Musings On Mawu

Today’s card is a unique one. It is Mawu from Daughters of the Moon tarot by Ffiona Morgan. This is the old black and white deck (the image shown is from the full color deck). Mawu is the Fon goddess who shares duality with Lisa, the Fon god. Mawu and Lisa were twins and regarded as an unseparable unity. She is the moon and he is the sun. In their mythology, she creates the world. In this deck, Mawu represents both the Emperor and the Empress.

On this card, we see an elephant’s head in the foreground. Massive tusks seem to protrude from the card with his ears held wide in an aggressive pose. This is a bull elephant in the defense posture. On his back there is a woman of obvious African heritage who has one hand protectively over her belly. Her other hand is helping a child slide from her vagina. Her expression is one of joy and contentment. There is no fear in her at all. The child is at peace as well.

On either side of the elephant you can see some foilage. I imagine the colors I would choose for this card would be vibrant ones to signify the life that is here. This card is about birth and beginnings and protecting that special time as well.

But there is something here that many might find ominous. On the branch that reaches over Mawu’s head from the tree on the left hand side of the card, there is a snake sinously twined. The snake seems more curious than dangerous to me. Its tongue protrudes in the typical tasting/smelling fashion of reptiles. I think because she shows no fear, I feel no fear from this reptile. Of course, I am a reptile lover so that will color how I view the serpent here.

In the background lies a great waste of land. There are low-lying mountains rising from what looks to be a desert to me. So the symbology of birth could be expanded to being birth after hard times. Creativity from nothingness.

On researching Mawu after writing this, I learned that Mawu asked the World Serpent DA to curl up around the world to support it in case of accidents. The child she is giving birth to here must be the world and the snake is Da waiting to do as asked. This child is Gu, the divine tool, who was used by his parents to shape the world.

So the message of this card is give birth to yourself and your own world. Be your own world shaper and know that you are protected and safe.

NOTE: The Fon people are of Benin and Togo.

This musing originally posted on Tarot By Arwen

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Author: TarotByArwen

Arwen is the editor-in-chief and owner of The Cartomancer. This print and digital magazine is devoted to divination. You can learn more here: http://www.thecartomancer.com. Arwen is also the author of The Fairy Tale Lenormand, Secrets of the Mystic Grove, Bianca Niero Tarot and more (all USGamesInc publications.) As the past president of the American Tarot Association (2007-2014), Arwen worked with an actively engaged board to rekindle that organization. Her true calling is as a Professional Joy Seeker. She co-creates with her clients to help them find their joy again. "Seek joy, y'all" is her motto.

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