Sand between the toes. Ocean Salute. Prayers. Libations. Salute to the Ancestors and the Spirits of the Sea. The Door of No Return. Chants. Wade in the Water. Agwe Tawoyo + La Sirene. Giving thanks. I/We made it home.
Photo: Elvin Nathan Jones
Ancestors, do you hear us?!
We come to you with an open heart, humility and reverence. We are here in this moment - in Africa because of YOU. We give thanks for your sacrifices, guidance, and messages. We heard the call and answered. We honor you. Oakland to Benin. The Vodou Voyage continues...
On the way to Ouidah... Pahou. A small town in the Atlantique Department of southern Benin. Rooted in Ritual. Space + Time.
✨Vodou Voyage | PAHOU ✨
“If theater is ritual, then dance is too... It's as if the threads connecting us to the rest of the world were washed clean of preconceptions and fears. When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.” ~ Paulo Coelho
When the Village Mama’s and Priestesses guide you to dance in front of the drums, you release the preconceptions and fears. Surrender! Let Spirit guide + move through!
This Dancing Spirit Visual Storyteller Researcher Documentarian & Cultural Preserver journeyed to the source seeking knowledge and information. Sighted. Listened. Savored. Participated & Conversed with Practitioners doing the work! Fulfilling my DESTINY!
A GRAND SALUTE to the Queen, The High Priestess Hougnongan Touna for the warm welcome. A blessed, most memorable day in ritual, on sacred ground, in living, activated shrines, communing with African divinities. Hougnongan Touna - A WOMAN! is the backbone of the compound. Sitting front and center, I was a witness and can testify. An informal talk/presentation was in process with my Dance Kin. History flowed, through her, to us. She’s a de Souza, with Brazilian Roots. We were gently put on hold several times: community members asking questions, a client (in a suit) comes and kneels before her. She had his juju ready in a bottle. A few libations were poured, and a prayer...he went about his way. Her attention comes back to the group, but then... she tells us she is vending at an upcoming Vodou ceremony so she and a few Mami’s begin stringing beautiful glass beads to sell... throughout this entire “presentation” this Priestess has on Bluetooth earbuds, is cackling with a home girl she hasn’t talked to in some time, and doing it ALL effortlessly, with such gentleness and grace. BOSSY!
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."