A Trip to the Obeahman


The Trinidad Express has just published an article about the steadfast adherence of Trinidadians to modes of thought associated with “old religion of the Africans brought to the West Indies.” It cites beliefs and practices like “the politicians consulting spiritual advisers to choose the election date or cast out bad from the official residence or to order that the weather-vane snake be removed from the Red House and replaced with a dove, to the farmer with his blue ‘blight’ bottle among the crop and a bloodletting sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.” In Trinidad, the newspaper assures us, to judge from “the number of classified advertisements in the newspapers, (curiously most appear in the Express) the practitioners of the darks arts are doing good business.”

The article, which is a bit muddled on the issue of the practice of Obeah as a “dark art,” is interesting for the brief profile it offers of a working Obeahman considered to have great powers, the famed Papa Neza (Samuel Ebenezer Elliot, 1901-1969), “who made witchcraft feared and Moruga its home to this day.” His legacy, we learn, “lives large,” as all the towns near Moruga, such as Princes Town and Rio Claro, “have pharmacies that contain the usual drugs, but also a shelf upon which all manner of powder and grains and liquids can be found.”

 For the full article go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161475488

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