Dam-Ayido Wede was initially a relatively minor Vodu god (worshiped as nature-gods by the Fon and Yoruba in Africa). In the 16th century, he followed his enslaved mortal worshipers across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean islands, particularly Haiti, and to the USA's southern rim. The Africans sought solace from their ancient gods while combining elements from Catholicism and the Holy Roman Church. Dam-Ayido reinvented his image to comport with Western culture, adopting the name "Damballah" and representing himself as the Vodu sky father to his worshipers. As the Vodu religion was bastardized into "vaudo" and "voodoo" by confusion with the French "vaudois" (a French Catholic heresy) and Santeria, Damballah achieved far greater prominence. As a result, many Haitian Voodoo practitioners invoke Damballah rather than Buluku, Mahu or Lusa when seeking assistance from their supreme creator. Damballah usually manifests as a large snake who speaks in barely-intelligible hissing. His wife, Ayida Wede, also often manifest as a large snake, and is often referred to as the "Rainbow Serpent."