Sagbata and the Bird That Reconciled

Quick Reference


In the earth pantheon, Sagbata (Azo) is the god of smallpox. Sagbata comes from Mawu and Lisa. Mawu is one person with two faces, that of a woman, Mawu, the eyes of whom are the moon, and that of a man, Lisa, the eyes of whom are the sun. Mawu directs the night; Lisa, the day. Mawu-Lisa gave birth first to twins called Dada Zodji (male) and Nyohwe Ananu (female). These twins mated and produced several children, who are the Sagbata gods. Mawu-Lisa divided the realms of the universe among their offspring.

A quarrel between two of the children, Sagbata and Hevioso, arose over the division of the universe. As a result, Sagbata, being the eldest child, went to live on the earth, taking his parents' riches with him. However, he either forgot or was unable to carry with him the rain, which was one of the creator's most important riches. Consequently, Hevioso was able to withhold the rain from the earth to avenge himself on his brother. There was a great drought, and the earth was in danger of conflagration. Through the intervention of a bird called Otutu (Wututu) which rises high into the air, the two brothers were eventually reconciled, and since then there has been no danger of a perpetual drought. See also: Hevioso, Legba, Lisa, Mawu, Mawu-Lisa.

Subjects: Religion.

Reference entries