…no one in the New World whose one God is advertised as dead can believe in innumerable gods of another life. Those gods would have to be an anthropomorphic variety of his will.
I'm interested in rules, and the possibilities hidden within the slips and slides of language, in spite of rules. I want to know the best writers and why, as well as the not so good writers and why.
Our poets and actors would have not only to describe possession, but to enact it, otherwise we would have not art but blasphemy, and blasphemy which has no fear is decoration.One thing I continue to notice is that the language of African religions is still regarded as other, a kind of exotic rendering, African continental bits dusted on literature, worthy of clamor, but not penetration, value or esteem.
What does exotic mean, and should blasphemy enter the discussion?
So now we are entering the “African” phase with our pathetic African carvings, poems and costumes, and our art objects are not sacred vessels placed on altars but goods placed on shelves for the tourist. The romantic darkness which they celebrate is thus another treachery, this time perpetuated by the intellectual.
Perhaps it’s different today. Perhaps sprinkling scripts and poems with catchy Òṣun and Ẹlégbá phrases, for example, is
|Dancing for Òṣun|
|Ileke for Ogun|
CR Bailey, 2013
…for us Afro-Christians, the naming of [Ògún] estranged him. Ògún was an exotic for us, not a force. We could pretend to enter his power but he would never possess us, for our invocations were not prayer but devices. The actor’s approach could not be catatonic but rational; expository, not receptive. However, Ògún is not a contemplative, [He is] a vengeful force, a power to be purely obeyed.
|Cloth for Ògún|
Cathleen Bailey, 2009
Photo by Karen Gregory