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Carnival of the Spirit: Seasonal Celebrations and Rites of Passage Paperback – September 1, 1994
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From the Publisher
Carnival of the Spirit  is a vibrant synergy of African spirituality, folktales and kitchen-table wisdom in an exuberant tribute to world holidays and nature's four seasons.
Luisah Teish serves up stories of her own family's traditions along with festivals from all over the world -- from the Lily Festival in Japan to the Yam Festival in West Africa, from intimate family gatherings to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and from traditional European holidays to sacred African rituals.
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If it was nondescript about the seasons or just Lucumi I might give it 3 stars. But hey in new orleans everyone wants to do what they want, anything goes. I already knew this was somewhat a problem from the reviews on her book jambalaya. To try to make food palatable to everyone, it ends up bland like hospital or airline food.
Who she says is the orisha version of a lwa is just plain strange at times of her choices. She uses the idea that in yoruban cosmology man was invented with woman in pairs in archetypes, but this does not necessarily translate to the benin, fon and dahomey culture of voudou. Yemaya as Agwe, wut, why not la sirene? ...because of Olokun I guess.....Other than that she gets 2 instead of one star for her ability to recant mythology and simply describe them to make sense. Although she mixes up the spirits and religions in the mythologies she does state where it originated, for one familiar to restructure.
She makes weird statements that the snake of desert cults of the jews are only evil due to poison, not like africa. Um do not africa have the sahara desert. She states egyptians are african, did not cleopatra use a poisonous asp snake and have cobras?
This book represents everything wrong with a history revisionist panafrican and neopaganisms eclectisms feminist centered viewpoint like dianic wicca. Silly nonhistorical statements like the iroquois gave us democracy. Maybe some of their ideas did help create the constitution, but what about the greeks and illuminist masonic deists and those fleeing monarchy system? It goes on and on.
In one ritual on ancestry white people are supposed to explore their ethnocentricism aka bigotry/racism of dominant english and irish people's mindsets. UM irish were enslaved right along with the africans by the english. They were the white negros of new york. She had stated earlier how the slavers were mostly spanish, portuguese, and danish (as well as french and british I am adding with some germans). This led me to scratch my head.
The goddess centrism kinda makes sense through her extended familiarity of being crowned Oshun, and through Yemaya, and as a female is not completely unappreciated even if the pendulum does swing to far left. But she overdoes it on the eclectisms mixing in too much voudou with santeria/ocha....along with umpteen other cultures predominately neopagananism or judaic-european.
The rituals are for the most part european or western in focus, or just plain juvenile and silly. Very little is usuable. The mange yam was good. Too eclectic with japanese flower something, pele as oya/maman brigit? crazy-sauce native american and everything else you can fit in the kitchen sink.
A story about how her pipes broke and flood prior to a mermaid ceremony after set up....um is this not a bad omen that you messed up in your eclectism? unfocused/directed force? or coincidence?
Awo Onifade Sangodare, one who she inspired along my path.
I've also met the author once in real life, and she is a fantastic role model and a great woman.