Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad

By James T. Houk | Go to book overview

ELEVEN

The Ebo, Feast for the Gods

From Mayaro to Port of Spain,
Las Iros to La Romain,
They come! To the Night of the SHANGO.

The drums are throbbing a wearied note.
The priest is tying the frightened goat.
They come! To the Night of the SHANGO.

The night is dark, frightened dogs bark,
Doctor, limer, and city clerk,
They come! To the Night of the SHANGO.

Some are walking the dreary mile
Through the forest in single file.
They come! To the Night of the SHANGO.

Young and old with faces bold,
Children shivering in the cold,
Yet they come! To the Night of the SHANGO.

The moon is peeping through the trees,
The gods are dancing in the leaves.
Tonight is the Night of the SHANGO.

-- Carver Milton Scobie, "Night of the Shango"

Worshipers learn much of what they know about the orisha at the many ebo that are held during the feast season. Anywhere from a handful to dozens of orisha will manifest themselves in the course of a week-long feast. The primary functions of the palais, chapelle, and perogun become clear during the ebo, as does much about the liturgy, ritual behavior, and Orisha beliefs.

-156-

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Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I 1
  • One Orisha Experiences 3
  • Two Religion, Postmodernism, and Methodology 17
  • Three the Setting 25
  • Part II 45
  • Four African Roots of the Orisha Religion 47
  • Five Catholicism and the Orisha Religion 61
  • Six the Spiritual Baptists 71
  • Seven Hinduism and the Kabbalah 86
  • Part III 105
  • Eight Spirits and Spirit Possession 107
  • Nine Social Organization of the Orisha Religion 125
  • Ten the Orisha and Their Abodes 140
  • Eleven 156
  • Part IV 167
  • Twelve the Orisha Religion as an Open System 169
  • Thirteen Syncretism and Eclecticism Versus Africanization 180
  • Fourteen the Transmission of Religious Knowledge in the Orisha Religion 191
  • Fifteen the Transformation of the Orisha Religious System 199
  • Appendixes, Notes, Glossary, References, and Index 209
  • Appendix A A Demographic Estimate of Spiritual Baptists 211
  • Appendix B A Demographic Estimate of Orisha Worshipers 213
  • Notes 215
  • Glossary 219
  • References 221
  • Index 233
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