African Water Spirit Mami Wata
African Water Spirit Mami Wata
African deity Mami Wata is a beautiful, caring, seductive, and treacherous water spirit.
Mami Wata, Maame Wata, or Mammy Water.
The African deity called Mami Wata, Maame Wata, or Mammy Water in some parts of Western and Eastern Africa is a very popular deity. Among the Swahili speaking groups, she is called Mamba Munti. Mami Wata is a deity that has existed in Africa for as long as African history and culture can recollect.
The half-fish half-human female water spirit is greatly respected, feared and worshipped presenting a balance between dark, divine, mysterious and angelic existence. Often appearing with the head and torso of a woman and the tail of a fish, Mami Wata straddles earth and water, culture and nature. Colors of Mami Wata are red symbolizing blood and white symbolizing spirituality and beauty; her colors represent Mami Wata’s dual personality.
She may also take the form of a snake charmer, sometimes in combination with her mermaid attributes and sometimes separate from them. She can exist in the form of indigenous African water spirits known as mami watas and papi watas. Mesopotamian myths state that the first great water goddess in the story of the Creation-Flood was known as Mami Aruru.
For women, she is a giver of fertility and protector of women and children. Mami Wata has a soft spot for women who have suffered abuse. The deity is also a provider of wealth and riches to her loyal worshippers and admirers and blesses children with beauty. She is said to have capsized many slave ships that do not make it to their western destinations especially during the abolition of the slave trade.
The deity is believed to be a woman with a half-human and half-fish appearance with the ability to transform wholly into any form of her choice. The deity could also take up the form of half-human half-snake. Mermaids are believed to be an adaptation of the ancient half-human and half-fish African deity Mami Wata.
The role of the strikingly beautiful goddess is to provide spiritual and material healing to her worshippers, while also protecting their emotional and mental health and growth. She is the protector of the water bodies. Mami Wata is the bigger goddess with smaller followers some of which were also men and had the same appearance as their goddess.
What is a deity?
A deity is a divine being that is revered by its followers. Deities are not gods but mean divine nature, not all encompassing of every aspect of life. A deity has control over pacific aspects of life such as water, air, fire, and earth. Most African deities represent a natural force and gleam their power from the one God who gave them supernatural internal forces.
The confusion with using the word deity when it comes to African religion is the same confusion that the Western world has with Africa. The belief that Africans believe in more than one God is false. African religion believes in one Almighty encompassing God who is the ruler of all. The deities are not godlike figures because they can never be God because God created them.
By tradition, God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omni-benevolent, and the supreme eternal creator. Deities are spirits that are closer to humans who listens to the day-to-day problems that we would not trouble God with, such as a fight with a husband or wife or money problems. Deities deal with the small and petty problems humankind.
Similar Mami Wata, Poseidon, a well-known Greek deity, was the ruler of the sea and waters, and storms. Since Poseidon had many descriptions depending on who was praying to him and what was being prayed for, he was the Savior of Sailors and The Leader of Water Spirits. Also in Greek mythology, Soteria was the deity of safety and salvation, deliverance, and preservation from harm.
Yemoja is a major water deity from the Yoruba religion and is an Orisha. Orisha’s rule over forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity answering only to the one God, Olodumare. Yemoja is maternal and resilient. She is the protector of women and like Mami Wata, she governs everything connected to women.
She is able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. When Yemoja waters broke when she had her first baby, it caused a great flood creating rivers and streams and the first mortal humans were created from her womb.
What is Animism?
The belief of animism is probably one of man's oldest beliefs in objects are alive and have feelings and objectives; Animism is from the Latin word anima, meaning breath, spirit, and life. An animist is a believer in that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct unseen spiritual essence.
Animism is the belief that practically every object in the universe surrounding man has a soul and a personality such as he himself possesses. It is not astonishing that the early inhabitants of the earth spent their lives with supernatural attributes of a spiritual essence such as trees that in the gloom and chill of winter stood gaunt, bare, and sterile, but in the early spring hastened to greet the welcome warm life-giving sun.
Besides the belief in a human soul, the African animistic mind sees in every natural object a living entity. Thus, trees, rivers, winds, and animals all possess the gift of life. Humans from the most remote periods of history in Africa from which there no written records most likely experienced the natural unbroken existence between the human and spiritual world.
Animist original humans in Africa, watching the marvelous changes in nature through trees and plants, which accurately marked not only the seasons of the year and even the periods of time in a day, could not fail to be awestruck with a feeling of wonder at the mysterious invisible power which silently guided such wondrous and perplexing processes.
Throughout Africa, respect is given to distinct spiritual essences and the mysteries of the vast unseen world. Individual spiritual essences are shadowing the universe; mystically typifying creation and regeneration, and holding the key to the divine knowledge and wisdom to those who partook of it.