“L’appe vini, Le Grand Zombi (He comes, the Great Serpent).
Pour faire gris-gris (Comes to make things happen).
Pour faire mourir (Comes to face down death).”
When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the little slips of information here and there, that my father would give me about his family. While my mother’s family was your standard issue Midwestern middle class fare, my father’s family was something different. Every summer, we would visit and I would roam free – seeing the sights, as my mother so eloquently put it. While the Midwest was as predictable as fresh-baked bread, the South was slower…more decadent in its triumphs and failures; wild like the wildflowers that grew in the prairies I’d grown up around.
Decadence, Triumphs, and Failures. These were the things I knew the South for, in the fairytales I’d created in my mind. But it was that wildness, that wild factor that I was so deeply attracted to. There was no half-steppin’ where life, death, religion, music and art were concerned down there.
The music was louder, stranger; the black folk were darker in their beliefs as well as their countenances. Loud laughter covered up deep pains; socialization was more simple in the fact that everyone was included – yet complex in the steps everyone inherently knew to take. My naiveté was even more obvious down there than it was where I lived. The simplicity, the basics of life that all people knew who were from the South may have been built on complexities, but didn’t matter when it came down to the simple fact of “how it was going to be.” I wanted to know and understand why issues, points-of-view and opinions could be so very different to the non-Southerner, yet so simple that you could understand why things were the way they were to a Southerner.
That said, religion in the South was always a curious matter to me. How could people be so steadfast in their Christian faith; Catholicism and Southern Baptist practices ruling the roost of all things Christianity – yet believe in something like Voodoo, that had always been heralded to me as dark and dangerous? The warnings I received, via various books, movies and the quick re-tellings of stories that my father had received second-hand from his father rang loudly in my ears. The intermingling of both Christianity, and the practice of Voudon confused me more than I could explain. I mean, you couldn’t POSSIBLY be both, right? Right?
Down there, you could believe in just about anything that you wanted to believe in.
What I’d realized is that as long as you didn’t necessarily talk about it, you’d be alright. And thus begins the complexity of the mysteries – in regards to class, color and religion in the South. It was also the beginning of my need to QUESTION; question why it had to be “this way” in the Midwest, when so many others found other avenues to suit their purpose.
Thus begins my introduction to this blog; a person of colour who operates, practices and believes as a Pagan despite what my culture and locale dictate.
Brightest Blessings, Until We Meet Again…