ERZULIE

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, the inspiration typically used in the depiction of Erzulie Dantor (Google images)

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, the inspiration typically used in the depiction of Erzulie Dantor (Google images)

Erzulie, or Ezili, is considered a Haitian Voodoo Lwa (spirit or Goddess) of love and women. She has many different forms, aspects (depending on the region), and can be counted among either the Rada or Petwo Lwa (spirits or Gods). The Petwo rites arose in the New World during slavery, and Petwo Lwa are characteristically dark and powerful, and called bitter (anme). Erzulie is a love Goddess who developed during a time when slave owners broke up families and separated husbands and wives at will. She is sometimes considered a triple Goddess. She has three husbands Damballah (sky God), Agwe (sea God), and Ogoun (God of fire and iron), and She wears three wedding bands because of this.

Myths of her can be traced all the way back to West Africa. The arts, especially dance, are her domain. Rivers, streams, lakes and waterfalls are hers and she can cure womb-related problems with her cool waters. The fan that she is holding in most depictions is from Osogbo, Nigeria and belongs to a priestess of Oshun who is the mediator between the divine or natural world and the world of people, the cross in the circle indicating the meeting of the two worlds.

In her (Petro) nation aspect as Erzulie Dantor she is often depicted as a scarred and buxom black woman, holding a child protectively in her arms. She is a protector of women and children. A common syncretic depiction of Erzulie Dantor is St Jeanne d’Arc, who is displayed carrying or supporting a sword. Another is as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa (revered icon of the Virgin Mary housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland), as she is represented as being dark-skinned. Ti Jean Petro is her son and sometimes considered her lover or husband.

Adela