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04/03/2003 Entry: ""Balancing Acts""
The countdown is on, 6 days, 18 hours and 36 minutes until I land in Haiti. This weekend I'm teaching a class on Voudoun, and I spent a good part of work today preparing the lesson and diving deep into what many vainly consider murky theological waters. I personally find it beautiful and radically, necessarily different from our westernized, sanitzed approach to meeting up with God.
The misconceptions are far and wide, and in talking with folks I find that challenging these Hollywoodized ideas of Haiti and her people I find those myths are deeply rooted and hard to overcome. Voodoo dolls, hexes, "demon" posession, and cartoonish zombies are the first things most people think about. Of course, most of these ideas have their origins in some kind of fact, but as you can imagine these facts become wildly bent out of shape and misconstrued when in the hands of those who are fearful or exploitative.
The genesis of the Universe began with Damballah, the serpent, and Ayida Wedo, the rainbow. They fell in love, and coiled around eachother, forming a helix of sorts, and from their coupling came all matter. Around them formed the Djo, the cosmic breath that animates all life. From this primordial gathering of elements, the whole of creation spring into being, and it was found that our human affairs could spin wildly out of balance. With intercession of spirits that take on the many aspects of the Holy, called Loas, things could return to equilibrium. You just need to know whom to invoke and how, and that is the job of the Houngan and Mambo, the priest and priestess of a particular Societe, or village temple.
There's so much more to go into here, but you may as well explore it yourself. I, a white man from America, am only privy to so much... I'd understand it more if I had been raised in it's cultural context. I can really only appreciate it from afar, though next week it will be right under my nose. I find Voudoun so fascinating, and of course, any belief system can be abused for personal or political gain. Heck, look at how Christianity is being used to cloak the White House resident in some mantle of justification for raining fire on thousands of innocent people. No one is immune from or free of using the tools availible to you to exact some personal gain. That's nature, and as being within the natural order, we must attain and maintain balance.
Speaking of balance, I'm having a tricky time trying to balance the need to run around the lake and enjoy the beautiful day with the need to relax and enjoy quiet restful time... essentailly, resting versus the rest, satiating the monkey in the middleground. Alas, the time approaches for rehearsal anyway, and the cats will behead me if I don't refill the vittles buffet. My required actions, balanced are not, are now pretty clear. That solves that. Now on to Universal harmony, not as simple as buyong catfood and reading from a script... or is it?
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