Ourbourus - Ayido Hwedo

The wife of Damballa is known as Ayido Hwedo. She is depicted as the symbol of a snake eating its tail. Another name for this symbol is Ourborus (Orborus, Ouroborus). She helped to create the universe by transporting Mawu, a god, through the universe creating the earth and mountains on her way. The earth she created became far to heavy to exist in space so Mawu ordered the rainbow serpent to coil underneath it to hold it up. To help Ayido Hwedo the oceans were created to flow on the earth and ease the stress of the snake. When the oceans would not help, Ayido would shake in anger and cause earthquakes the way her husband Damballa would.




In order to remain strong, it is said that Ayido needed a lot of iron and there would sometimes not be enough. When this happens she would resort to eating her own tail, loosing her strength to hold up the earth, causing disasters in all lands. Ayido Hwedo is seen as both a creator and a destroyer because of this. The earth can never keep her replenished, and as she destroys she then creates anew - a symbol eternal rebirth.


The Orburus is one of the oldest mystical symbols known to man. It was seen as far back as the Hongshan culture (4700bc-2900bc). It is said to symbolise the writer Dickens' concept of "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". The best of times that the snake had food in its mouth and the worst of times that it was devouring itself.