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  • Writer's pictureVoodoo Vixen

Maman Brigitte: Voodoo Lwa of Death

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Maman Brigitte is one of the Lwa of Haitian Vodou. These are divine spirits that are called on by practitioners of Voodoo but sit under the principal Voodoo god Bondye. Mortals never call on Bondye directly as he is beyond the comprehension of mankind and unconcerned with its doings.

Maman Brigitte is associated with death and the underworld. She guides the dead on their journey to the next life and can heal those who have not yet reached their time. She then protects the sanctity of the afterlife and the resting places of the dead in this world.

Brigitte is a protector of women and a representation of femininity. She is a speaker of truths, even when they are harsh and difficult to hear. But like all Lwa, Brigitte is a trickster, and there are always secrets hidden in what she reveals.

Design of Madam Brigitte
Design of Madam Brigitte

Goddess of Death and the Underworld

Along with her consort Baron Samendi, Maman Brigitte cares for the dead and protects the underworld.

She guides the recently passed from the world of the living to the world of the dead, ensuring that their souls arrive safely and intact. If she encounters a soul at risk but believes that it is not yet their time, she will often stay by their side and nurse them back to health.

She also protects gravestones, tombs, cemeteries, and other resting places of the dead, ensuring that they are not desecrated or destroyed. Brigitte can be extremely wrathful against those who violate the sanctity of death, which she believes should be sacred.

Maman Brigitte teaches that the dead should be respected and may help a practitioner contact a deceased loved one if she thinks that their approach is respectful and their intentions are pure.

Rituals to make contact with Maman Brigitte can often be conducted in graveyards, where she is often found wandering, but it is important to respect the dead buried there. Requests to contact the dead should be conducted as close to their mortal remains as possible.

All rituals invoking the Lwa should begin by calling on Papa Legba, as he is the gatekeeper between the mortal and supernatural worlds.

Madam Birgitte with her consort Baron Samedi
Madam Birgitte with her consort Baron Samedi

Speaker of Truth

Maman Brigitte is often called on those seeking truth. She is often described as contrastingly foul-mouthed and regal. This reflects her willingness to tell the truth, no matter how harsh, without sugar-coating her words.

But all the Lwa are tricksters, and their words can never be taken at face value. There are always multiple ways to interpret her words, and it is up to you to determine the right path forward.

Brigitte is known by many different names and with many variations of spelling. Maman Brigitte, Manman Brigit, Manman Brijit, Maman Brijit, Gran Brigitte, Grann Brigitte, Brigitte Grann, Mother Brigitte, Saint Brigid, and others. But the specifics of her name are less important than the intentions of the person calling her.

Those seeking truths from Maman Brigitte should light a candle and stare into the flame while communing with the goddess. Her revelations may appear in your mind, or she may share signs with you in the following days.

The White Lwa

Maman Brigitte is unique among the Lwa of Haitian Vodou in that she is represented as a white woman with red hair. This may be to contrast her with her dark consort Baron Samedi. But others have also speculated it is because she was born out of the Celtic goddess Brigid.

The theory is that Irish and Scottish women who found themselves in indentured servitude in the Caribbean brought Brigid to the new world, where she found her way into Voodoo practices there.

While there seems to be little association between Brigid, an Irish goddess of hearth and fire, and Maman Brigitte’s underworld domain, they were both considered protectors of women.

The Protector

Maman Brigitte is honored primarily by women, and she is considered extremely sensual and feminine. She is often asked for protection and help, especially against men. She can be a vengeful spirit when it comes to domestic violence and unfaithful lovers.

But she also helps women with other aspects of femininity, such as fertility, childbirth, and sexual health.

Women hoping to work with Maman Brigitte should honor their own femininity and sexuality, as the Lwa is often attracted to these qualities.

Symbols of Maman Brigitte

Maman Brigitte is usually represented as a white woman with red hair in highly sexualized clothing, usually in her favorite colors of purple and black.

She will often have a glass of rum infused with hot peppers in her hands, or she will eat the hot peppers on their own. These make excellent offerings to the goddess. Alternatively, some practitioners rub the spicy rum onto sensitive areas of their bodies to commune with the Lwa.

She is also linked to the black rooster, which represents the sun, sunrise, and rebirth. Black roosters are often sacrificed to her in Voodoo rituals.

Maman Brigitte’s veve symbol usually includes a heart but can also sometimes feature a cross with a black rooster.

Include black and purple in your altar to call on Maman Brigitte and always have spiced rum available. The Lwa enjoys sharing a drink with her devotees.

Voodoo Veve of Madam Brigette
Voodoo Veve of Madam Brigette

Ritual Days

Maman Brigitte is commonly evoked on 2 November, the day of the dead, and on 2 February, the day of Brigid in Haiti. This corresponds with the Celtic festival of Imbolc to mark the start of spring.

In Voodoo, in February, a scarf or other piece of clothing is often left out overnight so that Brigid can pass by and bless it with healing powers.

Maman Brigitte is often represented by a black rooster. The rooster is associated with sunrise and ideas of rebirth. The item can be worn throughout the year and has the residual healing powers of the goddess.

While the Lwa can be honored on these days, Brigitte is always “abroad” and will heed the right calls at any time.

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