Fon God

Nana-Buluku

Female Wooden Figure by Fon artist, (n.d.)

Female Wooden Figure by Fon artist, (n.d.)

British MuseumCC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Overview

Nana-Buluku is the supreme deity of the Vodun religion. She is primarily worshipped by the Fon and Ewe people of West Africa, though many other West African cultures, including those of the Yoruba and Igbo people, also regard her as an influential deity.

Within Fon mythology, Nana-Buluku is considered the creator of the universe as well as the original mother goddess. In iconography, she is typically imagined as an older woman.[1]

After creating the universe, Nana-Buluku gave birth to Mawu and Lisa, twin creator gods. Mawu and Lisa inherited the responsibility of creation from Nana-Buluku and went on to form the other gods, the earth, and all life on earth.

Pronunciation

  • English
    Fon
    Nana-BulukuNana-Buluku
  • Phonetic
    IPA
    [nah-nah-buh-LOO-koo]/næ.næ.bʊ.lu:.ku/

Nana-Buluku Gives Birth to Mawu-Lisa

Figure of Standing Female Carrying Bowl by Fon artist, (19th century).

A copper alloy figure of a standing female carrying a bowl by Fon artist, (19th century).

Brooklyn MuseumCC0

According to Fon mythology, Nana-Buluku formed the universe from an empty primordial void. Her first (and only) act thereafter was to give birth to two primordial gods: Mawu (a female deity) and Lisa (a male deity). Nana-Buluku gave Mawu the moon and Lisa the sun.

When this was done, Nana-Buluku withdrew and no longer played an active role in shaping the universe. Mawu and Lisa, meanwhile, merged into a single deity with both male and female aspects: Mawu-Lisa. It was Mawu-Lisa who created the rest of the world and gave birth to the vodun (gods).

References

Notes

  1. Ibigbolade S. Aderibigbe and Toyin Falola, The Palgrave Handbook of African Traditional Religion (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), 227.

Secondary Sources

  • Aderibigbe, Ibigbolade S., and Toyin Falola. The Palgrave Handbook of African Traditional Religion. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

  • Lynch, Patricia Ann, and Jeremy Roberts. African Mythology, A to Z. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010.

  • Scheub, Harold. A Dictionary of African Mythology: The Mythmaker as Storyteller. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

  • Siedlak, Monique Joiner. Vodun: West Africa’s Spiritual Life. St. Augustine, FL: Oshun Publications, 2021.

Citation

“Nana-Buluku.” Mythopedia, September 13, 2023. https://mythopedia.com/topics/nana-buluku.

“Nana-Buluku.” Mythopedia, 13 Sep. 2023. https://mythopedia.com/topics/nana-buluku. Accessed on 13 Dec. 2023.

(2023, September 13). Nana-Buluku. Mythopedia. https://mythopedia.com/topics/nana-buluku