12/1/08

Goddess of the Week: Mawu

Mawu (also known as Mahu) is a creator goddess from what is now Benin Africa.  There are some conflicting stories about Mawu.  In one, she created the world but feared that she made it too heavy so she had the serpent Aido Hwedo fling it into the sky.  In another version of this story, she asked the serpent DA to coil underneath the heavy earth and hold it in place.  It took Mawu four days to make the world.  On the first day, she created the universe.  On the second day, she got the earth ready for people.  On the third day, she gave humans language, senses, and ability to think and reason.  And on the fourth day, she gave them tools to make life easier.  

When making people she asked the monkey Awe -- who she also created -- to help her.  He fashioned a world of unique people out of clay, but he confused fashioning life with giving life and got cocky.  Mawu got angry and gave Awe soup, but in the soup lay the seed of death.  And that's how Awe learned that only Mawu gave the breath of life, and only Mawu could take it away.  

4 comments:

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

monkey the trickster...I'm scarred of monkey's

altadenahiker said...

Hmm, might explain the disasters in my ceramics class

altadenahiker said...

I also like Mawu because she has gumption and is not bleeding all over the earth.

Margaret said...

What I like about African gods and goddesses is that they don't really mess with people. They create the world and move on, leaving the spirits of rocks and trees and stuff to mess with us.