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Manman Brijit - owner of the cemetery

Frater Vameri

Image by MichaelGaida at Pixabay

When we think of Guédé usually the first picture that comes to mind is that of Baron Samedi. However, the Guédé are a very diverse family. Although there is of course a theme that unites them. Within this myriad Manman Brijit stands out. She is considered the mother of all Guédé. A figure of such importance can only yield an extremely interesting discussion.

It is common for us to see Manman Brijit being described as the “companion of Baron Samedi”. This is a description that seems to me as an uninspired one. It is an easy approach for a shallow explanation and nothing more. Maybe (and just maybe) it could fit in a quick conversation just in order to give a brief idea. However, anyone who starts typing something about this Lwa can go further without major difficulties.

In a cemetery the first woman buried is understood as the Manman Brijit. Émile Marcelin tells us that if the first person buried in a given graybeard is a woman, then the cemetery will belong to Manman Brijit. This is very curious. Brijit and Samedi have different personalities and if we consider that there is a cemetery owner, we could also consider that a cemetery led by Brijit is quite different from one led by Samedi.

Her symbol is a pile of stones. This symbol certainly refers to the ancient tombs that were marked by stacked stones. In a way, this seems to give Brijit a more primitive antiquity and ancestry. As a female spirit and mother of all Guédé it may not be absurd to think that she is really the source of this group.

We can make a connection here to what Milo Rigaud talks about her: that she can be identified with Eve the first woman created together with Adam (Ossangne ​​- pointing this Lwa as Brijit's first lover ). So, as the first woman that walked this earth, she really would be the source of life - and everything that gives life necessarily gives death. So, we can see how this can be a way to understand this Lwa .

Like this great mother of death, Brijit is also one of the judges of Vodou. She acts in causes of justice and resolutions.This is very opportune because the legends of trials at the time of death are abundant. Furthermore, there is no greater equalizer than death - and that is one of the great lessons that we can learn from the Guédé.

Marcelin tells us that it is rare that a person would be possessed by Brijit . However, when it occurs, cottons are placed in the horses' nostrils and ears and they lie down like corpses. It is curious to think that even in her manifestation in the world of the living, Manman Brijit behaves exactly like a body. Maybe it's just her nature. However, it may be that this act hides more meanings: for example, it can be a very effective way of reminding us of what lies ahead and hopefully this can help putting us in our place. Who knows maybe we will avoid a harsh judgment with we remember this lesson?

To end this brief discussion, it is worth mentioning that we sometimes find some texts affirming or suggesting that Manman Brijit originated from (and is a form of) the Goddess Brigite of the Celts. There are authors and practitioners who say that Brijit would be white and red-skinned and that, furthermore, her association with justice would be indicative of this Irish ancestry and conflicting identity with Brigite. There is also a song that says that "li soti nan anglete " - "she came from England". Well, it must be made clear that there are researchers who reject this Brijit ancestry as a mere fantasy or as an attempt at reconstruction. Therefore, this connection is not something set in stone.

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