The Return of Maria Lionza

In Venezuela one of the largest religious cults is the one devoted to the goddess Maria Lionza. She is the central figure in a religion that incorporates elements of indigenous belief, Catholicism, and Santeria. Back in 2004 a much revered statue of the goddess toppled over backwards at the waist. This was read by some anti-Chavez factions in Venezuela as an omen that his administration would soon topple (Hugo Chavez was facing a recall referendum at the time). Despite the political storm, most Marialionceros (and their goddess) called for peace.

Follow-ups: the goddess and the pope

The splitting of the statue of cult figure Maria Lionza in Venezuela has made the news again. The BBC investigates the political ramifications for the country, they even interview the goddess herself. ” In his incense-filled office three blocks from the parliament building, Priest Rafael Albis dons a shiny white robe, scents his hands with magical perfume, and, with a paroxysm of shuddering, is miraculously transformed into the goddess herself. “What message does her fall hold for the nation?” asks a reporter present at the event.

Manufacturing An Omen

In Venezuela one of the most beloved cult figures is The Cult of Maria Lionza. “The legend has it that Maria Lionza was an indigenous princess that was abducted by an anaconda snake, the master of the lagoon. God punished the crawler by making it so swollen that its burst apart at the seams. The blowup caused a great flooding that killed off the entire tribe the princess belonged to. The girl became the master of the lagoon, the rivers, the jungle and the wild animals.” Recently the famous statue of Maria Lionza toppled over backwards at the waist.