Vodou art and books

On Wednesday, prior to meeting a friend downtown for Cajun food, I stopped by Edge of the Circle Books in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood. After witnessing all the possessions at Saturday’s Rada fet, I was hungry to read up on the subject. I wanted to see if the store had a copy of “Drawing Down the Spirits” by Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera, and sure enough they did (I LOVE this store–it’s the only one in Seattle I know of that keeps and regularly stocks a Vodou section). I probably won’t get to read it for a couple of weeks due to some pending art-related deadlines and a few remaining chapters I still need to read in “Mama Lola.”

This is the second book I’ve bought of Filan’s, the first being his “Haitian Vodou Handbook,” one of the very few Vodou-related books that has any hands-on information in it. I had the chance to talk to a visiting houngan at last Saturday’s fet, and he and the visitng mambo are actually initiates of the same house that Filan is from (Societe la Belle Venus). Mambo C and Houngan D, on the other hand, are initiates of Mambo Racine’s Roots Without End Society. At the moment, the two houses are not getting along, so I thought it was very cool that Mambo C, Houngan D, and the guest mambo and houngan were willing to work together and distance themselves from house politics. My respect for all of them grows.

Lastly, a friend of mine turned me onto the work of Hersza Barjon, an artist from Haiti who paints beautiful portraits of the lwa. I really love her portrayal of Agwe, and of course my curiousity was piqued when I noticed that she mentioned his Inuit counterpart, Kul. I am not familiar with Kul and have only found a few brief descriptions of him online. This warrants more research. In the meantime, enjoy! Divine Haiti: Portraits of the Lwa by Hersza Barjon.


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