Elisabeth taught us about Vodou. Vodou is an interesting set of beliefs wherein religion is integrated into all aspects of life.
Zora Neale Hurston is a cultural anthropologist who studied Vodou in Haiti. She brought back fascinating information about the culture and the religion, but she suffered by the world’s inability to really understand the phenomenon. Any insufficiently understood phenomenon appears as “magic”, and the world was unprepared to call it magic.
Ultimately, the pharmaceutical companies sent an ethno-botanist to the Caribbean to find medical uses for some of the items used in Haiti. Puffer fish have a poison that slows the heart rate and causes the recipient to be unresponsive. Another substance causes pulmonary edema. Datura Stramonium is a drug that induces a zombie like state. Even the dirt in Haiti contains residual toxins. It turns out that the practitioners of vodou may not possess magic at all, but may, instead, be very good at understanding drugs.
Inducing the Zombi state is something that is done to punish someone. In ancient times, it may have taken the place of banishment or perhaps capital punishment. Of all the cultures that use drugs in the practice of their religion, vodou is one of the rare ones that use drugs in a punishment capacity.
One of the tenants of UU is to seek knowledge in freedom. We gloss over that line every Sunday as we talk through the Seven Principles. Sometimes it is good to remember that not everyone has seeking knowledge in freedom available to them.
For more information, look up Zora Neale Hurston’s books and the Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis (Simon & Schuster, NY)
Earthkeeping summit is coming up Mar 31, 2012. It is an all day affair and you won’t be disappointed. Savanna is delivering Girl Scout Cookies to her customers.
Joys: Betty appreciates Gordon typing up the membership lists. Without Gordon, we would not know who we are. If we don’t know who you are, then please start coming by the building at 11:oo Sundays. You will not be disappointed.