The vévé of Simbi
In Haitian Vodou, Simbi (also Sim’bi) is a large and diverse family of serpent Loa
Some prominent Simbi Loa include Simbi Dlo (also Simbi d’l’eau – Simbi of the Water), Simbi Makaya, Simbi Andezo (Simbi of Two Waters), and Gran Simba.
Traditionally they are all associated with water, but in the Haitian Vodoun context they have wide ranging associations.
For example Simbi Makaya is a great sorcerer, and served in particular in the Sanpwel secret societies.
Simbi Anpaka is a Loa of plants, leaves, and poisons.
The Veve of Agwe Taroyo
Agwe is a water spirit, and is of particular interest to seafaring people such as fishermen. As such, his veve represents a boat. Agwe is particularly important in Haiti, an island nation where many residents have depended upon the sea for survival for centuries.
When he arrives in possession of a performer, he is met with wet sponges and towels to keep him cool and moist while on land during the ceremony. Care has to be taken to keep the possessed from jumping into the water, which is where Agwe prefers to be.
Ceremonies for Agwe are commonly performed near the water. Offerings are floated on the water’s surface. If the offerings return to shore, they have been refused by Agwe.
Agwe is commonly depicted as a mullato man dressed in a naval uniform, and when in possession of another behaves as such, saluting and giving orders. He is mainly invoked in his benign Rada aspect, but also manifests in Petro invocations in his more violent Agwe Ge-Rouge aspect.
Agwe’s female counterpart is La Sirene, the siren of the seas, a personification of Erzulie.
The veve of Damballah Wedo
Damballah Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake, and his veves reflect this aspect of him.
His presence brings peace and harmony. As a source of life, he is also strongly associated with water and the rain.
When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. His movements are also snake-like, and can including slithering along the ground, flicking his tongue, and climbing tall objects.
Damballah Wedo is associated with creation and is viewed as a loving father to the world.
Damballah Wedo is strongly connected to the ancestors, and he and his companion Ayida-Wedo are the oldest and wisest of the loa.
Ayida Wedo is likewise associated with snakes and is Damballah’s partner in creation. Because the creative process is seen as shared between male and female, Damballah-Wedo’s veves generally depict two snakes rather than just one.
Damballa rules the intellect, the mind, and keeps cosmic balance. He is the protector of the handicapped, deformed, cripples and albinos. He is married to Erzulie Freda, the flirtatious goddess of love.
In his Petro aspect he is Damballah Nan Flambo – Damballah of the Flame – and is believed to speak through flames and fires.
He is believed to have manifested through St Patrick, who drove the snakes from Ireland, and sometimes said to be linked with Moses, when his staff turned into a serpent.