Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
African deities are generally grouped as primary deities, secondary deities, and tertiary deities, the latter group including clan spirits, local divinities, and personal gods. In the Dahomean Vodun pantheon, Mawu-Lisa (also spelled Mahu-Lisa, Mahou-Lissa, or Mahu-Lissa) is the first on the list of primary deities. In other words, in the hierarchy of powers, Mawu-Lisa comes at the top and assumes the role of commander-in-chief. Mawu and Lisa are the creator couple of Heaven and Earth. Mawu, the female principle, corresponds to the moon and is associated with night, fertility, motherhood, gentleness, forgiveness, rest, and joy, all characteristics that one sees in women. Lisa, the male principle, corresponds to the sun and is associated with day, heat, work, power, war, strength, toughness, and intransigence, all things that characterize typical male persons. Hence, Mawu and Lisa are the sky gods who absorb the nature of the Supreme Being or God Almighty in ...