicted as Mary Magdalene or Saint Bridget.
Invoked for luck in gambling, justice for the wicked, also women who fear their spouse/ partner / husband will cheat.
Sometimes seen as a black wolf or black female dog, and a large black bird.
Trees sacred to her are Elm and Weeping Willow.
Black roosters, pigs, goats, blades/ knives, bread calabash (a bottle shaped gourd), champagne, chickens, cigarettes, cigars, coconuts, coffee, corn syrup, dogs, eggs, fire flaming gold hot pepper leaves! metal palm tree, peanut, plantain, poison, purple, rainbows, red roses, rum, water, white rum white flowers and white sheep, orange, chocolate, wine and pork.
She can be a LOT of fun, but also very straight speaking and does not suffer fools. - You have been warned!
She protects the graves in cemeteries that are marked with a cross.
Her counterpart is one of the Ghedes - Baron Samedi - who dresses in black and wears a top hat- he is the master of ceremonies and chief of all ancestors.
The first woman to be buried in any cemetery in Haiti would be dedicate to Maman Brigitte and the first man To Baron Samedi.
She has a roaring sexuality and dances wildly - I’m sure the rum helps!
Image from the Gods & Goddesses colouring book by Rachel Patterson
references for Banda dancing: Blanche Brown: Banda
Djenane St Jude: Yanvabu
Sources: Mirror of isis.freeyellow.com