This red henna-like design on Paris Jackson’s upper right arm is actually a Voduo symbol. Each spirit in Haitian Voduo, called a “loa” or “lwa,” has its own “veve” which is a drawing that is traced out on floor using powder during a ritual. Paris’ tattoo is the veve image for Erzulie, who is the goddess of love. This loa’s symbols are a heart, a mirror and a fan, and all three of those images can be seen in the veve design in subtle ways. Erzulie is a personification of feminine grace and beauty and is seen as the most human-like of the loas.
Haitian Voduo and other Afro-American Voodoo religions originated from West African Vodun. As practitioners of Vodun were brought over to the Americas as slaves, their practices evolved into religions that are unique to the areas they inhabited, where the traditions of West African Vodun were blended with other local influences — including Roman Catholicism. The Haitian interpretation of Erzulie Freda takes some inspiration from the Roman Catholic devotion Our Lady of Sorrows, iconography of the Virgin Mary as a suffering mother. Erzulie has a deep sadness in her and is often pictured crying.