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Ezili Dantò Biography

The Revolution which created the nation of Haiti was inspired by the divine decree of the warrior love goddess known as Ezili Dantò who danced in the head of the great Haitian priestess, Cecile Fatiman, on that famous Haitian night in 1791, on a red hilltop, at a forest thicket in Haiti called Bwa Kayiman.

Led by the powerful warrior spirit of Ezili Dantò, Cecile Fatiman crowned the African warrior Boukman with her royal red Petwo scepter, ushering in the Haitian war which forever slashed the chains of European slavery in Haiti to create Africa's sacred trust, Manman Ayiti - the first Black nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Ezili Dantò is the symbol of the irreducible essence of that ancient Black mother, mother of all the races, who holds Haiti's umbilical chord back to Africa, back to Anba Dlo*. Calling on her essence, breath, vision and cosmic power brought forth Haiti's release from 300-hundred years of brutal European enslavement.

Ezili Dantò is the spiritual mother of Haiti and the preeminent cosmic symbol of Black independence, unity, self-determination, justice, equality and freedom.

The Ginen root - Haitian identity - forged at Bwa Kayiman is THE UNITY that's never wavered in Haiti. One people, one African culture, one language, one Vodun spiritual imperative - to live free or die. That's the consensus, the- "Linyon Fè la Fòs" - Haitian union, that's never wavered.

One of Joseph Campbell's most famous quotes is that “If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” The power of myth, metaphor and archetypal psychology are no longer disputed. If we were to look upon Ezili Dantò as a major African-Haitian archetype, myth, metaphor or narrative and note Vodun's major role in the Haitian revolution and that during the Haitian revolution, this archetype was the only spirit principle or hero who was injured, who actually lost her voice, then it would be easier to understand why our work at Ezili's HLLN has used Vodun lexicon to describe modern pathologies and given the great mother Goddess, Ezili Dantò, her tongue back. Supposedly, after Bwa Kay Iman, in the course of the war for liberation and freedom, Ezili Dantò was the only higher spirit and the only female symbol of love and nurture that was mutilated. Her tongue was cut out. And thus, in some sections of Haiti when this intangible, invisible, untouchable and eternal energy manifests into form through a living Haitian being, it can't talk. This generation of Haitians at Ezili's HLLN are not willing to continue putting life into that particular neocolonial metaphor. At Ezili's HLLN, our work intends to change the world, Haiti's world, by changing the metaphors and colonial narratives and uplift the warrior mother Goddess Ezili Dantò's spirit, Dessalines' three Ideals and the Haitian paradigm for universal freedom. We understand the psychological warfare, neocolonialism, racism and paternalism that would silence the feminine warrior, Ezili Dantò and the role archetypes and archetypal psychology plays in the liberation, life, values and culture of a people. Haiti doesn't have superman, batman, Tarzan or any vampire heroes in its cultural narrative or popular folklore. But there's Jean Jacques Dessalines, Toya, Sanit Belè, Defile, Kapwa Lamò, Ezili Dantò, Danbala, Ayida Wedo, Papa Legba, Simbi, Ogou Feray, Gede yo, et al. To witness to the African-Haitian ancestors' original and untrammeled inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the collective past African experience is to counter the distasteful, inferior, neocolonial patterns inculcated, over two centuries of colonial/French ecclesiastic and other re-education, present in the individual conscious and unconscious of many modern Haitians.

There's much work to done to counter the colonial narrative. Ezili Dantò's HLLN focuses mainly on two archetypes - Ezili Dantò and the historical Papa Jan Jak. There's nothing more important than putting our life force behind the re-MEMBERment of Ezili Dantò and Jean Jacques Dessalines to counter our African/Haitian dismemberment. Just as, there is also a move to not use the pictures of the white Catholic saints to stand for the African principles, values and irreducible Vodun essences - Lwa yo. The twenty-one nations who gathered at Bwa Kay Iman in 1791, the amalgamated African tribes who became African-Ayisyen in the land of the Taino-Ayisyen formed the only nation in the Americas not named by the white settlers and not founded upon colonial imperatives and values. Our imperative, their descendants, is to extend the universal freedom they fought for, live free or die.

The powerful nations' constant attack on Haiti's poor has not changed much. Haiti's is still an international crime scene where the Haitian Oligarchs/mercenary families act for the neocolonialists. But Haitian resistance is deep with too many creative and spititual roots for capitulation to be a factor. Haitians use the power of the enemy to bend the enemy, never living by the values of the enemy. For, there are some things worst than death. Haiti's masses refuse to submit to the colonizing nations' mindset. What does it profit a (wo)/man to gain the whole world but to lose her/his soul. Nature recycles all form, including the tyrant's form and profits, back to source even as the universal energy warehoused in all form is eternal and always safe, so why lose virtue or bother assist these others fearful and small enough to wish to shatter you for earthly profit.

During the Haitian Revolutionary War, this was the white nations' "enlightenment" mindset Haitians faced:

"It is not everything to have removed Toussaint, there are two thousand other chiefs here to have taken away...Here is my opinion of this country. It is necessary to destroy all the negroes of the mountains, men and women, sparing only children under the age of twelve, and destroy half of those of the plain, without leaving a single colored man in the colony who ever wore an epaulette. Without that, the colony will never be at peace." ---French General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc

The Haitian revolution helped the United States double its size and gain 15 extra States through the Louisiana Purchase. The Haitian people got rid of physical enslavement but were forced, after the assassination of Haiti's founding father, into the Independence Debt. Today, economic enslavement reigns unfettered with the UN occupation, endless debt, free trade, privatization and wage slavery.

But, to the colonizing nations' everlasting dismay, the great triumph of Ezili Dantò's Haitian warriors, where Dessalines did what Spartacus couldn't, cannot be equaled or erased in world history. No matter the tyranny imposed over the last two centuries of Haiti's existence, Haiti's invisible essence still cannot be colonized.

During the great Haitian war of liberation, the old Haitian ancestors burnt down all the port cities and retreated INLAND, knowing that if they valued any property, family, children or valuables above their freedom and liberty, that that would be used by the more powerful white tribes and their enforcers to re-enslave Africa's masses. The African warrior Henri Christophe burnt his great mansion down first and then went to meet Lerclerc's 50,000 French soldiers come to commit genocide and re-enslave the African masses. That courage, that single-minded focus, that ultimate Haitian sacrifice, after 300-years of Euro-enslavement, allowed for the eventual freedom for all the Blacks in the Americas and ended racial slavery. It is evidence that living from the unseen center where Haitians meet the primordial energy that has always been and is behind everything, where they stand together with the vital African Ancestors and Ezili Dantò, the warrior mother's invisible but tangible and eternal love - is and has always been the core protection, faith and sustenance of the Haitian people. It used to be "Grenadye alaso, sa ki mouri zafè ya yo, nanpren manman, nanpren papa, sa ki mouri zafè ya yo. The revolutionary song, because African-Haitians are still here despite all powerful efforts to silence Ezili Dantò and her warriors, is updated: Grenadye alaso, sa ki mouri na vanje yo!

The Goddess Remembered at Bwa Kayiman

There was a time when women were the primary religious figures on this planet. A pre-historical time, long ago. (See Ezili Dantò/Aset/Isis (photos); Vodun photo essay; Haiti Epistemology and Ezili, Aset, Isis -Mother God ; Black Woman: Mother of All the Races and Who is Black? Striking Images of the World’s Dark-Skinned People Inaccurately Considered Non-Black)

Haiti, the first Black nation in the Western Hemisphere, is the pioneer in ushering back the reign of the goddess and of women as religious figures equal with men in performing religious ceremonies.

On August 14, 1791 Haitians remembered their dark, African mothers and honored Her culture. August 14, 1791 Boukman remembered Mother Africa. Cecil Fatiman remembered Mother Africa. All the "Feys" - leafs - at Bwa Kayiman remembered Mother Africa. Then, the amalgamated African tribes, in Haiti, found and took hold of Ezili Dantò who said, "Kanga Mundele" - Kill the stranger amongst us, meaning both the brutal enslavers as well as mental colonization. Over two hundred delegations of Blacks from various plantations throughout the North of Haiti where present.

The Haitians had stretched their heart, nerve and sinew way back to call on this authentic pagan (or the pre-Judeo-Christian, pre-Muslim described) spirits of ancient and pre-colonial Africa - they called on - Ezili Dantò (along with Danbala, Atibon Legba, Ogou Feray, Manman Lasirene, ect). But Ezili Dantò appeared first at that Petwo ceremony on August 14, 1791 day on that red clay hilltop in Haiti.

All the Africans at Bwa Kayiman, all, be they Muslim or Christians converts, went HOME that day, back to Vodun and, that, has been the road less traveled by any African nation to date. That Movement has made ALL the difference to Africans in the New World and around the world, globally, for it initiated and propelled forward universal human rights as well as initiating the first sparks for Pan-Americanism and Pan-Africanism in modern world history. For, the Haitian people were the first Blacks and enslaved workers taken in shackles out of Africa to the "New World", the first treated as savages and as subhumans and the first to respond to this treatment definitively and forever, by validating themselves as human beings entitled to equality, self-defense and entitled to their own African religious beliefs. For those days, as well as for today, that was REVOLUTIONARY. (See Video excerpt of Bwa Kayiman play and the Bwa Kayiman performance texts).

But a Black nation inspired by an African goddess/liberator was a bad omen for the white European settlers who claimed themselves superior to Blacks and certainly to free Black women. Yet, the Haitian people, without arms, allies or financial resources where so inspired by their Vodun gods and goddesses and the powers of their Ancestors that, led by the warrior goddess, Ezili Dantò, and after 300-years of Christian-based enslavement in the Americas and over one thousand years of Islamic conquest and enslavement incursions all over Africa, they decided to "live free or die" - liberte ou lamò! and set themselves free in Haiti, defeating all the mighty European powers of that time - France, Spanish and British, in combat.

Today, Haitian women and men follow the long legacy of the warriors of Haitian independence. They are tireless fighters, beholden to no-one - heroic leaders on the cutting edge of the human rights struggle.

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
(See also info on: Ezili Dantò/Aset/Isis (photos); Vodun photo essay and Bio of Ezili Dantò, 1791 and Ezili, Aset, Isis and Black Woman: Mother of All the Races ;
Vodun: The Light and Beauty of Haiti; Kayiman Links and Haiti Epistemology)

Ezili Dantò performs the banda dance as Gede for Breaking Sea Chain. See also Intro to Breaking Sea Chains and RBM Video Reel

The Haitian struggle - the greates David vs. Goliath battle being played ou on this planet



*Anba Dlo literally means "beneath the ocean, the waters." It is that primordial, cosmic space where all potentiality lives. It's the mythological "Haitian Heaven" (to use a non-African point of reference). It's where all that ever lived, will live and is living will end up. It is, to the African warriors who founded Haiti, the road back to Manman "Africa" - Nan Guinen, that cosmic space where the world began with "Lè Marasa, lè Mò e lè Mistè."

Anba Dlo to the Haitian is where the great African Ancestors', where our sacred energies, our strengths and force - the "Lwa yo," - those sacred irreducible essences of the Haitian/African/Black soul - reside. Anba Dlo is the sacred stillness, cosmic place, where life sources issue from and return to.


Performance poet, Ezili Dantò (in RBM) onstage as Ezili Dantò, the Divine mother, performs Anba Dlo, Nan Guinen (See also Bwa Kayiman (texts) and PhotoGallery)

More info on the sacred energies, light and beauty of Haiti and Haitian culture and on the Haitian Lwa - Gods and Goddesses, the irreducible essences.

Vodun: The Light and Beauty of Haiti

Vodun photo essay
Bwa Kayiman Links and Haiti Epistemology

Bwa Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman
The Haitian struggle - the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played out on this plane
"Linyon Fè la Fòs" coalition: The Haitian union forged at Bwa Kayiman has never wavered

Vodun means sacred energies in the Fon language. Vodun is the spiritual imperative and way of life of Haitians. It's psychology, cosmology, phylosophy, art, and a healing way of life. Vodun is awareness of the invisible part of the human being. Vodun is awareness of our spirit within. Vodun is the practice of connecting to the sacred energies within. It's indentification of elemental archetypes that when touched activates miracles, services the greater human good, the greater cosmic good, the community's empowerment. It's energies worthy of reproduction.

The Bwa Kayiman Battle Cry, Prophecy and Call:
E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki. Kanga yo!
At Bwa Kayiman, on August 14, 1791, the enslaved Haitian rejected bougeois freedom and fought for universal justice and freedom. The Haitian Revolution continues, today - The call remains the same: E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki. Kanga yo! - Stop the black collaborators, the white imperialist, all their evil forces, kill/stop them! - See also Boukman's Bwa Kayiman Prayer; Bwa Kayiman Links and Haiti Epistemology.

This Bwa Kayiman Vodun call/invocation, along with Boukman's Prayer, started the Haitian revolution on August 14, 1791 (For the full Ezili Dantò's translation, go to: Bwa Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman ).

In the article, Bwa Kayiman, 2008, we learn: "Ginen Poze. All is calm in the collective African-Ayisyen soul because in spite of the imposed enslavement, hunger, repression, UN occupation and containment in povery, Haiti's wholesome Vodun culture, epistemology and psychology orders the life of the Haitian masses. The journey of the sun people continues. 80 to 200 thousand years out of Africa is a whole lot longer and makes 500plus-years of European conquest or even 1,000 years of Arab conquest seem fairly nanosecond minute." Some say the Taino-Ayisyen understood that, the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs too. But the sacred African Chronicles and Living African Libraries still in existence evidence how Africans are used to studying one great sun/lunar cycle of 29 or

Ezili Dantò of HLLN

so thousand years know the Ancestors line goes too far back to eternity to erase. Ginen poze. Death doesn't scare the African, only how one lives and the energies (values/principles/ archetypes) one allows to mount and be extended. Haitians are an ancient people as old as Vodun. This generation of Haitians are in the process of reclaiming the Haitian narrative..." (Go to Lasou O M Pwale - Going Back to the Source, the Root; HLLN's counter-colonial narrative on deforestation; Ezili's counter-colonial narrative on Vodun; Blacks were the original peoples in the Americas; Dessalines' Three Ideals; Ezili and Isis; Vodun photo essay and Background - Vodun Links and***Who is Black? Striking Images of the World’s Dark-Skinned People Inaccurately Considered Non-Black).

On August 14, 1791, at Bwa Kayiman, the amalgamated African tribes, the 21 African Nations, the enslaved African-Haitian,
forged the Haitian union 'Linyon Fè La Fòs' that has never wavered, rejected bougeois freedom and fought for universal justice and freedom. The Haitian Revolution continues today. The call to battle remains the same: E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki. Kanga yo! (Kill the black collaborators, the white imperialist, all their evil forces. Kill/stop them!)

Bourgeoisie Freedom - "..Generally Haitians have always seen how liberty, brotherhood, equality and democracy exist alongside or even in virtually the same space as slavery, genocide, exploitation, intolerance and tyranny - notably Black enslavement, exploitation and disenfranchisement in the Americas. This is what Ezili's HLLN calls "Bourgeoisie Freedom". And, from Bwa Kayiman to now, Haitians have rejected this structure of human interaction, governance and communication. Haitians, as a people, struggle to transform this below, knowing no matter the misery, loss and suffering in time, that out of time, Lan Ginen, our safety lies - lives- wholly unformed by any storylines, (even our own), since before this "New World's" time began..." (Excerpted Bwa Kayiman 2007 and the case of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine Pierre ).


Vodun Links:

Learn more about Vodun and Haitian culture, go to:

Vodun photo essay
- Facebook

Haiti Epistemology

Bwa Kayiman Links

2010 Links
The Lehmann Collection - Vodou: Art and Cult from Haiti
Bizango Room & Altar

2009 Links
Bwa Kayman 2009 - Brooklyn Photo Gallery by Kesler Pierre

Bwa Kay Iman Broadcast (Kreyòl) by Jafrikayiti, August 16, 2009

Ezili Dantò/Aset/Isis (photos) and Ezili, Aset, Isis -The Divine Mother

Bio of Ezili Dantò, 1791

The Goddess Remembered at Bwa Kayiman

Mulatto Oligarchs' definition of liberty

Seven Principles of Vodun - Professor Bayyinah Bello

Margaret Mitchell Armand - One love (
Nou se Ginen, nou fè yon sèl kò)

l. Lasous O M Pwale - Going Back to Source

2. Bwa Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman

3. Bwa Kayiman play and performance texts

4. Performance text - Anba Dlo, Nan Guinen and Intro to Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen

5. Boukman's Righteous Prayer – Lapriyè Boukman and

6. Haiti's Linyon Fè la Fòs; In Unity Lies Our Strenght- "Linyon Fè la Fòs" coalition: The Haitian union forged at Bwa Kayiman has never wavered

7. Chèn Sa Pap Janm Kase! - The three powers lifted up at Bwa Kayiman: Fòs, Pouvwa, Linyon,

8. Bourgeoisie Freedom

9 . Ezili's counter-colonial narrative on Vodun and Background - Vodun Links

10. HLLN's counter-colonial narrative on deforestation

11. Ezili Dantò live in Miami with Sanba Yatande, Ti Rouj & Manno

12. The Haitian struggle - the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played out on this planet

13. Ezili on why it's critical to re-create and adapt the Ancestors' Vodun Psychology

14. Petwo - Kongo Vodun

15. Journey of the Serpent and the Moon by Ezili Dantò

16. Basic Haitian Cosmology - Lè Marasa, lè Mò e lè Mistè

17. Black Woman: Mother of All the Races- HOW THAT BLACK WOMAN CAME TO BE

18. The Sanba Movement

19. The complete "Lapriyè Ginen" as edited by Max G. Beauvoir is available by ordering. Send an email.

20 . Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodun, American Museum of Natural History. ( Book: Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, Donald J. Cosentino (Editor), Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural history, 1995)

21. See also, Performance poet, Ezili Dantò of HLLN (in RBM) onstage as Ezili Dantò, the primordial warrior mother:

Ezili Dantò onstage performing "Journey of the Serpent and the Moon" in Red, Black & Moonlight: Between Falling and Hitting the Ground (Buy the 90-performance DVD) - RBM Video Reel - Miami RBM Video Reel / More info on - Ezili Dantò/Aset/Isis

22. Divine Haiti: Portraits of the Lwa at the UCSB Center for Black Studies (An Exhibit of the Haitian gods and goddessesof Haiti) by artist, Hersza Barjon

23. Hersza Barjon - www.hersza.com

24. Ancestral Rays: Journey through Haitian History & Culture
Illustrated with the Works of Hërsza Barjon
Edited by Claudine Michel
Exhibition curated by Ernestine A. Ray

25. The Descent of the Lwa, Journey Through Haitian Mythology: The Works of
Hërsza Barjon

To learn more on Haitian Vodun, Ezili Dantò and view a rendition of the Lwa, Ezili Dantò, as illustrated by Hersza Barjon, go to: http://research.ucsb.edu/cbs/projects/divinehaiti.html, then click on "Lwa" and then the lady with the child in her dress.....

27. Haitian dance - Dances of the gods. Classes and workshops by the Ezili Danto Spoken Word Dance Theater (Dance and drumming workshop descriptions)

Audio Interview - Patrick Bellegarge Smith on Living Vodun - (mp3, 53:07)

29. Living Vodun

"The word "Vodou" evokes images of sorcery and sticking pins into dolls. In fact, it's a living tradition wherever Haitians are found based on ancestral religions in Africa. We walk through this mysterious tradition — one with dramatic rituals of trances and dreaming and of belief in spirits, who speak through human beings, with both good and evil potential." (Krista Journals, Speaking of Faith from American Public Media)


Unheard Cuts from Krista's Journal on Speaking of Faith - Raw, Unedited Interviews

30 . Audio Interview - Claudine Michel on Living Vodun:

Claudine Michel is professor of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She co-edited Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality and Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture.

31. Audio Interview - Patrick Bellegarge Smith on Living Vodun - (mp3, 1:23.42) interview by Krista http://download.publicradio.org/podcast/speakingoffaith/

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith is chairman of the Department of Africology at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He's co-edited several books, including Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture and
Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality.


32 .
"Vodun Brooklyn"
A Photographer's Journey into a Haitian Community in the U.S. - an Audio slideshow.

Stephanie Keith met a Vodou priest at a Buddhist interfaith event. He invited her to photograph and experience the religious world of his Haitian culture. Ten ceremonies later, she offers her images and reflections on these late-night rituals.

33 . Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti (book and film) by Myra Deren. But be sure to read this first for the book errors corrected at: Ezili's counter-colonial narrative on Vodun

34. The Drums of Vodou by Lois E. Wilcken; and
Review of Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti by Lois E. Wilcken

35. The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti by
Professor Leslie G. Desmangles, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Religion & International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT


36. Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy by Robert Farris Thompson


37. Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn by Karen McCarthy Brown

38. Lafimen: Listwa Pèp Ayisyen Depi Nan Ginen
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/lafimen.html and Jafrikayiti.com

"Anmezi y ap eseye toufe l, anmezi l ap fofile fè pasaj pou li monte: LAFIMEN, se listwa pèp Ayisyen depi nan Ginen !"


Ezili Dantò of HLLN performs the Yanvalou for So Much Like Here (See text and RBM 2004 Video Reel)
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