Mawu: The Goddess of Creation

Mawu-Lisa is a very complex deity that is worshiped by the people of Ewe. The pair of Mawu and Lisa are often associated with each other. Occasionally, they are seen as separate deities, or as a sexual pair. 

As an individual, Mawu is often seen as a creator. She is also seen as the female deity that is associated with the moon, and it is here that she is often paired with Lisa. They are a partnership that is not usually separated. They are either depicted as being husband and wife, or brother and sister. They are complementary to each other and the creation of the universe. Mawu is depicted as an elder female, whereas Lisa is seen as a younger male. They are seen as a complementary pair. Mawu is associated with the night and the moon, and is gentle, whereas Lisa is associated with the sun and is hot and fierce. Mawu is seen as the mother figure of everyone.

Overview of Mawu 

Mawu and Lisa each facing the sun and the moon

Source – Spectrum South

The themes of Mawu are passion, abundance, birth, inspiration, and creativity. She is seen as the mother figure of mankind and the goddess that created the human race. She is a very complex and creative deity that is seen as the goddess that is the mother of all humankind and all creatures. Mawu is seen with the moon and has many of the characteristics that one stereotypically sees in women. For example, she is associated with fertility, motherhood, forgiveness, rest, joy, and gentleness. Her partner, Lisa is seen as being one with the sun, work, heat, power, war, strength, and the stereotypical male person. Together, these two create the balanced being or the Supreme Entity.


  • Goddess of Creation
  • Creator Deity 


Mawu has the ability to create humans. It is also said that she created heaven and earth. She is known as the main creator of all deities and is the mother of humankind. She holds the power to wield the essence of existence. She is behind the life of all things that are living and holds the features of fate. 


Source – Journeying to the Goddess

Mawu is often depicted as a woman with large breasts and is often painted red. She is usually seen holding or is looking to the moon. She is also usually shown with her snake and a large necklace. She is also seen as a radiant and luminescent figure, as reflected in her association with the sun and the moon. This is usually portrayed through glowing or shining elements in artistic portrayals. 


Some of the key personality features that have to do with Mawu is her creativity, balance, and wisdom. She is in charge of the continuous renewal and regeneration of the world and has to constantly be doing this differently in creative ways. She is also associated with her ability to balance the cosmos and being associated with both the sun and the moon. She is also very nurturing, seen as the goddess that first brings people into the world and then protects her children. She is also known for being interconnected. She is seen as the unifying force that brings together various aspects of the universe. 


Mawu on an elephant in front of the moon

Source – ArtStation

Her symbols are clay, the moon, and seeds. She is associated with clay because that is what she had used to create the first humans. The moon is another one of her main symbols because she is the moon and night to her counterpart, Lisa’s, sun and daytime. She is usually worshiped in cycles of the moon. Since Mawu is known as the creator, she has given people and the world the seeds of life. She is drawn on to create farms and civilizations as well. 

She is also associated with spring and elephants, because legend says that Mawu arrived in spring on the back of an elephant that is pregnant with all of life. 

Festivals and Rituals 

Mawu sitting in a crescent moon

Source – Quora

Many rituals for Mawu appear in her ability to give life, often through making love. This “generation of seeds’, is taken literally and people sow the fields with Mawu in mind, knowing that she will make the land fertile. If you want to call on Mawu, you can get a seedling and name it after one of Mawu’s attributes that you would like to call on and cultivate. Each time you water or take care of your plant, make sure to repeat the name that you gave it to give that energy to your spirit. 

Another way that Mawu is seen as helping guide manifestations is through working with clay. Get some non-drying clay, and begin to work it into the vision of your goals. If you do this daily for twenty-eight days (a lunar cycle) you will begin to see your goals and visions come to life. 

Legends associated with Mawu

Mawu, being the goddess of creation, has many legends telling the story of how she created the world that we live in. 

Origin story 

Mawu in front of the universe

Source – Pinterest

It is said that Mawu and Lisa were the two that together created the universe. Mawu, the gentle and nurturing goddess, was the creator of the moon. She gave the world the gift of coolness and the ability to rest. The created moon gave a guiding light to the lost and weary souls. On the other hand, Lisa was the master of the sun, and ruled the realm of the day. His fiery rays nurtured the growth of life and gave spirit of vitality within all living beings. The sun, which is a symbol of strength and power, inspired courage and resilience in the hearts of mortals. The duality of Mawu and Lisa created the variety of the days and nights as we know them. 

But, it was through their son, Gu, that Mawu and Lisa were able to create the physical landscape of the world. Gu, who was a divine artisan, possessed a creative spirit unparalleled, was able to create the mountains with his hands, molding the valleys with his touch, and painted the oceans with his dreams. His imagination made the world the breathtaking place that it still is today. 

Creating Civilized Life 

Source – Journeying to the Goddess

There are some myths that give the actions of Mawu and Lisa to be complimentary. In one legend, it is said that Mawu created the earth and then left to rest in the heavens. When she figured out that things were not going in the way that she would have hoped. 

Here she decided to act. She summoned her counterpart, Lisa, and entrusted him with her vision of the new world. Lisa then descended from the heavens, and he set to work clearing the overgrown forests that were in the way of human progress. With his warm rays of light, Lisa was able to bring clarity to earth, and allowed men to see the path forward to use lands for sustenance and progress. 

Mawu is not only known for the creation of the earth, but also for making sure that humans have the correct tools and knowledge to make a healthy living in the place that she created. 

Mawu – Creator and Taker of Life 

Mawu with a serpent curled around her neck as a necklace

Source – Journeying to the Goddess

It is said that Mawu created all of the different life on earth with Lisa. But, when she finished doing so, she was very worried that the world was too heavy. Because of this, she called on the serpent Aido Hwedo for help. The legend says that the serpent curled itself in a ball and rested below the earth pushing it up into the sky. From here, Mawu decided to retire in the jungle of heaven in peace. 

Before too long, the people of earth began to fight amongst each other. They had forgotten that Mawu gave them the world that they now lived but also their souls themselves. To fight with each other was to fight with Mawu as well. She then sought out the help of a monkey, Awe, who told everyone that he was as powerful as Mawu, and the people of earth began to believe this as well. 

He tried his powers to create life and failed miserably. He was a trickster and the people of earth were beginning to believe that they could listen to Awe instead of Mawu. To defeat this myth, Mawu put the seed of death into the porridge of the monkey. When he ate these seeds, it showed that Mawu was able to take life as well as give life. This made her worshippers realize that they should no longer fight with one another, or Mawu, because there would be consequences. 

Other Religions and Mawu 

Mawu is very similar to the Christian God, since she is the mother or creator of all life.  There are no direct relationships seen between other religions, just the connection that she holds by being the creator of the universe and the heavens. Mawu creates people from clay just like God created Adam and Eve. 

Modern appearances 

Mawu standing with some of her creations, the sun, the moon, the earth

Source – Pinterest

She is still seen today as the creator of all life and the goddess that molded all humans and the universe out of her clay. Many people still look every night to the moon and associate that with Mawu. 

Final thoughts

Overall, Mawu is seen as one of the most powerful and important goddesses. She is the creator of the universe and all beings as well. With her partner Lisa, they are associated with the sun and the moon, the traditional partnership between night and day, masculine and feminine, and more. 

In all of the gods, goddesses, and deities, Mawu emerges as a luminary among goddesses, revered as one of the most powerful and significant figures in the pantheon of gods. Her omnipotence as the creator of the universe and all living beings grants her an indomitable presence, radiating a sense of awe and reverence. 

As the myth unfolds, Mawu’s partnership with Lisa stands as a timeless symbol of duality. Together, they embody the connection between the sun and the moon, the balance of masculine and feminine energies, and the delicate equilibrium of night and day. 

The reverence bestowed upon Mawu by ancient cultures and civilizations is a testament to the profound impact she had on the collective human imagination. Her story resonated deeply with the fundamental questions of creation and existence, offering insights into the origins of life and the delicate relationship between gods and mortals.

In the sanctuaries and temples dedicated to Mawu, devout worshippers sought solace and guidance, finding in her divine presence a source of strength and wisdom. Festivals and rituals celebrated her boundless power, ensuring her enduring legacy in the hearts and minds of generations to come.

Today, the legacy of Mawu lives on, an eternal beacon of cosmic creation and the sacred dance of existence. Her myth continues to inspire and captivate, urging humanity to embrace the delicate balance between opposing forces and find unity in diversity. As long as the sun graces the day and the moon bathes the night in silvery light, the legend of Mawu, the omnipotent goddess of creation, shall endure as a cherished tale of cosmic wonder and timeless wisdom.

Resources – 


Atlas Mythica

Windows to The Universe 

Did we miss something? Do you know another aspect of this legend? Don't hesitate to reach out!

Similar Posts