|erzilidanto at yahoo.com|
The Revolution which created the nation of Haiti was inspired by the divine decree of the warrior love goddess known as Ezili Dantò who danced in the head of the great Haitian priestess, Cecile Fatiman, on that famous Haitian night in 1791, on a red hilltop, at a forest thicket in Haiti called Bwa Kayiman.
Led by the powerful warrior spirit of Ezili Dantò, Cecile Fatiman crowned the African warrior Boukman with her royal red Petwo scepter, ushering in the Haitian war which forever slashed the chains of European slavery in Haiti to create Africa's sacred trust, Manman Ayiti - the first Black nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Ezili Dantò is the symbol of the irreducible essence of that ancient Black mother, mother of all the races, who holds Haiti's umbilical chord back to Africa, back to Anba Dlo*. Calling on her essence, breath, vision and cosmic power brought forth Haiti's release from 300-hundred years of brutal European enslavement.
Ezili Dantò is the spiritual mother of Haiti and the preeminent cosmic symbol of Black independence, unity, self-determination, justice, equality and freedom.
The Ginen root - Haitian identity - forged at Bwa Kayiman is THE UNITY that's never wavered in Haiti. One people, one African culture, one language, one Vodun spiritual imperative - to live free or die. That's the consensus, the- "Linyon Fè la Fòs" - Haitian union, that's never wavered.
One of Joseph Campbell's most famous quotes is that “If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” The power of myth, metaphor and archetypal psychology are no longer disputed. If we were to look upon Ezili Dantò as a major African-Haitian archetype, myth, metaphor or narrative and note Vodun's major role in the Haitian revolution and that during the Haitian revolution, this archetype was the only spirit principle or hero who was injured, who actually lost her voice, then it would be easier to understand why our work at Ezili's HLLN has used Vodun lexicon to describe modern pathologies and given the great mother Goddess, Ezili Dantò, her tongue back. Supposedly, after Bwa Kay Iman, in the course of the war for liberation and freedom, Ezili Dantò was the only higher spirit and the only female symbol of love and nurture that was mutilated. Her tongue was cut out. And thus, in some sections of Haiti when this intangible, invisible, untouchable and eternal energy manifests into form through a living Haitian being, it can't talk. This generation of Haitians at Ezili's HLLN are not willing to continue putting life into that particular neocolonial metaphor. At Ezili's HLLN, our work intends to change the world, Haiti's world, by changing the metaphors and colonial narratives and uplift the warrior mother Goddess Ezili Dantò's spirit, Dessalines' three Ideals and the Haitian paradigm for universal freedom. We understand the psychological warfare, neocolonialism, racism and paternalism that would silence the feminine warrior, Ezili Dantò and the role archetypes and archetypal psychology plays in the liberation, life, values and culture of a people. Haiti doesn't have superman, batman, Tarzan or any vampire heroes in its cultural narrative or popular folklore. But there's Jean Jacques Dessalines, Toya, Sanit Belè, Defile, Kapwa Lamò, Ezili Dantò, Danbala, Ayida Wedo, Papa Legba, Simbi, Ogou Feray, Gede yo, et al. To witness to the African-Haitian ancestors' original and untrammeled inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the collective past African experience is to counter the distasteful, inferior, neocolonial patterns inculcated, over two centuries of colonial/French ecclesiastic and other re-education, present in the individual conscious and unconscious of many modern Haitians.
There's much work to done to counter
the colonial narrative. Ezili Dantò's HLLN focuses mainly on
two archetypes - Ezili
and the historical Papa Jan Jak. There's nothing more important than
putting our life force behind the re-MEMBERment of Ezili Dantò
and Jean Jacques Dessalines to counter our African/Haitian dismemberment.
Just as, there is also a move to not use the pictures of the white Catholic
saints to stand for the African principles, values and irreducible Vodun
essences - Lwa yo. The twenty-one nations who gathered at Bwa
Kay Iman in 1791, the amalgamated African tribes who became African-Ayisyen
in the land of the Taino-Ayisyen formed the only nation in the Americas
not named by the white settlers and not founded upon colonial imperatives
and values. Our imperative, their descendants, is to extend the universal
freedom they fought for, live free or die.
During the Haitian Revolutionary War, this was the white nations' "enlightenment" mindset Haitians faced:
"It is not everything to have
removed Toussaint, there are two thousand other chiefs here to have
taken away...Here is my opinion of this country. It is necessary to
destroy all the negroes of the mountains, men and women, sparing only
children under the age of twelve, and destroy half of those of the plain,
without leaving a single colored man in the colony who ever wore an
epaulette. Without that, the colony will never be at peace."
---French General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc
There was a time when women were the primary religious figures on this planet. A pre-historical time, long ago. (See Ezili Dantò/Aset/Isis (photos) and Ezili, Aset, Isis -Mother God and Black Woman: Mother of All the Races.)
Haiti, the first Black nation in the Western Hemisphere, is the pioneer in ushering back the reign of the goddess and of women as religious figures equal with men in performing religious ceremonies.
On August 14, 1791 Haitians remembered their dark, African mothers and honored Her culture. August 14, 1791 Boukman remembered Mother Africa. Cecil Fatiman remembered Mother Africa. All the "Feys" - leafs - at Bwa Kayiman remembered Mother Africa. Then, the amalgamated African tribes, in Haiti, found and took hold of Ezili Dantò who said, "Kanga Mundele" - Kill the stranger amongst us, meaning both the brutal enslavers as well as mental colonization. Over two hundred delegations of Blacks from various plantations throughout the North of Haiti where present.
The Haitians had stretched their heart, nerve and sinew way back to call on this authentic pagan (or the pre-Judeo-Christian, pre-Muslim described) spirits of ancient and pre-colonial Africa - they called on - Ezili Dantò (along with Danbala, Atibon Legba, Ogou Feray, Manman Lasirene, ect). But Ezili Dantò appeared first at that Petwo ceremony on August 14, 1791 day on that red clay hilltop in Haiti.
All the Africans at Bwa Kayiman, all, be they Muslim or Christians converts, went HOME that day, back to Vodun and, that, has been the road less traveled by any African nation to date. That Movement has made ALL the difference to Africans in the New World and around the world, globally, for it initiated and propelled forward universal human rights as well as initiating the first sparks for Pan-Americanism and Pan-Africanism in modern world history. For, the Haitian people were the first Blacks and enslaved workers taken in shackles out of Africa to the "New World", the first treated as savages and as subhumans and the first to respond to this treatment definitively and forever, by validating themselves as human beings entitled to equality, self-defense and entitled to their own African religious beliefs. For those days, as well as for today, that was REVOLUTIONARY. (See Video excerpt of Bwa Kayiman play and the Bwa Kayiman performance texts).
But a Black nation inspired by an African goddess/liberator was a bad omen for the white European settlers who claimed themselves superior to Blacks and certainly to free Black women. Yet, the Haitian people, without arms, allies or financial resources where so inspired by their Vodun gods and goddesses and the powers of their Ancestors that, led by the warrior goddess, Ezili Dantò, and after 300-years of Christian-based enslavement in the Americas and over one thousand years of Islamic conquest and enslavement incursions all over Africa, they decided to "live free or die" - liberte ou lamò! and set themselves free in Haiti, defeating all the mighty European powers of that time - France, Spanish and British, in combat.
Today, Haitian women and men follow
the long legacy of the warriors of Haitian independence. They are tireless
fighters, beholden to no-one - heroic leaders on the cutting edge of
the human rights struggle.
Dantò of HLLN
*Anba Dlo literally means "beneath the ocean, the waters." It is that primordial, cosmic space where all potentiality lives. It's the mythological "Haitian Heaven" (to use a non-African point of reference). It's where all that ever lived, will live and is living will end up. It is, to the African warriors who founded Haiti, the road back to Manman "Africa" - Nan Guinen, that cosmic space where the world began with "Lè Marasa, lè Mò e lè Mistè."
Anba Dlo to the Haitian is where the great African Ancestors', where our sacred energies, our strengths and force - the "Lwa yo," - those sacred irreducible essences of the Haitian/African/Black soul - reside. Anba Dlo is the sacred stillness, cosmic place, where life sources issue from and return to.
Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa
Vodun means sacred energies in the Fon language. Vodun is the spiritual imperative and way of life of Haitians. It's psychology, cosmology, phylosophy, art, and a healing way of life.
This Bwa Kayiman Vodun call/invocation,
along with Boukman's
Prayer, started the Haitian revolution on August 14, 1791
(For the full Ezili Dantò's translation, go to:
Bwa Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming the Haitian People's
Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman ).
so thousand years know the
Ancestors line goes too far back to eternity to erase. Ginen poze. Death
doesn't scare the African, only how one lives and the energies (values/principles/
archetypes) one allows to mount and be extended. Haitians are an ancient
people as old as Vodun. This generation of Haitians are in the process
of reclaiming the Haitian narrative..." (Go to Lasou
O M Pwale - Going Back to the Source, the Root; HLLN's
counter-colonial narrative on deforestation;
counter-colonial narrative on Vodun;
Blacks were the original peoples in the Americas;
Three Ideals; Ezili
and Isis, and Background
- Vodun Links).
more about Vodun and Haitian culture, go to:
Aset, Isis -The Divine Mother
6. Haiti's Linyon Fè la Fòs; In Unity Lies Our Strenght- "Linyon Fè la Fòs" coalition: The Haitian union forged at Bwa Kayiman has never wavered
14. Petwo - Kongo Vodun
of the Serpent and the Moon by Ezili Dantò
19. The complete "Lapriyè
Ginen" as edited by Max G. Beauvoir is available by ordering. Send
21. See also, Performance poet, Ezili Dantò of HLLN (in RBM) onstage as Ezili Dantò, the primordial warrior mother:
Divine Haiti: Portraits of the Lwa at the UCSB Center for Black Studies
(An Exhibit of the Haitian gods and goddessesof Haiti) by
artist, Hersza Barjon
Descent of the Lwa, Journey Through Haitian Mythology: The Works of