Author: Julia Walker

Bon Dieu, what people misnomer as the god of christianity is the earth itself; creations come from the elements.

I believe strongly in good and evil, just not in gods and devils and because of that feel lost when looking for the words and phrases to connect me with similar people.
The earth moves itself and calls to what it makes, similarly to how our ancestors feel to us.


The reason that our blood relatives help us communicate is because we are of the same, recycled pieces of them that grew from their code. But all are not direct descendants of workers so using Papa Legba, the Barons, Erzulie Dantor or anyone else is to serve as a general relative that is of the earth itself, making it easier for their energy to have success asking than our breathing bodies can.

The makings of figures confused with gods generally comes from extremes, and for people of the diaspora especially, I believe that we were handed most carefully the stories that could lead to protection, healing and vengeance work because they knew even before the trip was made that all our futures would be smeared with blood.

I think that Erzulie Dantor was like me. When domestic abuse took my breath, had it been a time where medical intervention wasn’t available, the hate from that death surely could have bound me to earth through the decomposition of my physical matter. So her being one that information is more readily available on makes sense. Desperation breeds despair and having our own “Black madonna”, even from the perspective of someone who strongly rejects the spirit world, could serve as a way to retain some hope through the struggle.

Claiming the images marred with lies in popular culture is even more important at this period in time because our African/diaspora traditions are already being stolen in a similar fashion to the spirituality of the people of Turtle Island.

When we were forced here, scaring us from our figures was deliberate. Oppressors, knowing that their choice to enslave other humans was wrong, stopped the enslaved from doing anything to better ourselves in any ways. Reading being the most widely discussed, but our knowledge that wasn’t written was stolen before we were told not to learn our oppressor’s tongues.


We were told not to do or be anything.

Using herbal remedies, making sachets, using ritual in the sacrifice of animals, and not acknowledging the bible and the messages of it were included in behaviors deemed in-subservience along with trying to learn to read or write and listening to the business of the plantation.

Calling figures by their names merited punishment so severe that generations back our people started using catholic iconography and then handed down not one, but two or more sets of names for the saints to correspond to our stories from home.

Erzulie being an example: She, the “Black madonna” can be replaced with a figure of Mary, mother of Jesus. Erzulie Dantor serves as many things as the feminine counter to Papa Legba- protector of the abused, and where requests for health, success, love and destruction are directed. She is portrayed both as a lighter skinned princess type and a hard edged darker skinned woman with scars from abuse (based mostly on what the requester looks like in my experience). My Erzulie is dark skinned, scarred, ruggedly beautiful and compassionate, asking only for honesty, respect and consideration. An honor to leave gifts for, she is gracious for everything given sincerely. Accounts of witnesses to possession note diva like behavior but generally end in the tears of the possessed. Overwhelming is the world for Erzulie, maybe more so than for the others, since like Legba, she is powerful but isn’t known for sitting in this realm unless requested.

Currently, appropriators have bastardized the old religions into something that can be modified to fit their whims and call themselves things like christian and wiccan and buddhist and rootworkers which is part of why we need to get in touch with what is in our blood.
The spirits can refuse to grant requests at any time, but even they must eat, so if we refuse to claim our people, someone else will, twisting what once was until we cannot even recognize it.


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