"Thou rememberest sinceOnce I sat upon a promontory,And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's backUttering such dulcet and harmonious breathThat the rude sea grew civil at her song,And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,To hear the sea-maid's music?" Few say it as well as William Shakespeare, and with the grace of this august wordsmith … Continue reading La Sirène – A Deep Dive
Vodou and Catholicism Part Two
In my previous article I took a look at the historical context of Catholicism in Haiti. This is, of course, necessary in understanding its presence and influence in the contemporary practice of Vodou. That being said, Vodou is, of course, vast and varied and it is difficult to make any sort of sweeping statement that … Continue reading Vodou and Catholicism Part Two
Vodou and Catholicism Part One – Historical Context
Preparations have been made. People have assembled. Houngans, mambos, and hounsi, dressed in white, have gathered, and there is a pregnant moment of expectation, a soft and subtle stirring of something, and a knowing that we are about to begin. The fet opens--the words, in French, of the Our Father are chanted, beginning, "Notre Père, … Continue reading Vodou and Catholicism Part One – Historical Context
Wandering for Spirit
In just about every great spiritual tradition in the human realm, pilgrimages exist and are undertaken as a way to dive deeply into one's own spirit; to seek a closer relationship with the divine; to fulfill an obligation (like the hajj); or to seek the intercession of a spirit, or God. In the end, every … Continue reading Wandering for Spirit
Ezili Dantor – A Deep Dive
Ezili Dantor by Jay Alexander Terrifying. This is the adjective many have used to describe this fearsome lwa, the mother of Haiti and the Petwo nation. Mighty, fiery, and full of rage, Dantor inspires the kind of fear normally only produced by an irate IRS agent with an axe to grind, nothing to lose, and … Continue reading Ezili Dantor – A Deep Dive
Metres Ezili Freda Dahomey – A Deep Dive
Art by @meliescribbles on (instagram) Beautiful, charming, radiant, loving, luxurious, splendorous, effulgent, charismatic, glorious. All of these fifty cent adjectives apply to Metres Freda, one of the most beloved of the lwa in Haitian Vodou. Yet, as fittingly magnificent as these words are, they simply aren't good enough for this Queen without being shaped into … Continue reading Metres Ezili Freda Dahomey – A Deep Dive
#12 James Barry – Houngan (senior Voudou priest) / A Song for Every Thing
Back in July of 2021 I was kindly invited to appear on this podcast and discuss music in Vodou. Music, Meaning, And Mystery examines the role of music and its interaction with the sacred, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can hear it on its home site or on all major podcast platforms. TO go directly to the episode, click here.
James Barry is a Hougan (senior Voudou priest). We discuss the primacy of music in Voudou, it’s role, it’s effect and some experiences James had using music to heal and call spirits. And music for a good death.
James has no website.
Music Meaning and Mystery website:https://musicmeaningandmystery.ca/
The Music Meaning and Mystery substack: https://musicmeaningandmystery.substack.com/
Website of logo designer: https://www.kurthuggins.com/
Originally recorded July 15 2021
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What’s in Your Vodou?
In his essay Imagine Heaven, found in the pricey but oh-so-worthwhile telephone book sized reposwa of information Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, scholar Donald Cosentino reminds us that, when speaking of Vodou, we always must ask ourselves, "who's Vodou?" And this question can open cans of swirling complexity complete with whirling eddies of nuance and … Continue reading What’s in Your Vodou?
Soul in One
Well, it’s time for another entry, but it’s been a challenging week and the poetic sensibilities are not in effect today, and I’m lost in the idea of the soul and its links for reasons, transcendent and painful, so...it’s a topic about which I’ll write. Coming as many of us do from a Western, Euro-American … Continue reading Soul in One
Break Break Break on thy cold, grey stones O Sea…
If you've known me long enough, you'll remember my old Vodou blog, defunct since 2018 or so. Back in late November I decided to relaunch it, snapped up the URL (of which I am far too proud) in mid December, and life being as busy as it is, waited until today. So those of you … Continue reading Break Break Break on thy cold, grey stones O Sea…