The Fon people of West Africa believed Mawu and Lisa – the moon and sun – created Earth. Mawu created all living things, but she feared the weight of her creations would cause earth to fall from its orbit, crashing into Lisa’s burning sun rays.
Mawu sought help from the only other deity she trusted to hold the weight of the world.
She asked the sky serpent, Aido Hwedo, to wrap themselves around the earth. Aido Hwedo slithered around Earth until finally, 7,000 of the snake’s coils secured the planet in space, keeping it from crashing into the sun.
This story shares similarities with another story – Adam and Eve. In that story, a snake tricks Eve into eating forbidden fruit, unleashing sin and turmoil onto the Earth.
But in Mawu and Aido Hwedo’s story, they save Earth. Despite the differences, in both stories women were responsible to uphold the “weight of the world.”
That’s a lot of pressure, and it’s been an expectation for generations of women, especially Black women. We even see this in Black church culture – Black matriarchs sacrificing everything, including their health, to ensure everyone else is cared for.
“The world” is heavy to carry – what can we do as a community to relieve Black women of this pressure?
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