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Revealing the Voodoo Goddess Erzulie

The Haitian goddess of love, Erzulie, was considered to be one of the most beloved of all Voodoo goddesses. A bit less virginal than some of her counterparts that held the same title, Erzulie actually seemed to delight in the many aspects of love, particularly sexuality, passion, and pleasure.
Like her Greek counterpart, Aphrodite, Erzulie loved to dress impeccably with perfectly coifed hair, sweet perfume, and lots of jewelry. She preferred to look every bit the goddess at all times. On her hand Erzulie wore three wedding bands; one each for her three husbands - - the sky god Dumballah, the sea god Agwe, and the warrior hero Ogoun.

Although by all accounts, remarkably talented, some claimed the goddess was lazy, choosing to rest and relax than to take part in any kind of activity that wasn't absolutely necessary. They considered her quite vain; claiming that she was more concerned with her own appearance than with the welfare of those she was supposed to protect.

Sometimes she would allow her people to make terrible mistakes and indulge in unrealistic fantasies simply because she was too lazy to deal with the issue. However, those who dared to ignore the worship of her would find themselves subject to her incredible anger.

A lover of all things fine, it was said that she indulged her every whim. Like Cleopatra, she was known to take long, luxurious milk baths full of oil and perfumes to soften and scent the skin. Therefore, mere mortals wishing to garner her favor would make gifts of fragrant oils, perfumes, skin creams, and other delicacies.

Many followers, however, would disagree with the above assessment of their beloved goddess. They, in fact, believed her to be the Great Mother - - basically their version of the Catholic's Virgin Mary. This was not for the virginal aspects of the figure, but because she offered unconditional love, compassion, and unmeasured empathy.

This Erzulie was considered a maternal goddess, full of warmth for her subjects and fierce in her protective powers. She was a gentle, sweet goddess, full of love and untold generosity. Those who garnered this goddess's favor would be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.

Still others claim that Erzulie was perhaps a bit of both. Some go so far as to suggest that she might have been a manic-depressive deity. This certainly would account for her divergent mood swings, which ranged from sublime heights to the deepest lows. This is most assuredly an interesting trait to attach to a goddess.

Erzulie is considered the patron saint of all women who have been abused. This includes everything from those unlucky in love to prostitutes and lesbians, who were often looked down upon. She has been pictured as everything from the flirting virgin to an Amazon-like woman warrior to a broken down, red-eyed witch.

Erzulie's roots trace back to West Africa where she was associated with the elemental forces. Her domain was primarily water, including rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls. It is said that she could heal any female problem with her blessed water.

Some considered her the balance between that which is spiritual within the soul and that which is part of the natural order of life. As such, it was important that her emotion remain centered, never faltering in one direction or the other, lest she unbalance the entire world.

Women who desired love; those who had been hurt by love; and those who were lost in love called upon Erzulie. Her followers sought her guidance to understand their passions and emotions as well as her help to center their lives.

So which goddess is Erzulie? Could she be self-centered and vain one moment and loving and giving the next? Why not? Most of us in the human race have fallen into those categories at one time or another. If gods and goddesses of our own making, then it only makes sense that they would also mirror who we are.