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Category: Mami Wata
  1. What is a Mamisii?
  2. Why are some Mamissii' called "Hounon" a male title?
  3. *Are mami waters half fish and half human? If someone goes to the beach to find them or talk to them or just see them, how can they do it? Also can someone turn into one by their own will?
  4. *I read that when Africans are worshiping Mami Wata, they are worshiping the white woman. Is this true?
  5. Do you have one Chief of the Mami Wata?



  1. What is a Mamisii?
    "Mamisii" (meaning: "Queen of the Waters and Divination"), is the oldest priesthood of largely women in West Africa. Its origins date back to the "Cult of Issis" in ancient Kemet (Egypt). It is inherited matrilineally from the mother, but sometimes can be from a father of the maternal bloodline, and many are simply claimed by Mami Wata. Many can also have ceremony to Mami to ehance their spiritual path and development or increase their personal and business prospects.

    MAMI WATA ANNUAL CEREMONY IN TOGO WEST AFRICA

    Photos of Mama Zogbe’s Mami Wata

    Mami Wata is one of the first and important ceremonies of anyone who has the Mami Wata deity, no matter how many other deities one might possess. In the case of Mama Zogbe, she inherited her Mami Wata deity from her great-great grandfather. For years she was known as “Mamissii”. However this title will change as one completes any other major ceremonies where one acquires additional ranks, name and titles.



    A Mamaissii has dominion over all the divinities that inhabit all bodies of waters, which is also the means by which they heal others. You can read more about this here.
    Category: Mami Wata
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  2. Why are some Mamissii' called "Hounon" a male title?

    The Ewe/Fon word "Hounon" loosely translates as "Mother of the Ship." And though usually the initiatory title of a Mamaissii and/or Vodoun priest who may be initiated to both Mami Wata and the Vodou, it is also ascribed to a high male preist of the Vodou as well.
    Also a male priest of the Vodou is accorded the initatory title of "Ahougan," meaning "Father of the House," though a woman may also be accorded this honrary title if she is the widow of a priest, and now takes on his prior duties as "father".

    Unfortunately, in the U.S. there is a growing trend while reclaiming the Vodoun religion, to indiscriminately bestow the rank of “Hounon” upon individuals whose adherents may honor or worship them. The rank of “Hounon” (or the non-existent new spelling “Hunun”) is not an honorary title, it is an initiatory rank, and cannot be bestowed arbitrarily, any more than an army private (or his followers) in the military can bestow the rank of “general” upon himself.

    Those who understand the laws and the tradition of Vodoun are aware that in the Vodoun religion, though not all Hounons are pathed to work as ritual priest, all Hounons do have installed physical Vodou shines with the vodou deities which qualifies them at the rank of “Hounon.” They also, in accordance to the Law of the Vodou, must be able to state who initiated them, when, and where, and to what vodou deities, which qualifies them at their claimed rank. Any individual, regardless of age or experience in another branch of African religion, claiming simply to have been “initiated in Togo, Benin etc.,” does not qualify them as “Hounon” (or chief) in the Vodoun religion, unless they satisfy the above criteria.

    Category: Mami Wata
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  3. *Are mami waters half fish and half human? If someone goes to the beach to find them or talk to them or just see them, how can they do it? Also can someone turn into one by their own will?
    The mermaid is one of the most popular symbolic representations of Mami Wata. However, one cannot "find" Mami Wata--Mami Wata finds *you*. Finally, one cannot "turn into a Mermaid."
    (click logo for more info on coming initiations!) For more information on Mami Wata visit the links below:
    Congo Mami Wata Legends
    Densu: Mami Wata in Nigeria
    Map of Densu: Mami Wata in Dahomey
    Mami Wata
    Interest in Having Personal Mami Wata Table or Think you might be Mami

    Are you A Mami Wata Child? and more links. . .

    Category: Mami Wata
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  4. *I read that when Africans are worshiping Mami Wata, they are worshiping the white woman. Is this true?

    Not at all. Unfortuantely, the social and economic politics of race and racism has infested the symbols used in African religious iconography. This blunder is due largely to misinterpetations by european anthropologists, Christian evangelists, and export merchants of African sacred artifacts.
    The mermaid symbol used to denote Mami Wata is manifested in all "races," (european being only one of them). These "racial" imageries carry esoteric and symbolic meaning that have nothing to do with race.
    .

    Black Mami Wata figure(Mamisiis)
    Black (Mamisiis) Mami Wata, on mural in Lome, Togo, West Africa.
    Black Ewe symbol of Mami wata (Mamisii)

    (Click Banner for more information on Mami Wata)

    For more info please visit:
    Are You A Mami Wata Child?

    Category: Mami Wata
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  5. Do you have one Chief of the Mami Wata?

    No. Not in an official hierarchal structure as the “Catholic pope.”

    Because the Mami Wata & Vodoun are so numerous and ancestrally and ethnically specific and regional, this makes this an impossibile task. However, there can be “Chiefs” of a particular ethnic group, or Egbe of Mami Wata & the Vodou within a specific region, country or Egbe (spirit house). For example, in Togo, the “Chief” of the Ewe is called an Awoamefia, and his role is political as oppose to spiritual.

    Customarily, each Egbe (spirit house) can have a Chief/Chieftess of those whom they have initiated and are the grandmother/father to. They might also “self-proclaim” themselves, or may be popular and deemed so based on the power of their particular deity, or their professional experience.

    If the priestess/priest has other grand Vodou, that proves more powerful than, or is the "chief" of a particular pantheon of other Vodou of its kind, they are considered “Chief/Chieftess” of that particular Vodou. However, Mami Wata devotees answer to their own Egbe and spiritual mother. They, as all initiates, are only required to extend respect to the Chiefs/Chieftess as is required by all.

    To further highlight the complexity of why the Mami Wata Vodoun cannot be ruled by a one-person centralized authority, there are priesthoods centered around a particular deity where they have their own “Chief/Chieftess.” The Amengansie tradition is a case in point. This is also the case with the divinatory system of Afa, and certain secret societies. Yet, during celebrations,they all are equally represented and serve in an equal capacity where they are given equal honor and respect by all including the Spirits.

    Additionally, there are some individual priests who might claim to be the “Chief” of ALL of Mami Wata, or the Vodou. However keep in mind that this claim is more political, and is oftentimes made in reference to either his/her own Egbe or ethnic group. A very common assumption since Africans tend to view themselves only within their own ethnic, village or family milieu.

    It is also important to note that Africa has a long ancient history of royalty, king and queenships. Generally, these group's “royal reign” often only extend within their own clan groups. This is also the case within the Mami Wata and Vodoun tradition, where families of royal lineages are ethnically and ancestrally specific to each clan groups.

    For example, the royal Vodun families and lineages of the Ewe are not subordinate to the royal Vodoun lineages of the Fon, who are a subgroup of the Ewe. As with all royal lineages in Africa, the Fon, Ewe, Mina etc., are merely co-equals and make up numerous subgroups of royal families.

    What is also critical in sorting the hype from the facts, is that prior to the Fon’s invasion of the region they later named “Dahomey”, there rest for hundreds of years, the Mami Wata Vodoun royal families of the village chief known as Agrigom, and the Tado Princess, Aligbonu, as well as the Adangme Vodoun clans; all whom were indigenous to Ghana and Togo prior to the Fon’s invasion into the region.

    Because of Europe's long business relationship with Dahomey, western historians have been guilty of focusing on the warrior clan of the Fon who invaded and ascended the throne; as being the center of the Vodoun religion. However, this focus does a disservice to Vodoun and Mami Wata’s ancient history by narrowing it to only one specific ethnic/clan group.

    In correcting this misperception, it is important for the Diaspora and others to focus on Africa’s theocratic make-up since time immemorial, while placing into perspective the whereabouts of the descendants of the much older royal Vodoun families whose historical existence pre-dates, the Fon. The Fon being forced to pay tributary to the Oyo Empire in Nigeria, actually did so while financing the building of their kingdom by either enslaving or selling these older Mami Wata Vodoun groups into slavery to the New World.

    The above is not an indictment against the Fon subgroup. Those were the actions during that period of global empire building around the world. However, with the plethora of independent research conducted by various scholars, it is important to correct the historical record for the benefit of those seeking a more comprehensive understanding of this very dark chapter in African and world history. Read more here:


    Category: Mami Wata
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