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Origin

Dam-Ayido Wede[1] or Dan-Ayido-Hwedo[2][3] was the son of Lusa and Mahu, and twin brother to Sagbata. He was born in Orun, the Great Beyond.[1]

He started as a relatively minor member of the Vodu pantheon.[1][2]

16th century

In the 16th century, at the start of the Atlantic slave trade, Dam-Ayido followed his enslaved worshippers to the Caribbean and to the USA's Gulf Coast. The slaves sought solace from their ancient gods, combining them with elements from Catholicism[1] and the Holy Roman Church.[2]

Vodu worship was consequently bastardized into:

  • "Vaudou" and later "voodoo" (due to confusion with the French "vaudois", a French heresy) in Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti).[1]
  • In Cuba, this merger combined to indigenous American beliefs became known as Santeria.[1]

Dam-Ayido changed his image to comport with Western culture. He adopted the name Damballah and posed as the Vodu Sky Father and creator of the world to his worshipers, usurping his grandfather Buluku and achieving far greater prominence in the New World. Consequently, Damballah was invoked by many Haitian voodoo practitioners, over Lusa, Mahu or Buluku.[1]

17th century

...

20th and 21th centuries

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Powers

Seemingly those conventional to all Vodu, including:

  • Superhuman physical abilities[2]
    • Superhuman Strength: He can lift 25 tons.[1]
  • High resistance to disease, injury and aging[2]

Though he appears as a snake, he can presumably shapeshift into human or other forms.[2]

He can manipulate certain undefined occult energies associated with curses and the underworld which grants him powers over life and death.[2]

He can grant his mortals followers with powers such as mesmerizing[1] and controlling others.[2]




  • Damballah is not to be confused with Damballah, the spawn of Set.
  • In the real world Voodoo Religion, Damballah is a benevolent figure, not a villainous one.

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Footnotes



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