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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