Mami Wata ruled the tides way before enslavers colonized the sea. She’s still known throughout Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and other parts of the Black diaspora.
She’s depicted as a beautiful Black woman or mermaid, but she’s much more than this.
Because Mami Wata’s spiritual importance is deeply rooted in ancient matriarchal cultures, she’s typically portrayed as a woman within art.
But her pantheon of water spirits is gender diverse.
Like many African deities, Mami Wata exists within numerous dualities. Good and evil. Singular and plural. Living and spirit. Human and non-human. Masculine and feminine, but sometimes even existing outside of these gender binaries.
Historically enslavers and colonizers enforced strict gender roles on our ancestors as a means to disempower them.
Mami Wata’s duality is symbolic of water’s multifaceted role within nature and our lives. Historically water provided our people with food, drink, trade, cleansing, and communication with ancestors, but water also flooded fields and villages, made the slave trade possible, offered passage to enslavers, and served as a grave for many of our ancestors.
Water holds immense spiritual powers which is why it’s used for cleansing, libation, and altars. Even our own bodies need to stay hydrated to function properly. How can you incorporate water into your spiritual life?
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