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#3577: cultural vulturism: Dorce comments


Regarding being charged for attending a Vodou ceremony:  I was taken to a 
ceremony in Bizoton (suburb of Port-au-Prince) in 1980 by my guide/friend and 
was treated so nicely that it wasn't long before I felt right at home.  
However, he didn't school me in the proper decorum so I am not sure if I 
offended anyone but the people around me shared their clarin and one shared a 
small chair with me!  I was dressed appropriately I think and showed respect 
for the ceremony but was never asked for money.  I wish I had known to offer 
a gift, as I was grateful to be accepted so graciously.  I was the only blan 
there.  Maybe I did contribute a little money for the clarin, but I can't 
recall and if I did, it was a token.  There were no sacrifices (at least 
while I was there, it went on until morning) but lots of possessions.  I was 
very impressed at how unsensational it all was compared to the Hollywood 
version that I had been exposed to.  

At the risk of offending the venerable houngans and manbos (mesi  DeGraff) on 
this list, my Haitian artist husband is a Vodouissant who believes that one 
can call and serve the lwa themselves without need for intermediaries.  
Probably in much the same way I feel about organized religion where I prefer 
not getting my messages from God through a minister or priest but from the 
Man Himself (personal belief only), he believes that there is much abuse of 
the position and finding one who doesn't abuse it is not an easy matter if 
you do not know the lwa yourself.  He was handed down his lwa from his family 
and he feels he is protected completely by his lwa.  He has a point and it 
could explain how I met and married him and brought him to this country to 
flourish and grow as an artist just when Haiti was beginning to fall apart.  
Many of his friends are dead now, who knows what might have happened to him 
if an amazing series of events hadn't taken place.  I am not saying houngans 
and manbos are not needed.....but it is possible to be a devout Vodouissant 
without intervention.


Kathy DorcÚ