If we are talking about who gave birth to the FIRST human being (s), and we are assuming, She is, the very oldest skeletal remains there is and She is the FIRST, then “How That Black woman came to be?” is beyond anyone’s real knowledge. Those answers lie in myths, legends, world cosmologies and religious dogmas.
So let’s quickly look at a few Haitian/African myths, legends and cosmologies that may address “How That Black woman came to be?”
MYTHICALLY – If we look at Haitian cosmology:
1. Perhaps SHE came to be because “one plus one is three.”
2. Perhaps SHE was the original twin.
3. Perhaps “One and one is three” as She is unseparated, indivisible, mysterious, unnamed. As She is a mystical marriage of some of the sacred trinities – mind, body and soul…past, present and future; moon, sun and light; mother, father and child, et cetera, simultaneously.
No matter. Before it became a scientific fact, Vodouist believed everyone, in their world, as they knew it, were related directly – like parent to child – like Lè marasa, lè mò and lè mistè; like zanset yo e ti moun yo.”
Lè marasa, lè mò and lè mistè
There are various ways of looking at the Haitian concept of Lè marasa, lè mò and lè mistè:
The holy trinity of past, present and future;
Of life as a circle;
The moon and sun connecting to produce light;
The elements – earth, water, air, fire – coming together in twos, connecting, colliding to build and support a new creation;
Of everything, tree, animal, moon, stars, earth as containing Go(o)d’s enabling light;
Of life as energies all connected and vibrating, molding, remolding and unmolding on unseen planes;
Life as the serpentine movement of undulation, transforming multiplicity;
Reaching for fusion, syncretism – synthesis;
Culling “the Many” back to “the One;” and,
Reaching for Black.
How SHE came to be has never been the Vodouists’ issue. It was how THEY (Lè marasa -the male and female twin) came to be that I learned about.
But, one and one is three. So, perhaps one must mold all the folklore and myths together to get the whole picture? Perhaps, after we look at the
2) the metaphysical,
3) allegorical and spiritual/ritualistic we shall find a fuller picture in a way that simple compartmentalization cannot reveal?
But let’s compartmentalize for the moment and look at the historical/chronological aspects.
The African ancestors in Haiti brought the power of their spirits to the New World where it has been maintained and syncretized, for generations, in the rituals of Vodun. Thus, we know, the Vodouist foreparents in Haiti synthesized, molded all their Yoruba, Fon, various other West African, then Kongo and Angolan beliefs; reblended these pagan codes to fit their circumstances, wrapped it with a sprinkling of European and New World facade, and passed it on, to their descendants in Haiti today, as Vodun.
It’s plausible, I would say, though no one I know explains it quite this way, that: out of primordial darkness came the indivisible female TWIN. (Perhaps Ayida Wedo?) The TWIN had children becoming the first parent. The first parent died, eventually becoming the first Black goddess, Lwa (irreducible essence) – divinity/messenger /prophet/saint after time unremembered. In Vodun, this trinity is also represented by the cross symbol, which points to the cosmic crossroad/meeting place/kalfou/Poto Mitan of the trinity (Lè marasa, lè mò and lè mistè). This trinity cuts across dimensions, time and space. And more particularly, for our discussion, ALL peoples and all energies, everything is connected – through this trinity – all the races (ethnicities) on earth.
Except, we know the pagan Vodouists did not, in any way, create their cosmology to divide the world by gender, races or “chosen peoples” who are “superior” or “inferior” one group or gender to the other. Why would they? Africans peopled the earth alone, before dogmas of patriarchy and racism that I know about took hold.
So, as far as I can interpret, the ancient pagan Vodouists, in rituals, vèvès, dance and songs, talked of themselves and their connection to divinity only. We do know “manman mwen” is a natural prefix before many supplications to many of the lwa-yo for help, blessings and guidance. We also know, women were the first deities of all the ancient pagan peoples on planet earth. But, in Vodun, the origin of humanity is explained in terms of Lè marasa, Lè mò and Lè mistè. In my view and best interpretation of the information available, I would say, “Gran mèt la” – The Creator or Go(o)d Eye – has no gender in Haitian cosmology to the best of my knowledge and no race is given as to the lwa-yo or spirits or living saints. BUT, as the Haitian Lwa (s) are direct descendants of the Africans telling the story, one naturally knows the Lwa-s are Black also, and look like their descendants. BUT, as only women give birth, and the pagan Vodouist was not known to be illogical, one may conclude, “Gran Mèt La” or “Bondye” is capable, of giving birth, like a female.
But if patriarchy won’t allow this conclusion to stick, se bon, se bon – whatever rocks your boat. Danbala-Wedo or Ayida Wedo. It’s all good! The most amazing thing I find, is that female and male are just accepted in Vodun, equally. No sweat. Wholeness requires both female and male energy in ONE. Yin and yang, Danbala-Wedo/ Ayida Dan Wedo.
Witness the most famous traditional-Haitian-Rada song of creation and wisdom: “Danbala-Wedo se bon se bon. Ayida Wedo se bon se bon. Lè ma monte chwal mwen gen moun k ap kriyè …” Does it give any hints? Perhaps so.
The most salient point to understand, perhaps, is that there is no inherent or unnatural (good vs evil) division, worthy of comment, for the Vodouist. “Se bon, se bon.” It’s all good – no original sin. Therefore, no inherent dualistic dichotomy.
Humanity – we – all came from the same sacred indivisible Twin. Images and structures are not as important to the Vodouist. Not like they are to the Western and Eastern global race hierarchy pundits, who, over time, syncretized and reinterpreted some of these original pagan beliefs and devised their Judeo-Christian and Islamic theologies and cosmologies, on divisions, based on gender, nationalism and race, for control and hegemonic purposes. That’s my interpretation.
METAPHYSICALLY: On the metaphysical level, the Haitian elder also explains the origin of humanity as follows:
Out of primordial space, Anba Dlo, a sound came. This first disturbance of cosmic silence/primordial space, caused an echo. That echo and the original sound together caused a third separate entity to be born. Allegorically this Haitian cosmology/mystical concept is explained with the phrase: “One plus one equals three” – 1 e 1 fè twa. For, from that first echo and original sound “the child” arose. Out of that first primordial movement and its echo, in an unseen dimension, “the other” was born. Mirrored-images. That “other” had issues, another was born of those two and on and on and on, ad infinitum. The world was thus created. Thus, the idea every action has a consequence is illustrated by the Vodouist. “One plus one equals three” tells a thousand tales to the Vodouist. It also allows for the acceptance of contradictions, in a way traditional European minds do not accept.
SPIRITUAL LEVEL On a mythical/spiritual level, one could say, the Haitian elder explains how that first Black woman came to be, thus: Out of Anba Dlo, (Lan Ginen), that is, out of cosmic space, came the first movement, or “breath” of Bondye, (or “ashe” the reservoir of all potentiality of infinite intelligence). It was like a zigzag, like your breath. It was like a coiling and uncoiling image undulating, shedding layers, Her rainbow colors along the way. It was like the action of birth – release/contract. It was as if Go(o)d’s first inhalation had its twin, the exhale. To the elder Haitian, overtime, the principle/archetype/lwa/element/wisdom or ACTION and BEING called “Ayida Dan Wedo” (or simply “Danballa” when colonialism erased the female from creation) or “one and one makes three” represents wisdom and this action of creation/birthing, of two of the elements becoming, of unity out of multiplicity, of the dimensions – the seen and unseen energy fields in the universe, vibrating, moving, molding, unmolding. Not a linear but a serpentine path, like I explained, for instance, in many ways, in the performance piece Journeys of the Serpent & the Moon. Creation is the moon and sun connecting to produce light. The elements and the energies of – earth, water, air/wind, fire – coming together in twos, connecting, colliding, undulating, vibrating to build and support (one) creation, simultaneously on seen and unseen dimensions.
Understand well, in addition to all other compartmentalization mentioned herein, that authentic “Black” of African is both a culture/a philosophy and a certain DNA “race” makeup. Haiti is the first and only modern nation to make this pronouncement and clarification at its inception.
Yet, one of the questions presented is “What is the Nature of This Claim? To start with I know this to be a rhetorical question sent out for “Ann Pale” debate. But, I will answer, again, as if I have not already stated the answer.
A Black woman is the mother of all the races. It’s not only allegorical, metaphysical, historical, it is based on the latest, known SCIENTIFIC facts.
But reality, to the African philosopher, cannot be divided in compartments.
A Vodouist knew, through centuries of observing reality, and listening to the griot tales of the Divine Black mother – Black Madonna. Creation was union -sexual, carnal, spiritual, metaphysical – not a sterile, taking a rib from Adam thing.
“Sitting on Isis’ lap” was a phrase that illustrate the origin of the crown and royalty in ancient KEMET (Africa). Then, it was the Black woman who would choose the leaders in her society and family, by literally sitting him/her on her lap! What we know now as the Kings chair and crown could not be passed-on to an heir, by a male, only by the elder priestess/Manbo/woman. The embroidered crown (feather), scepter and royal red chair, in ancient Africa, were symbols of the Black woman’s divine decree. Evidencing that women were originally the primary religious figures, not the Pope, et cetera. Later on, patriarchic cultures, sprung up because of all-male migration throughout the world. These patriarchic cultures then took on these symbols of authority for their own, not knowing their original meaning….
Hence, it was Manbo Cecil Fatiman, mounted by the spirit of Ezili Dantò, who gave the scepter of leadership to Boukmann. His power came from source – a powerful, ancient, female source remembered. ( Bio of Ezili Dantò, 1791 and Divine Mother: Ezili/Aset/Isis and Photos-Ezili/Isis/Aset and Haiti Epistemology.)
But, let’s leave, folklore and storytelling alone for a moment. Those “scientists” who say they live ONLY by “scientific” and data compartmentalization have come to agree that “all humans alive today can claim as a common ancestor a woman who lived in Africa some 150,000 years ago — dubbed, inevitably, uhmm “Eve.” (See, the face of Eve) . Remember folks, the “Adam and Eve” names and naming of the “first” man and woman references only to HIS story of creation.
The Christian politicos, since before the Council of Nicaea in 325A.D., for instance, took the “color” out of the Divine Mother and ultimate healer, leaving her a pale version of the warrior mother. Their “Eve” is blamed for original sin and then their “Mary” becomes a powerless virgin, a “Goddess” to be used as vessel, a prop, trophy for her virtue and beauty without any ability to give birth to God, like to divine Jesus. For the Ayisyen-African comparative, think Ezili, Ezili Dantò – representing the earth, motherhood, the femine principle, love, and thus fundamentally the archetype or irreducible essence of the divine mother of all the races. She is, to Haitians, the love goddess, divine spirit of compassion, healing and warrior mother of the people of the Moon or the Sun people or simply, Pitit Ginen (Africa’s people) – instead of the iconic “Eve” from the mythical “Garden of Eden.” (Bio of Ezili Dantò, 1791)
We know neither the white European nor the Arab settlers in Africa where indigenous to the African continent. Thus, the notion of an African origin of the human family has grown to be accepted by most scientists, historians and scholars.
I’ve written, on this matter, in at least four posts, but probably in others. I wrote of this, not because I am a human being ordinarily categorized as a “Black woman,” but in context to certain points I wished to make that are essential primarily because of the racists burdens heaped on the issues of human beings categorized as, of “the Black race of Africa.”
I wrote to say Blacks once peopled the earth, therefore we claim more than Africa as our “place.”
I wrote to say that Blacks, not whites, are the parents of civilizations. Thus, we are no one’s children, don’t need patronizing. Au contraire.
Most importantly I point to the Black mother because of Haiti’s unique relationship with Her original creed. And, to help liberate Haitian and Black minds in general. To cut our mental chains and give us a means to stop our strange associating with our former captors, where, similar to hostages exhibiting long-term psychological problems called, the “Stockholm Syndrome”, we-Blacks also consistently exhibit these mental aberrations by identifying with whites, our former captors/colonial rulers, while actually FEARING those Blacks, amongst us, who seek to end our captivity.
I point to the Black mother of all the races to say we-Blacks don’t need to seek to win white favor, like sufferers of “Stockholm Syndrome” seek their captors approval, “in an almost childlike way.” I point to the Black mother of all the races so we mostly miseducated Blacks may know we are more directly from the line of the original parents, are part of a cosmic archetype, an unborn divinity, the irreducible essence of the original parents. So that, if we understand this, we may begin to address the mental aberrations of Category Two (the institutionally powerful Black collaborators (bafyòti) to the planet’s enslavement). For instance like neocons Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connelly, Armstrong Williams, et cetera and most of the African feudal lords working for Western corporatocracy, who, display strong attachment to their former captors/colonizer’s points of view, reference points, automatically defending their captors’ interest to their own Black peoples’ detriment. Those are the reasons I wrote, in many posts that a Black woman is the mother of all the races.
To conclude, I made my statements within the context of empowering Black Haitians, liberating Black minds and uplifting us with truth about our place and connectedness one to another, on this planet earth. There’s one human race, different cultures and ethnicities molded and differentiated by environment, values and psychological imperatives. If the white supremacist mindset or the profit-over-people oligarchs, don’t know the futility of biological fatalism, forced assimilation and hoarding earthly resources, it’s perhaps because all of us, from all the socially constructed races, have got work to be.
In all these posts, I believe I’ve given references where these fact may be further analyzed.
If, there are other, more reliable scientific and historical information, that civilization did not start in Africa; that human existence did not start in Africa; that the white race peopled the earth before the Black race; that a white European woman or an Asian or Native American woman gave birth to the Black race and all the races (ethnicities); that all the races cannot be traced back to Africa, and therefore back to BLACK. If Black doesn’t encompass all peoples and Black is not “diversity” personified. If there is credible information out there that the European white woman’s is the mother of civilization; that the first Madonna and therefore first human attempt ever, at the Goddess, was white, not Black, please I’d like to read it?
For, from reading the most informed sources and writing on this topic for years now, it is my understanding, that DNA research, by modern scientist, reveal the human race can be traced back genetically, through tracing a woman’s genetic make up back through her mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and on to the woman’s line back to the beginning of known history.
And, that scientists have pretty much extrapolated that if this was done, with every human being on the planet, the original mother of any race line, as far as we have been able to go back, to date, is traced to a Black woman.
Article by Ezili Dantò