Who is Maman Brigitte?
Known to many as the Lover of Bones, Maman Brigitte is a significant figure in Voodoo, from Louisiana to Haiti (Voudon). She is a goddess known as a loa in the spiritual practice, which means she is worshipped to by thousands across North America and beyond. Sometimes called the Lady of the Cemetery, Maman Brigitte is married to Baron Samedi, who himself is known as the Lord of the Cemetery.
Maman Brigitte is often depicted as by a jet black rooster or cockerel, and can often be appeased by such symbols, or even with rum infused with pepper. Her role in Voodoo / Voudon is to help protect cemeteries and gravestones, along with her husband. She is believed to be named after the first woman buried in Haiti.
Despite being a Lua associated with the deceased, Maman Brigitte is also called upon to help ease suffering and to punish those who have committed wicked or atrocious deeds. She is seen as a judge by some worshippers and devotees, meaning that she can be summoned to deliver a final verdict on who receives comfort and/or scorn. Maman Brigitte is, therefore, a powerful Lua to be devoted to, though as with all other deities and spirits, she must be approached with care and with pure, genuine intention.
Maman Brigitte is one of many Lua who have been delegated the task of helping those in the mortal realm. Not only can she be appeased and called upon for blessings and curses, but she may also bless grave sites and cemetery plots if they are appropriately marked with a cross or veve, a symbol unique to deities and Lua who can be called upon by mortal devotees.
Maman Brigitte can deliver blessings and curses alike, though it must be noted that she can be a wild spirit and one who does not suffer fools gladly. Therefore, summoning or appealing to her must be taken with utmost care. She is said to have links to an Irish counterpart, the Celtic spirit of Brigid. Brigid’s story was translated and taken across the sea as Irish slave women reached New Orleans centuries ago. Brigid is said to have been interested in the arts, in medicine and in poetry. She is also thought to have been a healer.
Maman Brigitte is a healer and a force to be reckoned with. Along with her husband, Baron Samedi, she helps mortal souls travel from our realm into the afterlife, all the while protecting their graves. It is said that if Maman Brigitte cannot heal or cure the wounded or the sick, she will ensure them safe passage into the afterlife as a final gesture. Therefore, she is a Lua who is often called on in Voodoo and Voudon should someone be nearing their final hours.
There are many gods, goddesses and Lua who each have their role to play in international spirituality. The tale of Maman Brigitte is a popular one and one which will likely perpetuate for centuries to come.