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Oh my God people, Ezili's Mirrors is such a BOOK thanks so much to @CaribenxMarciaX for pointing it out!! Anyone who wants to know about Black spirituality, and about queerness outside of how it's been constituted outside the West should check it out. The writing is luminous and fabulous, I can't put it down. dukeupress.edu/ezilis-mirrors

Vodou, creative gender and sexuality 

"In its cosmology as well as its community formation, Vodou is radically inclusive of creative genders and sexualities. The Ezili are one of many pantheons of Iwa who model and mentor the divinity of gender and sexual nonconformity. . . . A significant number of people who serve these lwa are gender and sexually nonconforming, too. . . . In fact, EVERY Vodou temple is understood to need gender nonconforming practitioners. . . . [M]asisi [transmasculine and transfeminine Haitians] 'are important to guarantee the efficacy of a service' . . . And some houses, in fact, need only the gender and sexually creative. . . . [S]everal temples [are] 'composed entirely of gay men, or of gay women.'"

Haitian Revolution, Ezili & lesbian women (animal killing & blood mention) 

"I want to return to Bwa Kayiman [the site that sparked off the Haitian Revolution], that primal moment of Vodou revolutionary impulse. . . . What remains consistent in stories of Bwa Kayiman is that the most important presence that night was not human at all. Rather, the Haitian Revolution began with the arrival of fierce, dagger-wielding Ezili Danto, who (through the medium of the manbo) killed a black pig, distributed its blood to participants, and sent them to fight.

"Danto, whom Brown describes as a 'hardworking, solitary, sometimes raging mother,' is a warrior spirit who fights alongside the oppressed--particularly oppressed women. 'And,' as devotee George René puts it, 'there's one thing you should know. Dantò, she's a lesbian.' . . . What would it mean if . . . we took seriously that the Haitian Revolution was launched not by a man or even a woman, but by the spirit of women who love women?"

Mwen gen yon gason andedan mwen (I have a man in me)
Mwen gen yon fanm andedan mwen (I have a woman inside of me)
Mwen gen tou le de andedan mwen (I have both in me)
Nou tout gen tou le de andedan nou (We all have both in us)
Se yon benediksyon Bondye ba nou (It's a blessing that God has given us)
Renmen tou moun (Love everyone).

- Haitian-American drag king performer MilDred

"Building on Yoruba and other West African traditions of expressive headwrapping, elaborate patterns for tying head cloths were a means of both adornment and communication [for Caribbean women] throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. . . .

"In particular, carefully arranged head ties often said something about sex. They were a way of inviting or foreclosing flirtation, of letting observers know whether wearers were single or attached, closed or receptive to new lovers. . . . [I]n Suriname, Afro-Creole women developed special ways of arranging head ties to court other females, too, letting womenfolk know: I'm in search of a mati (female) lover; are you?"

Enslavement & cross-Atlantic trafficking, Black feminine mutual care & queerness 

"Wekker cites a beautiful, wrenching account of a slave ship's arrival in Paramaribo, when an eyewitness noted that the female enslaved 'had marked each others' heads with different designs, suns, half moons, without the help of a razor, without even soap, only with a piece of glass.' She meditates: 'The cultural vitality expressed in these images, amidst the horror, fixing each other's hair . . . these shipmates, with their diverse places of origin, languages, and backgrounds, had already been able to find a common idiom with which to encourage themselves and each other. It is worth noting that part of the performance of their subjectivity was beautification . . . ' . . . Wekker strongly argues that the present-day Sranan term 'mati'--which Creole women use to mean my mate, my girl, my same-sex lover or partner--derives from the African diasporic concept of the shipmate, and from words the enslaved used to refer to those who survived the Middle Passage with them."

Enslavement & cross-Atlantic trafficking, language 

I remember a reference in a different book to the Saramaccan (a language related to Sranan) words máti and síbi originally meaning people who had survived the Middle Passage together! rage.love/web/statuses/1082955

"If I can't be who I am in Haiti I'd rather die, or go live in the Dominican Republic."

- Blondine, a masisi (transfeminine Haitian) Vodou practitioner from the documentary Of Gods and Men

"Small revolutions ferment in the beauty shop daily when Dominican women confront oppressive conditions generated by government offices, hospitals, schools, employers, husbands, and lovers, with the support and assistance of beauty shop kin."

- Ginetta Candelario on Dominican beauty salons in Washington Heights

(I figured after that shade thrown at the Dominican Republic I owed Dominicans their due too :blobcatgiggle: )

Okay so Ezili Danto's lack of spoken language when she descends in possession is theorized as a reflection of the disempowerment of Haitian working women and masisi she champions... but I also kind of want to imagine her as representing autistic Haitian women and masisi :blobcatpeek:

". . . [I]n the present set of historical circumstances out of which she emergies, Danto only speaks collaboratively. She has a loyal interpreter in her youngest child, Anais, whom Mambo Vye Zo describes as 'Dantor's greatest love . . . forever carried in her arms' and 'the messenger of Dantor's true will.' Anais relays all messages to and from Danto, and sevite often address one lwa to reach the other."

SEE! Nonspeaking mom and speaking child, understanding each other perfectly :blobcatmeltlove:

Ansanm nou fanm, ansanm nou fo: together we're women, together we're strong.

The chapter on Ezili Je Wouj & Black dommes, skillfully weaving together anger, revenge, childhood, and healing was just... the range, damn. I also enjoyed the extended discussion of @nalohopkinson's The Salt Roads.

Haitian Revolution, Ezili & lesbian women (animal killing & blood mention) 

@ljwrites this could be read as a plot for a movie by glauber rocha :white_heart: :comm:

Haitian Revolution, Ezili & lesbian women (animal killing & blood mention) 

@len Black God, White Devil does seem to have a similar mood!

Haitian Revolution, Ezili & lesbian women (animal killing & blood mention) 

@ljwrites I think I have to rewatch it now.

btw I'm now reading a collection of short stories by andrej platonov. there are some similarities in theme (socialism and mysticism).

@ljwrites @CaribenxMarciaX
For an academic book, the ebook version is very affordable.

I see university press and usually I need to wait for a used version to be available, but this I can swing in a good month.

@ljwrites @CaribenxMarciaX oh shit I think I will like this even more than I liked Brown's book

THANK YOU i want this book thank you

@cobalt @CaribenxMarciaX I've started reading the last chapter before the conclusion and already I am BEREFT

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Rage.love

Generalist Hometown instance with a strong focus on community standards. No TERF, no SWERF, no Nazi, no Centrist.