22 July 2013

La Sorcière Noire

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 7:34 am


It’s a good thing we’re moving away, since the Black Witch moth is regarded as a harbinger of death, if not worse, by most of the cultures it visits. I’d never seen one before; usually they don’t stray so far north. This one, six inches across, was sitting on our deck chair this morning. Now he’s gone.



  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/nyregion/feared-traditional-priest-from-ghana-spends-a-year-in-the-bronx.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    This is along the same lines, and I immediately thought of you while reading about the ‘talking in tongues’. Although ‘talking in tongues’ must vary to such a degree that you can’t ‘translate’ it into another ‘talking in tongues’. I should have realized that a number of those countries in West Africa would have such ‘fetish priests’, and this story is marvelous. I mean, I should have, because Guinea, further west beyond Cote d’Ivoire, is the origin of Haitian vodoun. I knew that, but I think far more people think of Haiti when they think ‘voodoo’ than they think Guinea. But maybe that’s just outsiders. I liked in the article that they said something about this kind of thing being ‘primarily local’, but Wade Davis said that what he found out in Haiti, even though he couldn’t go all the way with some of it, was that it was a ‘real worldview’.

    But I think moths are spectacularly beautiful, even if not as brightly coloured as butterflies (there are some foot-wide butterflies in New Guinea.) Moths are more mysterious, and one of my most prized eccentric collectibles is a book I bought way back in the 70s called ‘Moths and How to Rear Them’. All about nocturnal and crepuscular, so you should just ignore cheap superstitions around something that lovely. It was a good omen.


    Comment by Patrick — 22 July 2013 @ 3:52 pm

  2. Patrick:
    good story about the fetish priest. Reminds me of the segment in Devil’s Advocate (Al Pacino as John Milton/magnificent speeches losing the run of himself in his customary manner, Keanu Reeves, solid teak but effective,) a much hired movie in Ireland, I’ve seen it several times myself. In my youth I heard many stories of witch doctors and missionaries in deadly combat on the etheric plane. Now the talk is of acculturation.


    Comment by ombhurbhuva — 23 July 2013 @ 6:54 am

  3. Last night I dreamed that I was at a big lively party, lots of booze and coke and music and beautiful people. Eric Clapton and Delaney Bramlett were there, possibly hosting the party. I was there by myself, having a good time. As the party was winding down I found myself engaged in conversation with Eric Clapton. We seemed to know one another fairly well. I was surprised when he told me that he writes the lyrics to his songs first, then the music. His nickname for me was The Doctor.


    Comment by ktismatics — 23 July 2013 @ 8:26 pm

  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/movies/homevideo/in-crashout-new-to-dvd-convicts-rush-to-nowhere.html?pagewanted=all

    I thought this one sounded very good, and with those actors! AND with Ida Lupino! Must be tough as nails. Never had heard of it.

    I guess you’re about ready to go or already on your way. I’ve been in that part of N. Carolina once, my brother taught at Chapel Hill for some years. Beautiful area in spring, camellias all over the place a bit earlier. My niece has lived there for over 20 years, with IBM, which is where I got my first computer (no printer, pre-internet, it perished in 1999.)


    Comment by Patrick — 28 July 2013 @ 9:22 am

  5. The truck gets loaded on Tuesday, we hit the road the next morning, probably 4 days’ drive.


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 July 2013 @ 9:25 am

  6. sounds like my kind of party – throw in the Allman Brothers, and Taj Mahal.


    Comment by lafayettesennacherib — 26 September 2013 @ 8:34 pm

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