[NB] A String of Knots

Okay, so I have a few things that I keep thinking about or which are being put forward for me to think about, things that will probably make their way into posts of their own, but right now I want to see what I can do to just get them out of my head and put them in front of my face, see what other connections might arise thereby. Notebooking, so caveat lector.

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Five Books on Possession, Music, Language, and History

Remains of Ritual emphasizes, again and again, how gorovodu and religions like it are musical more than discursive. Friedson attempts to get at that through phenomenological tools, but he also works hard to give voice to gorovodu onits own terms. Reading through it right now, I’m struck by what makes music so central to this form of religiosity.

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Escape to New York

I went up to New York this weekend to enjoy A Day of Conjure and Cunning Craft. It’s part of a concerted effort to de-hermit a little (I’m not great at it; when it comes to socializing, I’m cultivating dumb but dogged). Since I was already up there, I did a little out and about the city. There is a fair amount I want to talk about with that, but for this post I’ll just talk a little about the conference itself.

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[NB] The Ol’ Book Challenge

I’ve always liked this oldie but goodie from Runesoup. My partner and I have probably played the game a dozen times or more while talking about one thing or another, and I have often thought about doing a post themed on it. But I’ve never quite found the angle that worked for me.

I have one now. What makes this one different than the previous efforts is that it feels like something that could lead toward what I do, but also might lead elsewhere. It feels more open and genuine thereby.

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[NB] Mediumship and Physiology

I just started reading Rebecca Seligman’s Possessing Spirits and Healing Selves. The book is based in her research on mediums in Candomble, fusing ethnographic and medical research techniques to approach an account of mediumship and possession that gives equal weight to physiology, psychology, and cultural context.

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[NB] Grimoire, Ecstasy, Play, Possession

This is going to be a very notebook-y post, riffing a bit around a common theme.

I recently picked up Erwan Dianteill’s study of the New Orleans Black Spiritualist churches, La Samaritaine Noire. He has a mind to position the spiritualist churches in the broader horizon of the Afro-Caribbean religious diaspora and he does that well. To do that, he starts out by contrasting the spiritualist churches with the hoodoo / rootwork doctors that the churches officially criticize. Which means we get a chapter discussing Zora Neale Hurston, Palo, and the intersection of the grimoire tradition and the African diaspora.

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