The Rainbow Serpent

Also known as: Aïda-Wedo

Origin: Vodou; Haiti

If you’ve seen a rainbow, then you’ve seen Ayida-Wedo, rainbow serpent, water snake spirit, and ancient root lwa. She is very rarely invoked without her beloved Damballah, her soul mate and other half. Damballah is envisioned as a great snake arching across the sky. Ayida-Wedo is his complement, the rainbow. Their sexual union is symbolized by a snake coiled around a cosmic egg containing all of life’s energies, possibilities, and potential.

On the cosmic level, Ayida-Wedo protects Creation. On a personal level, her union with Damballah epitomizes the happy marriage. She invoked by those who desire successful, committed, faithful marriages. Request her blessings of hope and happiness, peace and prosperity.

Manifestations: The rainbow; a snake with rainbow-colored scales

Iconography: Ayida-Wedo is syncretized to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, whose image is used to represent her. If you prefer a serpentine image, a stuffed fabric snake is easily constructed. Cover it with rainbow-colored sequins, repeating your invocation, petition, or request as you sew on each individual sequin.

Emblem: Rainbow

Element: Water

Color: Blue (especially azure); white

Sacred tree: Ceiba (also known as the kapok, silk cotton, or mapou tree)

Offerings: Ayida-Wedo craves white foods: eggs, milk, rice, whipped or clotted cream, and sweet white deserts like rice pudding. In addition to milk, she’ll drink sweetened café au lait (lots of milk!). Give her gifts in the form of snakes, rainbows, or ornamented with a rainbow motif.

See also: Agasou; Aïdo-Hwedo; Dambal lah; Gran Bois; Lwa; Mami Waters; Xtabay