Now I may stir up some controversy here, and some of you may be asking yourselves what does this “white girl” know about the La Madama? Who is depicted as an African Slave Woman who usually wears a red or white dress with gingham or solid color apron and a head scarf… Lol.. Well I actually have learned a lot about her.
Although many believe she is one spirit, in actuality she represents many archetypal spirits utilized in the Caribbean & Latin American Espiritismo (Spiritism)?
Six years ago I was introduced to the Spirit of La Madama through a former teacher. She had a beautiful altar to La Madama and immediately I was drawn to her. I wanted to know all about her. After I learned a bit about La Madama I could not stop thinking about her. I felt like I saw her everywhere.
I went home and there was La Madama on my Aunt Jemima Pancake Syrup. Yes the beautiful Madama is depicted as the black “Mammy” or Mama figure right on the packaging. I also recalled as a child seeing the cookie jar of her at my Auntie’s home.
I did some basic research on her and found that she is known to be protective of families and fortune tellers. Well that suited me just fine being my profession is that of “ye local psychic witch”, and a mother of a young child.
I received my first statue not long after that. She was beautiful in red and white. I asked La Madama to give me a message where she wanted her altar to be located. I kept getting right in the living room! Well I have a lot of altars in my home, but none were in the living room at that time. Having a toddler with little hands I felt it was safer to have them elsewhere.
I found a white monogrammed table cloth that belonged to my grandmother and placed it on a wooden table in the corner. I “baptized” and “fixed” my statue (topic for a future blog) and placed her on the cloth. Her statue or likeness in a doll for instance becomes a spirit vessel for her energies.
I gave her offerings of flowers, red and white carnations, in a special red glass vase I purchased just for her. I also gave her a glass of water, a beautiful antique coffee cup filled with fresh coffee beans (safer than having hot coffee in reach of a toddler) chocolate candies, incense, a novena candle (which I found at a local botanica, and that was dedicated to La Madama and contained a prayer), shells including a turtle shell rattle, and a small bottle of Rum. You can give her cigarettes, tobacco, whiskey, sweet cakes, molasses, and brown sugar, amongst many other offerings too. As time went on I was gifted a wooden rosary that I draped around her and also gave her a blade so she could collect herbs, and use the knife to hold or pin things down or for protection. She is also known to like Spanish cards. I like to keep my cards with her when they are not in use.
Now it is my belief that the spirits that reside in each La Madama are your own, those that are connected to you. In my opinion, they are the spirits of the dead, ancestors, or spirit guides. So you may find that your La Madama may favor different offerings. It is my opinion that if she accepts the offering, she likes it. On holidays I give her a plate with different items from the meal. I do this on All Hallows Eve especially when we honor our Ancestors.
Being in the center of my home, I spent much time with La Madama and started to receive messages from my ancestral spirits through her. I went to her often to sit and think and just be. She has become such an important part of my home and my life.
A great way to connect to your La Madama spirit is to divine with a representation of her and a novena candle and be open to receiving messages from her.
Now to the folklore; La Madama represents the feminine energy its potential, its power and collected knowledge within a given family. She is also known in some circles as “La Negra” and it is said her origins are from Africa, but she seems to be found most often in South American Espiritismo.
I find La Madama to be a very strong and direct spirit. She tells it like it is, no holds barred. She is known to be fiercely protective of those she likes and cares for. She is represented most often with a broom, a basket, or her hands on her hips.
We all have brooms in our homes, it is one of the oldest tools around it is known “to sweep” out the negative. One of the most commonly used plants to make household brooms comes from Africa where it was known to have powerful properties especially for cleansing, and removing of negative energies and spirits. La Madama likely carries her broom to sweep away curses, and crossed conditions; I believe she sweeps and clears the energies that no longer serve us.
Her Basket likely used to gather her herbs, and curios can be used to now place her offerings in.
Her hands on her hips show me her connection to fertility, prosperity, and the earth. Being a slave she was very connected to the earth, likely working it for her keep. There is a known association that she keeps her hands on her hips because it is in the stomach/abdomen area that “live things” or spirits guides are known to reside. This idea may have ties to West Africa.
There are different colors associated with La Madama but the predominant colors are red and white, oranges and yellow. Red the fiery color of passion, perseverance, and power along with white for purity seem befitting for her.
La Madama is a powerful patron for healers, shamans, psychics, fortune tellers, & card readers. She is known to be protective of families with young children, and is called on for protection, to bring better clients and prosperity to fortune tellers and healers etc. She is associated with fertility, and is known to help barren women.
Ask her for answers before you sleep and you may receive them in your dreams.
She most likely originated in Latin American Espiritismo, which was similarly based on the Allan Kardec form of Spiritism, and African Diasporic Religions of West & Central Africa. Conjure and Hoodoo practitioners have begun to use her in their practice over the last several decades likely influenced by the Latin American Espiritismo’s that relocated to the American South lands and brought her with them. In my opinion since she is a guide and spell worker who worked the land and herbs, she truly fits nicely into the area of Conjure and Hoodoo.