VODUN (VOODOO) PYTHON TEMPLE: A Beninois woman carrying a coiled python on her head and holding at the same time with her hands as the spiritual care-taker of the Temple of Python guides her, at Quidah in the Republic of Benin. West Africa. An interesting and historical sight to visit in Benin is in the Python Temple in the town of Ouidah. There is an interesting story behind how the temple came to existence. The temple faces the Ouidah’s basilica and the adoration of pythons started after a war that took place in 1717 when the kingdom of Dahomey was in existence. At the time Ouidah (Formerly called Houeda) wasn’t part of the kingdom of Benin and during that war, Ouidah was defeated. King Kpassè, ruler of the kingdom of Ouidah, fled the town and took refuge in a big forest in order to not be captured by the notorious Ghézo warriors who were searching for him. The legend has it that during the search, many pythons started to come out of the forest to protect the king Kpassè of Ouidah from being captured.
The king was saved and he decided to honor pythons by building 3 huts in the forests which was used as monuments to commemorate pythons. The pythons are called Royal pythons and are worshipped in Benin especially in Ouidah. The snakes are also totem in Benin and are very important especially in the religion of Voodoo. They are not harmful and as a respect, pythons are not supposed to be killed or bad luck will strike if it does occur. Every 7 years, the adepts hold a ceremony where they would celebrate the symbolism and value of pythons in the temple.
The temple Anyone is welcomed to visit the Temple of Pythons. The admission fee is about $3 and there is usually a guide that will take you around and inside the huts to see the pythons. There are certain huts that are inaccessible unless you have been initiated. The guides inside the temples are initiated and can be recognized with their striking scarification on their faces.
BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah