Academic journal article Journal of Haitian Studies

CONFERENCE KOSANBA, A Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou International Colloquium XI

Academic journal article Journal of Haitian Studies

CONFERENCE KOSANBA, A Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou International Colloquium XI

Article excerpt

In conjunction with the 27th Haitian Studies Association Conference

Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada

Wednesday, October 21- Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trees Take Us to the Gods: Vodou and the Environment

The Lwa of agriculture and of hard work and of common folks, Klèmezinn and Azaka, the male and female "seed," make things grow, while Bwa [Brav] Gede announces the death of all, as surely as our sun itself will die someday! So-called nature religions are anchored in scientific phenomena and their manipulations, recognizing that all fragile creatures are one, sharing both DNA and purposeful intent. The mineral, vegetal, and animal kingdoms are the foundations of our lives on a creative and living planet. We create the environment and are created by it, simultaneously, as an indication of our cosmic powers as agents. In Vodou and other indigenous African religions the notion of environment suggests a philosophical, religious, cosmological belief and attitude of embedded continuity tacitly comprehended.

The colloquium seeks to explore the intimate connections between animate and inanimate objects, so perceived, in the natural and the hard sciences, the built environments we inhabit that include the world of dreams, and the frightful powers we possess communally as destroyer. We will also bring to the fore Vodou's divine knowledge and collective capacity for healing and renewal within nature's endless cycle of life.

The Congress of Santa Barbara's 11th International Colloquium highlights this mission of return to source and renewal inherent in Haitian Vodou, in other African-derived religious systems in the Americas, and in indigenous African religions. Environment encompasses not just the plants and the trees so dear to Gran Bwa, the agricultural work of Kousin Zaka and Kouzinn, the labor and travay of Klèmezinn Klermeil, the rivers and oceans, but also health and medicine, the built environment, families and gender relations, the sociopolitical environment, and more. On that basis, our use of "environment" implies an all-encompassing surrounding, or even notions of "ecology" which suggest more strongly the continuous reciprocity of human beings embedded in and influencing that surrounding. This is in keeping with the ethos of Vodou in which all are tied, in which each cell, each molecule are copies of the transcendent all-fractals revisited. …

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