Pomba Gira is the name of an Afro-Brazilian spirit evoked by practitioners of Umbanda and Quimbanda in Brazil. She is the consort of Exu, who is the messenger of the Orixas in Candomblé. Known by many names, or avatars, Pomba Gira is often associated with the number seven, crossroads, graveyards, spirit possession, and witchcraft.
A representation of Pomba Gira
|Consort of Eshu, Mistress of Witchcraft,|
|Venerated in||Umbanda, Quimbanda|
|Patronage||Love, desire, fire, witchcraft, revenge, black magic|
While Exu represents male sexuality, fertility and strength, Pomba Gira personifies female sexuality, beauty and desire. She is depicted as a beautiful woman who is insatiable. Pomba Gira is venerated with great respect and care because of her reputation for possessing great wrath. She is often invoked by those who seek aid in matters of the heart and love.
Pomba Gira is noted for her connection with both transgender women and effeminate male worshippers and is reputed to possess both. Some representations of Pomba Gira display the characteristics of being promiscuous, talkative and vulgar. However she has many avatars, and will be more or less inclined towards that behavior depending on how she manifests herself.
Pomba Gira manifests in the following forms:
- Dama da Noite (Lady of the Night)
- Maria Molambo
- Maria Mulambo das Sete Catacumbas (literally, Lame Mary of the Seven Tombs)
- Maria Padilha (Queen of the Marys)
- Maria Quitéria
- Pomba Gira Arrepiada (Creeping Pomba Gira)
- Pomba Gira Cigana (Gypsy Pomba Gira)
- Pomba Gira das Almas (Pomba Gira of the Souls)
- Pomba Gira das Sete Encruzilhadas (Pomba Gira of the Seven Crossroads)
- Pomba Gira dos 7 Cruzeiros da Calunga (Pomba Gira of the Seven Crosses of Kalunga)
- Pomba Gira Mirongueira (Enchantress Pomba Gira)
- Pomba Gira Mocinha (Young Girl Pomba Gira)
- Pomba Gira Rainha (Queen Pomba Gira)
- Pomba Gira Sete Calungas (Pomba Gira Seven Kalungas)
- Praia (Beach)
- Rainha das Rainhas (Queen of Queens)
- Rainha do Cemitério (Queen of the Graveyard)
- Rainha Sete Encruzilhadas (Queen Seven Crossroads)
- Rosa Caveira (literally Rose Skull)
- Pomba Gira das Cobras (Pomba Gira of Snakes)
- Pomba Gira Maria da Praia (Pomba Gira of the Beach)
- Ashcraft-Eason, Lillian; Martin, Darnise C.; Olademo, Oyeronke (2010). Women and new and Africana religions. Women and religion in the world. ABC-CLIO. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-275-99156-2.
Said to be the spirits of the "people of the street" (povo da rua): prostitutes, conmen, and others forced by circumstance to live by their wits, exu and pomba gira spirits represent marginalized social types.
- Hayes, Kelly E. (August 2008). "Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales: Gender, Power, and Pomba Gira in Brazil". History of Religions. 48 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1086/592152.
- Hayes, Kelly E. (2009). "The Dark Side of the Feminine: Pomba Gira Spirits in Brazil". In Chima Jacob Korieh (ed.). Gendering global transformations: gender, culture, race, and identity. Routledge Research in Gender and Society. 16. Taylor & Francis US. pp. 119–132. ISBN 978-0-415-96325-1.
Indeed, her profile is familiar to any inhabitant of the Western world, for Pomba Gira is the archetypal femme fatale, that seductive yet perilous siren depicted in pulp fiction and film noir. Possibly evil, definitely dangerous, she is the embodiment of a transgressive femininity that is at once beguiling and deadly: the dark side of the feminine.
- Chestnut, Andrew (2007). "Latin America's Free Market of Faith". In Steigenga, Timothy J.; Cleary, Edward L. (eds.). Conversion of a continent: contemporary religious change in Latin America. Rutgers University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8135-4202-7.
A married woman, for example, who suspects an acquaintance of having an affair with her husband might ask Pomba Gira to harm the other woman so that she is no longer the object of her husband's affection.
- Hayes, Kelly E. 2008. Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales: Gender, Power, and Pomba Gira in Brazil. History of Religions. 48 (1): 1-21.
- Conner, Randy P.; Sparks, David Hatfield (2004). Queering creole spiritual traditions: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender participation in African-inspired traditions in the Americas. Haworth gay & lesbian studies. Psychology Press. pp. 81–84. ISBN 978-1-56023-351-0.
- "Pomba-Gira: Enchantments to invoke the formidable powers of the female messenger of the gods" by Antônio Alves Teixeira