I needed to come at the issue with fresher eyes, so I picked up a collection of Wilhelm Dilthey’s essays, Poetry and Experience, that has been sitting on my shelves for years. It has made it through numerous purges and finally I have put it to some use!
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.
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.
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.