Bwa Kayiman:
How the goddess Ezili Danto sparked the Haitian Revolution

by Marguerite Laurent

"...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 Danto, and after 300-years of slavery, they decided to "live free or die" - liberte ou lamo! and set themselves free in Haiti, defeating all the mighty European powers of that time - France, Spain and England in combat."

The revolution which created the nation of Haiti was inspired by the divine decree of the warrior love goddess known as Ezili Danto, who danced in the head of the great Haitian priestess, Cecile Fatiman, on that famous Haitian night in 1791, on a red hilltop, in a forest thicket in Haiti called Bwa Kayiman.

Led by the powerful warrior spirit of Ezili Danto, 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 independent Black republic in the world.

Ezili Danto 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 Haitiís release from 300 years of brutal European enslavement.

Ezili Danto is the spiritual mother of Haiti and the preeminent cosmic symbol of Black independence, unity, self-determination, justice, equality and freedom.

The goddess remembered at Bwa Kayiman

There was a time when women were the primary religious figures on this planet. A pre-historical time, long ago. Haiti 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 Aug. 14, 1791, Haitians remembered their dark African mothers and honored their culture. On Aug. 14, 1791, Boukman remembered Mother Africa. Cecil Fatiman remembered Mother Africa. All the feys (leaves) at Bwa Kayiman remembered Mother Africa.

Then the amalgamated African tribes, in Haiti, found and took hold of Ezili Danto, who said, "Kanga Mundele," "Kill the stranger amongst us," meaning both the brutal enslavers as well as mental colonization. Over 200 delegations of Blacks from various plantations throughout the North of Haiti were present.

The Haitians had stretched their heart, nerve and sinew way back to call on this authentic spirit of ancient and pre-colonial Africa - they called on Ezili Danto, along with Danbala, Atibon Legba, Ogou Feray, Manman Lasirene and more. But Ezili Danto appeared first at that Petwo ceremony on Aug. 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 sub-humans and the first to respond to this treatment definitively and forever, by validating themselves as human beings entitled to equality, self-defense and their own African religious beliefs. For those days, as well as for today, that was REVOLUTIONARY.

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, were so inspired by their Vodun gods and goddesses and the powers of their ancestors that, led by the warrior goddess Ezili Danto and after 300 years of slavery, they decided to "live free or die" - liberte ou lamo! - and set themselves free in Haiti, defeating all the mighty European powers of that time ‚ the French, 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.

*Anba Dlo, literally means "beneath the ocean, the waters". It is that primordial, cosmic space where all potentiality lives. Itís the mythological "Haitian Heaven" where all who ever lived will live and the 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 "Le Marasa, le Mor e le Miste."

Anba Dlo to the Haitian is where the great African ancestors, our sacred energies, our strengths and force - the "Lwas," those sacred irreducible essences of the Haitian-African-Black soul - reside.

Anba Dlo is the sacred stillness, the cosmic place, where life sources issue from and return to.

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