Monday, September 14, 2009

A Vodou Ceremony Pt. 2

A Vodou Ceremony Pt. 2

Possession by the Loi

...then a violent and frenzied dance begins — the hips and shoulders shaking, wiggling, shivering, and vibrating in a fashion impossible for a person in a normal physical state. Later Gran Erzulie enters into the body of a young girl who had seemed before to be made out of sections of willow branches; a completely soft young adolescent face over a body so pliant and fine that it could not stand straight but let every bone take its own separate angle, the whole body akimbo. 

Now this pliant body grew suddenly old, the legs were bent and bowed inward with rheumatism and the belly was sucked up with pain and fatigue under the withered breast. A continual low murmur of groans and whines came from the twisted lips as the other dancers jostled her.

Then the drummer, Ciceron [Marseille], whom I believe carries all the loi in his thin, old hunched shoulders that make the mama drum growl and roar, called to the loi to dance, and Simbi and Gran Erzulie seemed to be shaking themselves to pieces, the first in his male and the second in her old female fashion. This dance went on growing more and more violent until the mamaloi called for a mason, which is the signal for the departure of spirits. At the end of this dance, both Simbi and Gran Erzulie swooned separately on the floor in each others’ arms, those two young bodies curved against one another in a sort of trance of exhaustion. All this time, of course, there had been other loi in the women present, but the loi themselves, the inspired women, had given place way and precedence to the two I have described. Presently, as the singing recommenced, the body that had held Simbi dragged itself off into a corner and went to sleep with its head in its arms The habitation of Gran Erzulie, however, only leaned against the wall for a few moments and soon was back in the dance again.

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