Veve for Damballa
|Haitian Vodou, Folk Catholicism|
|Attributes||Life, serpents, white, bones, owls, ivory, cotton, chameleons|
In Vodou, Damballah is one of the most important of all the loa (also spelled lwa). Damballah is the Sky God and considered the primordial creator of all life. The veve of Damballah comprises two serpents prominent among other emblems.
He is both a member of the Rada family and a root, or (Old French) racine Loa. In New Orleans and Haiti he is often depicted as a serpent and is closely associated with snakes. He is considered the father of all loa as all Spirits are aspects of him. His wife/companion Ayida Weddo, the rainbow serpent (Damballah is also married to Erzulie Freda), is likewise a Loa of creation.
Symbols and offerings
Common altar symbols used to represent the Sky God include white cloth, owls, bones, ivory, cotton, and chameleons. As a loa of the Rada nation he is associated with the color white and white is his particular color. His day of the week is Thursday.
Some of his ritual songs indicate that he "carries the ancestors" on his back to Guinea (spiritual home of the Loa, and the afterlife). Damballah's offerings are very simple and he prefers an egg on a mound of flour or salt, but loves everything white. Toni Costonie relates that Priestess Miriam Chamani recommends cold water, milk, coconut, and coconut milk, honey, shea butter, rice, mild cigars, bread, and cookies. Some houses also serve him with anisette and corn syrup while kola nuts are also acceptable. Traditionally, however, it is taboo to give Damballah tobacco or alcohol in any form.
Function and presentation
Damballah rules the mind, intellect, and cosmic equilibrium. Damballah is the patron protector of the handicapped, deformed, cripples, albinos, and young children. When he presents himself in possession, he does not talk, but makes hissing and whistling noises like a snake in Rada rite. But in Haitian Petro loa he is known as "Dumballah Nan Flambo," and it is believed he can be heard "speaking through a flame".
Alternative names include Damballa Weddo (son of Odan Wedo), Danbala, Danbala Wedo, Damballah Weddo, Danbhala Weddo, Obatala. He is usually addressed respectfully as "Papa Damballah".
The novel "Voodoo Dreams-- a novel of Marie Laveau" by Jewell Parker Rhodes follows the story of the historical figure Marie who is often possessed by Damballah allowing her to do miraculous feats. This book gives more insight into the original beliefs about Damballah and Vodun in the Americas and abroad.
Damballah is worshipped by voodoo practitioners in the Southern Gothic horror stories "Black Canaan" and "Pigeons from Hell" by Robert E. Howard. Damballa is also The Deity referred to in the Horror/dark comedy film series Child's play, During Charles Lee Ray's Hoodoo incantation he calls on Damballa to give him the power of immortality.
He is also mentioned in the movie Dr. Terror's House of Horrors.
A song with the same name was performed in the first ever famous Greek rock opera Daimones (demons) by Nikos Karvelas and starring Anna Vissi, which played for two seasons in 1991. In 2013, after 22 years, the play is on stage now and is making records in selling 1,000 tickets a day.
In the Child's Play movie series, Charles Lee Ray can be heard calling to Damballa in his attempts to put his soul into first the doll, then his host of choice for the movie in question. This can be heard in all, or at least, most of the series.
-  About.com article Damballah-Wedo Vodou Lwa and His Veve
- Toni Costonie, biography Priestess Miriam and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple
- Old Testmanet, Book of Exodus 4:1-17