Gene Baro correspondence with Maya Deren (11 letters, 1 card, 1 telegram, and other documents)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00012841/00001
Finding Guide: Gene Baro Papers
 Material Information
Title: Gene Baro correspondence with Maya Deren (11 letters, 1 card, 1 telegram, and other documents)
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Donor: Baro, Gene ( donor )
Publication Date: 1951-1954
Physical Location:
Box: 5
Folder: Deren, Maya (Folder 30)
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: UF Special Collections
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: AA00012841:00001

Full Text

in the Dance of Huitzilipochtli, it was
danced by a maA in woman's dress. This
is still the custom in Mexico, except in
dances of Spanish origin. We have a
description of only one pre-conquest
religious dance in-which both sexes took
part. This was what might be described
as a wheel dance. The musicians formed
the hub, the important men of the tribe
the inner circle, the old men and women
formed the next circle, younger people
the next and the children danced in the
outermost circle, all holding fixed positions
in relation to the imaginary wheel spokes.
This meant that while the inner circle
danced almost vertically in circling the
musicians, the outermost circle was prac-
tically running to keep the wheel perfect.
This dance no Longer exists, but many
present day dances use circle movements
as part of the dance form.
The steps in these pre-conquest dances,
which are still used, are much more
difficult than they appear. Sometimes the
(please turn to page 35)

Dedication of the
Great Temple of
Huitzilpochtli, the
Aztec God of War,
at Tenochtitlan in
the year 5 Flint
(1484 A.D.)

La Virgen y Las Fieras.

1'Q -(;m




JUNE, 1949




A dance associated with Azacca, God of Agriculture.
It is emphatically a foot dance, all activity being con-
centrated below the knees. It is a rapid hop, danced
on the full foot, with the accent falling on the back
leg as it stamps down. The handkerchiefs which these
men carry have been "baptized" and consecrated as
the insignia of a deity, and are of the colour associ-
ated with that deity.
Although the movement of both men are tuned to
the drum beat, so that they occur simultaneously,
they are not dancing together, in the sense of inter-
relationship of movements or pattern.

Social and

ritual, dances

by Maya Deren

W HEN I returned from Haiti last
year, my impulse was to tell any-
one who would listen of the beauty,
poetry, refinement and complexity of Hai-
tian vodoun ritual, not only because I
had been so impressed by these qualities,
but also because it seemed necessary to
correct the misconceptions spread by ir-
responsible, sensationalized accounts. I
had lived in a peasant community for
seven months, and my relationship with
the people had been unusually close and
familiar, so that I had had the opportunity
of filming rare daytime ceremonies and
I was sure that, in the 5400 feet of
16mm film which I had used, I would find
countless moments which would make the
kind of photograph which would convey
the real beauty of that dance. I went
through this film carefully, once, twice,
three times. But whenever I tried to "stop"
a moment, to isolate it from its context,
it projected an impression which was not
at all what the Haitians meant. In fact,
it often did not even look like dance -
at least dance in the sense in which we
think of it. And it became clear to me




that certain fundamentals governing ritu-
al in general had to be established before
any specific statements about Haitian
dance could be made to make sense.
I cannot undertake, here to define
"dance", but I can make a small cata-
logue of the qualities, aspects and charac-
teristics which are assumed, even without
definition, when we speak of "dance".
1. We assume a performance, or an ex-
hibition, in the sense that someone acts
so that others may watch.
2. The audience is "free"; its presence
depends on its interest, freely deter-
3. The dancer is, therefore, in conmpeti-
tion with all other dancers for the at-
4. The dancer's success, then, is depen-
dent upon his ability to establish a
communication, in turn dependent upon
his projection with that audience.
Out of these basic facts evolve all the
qualities which we assume of dance, for
that projection is visual and therefore
a function of decor, costuming, staging,
choreography and the very "visibility" or
broadness of the movement itself. As for i.",
dance structure, the "free" audience, held
only by interest in the dance, as such,
requires climactic developments, individ-
ual originality and virtuosity. ....

JUNE, 1949



The CONGO is a very smooth
dance, the movement being
generated by a small circular
motion of the hips, with the
feet following through in rap-
id, small steps. It may be
done individually, but often
two people will do it together,
creating a choreography of
circling about each other, as
happens in the last two pic-
tures of this set. The man in
white shirt, who is also the
official leader of the singing,
is chanting as he dances.

Folk dancing may run the long gamut
from the virtuosos performances of compe-
titive "skill" dances, to the all-inclusive-
ness of barn dances. But here, too, the
purpose is a communication, a relation-
ship, between members of the community.
Both in the theatre dance and in "folk"
dance, the dance is self-contained, com-
plete in itself and designed accordingly.
A ritual is distinguished by the basic
fact that it is not at all concerned with
communication between human beings; it
represents the effort of a group of human
beings to establish a communication with
super-human forces.

It assumes that those people involved
are agreed upon the value of that effort
and are informed as to its nature and tech-
niques. Those who do not understand, or
who do not believe, are regarded with va-
rying degrees of condolence, ridicule or
contempt, and certainly not with accomo-
dating deference designed to convince.
"Interest", a primary requisite in our
audience, is entirely beside the point.
Participation is not only an obligation,
but is, to varying degrees, an ordeal. I
once witnessed a ceremony during which
the congregation simply sat and prayed
for about four hours around mid-day of a
scorching mid-summer tropical heat. No-

body, not even the priest leading the
prayers, even approached exaltation. On
the contrary, everyone was obviously
bored and uncomfortable almost beyond
endurance. I myself remained because it
fascinated me in that it made no sense,
until I suddenly realized that the boredom
itself was a kind of offering, a sacrifice.
Certainly this is a far cry from the idea of
religion, and especially Haitian Vodoun,
as being a form of self-release.
Finally, dance is only part of the rit-
ual and its form is governed by the larger
pattern, rather than being contained in
itself. This larger "Logic" is known, ra-
ther than constantly "visible", and for
this reason the dance may seem itself
form-less and anarchic.
It is precisely an ignorance of this un-
derlying invisible system and "logic"
which has led to the widespread notion
that Haitian and similar "primitive" danc-
ing is "uninhibited". On the contrary, it
is almost entirely "inhibited", prescribed,
and disciplined both in general form and
small detail.

DRUM Consecrated to Deity

All drums are baptized and named in be-
half of the God to which they are dedi-
cated. The baptism may be more or less
elaborate. In this case, the drum (dedi-
cated to AGUET ARROYE, God of the Wa-
ters) has been "dressed" in a cloth of blue
(colour of the God), which is removed
after the ceremony. Directly before the
drum has been drawn a "vever" of a ship,
symbol of AGUET. The "vevers" are drawn
by dropping flour upon the earth so con-
secrated by the everer. The offerings are
placed: fruits, grain and creme de menthe,
the favorite drink of AGUET. After the cer-,
emony, these offerings are consumed by
the people who arranged it.


Dancing may occur (I speak of religious
dance) in two different contexts: it may
be an evening of dance dedicated to a
general celebration of faith. A ceremony
poses its own particular problems when
it comes to defining dance, for some cere-
monies include a sort of mock battle be-
tween a sword bearer and the priest, and
in quality of movement this is certainly
close to dance. In any ceremony the thrice
turned curtsey of salutes between priest
and congregation is certainly a dance-
like figure. And there are many such mo-
ments which have dance quality. It would
be very difficult to draw neat lines of
In any case, the dances, whether part
of a ceremony or part of a dance evening,
are an invocation of dieties, and their
form, in the sense of length, climax, etc.
is in the hands of the Gods, dependent
upon their response. It would be presump-
tuous of the people to themselves deter-
mine these elements of form. If it becomes
apparent that a certain song is not being
successful as an invocation, there will

be a switch to another. If, on the other
hand, one of the Gods appears, his par-
ticular songs must be played, and his
dance done, until he goes away, for it
would be courting disaster to offend him.
Thus, the form of the dance cannot, by
the nature of the ritual, be predetermined
in these respects.
In all other respects, however, the rit-
ual and the dance is prescribed even to
the movements of the Gods themselves. It
is, in fact, by the character and style of
movement that the deities are individual-
ly identifiable, whether in terms of their
general bearing or their dance steps. To
become "possessed" is not at all to in-
dulge some personal hysteric. It is to as-
sume a discipline, sometimes a highly dif-
ficult and wearing one.
Whereas our theatrical dance is the
formalized projection of an individual tal-
ent and perception, Haitian dance permits
only the most minor "personalization" of
the traditional forms. There is no indi-

(please turn to page 36)

Here two apprentice priests (the small gourd woven about with beads to
make a rattle, the special mark of a Vodoun priest) dance the YANVALOU,
the main dance of the RADA cult, associated with the major deities, in-
cluding DAMBALLAH, the snake-God, whose undulations the dancers

The three drummers are here seated along one
side of the area in which the ceremony and
dancing take place. In the extreme foreground
stands one of the apprentice priests, as he sways
and shakes the sacred rattle in time.


Two action photos of EROS VOLUSIA, the
author of this article, and Brazil's fore-
most dancer. Miss Volusia, interpreter of
folkloric dances on stage and in films,
author of academic texts and treatises on
native dances of Brazil, has also appeared
in American films.
Pictures in brief skirt, beads, etc. are
costume for dance based on the batuqes
and sambas of Bahia and Recife.

Aspects of BRAZILIAN

Ethnic Dance

by Eros Volusia

in translation from the Portuguese

by Bernardo Segall

The official banner of a FREVO Club is
dedicated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro
during Carnival. The FREVO is a dance
requiring agility, and a touch of madness

IN its many faceted movement and ex-
pression the dance of Brazil proclaims
the marriage and fusion of the three
major racial groups living within its
borders. It is because of this fusion that
the national personality has assumed a
beauty so vigorous, as defined specifically
in its dances. It has evolved a pattern
which came from Europe and Africa, but
the similarity ends at our shores.
Africa itself has had an inestimable in-
fluence, not only in Brazil, but in most
of the Americas, each of which shows in
varied manner, the imprint of African cul-
In north and central Brazil, the prin-
cipal influences are indigenous; they stem
from the Amazonian Indians. If this in-
digenous influence does not equal that
of Africa, at least it modifies it, counter-
acting the unparalleled stamping and con-
tortion with the straight line and sobriety
so typical of the Indian of the interior.
In the south, European influences,
chiefly those of Portugal, predominate.
But, from province to province, folk dances
present varied and changing aspects.
Brazil, with the candour of her racial
equality, with her instinctively youthful
iconoclasms, with her savage and even
revolutionary aspects, still bloody from
the receding tragedy of captivity and exile
(of African and European) recreates and
creates a dance, warm from contact with
its fertile earth.

In colonial beginnings, the white man
of Europe, in order to more easily domin-
ate the enslaved African, used to organize

an 'election', in reality a staged corona-
tion, with the idea of crowning a black
king and queen, who would (by under-
standing) take their orders from the ruling
class, and help to keep their own kin in
On the day of this coronation, a great
feast took place, from which originated a
dance that went by the name of congada.
This was probably the first choreographic
innovation of Brazil's negro slaves. The
coronation was a drama which illustrated
in dance the tragi-comedy of these miser-
able beings' own captivity.
Dressed in working clothes and orna-
ments cast off by their white masters, the
negros would gather en masse in the vil-
lage or fazenda (farm) and form a cortege
which filed into the road or street and
finally come to a halt in front of a church
door, where the coronation ceremony took
Some participants in these corteges
were dressed to resemble the indigenous
Indians, whose songs and dances they
made an effort to imitate. The dancers
streamed through the streets and roads,
with great streamers of paper following
them through the patterns of their dance.
Following in the wake of the negro
'queen' were mulatos costumed to imitate
the costumes and manners of white women
of the ruling class. The congada resulting
attained the aspect of a real ballet, and
this ballet, depicting the mores of the
three racial groups, was really fused by
negro artistry.
A type of congada still exists in Per-
nambuco, where it may be seen sporadic-


sociaTand ritual dances of HAITI

vidual virtuosity in the sense in which
we know it. In fact, when the movements
of an individual begin to take on a char-
acter which exceeds, in some way, the
rather steady, unspectacular norm, it is a
signal that he or she is becoming "pos-
sessed" by one of the deities that the
person's identity is being dispossessed by
the spirit of a God who wishes to tem-
porarily inhabit and assume their physical
body. All the subsequent activities of that
body are attributed to the God. It is the
God who is the virtuoso, not the human
being. And it is a fact that almost never

can an individual, in a "normal", unpos-
sessed state duplicate the astonishing
feats of balance, speed, coordination, etc.
which characterize the possessed state.
There are a number of things which are
true of the dancing in general. One may
join in the dancing at any point during
the drumming. Although there is no chor-
eography in the sense of a floor plan, the
dancing rotates in a "counter-clockwise di-
rection around the sacred center pole.
There is no set pace for this rotation.
Some dancers may stop and temporarily
address their dancing towards the drums,



while the others continue.
Each dancer dances virtually indepen-
dently of the other dancers and is cued by
the drums and the singing. There may be,
occasionally, a pairing off, so that two
dancers will mirror each other's move-
ments. But they never touch one another,
nor is it a question of one of them "lead-
ing". Such a pairing off is "accidental"
in the musical sense, and either one of
the pair may resume his or her complete
independence at any time.
Since it is a communal activity, the
movements are simple, so that they can
be performed both by children and by
men and women of 50 and 60. They are
also small, not only because they are per-
formed in crowded quarters, but because
the dances must last from five to seven
hours or longer, and if the movements
were too demanding of energy, the danc-
ers could not endure that long. These
characteristics, which spring from the very
nature of a communal ritual, are in com-
plete disaccord with concepts of theatrical

The detailed description of the dances
which follow is made on the basis of my
observations in my district, the plains out-
side of Port-au-Prince.
Vodoun is not a centralized system, and
although it has a certain general contin-
uity throughout the country, there are def-
inite variations, in details, from locale to
locale. It stands to reason, for example,
that in the plains, Azzacca, the God of
Agriculture, would be a highly developed
character, whereas on the coast Aguet, the
God of the Waters, would be the most
evolved deity.
When a ceremony is performed for a
specific purpose or deity, the dances are
specifically appropriate to that deity. In a
general evening of dance, the whole pan-
theon of Gods is covered, according to
a certain hierarchical order, which, in my
region, proceeds as follows:
YANVALOU: performed for Damballa, Er-
zulie Freda, Legba, Loco, etc. with corres-
ponding songs. This is a slow dance based
on a total undulation of the body, which
seems to begin at the knees, mounts up
through the spine and shoulders, and fi-
nally the neck and head. It begins with
the body vertically erect, but sinks lower
and lower, the knees and back bending
more and more until it reaches a sort of
squat. The feet carry the body forward
with a simple shuffle virtually by inches.
ZEPAULES: performed for same Gods as
This is much more rapid as a dance with
most of the action in the shoulders, which
move up and down in coordination with
the foot work. The back is straight.
MAIS: This dance is particularly associ-
ated with Azacca, God of Agriculture, and
is predominantly a foot dance, a hopping
somewhat similar to a European folk dance
step. The rest of the body is inactive, and
its stillness or rigidity is in sharp contrast
to the rapid foot movement.
NAGO: There are two separate Nago
beats: one is the Nago, grand coup; the

other is the Nago Ch.ud The Nago grand
coup is always used as a salute to Ogun
Feraille, God of Power, and is danced with
a powerful, grinding, alternate rotation of
the shoulders. The Nago Chaud is very
rapid, with an intense drive in the drum
beat. This, too, is a shoulder dance, but
the stepped-up pace makes it a kind of
shaking tremor, which superficially resem-
bles the rhumba shoulder shake. In Nago
Chaud, however, the movement originates
in the back of the neck (rather than in-
volving the chest, as ir the rhumba) and
the back and spine are rigid. This dance
is often done with a large handkerchief,
folded into a triangle, held out in front
and stretched taut. The feet move in very
small, smooth, even sliding steps, and it is
very effective to see the handkerchief glid-
ing very smoothly through space while
the shoulders keep up this tense tremor.
GHEDE: (Sometimes included intheRada
cult; sometimes conirLere.d sep-
This is the God of the cemetery, of the
dead, but he has many aspects, in the
way that Hindu deities have varying as-
pects for he is also the protector of child-
ren and is apparently, although this is not
precisely formulated,, the bringer of life.
The word "Ghede" is, itself, derived from
the Egyptian, as are other words involved
in his ceremonies, and there is every rea-
son to believe that it'represents a devel-
opment and variation on the Isis-Osiris
myth. Certainly such an interpretation
would be supported by the fact that the
dance of Ghede, God of he Dead, is the
only really sex dance in all Haitian dance.
The movements are entirely concentrated
in the pelvic region, and consist much of
what we would call "bumps" and "grinds".
It must be added, however, that Ghede is
far from sinister. On the contrary, he is
highly impertinent (well, death doesn't
have respect for anyone) and shows his
disdain of men's pretensions by systema-
tic mischief and deliberate efforts to shock
and upset him. Thus the Ghede dance has
about it always a sense of play, of poking
fun at sex itself, and this* undecorous,
childlike frivolity takes away from the
dance any possible weight of obscenity.
CONGO: (a separate cult)
The dance advances, sometimes slowly,
sometimes rapidly, on one leg, with a hip
rotation. The back is straight, the arms
stretched out to the side. The upper part
of the body is held in this posture and is
carried smoothly, without rhythmic reper-
cussions, by the activity of the lower part
of the body.
PETRO: (another cult, with undertones of
The dance consists of rather violent foot
work, done rapidly, with weight being
brought down hard on the back leg,
which gives the dance a sort of pitching
back movement. The arms are sometimes
bent back, the hands, palms up, resting
on the back just below the waist. And
they are sometimes thrust out in front, and
make very rapid pushing-away movement.
This is only a very partial list of the Hai-
tian ritual dances. Altogether, the country

JUNE, 1949


is so rich in dance forms that their in- es, on the one hand, and that it indicates
vestigation and enumeration would be an that the hysterical pelvic cliche which pre-
immense labor. My hope is that this short sumably represents West Indian, includ-
ing Haitian, dance in theatres and night
article succeeds in giving an indication clubs here, lacks totally the disciplined
of the special character of religious danc- form and variety of the dances themselves.

Aspects of the Ethnic Dance in BRAZIL

mas execution. The libretto is concerned
with the trial, crucifixion (implied, not per-
formed) and resurrection of the bull -
an interesting adaptation of pagan and
Christian ritual.
These two, the Bumba-Meu Boi, and the
Presepes, are the twoi most important
group dances of Eur.:';..an origin in

The fetish dances of Efra if.aTe -., varied d
and numerous as to _-- ill took.
The Negro and the Indran' rju.':ed to
slavery and allied throu h rnilu -l nmi'ery,
allied themselves in ic1ini c-lll their
several gods, prayed loa'ilhr 'an:l e-.en-
tually established a Fic.l l C.-nrt.:l in
fanaticism, and consequently in .danr.:
The white ruler came inio laIlr. c.:nrtact
with these phenomena, chielly c.ut of
curiosity. He was looking for d7 .- .r'ir and
found the indigenous and trari pprinle.
ritual irresistible. He, too, b-.:arni 'influ-
enced by the mores of these .:ulhure arnd
today - ar one .: in :e: : -.!
macumba centers in Brazil are a.ppct''of
Brazilian dance which are a conii.n m ;iojn
of racial and religious intercourse. Co in:
terwoven are the cults of the whir niEri
and Indian that there is little d[rlinc.--.ri.
between them; what we have h-re i "
uniquely, Brazilian phenomenon ol 4t.
religion and culture.
These fetish dances, aforesaid, vary in
expression and movement, depending on
the appearance and descent of -h. -c-hii-f
or priest, and in accordance i, the
deity desired and evoked by -h. com-
The place where these ceremo es take
place are called 'terreiros'. The priest is

the father and the priestess is the mother
of the terreiro, and the other women who
assist in the ceremonies are called
To bec:.rrr,- 3 ::. :n apprenticeship,
varying f'.:m '.i- ni.:.mth 10o any number of
years, is r- uired JThe, priestesses sing
and dance enrir. r.alh:- through. During
such funcicnr,: Ihe'y ..-.ar white vestments
of great b-jL.ur, nd originality of design.
Their skirt ind bl..ueI of lace are pre-
pared in ar.ria : -larch and their bodies,
before such .crrr-monie- are bathed in
scented leae;. The nru-ic accompanying
these rilu.l- .::.-n:]sts of several drums,
sacred ctricui ail of them, having varied
Stones The~' are played in varying tempos,
and h.i ,p harm .ri: notably. Choral chant-
ing an.' .lap rn.a of hands complete the
crch etl/tion
TI-,' r.:l'-, of the terreiro chiefs are
-..ai klut tre generally regal togas, or-
:narrtnidJ -. ith feathers and beads.
T'ije dances of the yayos are called
'v ia' and are composed of a given 'cor-
inmr" (a corima is tte name of a song
or verse dedicated to a particular deity)
which h seems to transfix the atmosphere
'Wilh CleECIIr intensity. It is an ensemble
,in c.l-!ch -a.ch dancer performs in a differ-
ent r h.. t- r without reference to a specific
:hor. ir.:rph' or sequence.
Ea:h Ji.-ner reacts individually to the
lIc:,al e::-pre-sion and gesture of the priest
:r. pi-estess, advancing, recoiling, some-
i in; aggressive, and sometimes pro-
m:. iupr into trance, one after another,
eachidisplaying the movement character-
istic .f the deity which is supposed to be
in po:,e- .:n of the dancer's body.
Th,- 'ln brief, is Afro-Brazilian choreo-
graphic J ,ur ,.

dancers' bookshelf

"readable" book lacks inauthentic re-
search background.

A very unusual book, erefore, is this
latest volume by Edwin )enby, made up
of short essays on a mu tiplicity of dance
subjects. This book brist es with absolutely
authentic data, written at the time of per-
formance for his review s which appeared
in the New York Her d Tribune, and it is
also one of the m t remarkably easy
books to read. You become engrossed in
whatever subject e mentions, and the
pages skim past you savor again the
enjoyment of performances you have seen,
and visualize immediately those you have

continued from page 6

A sern:ru: iinr-re criticism of an artist
and r;.rl.: rmarce by someone well-
acquainied .r;ih Ihe art of dance, and
capablee .:. pulin riag -ritional as well as
objective *-t. .r .a ,.-rn into words is able
to creaoi itr. he riin.j of the reader a
sensation n..tr unlhIe that experienced by
seeing the performance.
Years ago the Eas\ Indian writer, Co-
omaraswamy, said of \he critic that "he
must prove his case by creating a
new work of art, the criticism. His au-
dience, catching the gleam at second-
hand . has then the opportunity to
approach the original work t second time,
more reverently." Such a critic is Mr.



Gene Baro
Box 2407
University Station
Gainesville, Florida





- a


Nov 28, 1951

Dear Gene:

Today I received the purchase order from the university, and tIIEX -i6x am
sending them, by this same mail, the specified invoice. In case this information
is of any value to you in expediting the thing, the order number was 61566. I am
still in dire need of funds; but even apart from that, I should like to have this
job completed by the Ito2ao Christmas holiday period since both I and the studios
etc. will be frantic during thqt period which would make it difficult to function
at that time, and I suspect that other activities will move in upon me with January.
For these reasons, it would be wonderful to have the money as soon as possible.

I have been contacting Tudor, re the ballet, almost every day 1ut it the ballet txx
KEat company is now performing, and what with performances, rehearsals for premieres
and revivals, costume fittings, orchestra rehearsals, they are all px very frantic*
and so Tudor has not been able to get some of the data which would be necessary
before I could submit a budget. For example, he hasn't been able to get together
peacefully with Nora Kaye, Tanquil Le Clerque and Hugh Laing -- the principles
involved -- to discuss with them what part fee and what part percentage they would
agree with. He has not been able to get hold of Lincoln Kirstein to ascertain per-
mission to use the costumes .., new ones, incidently. It is impossible, obviously,
to submit# a budget without such information.

Nor has Tudor been able to get together with me with sufficient liesure to iron
out the question of whether it would be filmed outdoors or in. This is a very
major consideration, since studio rental comes to around $250. per day with the
use of lights and moreover, if we function in a studio, we would be obliged
to use union electricians, etc, which hikes hotts. Impersonally am in favor
of filming it outdoors ( George Davis feels that the Maxwell Anderson estate
in New City would be just right for this) but Tudor and I would have to go up
to the location to figure wut whether an outdoor floor would have to be laid
since dancers could not function on grass. This means that I then have to get
an estimate on floors. It is impossible to do it on City Center or Metropolitan
Stage since that is the same price as a s tudio rental and we would have the stage
hands union in addition to everything else. But before the size of the outdoor
floor would be determined, Tudor and I would have to work out the script to some
extent in order to figure out what shots have to be in long shot and whether these
are movements which could be performed not on a floor, so that a small floor might
suffice for those moments in which we have toe work. So you s ee it is an enormously
complicated affair to arrive at an estimate. Poor Tudor has been given hardly any
time to rehearse the company for the revival of Lilac Gardens, and the premiere of
that revival is scheduled for tomorrow night I am attending the dress rehearsal
to morrow afternoon -- the only complete rehearsal hers been allowed time for --
and also the performance and whatever else I can attend of it, so that I can begin
figuring the shooting script, movement by movement. I am still most enthusiastic
to do it, and I think that Tudor is also but we both want to do it right, which means
that the lose of the third theatrical dimension has to be compensated for, or replaced,
by the cinematic dimension, In a sense, the ballet has to be recreated for film.
I think that Tudor will be willing to make the necessary choreographic changes, but
this will take working out. The point is that such a feat has not yet been accomplished,
that is the recreation of a ballet on film in terms of film. I spoke to Terry ( dance
dritic of the Tribune today) and he complains bitterly about how bad the ballets
look when they are simply photographed and completely agrees with the notion of a
recreation He is also enthused, and I think sincerely, by the fact that I am about
to put my hand to such a project since, as he said, I am the only one to have done
dance properly on film. So altogether it seems an enormously worthwhile project:
We would have the tob lancers of the ballet field, and, for the first time a col4dknltr.



between a coreographer and a cinematographer and we would have the encouragement
and best disposition of the major critics. In view of all this, I think we stand
a very good chance of having a success and I am bearing in mind the fact that
16 mm can be blown up to 35 mm with a minimal loss of quality, ( particularly if
xxt it is filmed, initially with this possibility in mind ) which means that
it would travel the art theater circuits as well as the regular 16 mm outlets,
which includes television. I am mentioning all this because I think that the
producer -- whoever he is -- ought to be aware of these potential developments,
and should be prepared to provide for doing the darn thing right. If he could
not put up all the money perhaps we gould get someone else to put up some of
it. The thing is that when I originally talked to you I did not bear in mind
the fact that the dancers, and particularly the principU&s, would have to get
paid, since this was never the case in my own films. On the uther hand, it is
obvious that the nine dancers ( Irm not sure of this figure) would have to receive
a payment and that the principals, certainly would have to receive an initial
fee plus a percentage* The contract would also have to provide for additional
payment to the chorus in the events that the film ot blown up to 35 mm and became
a theatrical release, and this payment would have to be geared to percentage of

I have investigated what the general pattern of such a contract would be and this
is the way it usually runs. The distributor takes 35'to 50 % of the gross, which
covers his expenses of distribution ... including prints, publicity, mailings, etc.
In some cases -- that is, wherr all the rest of the participants have received a
substantial fee or a flat payment for their services -- the producer gets the
remainder until his investment is returned to him. After the investment is returned,
the net is splits 3 ways between the Producer, the director ( me) and the rights owner
(. Tudor) ; if, however, the principals are receiving pe centage in addition to initial
feet the net is split four ways, 25% for Producer, Tudor, myself and the principles.

The point is, however, that unless the producer is willing to make a large enough
investment so that the principals get a substantial fee immediately, it would be
hard to get them to wait until his entire investment was returned before they would
begin realizing percentage. In other words, if he makes a minimum cash investment,
the percentages of other peopons, including the principals, would have to begin being
drawn before his total investment was returned; or, if he put out enough cash to
t.sxauxuxc constitute a reasonable temporary compensation; for the workers these
would then wait uptil the return of his investment before their percentages became

Well, that is the general picture I think that when I spoke to you, I spoke in
terms something like $1,000 As I say, I neglected to consider the compensation
of the dancers, and although this neceaaarily raises the estimate considerably, it
also introduces a positive factor which I had not considered, namely the name drawing
value of such figures as Kaye, Laing, and Le Clerq. Getting those three into a single
film practically guarantees a very thorough distribution. VawwwPsrx The ballet,
incidently, is 18 minutes long, or exactly the right length for a short.

I had many other things to write you, but it is close to dawn and Itm getting terribly
tired. I am meanwhile also trying to rewrite the first chapter, because I've a
much better notion of how the book should open.

But 1'm not too tired to tell you that I am touched and grateful beyond words for all
these efforts you are making To be believed in, though, makes one feel so dammed
responsible, and, in consequence, so fearful of taxkar ary inadequacy.

AffeCtionately, ?~, 4- r 1 rA- tP,* r --
S- --


Sime Maya Deren\

61 Morton st.

NJew York 14, Y.


Gene Baro
Box 2407
University Station,
Gainesville, Florida

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Ja uary 30, 1951

Dear Gene ,

The check from the university arrived on Tuesday yesterday. The reason I had
wired you is because in your letter ou said At least your check ... ought to
have come several weeks ago," and s it seemed to me that its non-arrival was
grounds for some concern, particularly since I needed it so desperately. I had
borrowed against if with predated checks for the rent when I had been stuck
in December, and was in a terrible spot, I assumed that you were doing everything
possible to expedite matters, aM so I was momentarily expecting some results, A---
c.nsequently I didn't write.

I have immediately set about making the arrangements to proceed with the transcribing
of the recordings, and I shall try to have them done within two weeks.

In the meantime I have been struggling with the article on the Cat in New York,
for Park East, and having an awful time with it because, as it turned out, the
editors were much more interested in am celebrated people who had to do with
the cat in [Jew York, rather than the cat itself* As a matter of fact, I haven't
been through such -a siege tei since I did my Master's Thesis. There, at least,
one could use footnotes to carry one's own ideas and interpretations; here there
was a perfect terror of anything that remotely resembled an idea. Facts, facts,

Tudor is terribly hard at work on the new ballet ... the one to the three overtures
of Beethovan ... and what with his three classes, etc., and rehearsals, has had
virtually no time at all, so I haven't seen him since you left. I can well under-
stand that it is best to postpone the filming until fall. What I would like to do,
at the moment, however, or rather before the ballet leaves for Europe, is to set
a definite fall date and get a definite commitment from the principals that they
will be here and will work in it at said date. Otherwise, upon their return from
their European meanderings, they may go here and there and Xauxwqcx-aXa sxxtX we
might be unable to get them together at that time. If, however, we wished to establish
some contractual commitment from them,, it would, I think, be necessary to bind
it with a certain amonAt of down payment, or place money in escrow(?) against payment,
or something like that. Do you think t at there would be available, gxtxmxxt within
the next month, at least enough funds to do this?

Last night I went to Marguerite's going awqy party J she pm sailed this morning)
and saw Stad. We talked about this ballet problem, among other things, We also
&alked about the possibility of Stad's getting a gar and the two of us driving
down to pay you a visit in about a month and a half. Your talk of pink marble,
solariums, barbecue pits and all that sounded just so wonderful. As I write to
you I have an image of your face warmly pink from the reflections of pink marble,
a most becoming effect, I have always thought of pink not as a col&r, the way
red is, but a light, a luminescence, the x~at reflection of red matter in light
and air. It is the ideal air in Which to be at peace and peace is what I need
very badly ... a pink peace not a grey peace -- To stop and breathe pink air
for a moment just a small moment, so that one can go on again.

Just after you left, I had the psychic after-affect of all that trouble I was having
with the rent, and all. This apartment, the blue sea room, is IjR thinly universe
I have, and I think I could take anything except a threat to this. Sd, having sort
of held together during the crisis, the minute it was over and I had actually mailed
the rent check, I had a terrible delayed psychic reaction... probably as lose as
I have ever come in my life to having a nervous breakdown. I went into 14 hour

sleep comas, and had a succession of incredible migraines, and in trying to
write found that I would sit four and five hours over a single sentence ....
wherl the time went, I do not know. It was almost as if each letter of the
words was separated by from the next by the abyss so that to move from one
to the next required each time, this catastrophic,yUagflS amnesiac voyage.

I had been forcing and driving myself for too long and without let-up andr
ixzxzK9Bxxx the horse of me which I had been driving had begun to grow, not
stubborn, but simply numb. In the past tiaxysxxx few years it always took a
deadline to move me, Only such crises carried enough power and sting to make
the honse move again. And I had notice that I had begun failing the deadlines,
or missing trains, and that it had come to the point where it tj required, each
time, a greater crises to move me, as if the wave had each time to be greater
in order to carry me forward on it. And I think that what frightened me this
time is that in this case, even that had almost not been enough, and I felt,
for the first time, that one day instead of riding forward on that wave of
crisis I would simply lose my eyes and let it wash over me. It is clear to
me that I must rest for a moment, and give that numbness a chance to become once
more a sensitivity aga, one which will respond ~riyxtx This is my one idee fize --
to manage to give myself a rest somehow.

Send me a note from your pink air. Somehow, It always helps one's psyche to hear
from you ....

Love from all the cats including me,

P.2. Western Union had one hell of a time getting the wire to you, said you
were not listed on the faculty. How should one address you if one is trying
to get a wire to you?

!7Z "s -- 1" -r ,



Uaya Qeren
61. Moj0o s
ew Yor N.Y.
ew York/

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Gene Baro
Box 21t07
University Station
Gainesville, Florida

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-A -Al

Dearest Gene: /

I am deeply deeply grateful for your concern, although I did not get a phone call
from Stad.

I am enclosing the "why" of my silence. This is the rewritten first chapter...
( the two last sections of that chapter, which are to be incorporated as they are,
consist of the Rites of Death, and the Ceremony of Reclamation -- which orig .ally
opened the book -- in that order)

I am sending this to you -- to be sent back to me -- out of a kind of joy because
these pages are themselves evidence t~kExt the cycle which returns al ays to re-

The first section of this chapter, the poi:it of departure, is, I think, among the
best writing that I have ever done. It should be read aloud, actually. I wrote
this first section as I did, in order to establish the climate, the light of
jcKz lyric metaphysics, since it is only when seen in this light that all the
rest of the book makes sense. "nd now, all the details of the ceremony which originally
opened the book are no longer an attractive mood episode, but they become weighted
with meaning because the reader reads with a mind made, I hope, capable of s ing
and understanding properly,

This first section, and the new structure of the chapter as a whole, and t re-writing
of the Llarassa section to illuminate the concept that 2 and 2 make 5 in t life
dynamic.... all this, but especially the first section which sees the meeting between
the quick and the dead as the point of departure.., this came out of my own ordeal.
I wrote the first sentences in bed, xtzYwxmmnc x on January l1t, as a matter of fact,
as, for the first time in my life I knew that I had to lie very still because there
was an edge, a precipice beside me. I had to lie still ... and did for two days ...
to gather the strength to gently roll away from that edreinto areas of safety.

Such phrases as "They initiate the history of their race with a fiction", or,
"The micro-cosmic eggr rides ih the red tides of the womb which, like the green
tides, still rise and recede with the moon" ... or, "The fictions of the old
men are their final fecundity"; or The hero of man's metaphysical adventure --
his healer, his redeemer, his guide and guardian -- is always a corpse. He is
'Osiris, or Adonis or Christ." .... These phrases, and the context of which they
are part, and the concepts which they contain .... I am proud of them. The first
section is a kind of total view w ich the book needed, and which came to me in
a series of illuminations wach one of them sweated over for hours. It took weeks
to write the first gour pages. I have preserved most of the drafts.

And I think t:,at it was possible because of the convolutions of my own mind and
psyche in all that period of Christmas troubles. It is as if I had managed Fa
not Only to re-emerge from the abyss, but to bring back up with me tome of the
precious iridescent life of it like a handful of pearls which somehow clung
to my body as I fought my way back up.

I hurry to mail this to you. I will answer your letter in a day or two,





(The fDead, The Diviniti.e, ad The Twian)

1. Thn Poit at DePrtu

4)th Is the twilight apeeeh of an old.an to a boy. All the
.1d men begl at the b1egIniAS. Their remltals lwaye speak first of
the origin eto life. They start by Inventng en event whieh no mae
wtnitessd whilhS still remains qvtary. They initiate the history of

their rats with a fitlon. For whether it was first in the ense of

time, life is, for all on,# first of airasles In the sense of prime.
This s a fast. With Is the facts of the rd'mbade manifest in a fiction
oft matter.

The speech of an elder in the twilight of his life to not his history

but a Ike gSqr sp eM not to deseribe matter but to demanstrato mBanlag.
He talks of his past for purposes of his future. This purpose Ia the pre-
Judioe of his mmwry. NI remesbars that %aloh has been according to what
J would and should bo, and fl thief Ieasure sifta the soeumlastin of his
memory he rejects the Irrelevant mwnt, elaborates the salpifeant detail,

oemblnes separate Insidento of simlar principle. Out of phyiseal proeossas
be creates a motaphyiesl professional. ie tr naposes the ohronology of his

nowledge Into a hlerarofl of savings. From the material eirunstatneos of
his exprienes he plot, In retrOnpeat, the adventure for the mind which ta

the b ts ,


5 This adteature oa empo.ed, then, as al flations are, from the matter

pt memory at hand *- from the speolfic physical conditions which oireamstanee

Imposes and the partialar processes which time composes for eaeh individual

race. The differences betaaen the tales of the venerable anelents of the various

nations are differenees then,between the matter of them. iut in all this

cowmie vai ate, the constant is the mind of man. here it hr least to describe

outside UItalf and most to invent out of itself, it displays thiF cnnstanop most

purely, tas in the felions of origins. Xt in as if the mind, bypassing the

particularities of eirewmstznoe, the limitations and impreoisions of the sense,

arrived, by paths of metaphysical reason, at soam somaon principled truth of

the matter.

The fietions begin with a eoleam fanfare, lesa for the Person of the

First .ource, than for the Moment of creation. The metaphors of the diverse

myths differ the nature of the Lodie Catalyjt is the same. It ie an energy

which, out of the anonymity of void, of chaos, of the wholeaneta of & Cosaml

:8s, crystaliniea the major elwate, per-ipitatee the primary arens, and
finally differentiates the first sans asus androgynous life ( as the solitary

Adam) into the twinned speaialisationus sale and female. This is the fiction

of beginnings, Couohed in the paet tense. But the chants are not in Mr oriuM

They may be heard as a celebration of each contemporary recapitulation of that

first creation, The mioro-cosmic eag ride the reo' tides of the womb which,

like the oreen tides, still pise and recede with the moonI the latest life,

like the first, flows with the sea*' chemistry, is first anonymous, thea andro-

ynowu, u besomse differenitited, is beached in a surf, its heart reverberates

a life-t'me with the pounding momentum of the priml sea pulse. The beginning,

which no man witneweed, is ever prernat, ever before ia. .'hen we come to per-

olive the final fact of the matter, we find that t was conceived by the mind

in the first fiction of the myth.


But the eeeomplihament of matter is always as an overturn to the major
movnmwtt of uqth the seeplshmUaent of moral ma. Matter rates the matter

of nan. But this creature, who my intermittently tfeo hunger and fatigue ,
would not understand the intervals as t M it eight senee itself at first
weak then strong, then weak again, idad would not at oomprehend this ohangs

as agsl Ut eight oees to peroelve the logise of matter sad eight observe,
eventually the Moeaso for the suaceasion of season, for natural sequesees of

natural events. But the reason in matter are utill a property of attert
Lts meaning, eonoeived in the marriage of matter and mind, is a property of

the human amnd. As ohaoa obtained the possibility of matter, so this

oreatare sentaina the peonablbity of a mind, like a fifth limb latent in mea

structured to make and manipulate meaning as the flat at structure to grasp

sad finger matter, 4

The foitians of the old nas are their final feeundity. As their

flesh ones labored to bring forth flesh, ao the misnd+f the elders labor
with a likM pas lon, to bring forth a mind; Br rites of initiation they

would aaeomplih the metaoorphosi. of matter into man, the evolution of a
mind for meaning Oi the animal which L* the iase of their flesh. ametLHn
By thia they would insure that the raoe endure & a rane of rme. The rites
of this Heoend birth, into the metaphysieal comae, everywhere mine the con-
ditions of the first phralyal birth. The novies is purified of past, relieved

of posseoaiona, made imosent, placed naseant in the watb solitude of a dark

room. 7he matter, which in hiwmelt and the syt of the raoe ar joined. Hie
solitary meditation is a gestalton and, in the end, a man emerges by ordeal
to be newlyuu na newml r ioeteed in.

But who first aifermed the anoestral elder of the various national

what wa the commOn inspiration of their comn fanfare for original, their

aseonn fiction of Initiation, their oomn metaphors of metamorphaeia No


Me man has ever witnessed the meant when life begins it s la the aoent
of its ending that the limits of life, henee life itself, is manifest. Death,
as the edge beyond which life does not extend, delinates a first boundary of
being. Thus nd L for the ndnbeginnings the condition of his first
SoRetioemases of self as living. Death is life'e first and final definition.
The fanfare for ooeao origins i followed by this major fugues the initial
figure is a Lamunt of the living for the dead and the voice which first
ps neoet the majr the b of lUf, love amd generation is borse up from tin
abysn as the flesh was firut, and is *Usll, born from the deep seas of chaos.
The hero of man's metaphystial adventures his healer, his redeemer his guide
and auardian -* it always a eorpn. He is Osiris, or Adonis, or Christ.
Hut death itself we reeoQnised not so much by what it is sa by the
feet that it in not life. An-the land and the e define each other at the
shore, so life and death define each other by exclusion. These, which are
the immediate neighbors it the realm of matter, are separated by a difference
which is as a vast distance La the realm of tmening. Myth is the voyage of
exploration in this metaphyseol space. The point of departure is the first
meeting between the quis and the dead.
Th eater a ne myth is a momet ef LAitlation. One must return to the
moment before myth, anterior to all its invention, wen the ayth of any man
might still become the myth of any other. It is to enter, in one's mind,
the roem which In both to)a and wemb, to beomIe innocent of everything except
the motivation for arth, the natural passion of the mind for meaning. It is
to meditate upon the esoun human experience which i the origin of the human
effort to comprehend the human condition.


2. The NMarsl OeLtahe 2X mir'al lNelf.

%e look at the eorpse and we krnw that it is dead beeAUe we know

and we remember what it is to be alive. A critical change has occurred. Yet

all thit is visible io merely the evidenon of this nevnt. The root of the

difference is invilible. The illness of the corps.o i, in Itself, no different

from the satllf2ew of a slaoper. 'e knJow that it in nort sleep because we know
that it I forever; but than forevern es, t this time ts Itaelf invisible.
The atilnetess, even of the heart, is evidanos of deBth but is not itself death,

Just as movement -* the nobility as of an object moved .* is not always evidfnme

of life sand is Ort inly not life itself. So we are forced to osneiv4 of

life as an inner power, a force s.hich may be *anitet in the movement of the
matter whish contain it. The mewont of deththh, en, is a separation, forever,

of thiW life force fro the flesh, the matter. And thin visible forces is,

in turn, none than the energy of matter as manifest in movement it is also

an Rnergy of nand, the capacity for memory ad meaning, for dimerimination and

invention. whether called intelligsens, conaeiousnemsn xpi'it or e it is

the invisible action within man which notivates anrd moldi his visible shots
and expresliona.
The Haitian myth ocouhem thlu primary contempliation In its on languaS.

it proposes, as basleo, a generi distinction between visible matter and Las inla

Ibla By this terma t desoribo a relationship relativlto our sense but the
nature itself of lae invisible, the forces or spirits whose presenext in matter

constituted a atte of life and whose permanent withdrawal constitutes a state

of death, i. known as aaagit. N;i l*bCiNr*t ror the Haitian, this "spirit"

is not asoe vague, qMstical evanessenos. hn colloquial speech he says that a

man has "pil esprit" (much spirtlt and mwans, by thia that the an has great

intelligence aprit, then, e a referenoe to the energy and action of the


mind whioh, as a tatbe of oonaseousnese and as a repository of material and

moral knowledge and experience, Lt the source sad the Set of Judsemlet, decision,

desire and of fll the motivation and the will projected In a mHtan visible


The energy of matter in edmaon to all living matter., The lament

for the dead st not for this geaotional diminution of either the cosmae tlfe

foreF or the cone consoiousnaes as a vast anonymous generality, Intelligence,

whibh, with death, e9asea to be eanifest, in at onee ommon to all mae and to

particular to osah. It 1t the source and means of each man'* asiular identity.

We moun not man, but A man # and we lament not for hia lot, but for our own.

His death io the losing of a door upon that singular, particular self whish,

projected through his flesh, nourishie the world of substance which we shared.

e mourn this an ecaue to us his arpirit was not like any other. The moment

of death in as a separation of a mold from the forn to which it had transferred

all the partitularition of its octfiguration. As h it y of the ntolity of te

form is destroyed by the &at of separation, ea the flesh perishes. But the form,

the self which had been cast, is non-material, hence IN imeortal an identity,

inviaitle but real, asheowledged in comon and kbomw by we a name.
This self, this fa em the Haletni eall the M na t It

born of the body, and any be imagined aa the shadown of a man, east upon the

invisible plane of a fourth dimension, or as his reflection in a dark mirror.

The grose-bon-ange is the metaphysteal double of the physical being, and since

it does net exist in the world of matter, it is the inemrtal twin who survives

the morl ann. It ti these Imortal twini, these 5ros-bon-angoB of the deceased,
who ska pat are ls ile ii esi or leo eaprite,
A&AS............................. --........ ...... ------------------n aa
* Gros-bon-ange is ned when referring to the uoule of living meni eoprit ma
man "intelligence in the living, but when used as "un euprit or lea esprits"
it refers to the mortal soul of the dead, or wat was known, during lifetime,
as the gro-ben-ange.

the Haitian jrou-bon-ange is ainilar to whtt we understand by a nn*'a

soul, if we think of the nould as duplicating the man and not an a moral forest

of a "higher" nature. The univerasl eIam.ittent towards good, the notion of

truth as desirable, a1l that consainene which, in our culture, it understood

oS a function of the woul Is, for the HaitiaL, the function of a third element

in man, the U1ibnLaL g. It la the tl-bon-anae, for example, that cannot lit.

But the very imperHonality of thin oonoein(oe, Its detichment from the prensuroa

of aetuallty, its imperviousneaR both to development and corruption, its 4hange-

lassn'se inspires, in the Haitin, a somewhat reoiprocal detachment. Hi aooepta

the ti-bon-angs an one of the constants of tha cmomea. It lE. nf if ho said

to lhi: Ifs although L1 men hnav a conscianco, yet sne men do good and sose
iharefore, what he does depends on his eroe-bon-ange.
do bad, a It is what a man does, .nnd not whether he faels natifaCtlon or

reoroe, which Fi important to othei mna. iOf what conro-iuenl e I.' the private

sentiment of a man if he htat not the neceOeaf- knowledge or experience or energy

or power to set upo. it? In a collective aomanity, where man are intnr-dependant,
the collective welfare cnanot be entrusted to the vaearie of subjective conaecInce,

or to the "free" or 'natural" development of the Sroe-bon-inge. The entire

Haitian religion l in fact, structured for the controlled development of

a ain' ii ros-bon-ange and th enforemssnt of a collective morality in s tion.

jo, for the Haltl:n, the Aignifioant morality .- thti t whlch t manifost

in aetuallity *- the product of the flesh and therefore ;,harer, its nhtmue.

In Voudoun the ooia4e dr-na of man oonasimta not of a dualism, a conflict of

the irreeonoalable down-pull of flesh and the up-pull of spirit ; it ik, rather,

an .aitnt organic dynaolo, a pro ert by which Al tlva which ohsarctlerizes divinity

- Intallisenos, power, energy, authority, wisdom -* evolve,: out of th, flesh

it:,ilf. nstoad of being eternally separated, the tubrttnce arnd the spirit of a

alnt are eternally and mutually comuitteds the fleah to the divinity within it

steis and the divinity to the flesh of it1 origin.

I. Th.ftS.r.bO A .Dwaito r

The gros-bon-aane. as the repository of a man i history, his fom and

his foroe, the final resultant of him ability, intelligense and experience, is
his his
a preelous aocumulattion If, after death, M a deoeaadant .MMA m.a4 u.

:wre able to provide thiL dis-etabodid soul with inme other nea&n of manifOetation
auscta to babstitute for the flesh which perished. thoy ~h U Alvage this

valuable legacy. One of the major Voudoun rituals ia the eoreony of Lfetlrer

d eban as do l u" e the retlammtlon of the soul of the dseianed from the water

of the abysll the world of ga invisible. Thin serviao for the ancestral dead

ji not a nostalgia or .enimentalit7y The poor and those who lnve n difficult

prialtive eireo stances cannot afford uuoh sperfluHous expenditures of either

energy or property. It l saot a moment of return to the ast| it at the pro-

oeedure Ib which te race roe-noorporates the fruit of life-procesoees ateo

the eatemporary mneusat, and so retains the past as a ground gained, upon

mad fr wahieh it eves forward to tohe future. The living do not serve the

dead it in the dead who are rsde to serve the living.

The cerAony of re teaaatio tia as the third Bad final birth of a man.

He emerged Into the world, for the first time, an an animal. Initiation wms
his second birth, as a proper man. And this soul which, with death and the

perishing of the flesh, wai lost to the vi tibl world, to brought bcok into

it onee more. The lay jar, or AjLmj in which it is played at this reramny

is a ,ubstitute for the vessel of fienh h whieh once oontaini4d it. Ot of the

mouth of that Jar lesse thi counsels and wisdona by which the deceand continues

to support and advance his deseendantso

in mudlitinguiiLhed number: of the fwAnily may be neglected and te costly

ceremony of hil reelamation ropeateS; postponed, to be soomplishod eventually,

without mueh enthusiasm, only beooma nothing of heredity'Rn sonumnUlGlaS

should be peraitte to leak away, to be lost forever, At the Ferat for the Pead

a sense of fill loyalty may indusetthe Iimediate deseaedants to name sWa

departed ones individually$ or later, they may be so remenbored because of some

intlaate, peruanal sympathy. SAt seuh individuall recognition is rare and these

distinguished dead become knIwn as that anonymouR heritage, La tlerta.

On the other hand, the person who hae been dietinPuished for his wisdom or

powere hls love or hf therapies, disciplines or skills w ho has porhapa

reaebed the rank of hm aMa ( priest) with all the aeooemplteshets that
seuh a rank alagnifted is reolalne. with elaborate eare, fo that his special

virtues my not be lest.2

IA due course of time, the parent in the eovi becomes grandparent

and the gradparent beeoes ancestor. As his cantemporartiea dies off, and

with them all lame..CLate first-hand amoeries, the flesh of the original huan

personality withers awa, o that there ia left within the gov only the

distilled, depersoraalid, almost abstract aeinense of the principle that

especially oharaetorised him. Thus. 1i tiea, the tersmo beoemne orneinple.

And yet -- what once was so real, so substantial, cannot b permitted to

end in Fuch rarafioation, to vanish forever into the far reaehoe of history.

Thti abmarsatlan, to national in reality, nest beaco reality te& arineaala
Mnt becme. erWNS. And so the process of abntractia, an though meeting,

finally, the li ts of its own detention, ourven back toward Its origins

those who oeanot remeabor begin to create, building nw from the inside oute rd,

as onee might be guided by the elues nnd logic of a skeleton to construct a

figure. Zn tmie,the ancestor beeaoes arahtype. I hrherr h sre was once a

person # there is new a perHonage. Transposed to thin dimension, the umn-

oned voioe in the igo/Li i. no longer Intimte, advisory; it is an objective

oraeular authority that booms as it from the bowels of the earth '.hat

was onee believed, is now believed in. He who was once respected it now revered.

%here onCse t4 parent inspired filial 4eotlo the diety now exacts dedication.

The anoegsoks has been trsnafigure-. into a god.

Death had deprive the grom-bonange of its own living fore I the

memory of the living had reclaimed it and siven it voiae. Tire wra a distance

separating it from its inaediate deeoendants, from the tooOintimc te prejadioe

of mwh proximaty. In a sense, It benmea purified of human ego. Only after

sueh puriflotion would it achieve the powers of divinity. The special power

of the j~, or Jrgta t# a the Haitian eall. those esprite who have

achieved some decree of divine elevation, ia that of blnomoin manifest in a

living fora. Under wertA:ln well-defined and ritualitioally determined condition,

the lan wa temporarily displace the ,roa-bon-ange of living pernan and become

the aiatingan foroe of thAt physical body. This we know as "poeseelso". h the

teM inelo~g of Voudoun, it iL said that the loa mounts" a person, or that a

pe-rsrn is "mounte."1* the lea. The metaphor is drawn from a horse and his

rider'hef action and event whieh result are the repr.eion of the will of

the rider. -inee the annRaolou self of the poHnesred person 1 meanwhile,

ab.ent, he cannot And donR not remwiber the event he it not reoo:?sible,

either for mood or fer badly and he cannot, fs a person, hiwnmlf beenfit from

x* that pomeassion, The function and purpose of sueh divine manifestation

is the reaMuranee and the instiuation of the oomunity.

Tho complete proaes can be understood as a closed chain circling

life and death.* The power of the los to become anifett in living matter
marutry of
marks their final xbtph lwar matter, The interlocking mechaniam of the

lines it a system of partial end progressive ambiguities, clearly apparent in

the *uoeeasion of reaeptiolem for the ros-ban-ange,whieh in part overlap and

yet are graduated. The gros bon-ange may be separated from the body even during

* Cambell*' ( p.29) discussion %nd elaboration of the circular life-death o*n-
aept in other mythologies and as a universal mytholojtdol oo crpt illuin~atea the
Haitian concept and it is apparent, once mora that, far from beain a collection
of Iissellaneous superstitions, Voudoun is a religion of elansd mythological
ehaht ter.


the lifetiam, and stored in a bottle, as a kind of iolaltion from malvelent

foroeg. At the oaso ceremony -a the dareamoy or initiation or spiritual

birth -* the grof-bm-nange to plsoed n a gE* S ( 4*4 p"t) or aDti-de4s t
( roeptiole for the "heador mind) and left in the care of the hounan or

some trustworthy person. At Maa death this pot-deetote Is broken, to release

the gram -bon-an-s to Ut waters of the abyssl but one year later, this

receptitle iL replace at the moment of reolattion, by the 6ovi, in which

the soul, now referred to as an esprit, ls lodged onae more and whioh is

as a threat, asking speech possible. Thus far the ra;tduated progresaion of

recptlclb is evident, tand each stop it aohleved with ritual. IBL the decisive

moment, when the anoestral soul, pamsed down from genera-tion to genertion in

the govi, energ(nft finally froa this clay shell as leO is byaond' the will of

man and the prejudicial power of their pray4rR. It 1n as an interlocking of

links that tckes pie ae beyond the seope of an im diatllry ooftinie. tmem and

spaee, as itf i the outer reaches of the nowwo. Thr-qn it no ritual either

to make or even to mark this ultimate transfigfration. 5 It it a moment as

unknown, as unwitneased js the very origin of the first phy cal life, and it

results lit phystcal life. Er f=I=& oa ntlike the mere ancestral spirit whioh

must be piased down In a sovi, f part of the very blood of the ose, end aAL

inherited automatically. They ean neither be denied or destroyed. They may 4-o

be lodged in a govt or in stoneO, but these~ are as neeondary residences, Juat

tS a ohildt' physitef body inevitably is iasue of the physic4ll opponent of

his parents eo hiS los are his payahio inhritance b and they carry forward,

into his contemporary gr*s-bon-ange the moral aoc~iulation of the race. 6
--- -----------------------------------------------------

* This ceremony will be deiuribed Jnra.., pp 000

** ~ee page footnot previtouly labeled *"Xnert Paso 1/19 b" bh ginnini. with
the words When the Haitian says inherIte" ........


Thl4Als nott at all eontradieted by the apparent power of diaerimination
and selection Implied in t
and Rslelotimo ULaid in the phrase "tempLarment rnt, os temperament lmatL "

("the shaeroter of a person Ia the character of his lea.") If the original

famille were each distinrulahed by tmu usNmNaI x certain of the major loa,

Later-mar 1 ase has by new, introduced all the major Uoss Late all the family

line, and all major loa-prinCiplae are nltent in everyone. The reference to

the hlatolanhip between the oharaoter of a person andMhis loa related to the

"'mait-te'", the"mater of the head", or the loa which it dominant above all

others in the psyche of an indtvidual.Zt may also refer to the particular

aspect of the loa ( since these major principles may be manifest in various

aspects # i.e. igoun as the primal hero achtype or *4 a more resent warrior, set.)

which in eshried in the head of a person. In any ease, the abiguity of the

phrase t s *iLgiftiat. it san imrply for example, that gr.oun, who at the

diety of powers confer the favor of hin prest oee and fgurdiannhip on a person

whose temperament he has found nympathetioa but it can also mean that a perunn

selelet, eonoentrates on, becomes oboseasfd by and' poseeseed by the deity who

personifievl hla own personal emphasis, Or, finally, It sutg6eigt/ift thb two

procsNen aay operate simulataneously. In any case, Lth fact remains th t a

perso who has been possessed by Ogoun iL eon who has emphaslsei' the principle

or power or totength in his own aotivitise.

It this emphasis har been expreaved In his life to a' raarkable degree,

he will be remembered after death for this distinguirhtin shracRteristic. As

tine passe.es j he beoomea, to the living, that depersfnnliased abslbScton which

is an ansneator he my then be nalimRllarted into the concept Ogoun, and so lose

his identity altogether La that of the great leal or his name may be incorporated

in the invoeation to OgeuOn or, again, if his sa way of strengthh wa a very

ditintetive variation on the traditional pattern, he may even become a deity

under his own name, a deity understood to be one or the family of Ogouns. By this

prooeees, a potentially infinte number of aneestral spirits besome condensed into
a feasible number of variation of the prinolpled arehtypee.


The immediate deseendants of the deceased, who may be subject to

vanity or other nelfiWuby ptri onal rmtivations, ean d o more than lay the

foundations of ultimate eleo tio into lea by reelaicing the parental soul

from the abyss. TiJh must paes, the purification by time must tnke plaee, and

the gradual prooeeA of abstraction, There is no los who ean be remembered as

human being. I men the ireiebon-ange, or the esprit, as a aigular identity
/M*Al v:- -, <.
*uat ewase to be. It it not the anoester who i worshipped. And the final

wvrdieb, the last transfiguration and resurrection, the ultilnte elevation
into divinity, to in the handy of history and the oollootive.
DHeifieation, therefore, does not coniet in the spirituallsatio of

matter on the eo tewry, the oereaony of 'retirer d4'n bas de I*aun", which is

itself the rituaulitic reversal of the ritet, of d4ath, reator@e the disembodied

soul Jg the phy~sial, ans living universe which was its origin and, in so

dioi gs, retore to it a major portion of its original material attributes.

The Haiti a L n emainently realistic, reasonable man. His lea must share

the needs as well as the privileges of life to have great power is to need

great energy. And so, the loa, like living, funetioning matter, havn Ao

unrelenting need for ma astena co if their s.enar gi. are to be maintained.

The physical featting of the lea is at onee the Roa~t coon and the most

important of the obligations of a nSNthpa worshipper.

The entire chain of interlocking links -. life, death, deifioation,

tranafiguration, resurrection -** hurns without rest through the h&ndo of the

devout. None of it It ever forgotten that the Rod was onee huInn, that he

was wae god by human, thathe is mustaine~ by hwuans. Hence the Haitian

'loa, however revered and honored, do not have that quality of absolutism whioh,

in another culture, nlght oharoeterisud the deity of preosuably ;iupernitatral

ori4dn." Ahe ole bow to the priest, are hurt by dierespeot, weep for neglect.

*It is significant that the lea who were houngans or mamboe during their lifetime -
in other words, the aneactral divinities who derive from men are conlsdered
to be "atroaner" than those which are oomnoi forces, or oosioe origin.

And the worshipper ti devout to demandingl h both begs and bargain. If
he expects and ae9spts the constant intervention of teh lot in the daily affairs
of hi life, it in not be aune he has an eqay belief in iraclael it is because ha
he does not regards such intervention as miraculous, The underAone of his
devotion is, rather, that it Is the duty of the lea to intervene; for the
gsro-bon-angs friu whioh it derives was itself erected by life and was. r
iAeorporated into life at the ceremony of the etirer d'en bas de leau.

k. The Cotma Mirror and the eroseaon the Cre aesroads.

For the Haitian, the metaphysieal world of leR invisilbles ti not

a vfTte, mystical notion i t eas a world within a comie mirror, peopled
by the iamsrtUl reflootteni of all those who had ever confronted it. The
mirror is the metaphor for the eosmography of HaiLtn myth. The losadar
adresd as mirror imagesand sumnoned by reference to a mirrored surface.
The esng for th loa Legba says 0 Creole, Sonde mids, 0 Lesba' ( 0 Creole,
fthe the maorror, 0 Legba). Someties they sing that the meir or breaks
through rooks for the mirror is asn x-ray and its vision penetrates
matter. The *uw ** e sacnred symbol. drawn during oeremontie are
frequently designed in mirrored sametry to both sides of a horaion. The
lea are invoked as hose-Mireir ( the snrror-Laoo) and Lose De ( Deux, or
I6ee -double) or Agasaas -Doo.-iroir ( Agaeso of the bask of the mirror) .
They are served in inverted mirror terms Papa Camballa, Mistress rmsulie,
with Min Aid1, give you to eat with the left hand. It ie with the left
hand because you are the Invisibles. 1 They are greeted in mirror tramt
the infant who is presented to thum Is carried on the left af. They are
saluted in mirror teres the houngan and the loas ftea to ftooe turning and

sartuering in nirrered sammtry. They Ist in mirror term when they possess

a per-on they greet the others pr ent with a double handshake, at first with
the right hand, and then with the Ulft, it being the latter that the psyrhis

sentast is established. and that the spirit of the lea is tranmtltted into

the body of the other, to possess him also. Or, heldlng t ll the left hsad,

the lo ma spin th person souner-elookwise, a spiral Joumrey hiksh eroev

the divide and 4munl t inevitably lead to poasession. The ritual danoe move-

m*ntn likewise revolve oounter-eolokwise around the oeHter-pole. Other are

eve ritual details In whioh iwverstai and reversal suggest a mirror held up

to time. ihme it is rituaslistiall necessary for the special guardian lea

of a heountr ( parish) to be present, and f that loa has not become manifest

by possessing someone, his presence msy be represented rrituallyr b the

jtaSft# onem of the high functionaries of the hounfor. To signify this,
the ls place series s aharaEd through the door livadin fr4m the oesrsro altar

to th e erammial are. It is like a melton-piette' projected in reverse,

a diver sheotings bha up out of the water aoto the np ring-board. y this

esture of the IL plaoe, time itself I asmboli slly Mr b bao wardst to a time
before the death of the man whose gros-bon-ange eventually became this lta.

As long as a man lives, his grem ban angc in aR a reflection on the surface

of that sOOeme mirr or, held to tht surface by the exlotemee of the body
which it ett mU r irrors. But with death, there seesas to eBist the

flesh, the fore which held it buoyant, and It sinks Into the depths of

the mirror.

The metaphor for the ilrror's depth is the irosa roadsa the symbol is

the croas. lFr the Haitian this figure it not only symbeLi of the totality

of the artha amrfte as oeomprehended to the extention of the cardinal points

on a horizontal plans. It in above all, a figure for the intersection of

the horiaontal plane, which is thts mortal world, by the vertical plaf, the

metaphyrisal xia, which plunges into the mirror. The a osa-reads, thSen is


the point of acess o the world of es invisibles. which is the soul of the
eoenus, the source et life forest, the sooaio smewry, and the ieesmi wisdom.
As the daily life of man depends upon his constant eoommnieation with
his own gros-bon-angs -- his owa maory, intelligenon, imagination and invention -*
so the Haitian, individually and eollectively, would M easommnioate and
draw upon the world of les inviaibles. For this reason, the arose-roads
is the most important of all ritual figure. here other cultures might
eanem ive of the phl'ioal and the metaphysical as, at best, parallelism,
Sa necessarily irreconeiliable dualim, the Haitian peoaant resolve thq
relatio inhip in the figure of right angles.
The foot of this vertieol plans rests in the waters of the abyss,
the source of all life. Here in il gain Aftloa, t~V legendary plnea of
racial eri.in. Here, on the island below the sea, the lea have their
perasent residene, their ,rimal location, To it t o ,oult of the dead
retan, taking marine or iAseot form until their reclamation into the
world lP, their rebirth, as if the ancient syth had anticipated the statements
of evolutionary science. To ad:dreMs onenelf to the earth, the, to rap upon it
in eermonies, to pour libatrion upon it, to dig into it and there to deposit
offerings, to kneel and touch lips or forehead to it -- these are gestures
addressed not to the earth its If, but to the cosmos which to contained within
it. 13 heather drawn in flour on flat ground, or traced in the air, the
sign of the croerroads is always the juncture of the horisantal with the
vertical, where the eeommieation between worlds is est-blished and the
traffic of energies and forces between then lt set up. It is at this point
of intersection that the food for the lea is plaeedl and here also that they
emerge to set upon the material world.

Partoularly are tree the gr*at natural highmay of mush traffic,

snd the leaven, properly plused and t reted, may therefore carry divine

and healin properties. The most eanient of leO are known afp L% Mao

( root oea) he snee te1ll of their "raoine sMa but" ( root without end.)

The maters of toe IZland below the sea, Grand Botle *O'e1 li often represented

by a br~ueh r a And t onme or another tree is particularly conseeratod to

this loa or that, It Is not becAuse the loa ia the spirit th the ree It

is, rather, in th arsen of tht tree as a preferred aveue of divine approeah.
The stylase tree, Its branoheps AiL roots tpmetroially extended to both sides

of a Irtenon, oi signaled, aver and over, In the vevers. As oenter-post -

BanueIalta this .mes vertical avenue, axim of the m'taphyOsial coeaone

it bultf into the very senter of the periatyle, the earmewsnil enclosure.

round athi potteu-mitan revolve the itl t the rtu ov ts h dansef at Its

base the offeriat: atre plaoedl and through i the U ea enter the peristyle.

Si ne thief vertler d dimenalon exist at any and all places, one

has but to algnal interaeotion. The Sigam of the ross appears everywhere,

henever oomunioation or trffie between the worlds Is to be Indicated.
abSkhsf vertical dimen ion oeaprfehend both the abyss below And the heavens

above the earth, he dimension of infinity the horizontal comprehends fl
man, all space and matter.*

AU oaerammoial bogin with the salute to the guardian of the oreosroaPds

the loe principle of erosasng, of osmnmisation with the divine world. Yet

the figure of eressreads can be asee from th parepeetive of either of the

worlds whish It straddles. 'heR approelhed %s interlesmtor with the I*oe

keeper of the gate, whose permission gives asoeoa to the lift source, he is

* For A more complete statement of this principle, oea p coon, targ.*


oaluted as Legbe and his symbolic color ie white. But that world of the
invisible ie also the seemie woistary of the souls t aell the dead, Hnosa,
if it Is to deal with les invisible as the retldue of the dead, the figure
is blaok, i GherSt, God of the Dead. The rituals conclude with salutation
to hLm.
This li the dark figure whish attends the mettina of the qulok and
the dead. Thio is the loa who, repository of al the knowleanes of the dand,
i wise barend all the others. And it the souls of he dead nter the depth
by the passage of which Ohede is guardian, the loa and the life forces emerge
from thtt "me depth 1b the sam road. HencA he is Lord of Life as well as
of Death. Hi dane is the anoe of copulationi in the chamber dedicated to
hi worship. the maulpturs phallus may lie side by aide with the three grave-
disier)- tools. He ti the protector of children and the greatest of the divine
healers. He is the final appeal against death. He It the eaodo eorpse which
inforo man of life. The orosa Is his esybol, for hi is the axis both of the
phyioXal osyle of generati1u and the metaphysics l oycle ef reuurretion.
He is the begaAning and th end.

The Masr as
&-. Two Mma turn t im Firn.

Qhde, les of life and death, to the corpse of the ftirt man who,

in hs original twinned nature, esn be thought of a a eoe mac t*txp totality
segeated by the horizontal axis of the mirror divide into identical twin.,

The worship of the MarassaM the "ivlne Twi na, s a celebration of amn*a twinned

nature half master, ha*t Mtasphraials ksZt mortal, half immrtal; half human,

halt divine. The concept of the MWarass oentaina, first, the notion of the
semelntatian of some original SomiLe totality. In Voudowes ng there still

exist veatigal reference to the ancient African athos of origin. The word
Silibo, ( 4nd the lea Gramn Zsillbo) which is sometime r seentionef in sonaS,
is the African Ushemean word for a gfl.fa, a founder of an ancient sibl

the Dahosean tohwiLyo are considered to be the off-spring of one human and

one supernatural parent. Today the Marassa ar eatd to be the first children
of God and their feast ha, in sme oases, been asaimulated to Chri tmam .

itself lbra a elebrai holy child, offspring of ote human and one o pernatural

patent. The senas of firatnea., newnesa, beginning, innocanee, oin am, the

~emA of the childhood of the race, is preserved in the ftot that the Maranna

are still e*eoeived of as children, and when they possess a person, they play

at marbles and other children's gmaes. The food destine., for the eon later

be offered only to children ,

Yet, if they are the first humans, they are also the first, the original

Dead. The Dead and the arMass are, indeed, eelebruet.. on the same occasion,

All ;ooul Might.* The first food offered at death rituals, which are conducted

under the leO Ohele,e in for iegba, guardian of the arossroads, and for the Marrseaal

the plate for the latter id then given to children, with the ritual ,ustions
"Are you new satiafiedt a0 And It they are the first dead, they are also,

SHalloweren, in our eulture, also relates children with the celebration of the


bi logl al extension, the firat aSeatsers, hence the first ancestral
Xta. As origin of all loa, the Mnrass are saluted first, in eresar nies,
before the loa. In a earttin lense they are sonidered stronger/ t ,

than the leOa "Papa ieraus La the one who melt be fed before all the gods."
Nothing oan be aeoemplished, particularly no magle, without their proper and

prededent ealutatien .
The setaphysloal hareester of the divine twin to reflected in the
bellefs and practiees relating to contemporar twins, who are understood as
two parts of a whole, hence sharing ene saout fut as the "plat marasea"

( the plate for the food offered to the Divine Twins) eonslsti of two clay
bowls joined together 2 Sinee the twins aer, easntially, one, that which affeets
one part affeeta th other and whatever deiaseo or acoldent way beset one twin
Is understood to threaten the other, and their violent separation may lead
to disaster. ;very effort s tade to have all their Important activities,
sauh as marrJiage, oeeur *stsltaneouslyr. Moreover the concept of the Divine
Twine a straddling the l ret divide, and thus being half in the metaph.asiea
world, as alse carried ever to contemporary twin an Af the are thought to be
endowed with powers of divination and magle.
But the 1krasse, as the first eosmi totality, may also be thought
of as interested a the vertsAal ats ae well a the herimtal one. The
interseetion on the vertical eae would yelld two halves of which each rests partly

tt the physLeel and partly In the metaphysloal world. Thia it the seasentation
of the fire androgfaous eemie whole which rteldmi the differentiations male

and female.1) Thus the Marassf arte he parents of the race asnd th l prosenitive
lfuntion is, in faot, their major importance. The are feasted at harvest
tlae ( whieh reems to be a mere anelent plaoi g than that at Christmas) and
th. ~ lan-mrau-mm~l as their feast in called it part of a general fertility

ritual. They are also especially invoked at childbirth, to aid In making the


alvlwry easy.5 At the osnse ceremony, hih marks the spiritual birth of
the Initiate a little boy and girl sre called A to baptise and nse the
one newly ber, tilling here the role of the Marsms aM parents.6 The
serve of the Narassa doeat not neessarily refer to any momwn twins iA the
history of the Ay, the eeure of fall ana the oey f ankinre th a he anestors
of very family line. Papa Warmsea who represents he four raes.o 27
But the Hatltian mth has gone beyond the concept of Marasse of the
same sx, as metaphteeoa refleotionI and Nmm M. rass of opposite sexes,
as progenitiv differentiation, The most cownma ritual service lo for the
Maremas-Trols, a eastellatlon of three, invoked as Marasae-oseu- Doss.
The wver for this servile Ia a figure tof th and the food plate oenaists
of three smal earthen bowls joined to a single head. It I a figure whioh
Jields, simltaneously, all possible metaphysoal variations. It may be seen
as the affirmation of the cosmic totality, as the statement that whether
senmented horisotally or vertically, mueh segmentation does not liberate the
parts from their relationship as a totality. In this sense 1I it the affirmation
tat of aa~esl unity as opposed to the dualism which result from the effort to
make of eegaentation a total separatim.2a But this trinity may also be sea
from the oppoeitt direction, so that the third element is understood as the Issue of
of the twins, an in thi sense malefemale and isHUe ** It is at affimation
of amultplility. Here in the statement that generation l the result of the
relationship of the sengmfts. Seotimem this figure three is ritualiatically
elaborated iA various sense simlltaneousIly Tht apex of the triangle of the
g Marans Troles I statement of the andreognoua, aeaie whole the legal of
the triangle sainity its vertiral segmentation into mae ( bose) and female
(Dowsa)) and thkee les* are each, in tuam, horisntally segmented into the
phsiseal body and the metaphyasial soul.

For the Haiati a then, it is the relationship of segment whith
is iupertantsi !t L.rt prm, zavuuil. auinr a- u b. --
W -tnoW- i t a th- t e fthutteLn, l& e--oe 4ftL, the twin are
not to b separaO d Into etpetatle s onf~ltiS ag dualime. In Youdou
one s Ai e make thre a ttwo tio mae friv l or the A of the
equalUion o th th iprt the realtinehip whish makes all the part
meaniRgfl. The figure of five toontina a mpa entire nature his single

w s hrt origin and his multiple progeny, his mortal matter and his
mrtal Image, his huanity and hiL divinity. The figure five Is l the
four of the oroereaas plu the swingiAng of the door *hieh In the point itself
of ereoasin, the maoent of arrival and departure.
In the eoneept of the Comio totality of the first ingle noure,
the TvlAe Trinity of Law Mort, Ies Mtystere. et lea Marsasa, in the Caballl
Of the AMuinaReenu e Oaf mans 11fo the Haitina reaffirm the eoas principle

s NPprime anber. It is the dynmis the energy, the eternal catalyst which
first gpm meaning and life to he pa the eprate he first chaos.

S "quintessme" e e I the fifth or last and highest oBsene of power in

9 natural body. 2. th essence of a thing in its most onsentrated form.

D3CT 15 --
i- 3OAM .


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(, t

March 16, 1952

Dearest Gene:

A breifest note, merely to assure you that I am not letting you down on the
recordings but simply encountering a great many complications. In calculating
my time, I had not thought how much time it wouldd take to wind and rewind, and
all that, with the result the work has to be done in several sessions, rather
than all at once. Accordingly, I have accomplished four hours of it ( out of
ten). For reasons too complicated to go into, I couldn't get at the same tape
recorder for the following sessions, sb make arrangements for another studio.
After I got everything there, I discovered that the tape recorder was not of
jthe best quality, and so I didn't do it on that one. Then I made arrangements
for another place, and after fifteen minutes of recording, the tape recorder
broke down; then I made arrangements for another place, and after getting there,
they somehow made an electrical connection from my wire recorder to the tape
recorder which blew out my own wire recorder. And the service place for Wx
wire recorders is very busy, so they took four days to repair it. So now
I hope to finally get it done next week. At t is point I will gladly take
every single existent electronics engine! and technicians and tear him limb
brom limb.


!} -

Waya Dei n
61 Ivorton st.
New York 14 '.
L N.Y.


V.I L L,


Gene Baro
Box 2407 University Station.
Gainesville '




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Dearest Gene:

I dislike terribly having to follow you to Chelsea with this problem, but
the enclosed carbon will explain what happened ... namely that with your
departure, they cancelled the balance of the order.

What shall I do now.

I'm glad you hexed every one

I'm terribly busy I having finished my index and am finishing my fikm

will write again soon,


September 9, 1952

Mr. Stanley W'est
University Library
University of Florida
Gaineeville, Florida

Dear Ar. ,eet:

When Gene Bare passed through New fork we discussed the negotiations with
the Univernity regarding the balance of the rnterial relative to thn Ha .tian
recording, and he told me that if I did not receive e check within ten days
( we spoke on about Aucust the let) or if there were other complic-Atitons, I
was to write to you since you were informed on the entire project. Although
complioatlon,:3 did develop, I did not winh to trouble youj but with the receipt
of this acoA ollation -- and without any explanation whatsoever -- I an obliged
to ask your interv3,>atio in this mutter, Perhaps you can clairfy the Fituation
I an encloHing a copy of a letter in which I trace the various steps of the
ne LotiationB s

Thank you vory much,

-in UCB'ely your:i,

I.,. .1 ~ 4
Vc~ Vrj iyi : ;rr3 " Ii -~.i~

In the meantime I had seen Oene Baro in New York # during his stop-over enroute
to Ekope, and at that time he had assured me that everything was quite in
order and that I would receive a check within ten days or so. This was on ab out
August the let. I am therefore quite at a loss to understand the cancellation,
since the breaking up of the original order into two sections was for bookeeping
and processing convenience only and was never intended to imply that the material
itself was being thought of as two different I orders. t Ie obvious that th.-e
recorded material is of no value without an index and explanation, except as
entertainment but certainly not as reference material for scholars, and this
was, as I understood it, its primary purpose.

Would you be so kind as to clarify the situation

Sincerely yours,

iaya Deren

Sept 9, 1952

Mise Lilly Carter
Order Librarian
University of Florida
The University Libraries
Gainesville, Florida

Dear Miss Carters

I have just retired to the city and find, awaiting me, a notice from the
University ( dated August the 13) w ells l h Orderd lstd ae s
tin e ahe amount l .* Sinee there in not attendant
letter, I am at a lose to understand w atthis 4a1 means. To recapitulate,
last Lovember, it wan my understanding that a selection of materials relating
to Haitian matsi was officially ordered fromaes by the University. The
confirmation of this oddurs in a letter dated November 20, 1951, from Mr.
Gene Bare. This material was to include 10 hours of Haitian recordings,
and index and explanatory notes of there, still photographs and a print
of m16 motion pictures of the dances in relation to the music. The total
cost of this total material was the sum of 8525.00. This was, I understood,
to be paid for in two installents, as it were and for purposes of your
book-keeping, the first Purchase order, # 61566 was itemized in terms of
the names of the musical selections and was in the amount of $363.00 which
covered the actual cost of the materials *- purchase of tape, rental of re-
cording studio, etc. which was infotved in the re-recording of these
Haitian selections.

These ten hours of recording were made and mailed to you. he index, explanatory
notes and still photographs were also mailed to you under separate cover but
were never received and la the final analysis, I was prepared to duplicate
this lost material. Subsequently, in a letter from you, on August the slt,
you hm informed me that you issuing an offielal Purchase Order in the amount
of $137.00 which you referred to as covering the rest of the records as
Indicated on the attached sheets. You asked for an invoice In quadriplieate,
in order to process it in the same manner as the original invoice f- $363.90.
within a day or two of the receipt of this letter I sent you an invoice in
quadriplicate bearing the original order number 61566, since it was my under*
standing that this wea all one order. Hy invoice, however, was in the amount
of 162.00 and itelased the index or catalogue, the still photographs, and
the 16 a motion picture prints, sinee q11 the recordings had already been
made and sent to you and tiks the balance of the material ordered consisted
of the catalogue, stills and 16 me film. In my letter which accompanied this
invoice I point out that $162.00 was the correct balance ( rather than $137)
and explained the reason for the different itemization. A few days later
I received an official Purchase Order, bearing a new number 80226 ( still in
the amount of 8137.00 and itemizing resoodings ) and I again corrected both
the amount and the iteaistion in a new invoice ( in quadriplicate),this one
bearing the new number t)*~Han8Pe 80226, since I assumed that the balance
of the order wea now to be listed under the new order number. And the next
thing i received was this cancellation of the order 80226 in the amount of

Ial a Deren
-- I cirtiroi Street
Iici York, '.


p Ni '
7C OL_

.:r. Gene Baro'
c/o Rawlings
Cros, Creek, Route No. 1
Hawthorne, Florida


January 9, 1953

Dearest Gene,

i will answer your long letter when I get to it,
in about two days, but in the meantime this is a very
hurried note to let you know that the books at the
Herald Tribune are regularly channelled through j
Mrs. Belle Rosenbaum, who is a friend of .r. Margesson's (b
and who has been counted on to give the books to
sympathetic reviewers previously. The publisher wants
to continue channelling through ;rs. Rosenbaum, and in
this case it mearis ,simply,, could you put your request
for the book to Tr~.. Rosenbaum since it is being sent
to her?

Will write in a couple of days. All my love. I am
very glad you are back from England.

P. S. Do you know any influential persons in London
who should receive copies of the book from the London
office people who would be especially understanding of
this sort of material and who would be in a position to
do something about that understanding? .D.


T4 w

- *1-0111

GeAe Baro
c/o Rawlings
Cross Creek
Route 1
E~ath Hawthorne, Florida

3Equ r

* ^ f ait L


.r L~ ~ga -C~
"` kol~ ar







61 Morton st.
January 26, 1953

Dearest Gene:

Well, look at it this way. You return from Europe and slip sileaifly through New
York. You bdrrow in in Florida silently. By accident I learn from your closest
friend of yogrwhereabouts, but, at the same time, learn that he has been unable
to establish act with you for an unprecedented period of about six weeks ( this
was a1 xK December). You have deliberately located yourself in a place which has
no ilephones and-Ahich is even inaccessible by telegram ( as Stad learned when
he wished to'telegiaph you). It hardly requires a sutblty of perception and intellect
to receive from all this satx least the suspicion of the idea that you do not wish
to be disturbdA4i In my particula&v'case such an impression is strongly supplemented
by a powerful degree of empathy. I. know hJf it was when I was immersed in the world -
and reality of my own book, or q'wn fil ..*I know that what was impossible for -'
me was not the actual time which some eri..r letter or matter would involve, but
what was excruciatingly impossibleWast the wtnch out of one reality,tx the struggle
to accommodate oneself to this other reality, so as to deal effectuality in its terms,
and, worst of all, the re-entry into the creative reality. The whole problem is won-
derfully articulated in those animated cartoons where the character is walking along
and without noticing it, walks right off a cliff, but continues walking in mid-air,
until, suddenly he realizes it ( or is maRe to realize it by sonieone else) and
falls down. Well, for me, creating is something of the same process. You start off
in reality, on real ground, and you begin walking picking up momentum as you go.
And this momentum wrtux carries you on ( if you don't get frightened and put on
the brakes) so that you continue -- by sheer momentum you extend the logic of reality
beyond where it already exists and create a new plane. Like the spider, you spin
your own tightrope out of your guts ( forgive tie shift in metaphor) and hurl it
into space before you. When you have finished your spinning, it is as real and solid
as the point you took off from, and others can travel it. But if you are disturbed
while you are spinning you fall into the abyss. And in order to work again, you
must once more climb up the cliff, sight your point of departure, walk back far enough
to have pick up a momentum etc. Well, Gene, I know yo hate been working, and I
hope on your novel, and the idea that you are working and getting somewhere with it
pleases me so much that it is difficult, virtually impossible for me to break in on
it. That is the major reason why I did not write.

RwarqsxErf This is the more so when my letter zssltfx carries problems, When I
feel that it is not one which would glance pleasantly off your shoulder, but one
which cwx would give you pause and concern. Perhaps my empathy is over active, but
I feel that Zxlmarkgtn;mabrxca.cB rmmtadu:fBrx my continual problems would
become a tiresome burden, for my friends. An occasional crisis, which engages ones
sense of drama,disaster,heroism and the katharsis of resolution -- this is acceptable.
It is this other rhythm -- the short repetative phrases -- requiring the kind of
tenanciousness which has become so economical of its energy that it spends itself
in screams -- it is this which I feel would become boring to MMy friends. Thus,
when I did not need your help, there seemed to be no reason to disturb youx; and
when I did need your help, I was even more reluctant to intrude pressures upon you.

However. The short note I sent you about Mrs. Rosenbaum wr at the Tribune was
dictated by me while at my publishers. It seems that they have made a sympathetic
contact in Mrs. Rosenbaum ,which has served them well in other cases, and-even though
a better channel existed ( through your good agaces) in reference to my particular
book, they wanted to keep her good will for the future by not functioning entirely
over her head in this single instance. Hence my note.


Now, to your letter, point by poiit. 1. All the monies owed to me by the University
have been paid as contracted. 2. I still owe the University a detailed catalogue lwvhii_ (
and notes on the music and 40 still photos of illustrative material ( these two items are those\
were mailed but lost entroute and I am mxu to send a duplicate of this material); and
500 feet of 16 mm notion-pictures of ceremonials and dances. All this is late MmemK
primarily because the confusion about order numbers cancellations, etc. which occurred
during the summer and stretched out over a period of several months, resulted in the
fact that r e rvmi by the time the problems wI1x were resolved and the
final confrimation received, I was completely W agcg na gi : involved in proof-reading
my book, m-king indexes, and trying to meet deadlines on my dance film -- none of which
things I could,ralznhmtxtBdCsp aLt that moment, interrupt to resume this previous project.
Had the confirmation arrived in the beginning of the summer, I could have done it before
the galley and page and illustr-tion proofs began pouring in from London. Nor could
I begin selecting and editing Haitian film while I had my dance film strewn all over
my spools and work room ( and tb which I had to turn immediately following the pooflx).
Now, however, for reasons which will be clear in a moment, the completion of my material
to the University will dovetail nicely xktku with tkxxtt7rgx my work on the Haitian
films which I hope to begin next week, so that I shall be able to complete my obligation
to the University very shortly.

3. The publication date of my book has, for some time, been set as Februarp the 20th.
IfaIa ne xiar tpxax I have had the bound page proofs for some time ( these are the
pre-publication review copies) I suppose that I had been hpping that you, personally
might review it for the Tribune. I have arranged for specific people to ask for it
at the Times ( Kimon Friar, at his suggestion) Partisan Review, and have even pulled
a few stringsck at Time* Do you have any ideas about this? I find that it is up to
mm to take all the initiative in pushing the book and I am busy trying to 1au induce
Gotham Book Mart and others to give window displays, etc. My publishers are absolute
deadheads about it. Margesson, personally, has had the mumps for the past month --
and there is a fittingness about his being afflicted with what is ordinarily a childhood
disease. Nor have they pro vided an# budget for publicizing it. Nor have they any
one with imagination concerned with such problems. So, since I have no intention of
permitting my book -- after all this time of labor on it -- of getting lost in dust bins,
I am having to take upon myself the whole business of drafting the letter to TV stations,
finding out likely programs, paving the way for window displays, etc. etc.

4. I quote from my carbon copy of the ktmak notes on Voudoun, the recordings, and on
the nature and reason for my particular recommendations, which accompanied my original
listing and estimate in November 1951. ... I would consider it logical to give my
considerable collection of drums and ceremonial objects to the library ( or appropriate
department) as a bequest, and a portion of the collection to be given in the very near
future since the housing and care of such objects is not very feasible in a metropolitan
apartment. I have just checked, in the dictionary, my understanding of the word
"bequest" and find that, as I thought, it me-ns to leave in a will -- consequently, after
death. I used it advisedly at the time because, as you must understand, my feeling for
these objects is not that of an ethnic collector nor that of an interior decorator,
but they are extremely meaningful to me Ommax Mos t of them have been baptized for
me personally. In other words, my psyche is engaged in them and I am attached to them
and their presence comforts me. I have always worried about what would happen to them
if something happened to me -- since my mother, who would, I suppose, automatically
fall heir to nmky them wnuld like s not, send them to the Salvation army. I was glad 4
tV.d.xm .t have the solution of leaving them to the University, since there, at least,
there would be a degree of understanding of their meaning and respect for them. In
referring to the "portion ... to be given in very near future I had in mind two things:
a, that it was really a little too crowded and b. that I expected to go to Europe

and to sublet my apartment and that, in such a case, I would not want to expose these
things to the vandalism of sub-letees, and therefore I would store ias some objects
with friends here to reclaim upon my return, but would send a portion to the university.
Both ef these plans I still intend. In the meantime, I have immediate need of akk these
things for windowK displays in connection with my book. Moreover, I wanted to repair
and clean amS and generally put into shape the drums which I would sent to the Univer
sity since I do not think that any one there is off-hand, equipped to do this. This
Eryefa sf I hope to do shortly after my book is out, and will then send them. When
I do go to Europe, as I would like to plan to do this coming fall, I would probably
send some more. But smaller objects ... such as the priests, rattle, the initial tio n
beads, and some things like that, which I could easily store and safeguard, I do intend
to keep, until it is a bequest. I do hope you understand that I am not reneging on
any promises. The phrasing which I quoted and which is lxtkax undoubtedly in the
files of my correspondence with the university, was carefully thought out.

5. As to the manuscript My understanding was that at least a good part of the interest
of such an object to other people is in the degree to which it reveals the development
of a work -- the subtle shifts in amOkwsa x the relative emphasis of ideas qs the
work goes through several drafts -- so that ie one can trace how an idea which was
suggested in a sentence or two in the first version comes gradually to dominate the
entire chapter in the 21kth tenth version and how its growing emergence changes the
coloring o all the other ideas, etc. Because this was my understanding I began,
from the time I knew you wanted the ms, to keep all my rewriting and re-rewriting, etc.
Up until that time I threw away almost everything, as I changed it# But I did a lot
since then and it is contained in two good-sized boxes which I am as anxious to unburden
from my shelves as you are to get them. However, you could not make any sense oFut of
this mass of paper; and it is my intention to sit down to it and arrange it in such
a manner as the developments and shifts of ideas become visible. I am keeping it for
you but I want to send you something which will make sense, not a bunch of paper.

Now, as to the state of my own affairs. The proof-reading and indexing of the book
(I tried to make an index of ideas, not only of proper names) seriously interrupted
my work on the ballet film. I resumed it in October and the period since then has
been fraught with complexities of all kinds which I shall not begin to enumerate.
Anyway, the rhythm of work on it including the music being written for it, consisted
of short spurts, M~anx alternating with periods of suspensions which dragged for weeks
sometimes. For the past two months it h4s been virtually ready awaiting only the
last stages, which, in turn, could be undertaken only when the mciny to finish it
was forthcoming. This, John Latouche led me to believe, was a day to day matter ...
you know, next Monday, then next Thursday, then I'll call you in the morning, then
the holidays, etc. etc. Meanwhile I sat poised with streamers of 16 mm hanging in
my workroom and clarinets and bass clarinets and gamelans lying around in my living
room, poised for the dash to the finish line. About 10 days ago it began to seem
that the remainder would not be forthcoming, so I have devoted myself to arranging
to get the music on tape for free, and otherwise trying to push ahead without money,
at least to the point wxksh where I could raise enough for final lab costs. I think
that this stage will be reached in another 10 days The film is, I believe, good;
and the music for it just wight. People to have seen it in its rough, work print
silent version have had very enthusiastic things to say about it.

Also, qs you know, it was originally my idea to time things so that the book on Haiti
and a long-playing record of my recordings and the Haitian films from my footage
would appear simultaneously. Two -thirds of this is, I am proud to say, accomplished.
A long-playing record kxx a will be out on the 17th of February, It is being
put out by a small young company Electra, but it is coming out and above all,

the quality of the recording is magnificent. The reason I wanted these things to
be ready at the same time is because publicity wise, theysupport and feed each other.
Television programs are far easier to get if you can offer film and recordings as
well as the book; film strips and the album cover add a sense of big doings and excitement
to book display; People who hear the recordings mighh buy the book and see the films
and vice versa, etc.

My great, urgent, immediate problem is this: to raise the money to reLease at least the
first two of the series of Haitian films ( they would run about *x 10 minutes each and
there would be wither four or five in the series) by February 20. kfm Each MNtt film
will cost $250 to complete. But time is terribly terribly short and I must go at it
immediately. I have spoken to :tadler about this and he said he was very interested
in putting up money providing ( as j1 I understand it) that you were also interested.
By "you" he means either yourself personally, or your ability to involve a potential
backer ... apparently a specific somebody whom you know. The reason his decision
seems to be waiting upon your action is because, as I get it, he doesn't want to risk
the chance of getting a project started without a guarantee that it would be completed.
My point is that if I could only get enough to get started on at least one film, the
arrangements for the next would be being made while I am already working on the first;
whereas if I wait to waise the K entire $1,000 for the four films before commbnging
work on any of them, I am certain to miss the timing and re lease which would make the
proposition successful.

The amount of money which has gone into the 16mm footage which I have on hand
has, to date, totaled $6127.00 This includes anK appropriate pwmar proportion
of all traveling and Haitian costs ( some of these expenses are counted off against
xaama the book, etc. ) and the cost of making negative of the material. If one
figures that four films minimum, will come out of this footage, the cost, to date,
of each of these is $1532.00 The $250.00 required to finish each one would bring
the total of each film to $1782. The person investing this last $250.00 would therefore
be entitled. to a proportionate 15Z of the profits, plus of course, the return of
the 4250. first. In view of the extremely pressing timing and need for the money,
however, ixamuqp x I would be glad to make that 25 Z Or even more, providing I could
go ahead. Would the person you have in mind want a larger percentage! If so, I give
you the authority to negotiate in my behalf. The important thing is for me to be
able to go right ahead.

The conditions would be that the aawmaax $250.00 would.be returned out of the
first returns and that thereafter they would receive a mt~k the percentage of
the profits which we agreed upon. The market for these films is larger than for
the experimental films, since theses re in the nature of documentaries and they
would also benefit from the simultaneous book and lp record appearance. I have
worRerful notions for the commentary but am far too exhausted by four pages of
letter writing to go into it. Let me hear from you as soon as soon as possible.

I am too exhausted also to elaborate on how pleased I am that you are back, that
you have satisfied yourself about Europe and ecn now work I hope you will come
soon but also that you do not interrupt your working. And let me heat as soon
as possible.....

gtyz love,

A / -.

Gene Baro
The Univers



ity Libraries
of Florida


f ,d i'k A A A r I *J il . ... .. ...

F. 1*

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/ ; *~ *

l.-'... ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~` .- .. .^ "k^..^ r r ^ r ^ r ^^.

October 26,1953

Dearest Gene-

This letter has been delayed not only by my pre-
occupation with getti-g my film to the lab but
also by repeatedly unsuccessful efforts to reach
Antony Tudor, Aim as a source for info re Hutchinson
and her system of Dance Notation.

This field is a little bit out of my line, but it is
my impression that the Lubansystem of dance notation
is the one that.is most widely used, at least it is
the one of which I have heard and read more frequently.
This-means only that the Luban system is more publicized
and widely known, but,not necessarily that it is better
than Hutchinson. I am afraid that that is about the
ex~tnt to which I personally can contribute to your
information, and I have delayed writing because, of
course, this is got much of a contribution.

Well, as a last resort, I just called Jeqn Ezdman who
talls me that Hutchinson represents the L-ban system
in the United states, so its the same thing after all.
- According to Jean this is, indeed, the more or less
accepted system arong dancers, and has proven itself.
Also, because of it, Hanya Holm was ablq to copyright
a corepgraphy for the first time. So apparently it
is a good thing, and would be a worthwhile addition
to your archives. According to Jean, gar Laban, who
is the ori-inator of the system ( and is now in England)
was on the verge of abandoning his efforts to get it
accepted and then this Hutchinson gal dedicated herself
to putting it over, and is really responsible for its
wide acceptance, for the establishment of the Bureau
which sends out information and etc. on it, and so forth.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Teiji has just finished a short score for the Qambodian
dancer ':ara, and she was so enthusiastic about it that
she is rushing the choreographyin order to perform it
in her bing December concert. Several people who didn't
take Teiji too seriously perhaps have decided, on the
basis of his music, that he's going to do far and I

although I've/believed in his innate..talent all along,
I must say that passages in this last score absolutely
take me by.:urprise. This particular r plece is scored
for clarinet and viola with or without drums, and the
quality of the dialogue between the instruments is both
irvedtive and very moving and completely original
If is as if he did not know music in the particular
Well enough to be influenced by it, but knew music in
the general rnmightr-to so well that there is nothing
niave or primitive about it. He worked hard at this,
especially considering that he only had a couple of hours
eaeh evening after a very full hard day of physical labor,
and despaired often; but, as you can imagine, he is awfully
happy about having accomplished it. I think it's awfully
good for him to have accomplished a score wahch was
not for me or for my films and with which I had nothing
to do except as a moral support. It he was uncertain of his ability to create independently
of ~n~ my films, but now that insecurity is laid to
rest. ,kra aea I'm so pleased to see him coming up
so nicely and I know that eventually, if he keeps it up,
he will be recognized as one of the real lyric talents
in music.

.1 know you wontt be up this way for quite a spebl, but
maybe some providential trick of fate will make it pos-
sible for me to see you in Florida, which would be
better anyway.




V~A~1A b4/t4A~


Geho Baro
Unive,;c-ty Libraries
University of Florida
Gainseville, Florida

1.laya Deren

61 :.7orton st.

ie,, York 14,

[,ew York

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Mr. Gene Bare
c/o Rawlings
Cross Creek
Route I
Hawthorne, Florida






NEW YORK 14, N. Y,


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June 7, 1954

Dearest .Gene:

I really .should not be writing to you at this moment. Yesterday afternoon I gave
a cocktail party (/he liquor for it was a gift from a friend) which ran well into
the evening, as these do. And this morning I washed the glasses and the ashtrays,
the table tops and the floors, put evenfthing into neat order; went out, bought
the paper and the groceries and now I should be working on an article on magic
and religion which is due at TOMORROW magazine by the 10th, and the -payment for
which will pay this months rent. But instead, I find myself in a state pfof
exhilerated illumination -- one for .which the words formulate themselves in my
head -- one which wants communicat'ip-- not -as self-expression but as a discovery,
a perception which ma I want to point out Look what I found" -- to you,
as I would bring an apple in my skirt to you saying : "See how red, how beautiful",
and knowing that you would not ,say merely, Indeed, a Winesapt" but .would see how
red and how beautiful it is.

The party was, in fact, to celebrate my recovery. I know that Al has told you about
my illness and operations. Aince April 1st I have had q bad time of it; First hemmor-
agh for two weeks, with immobility, constant pain, ice-packs; then a minor operation
and five days in the hospital; then a week of recuperation ( or so we thought) when
suddenly it struck again. Severe pains -- three days of them-- and I was in the
doctArs office the evening they became -unbearable -- he took one look at me, and
a fast blood count, and sent me to Mt. Sinai immediately without time to even call
Teiji to let anyone know. FA the hospital they operated within an hour -- peritinitis
and hemmorage in the abdominal cavity which had been leaking for (fEwod's bo-utlbefore
exploding completely. The operation was on May 4-. It was a matter ofIhalf-hour;j r I
wouldnL% kas be heke. Then two painful weeks in the hospital. Then home.

I give you these gruesome details so that you can cel brate with me the miracle of
the fact that yesterday, at my party, one month to daday that they cut me open
from side to side and Save transfusions --- one mere month frop thej. Moment I was
dancing In the hospital, with that terrible pain, I had found it, inconceivable
that I would ever dance again. Yet yesterday I was dancing and as moving as ever.
Some of the strenuous movements, of course, I didn't do. But still!

And all during the party -- as I discovered that wonderful sense of life pulsating
through me again -- I couldn't believe it. Two weeks before Stad and Teiji had
carried me up stairs, And now I was more alive than anyone. Oh Gene -- how to
explain what I felt ... not vanity, not pride in myself, but I felt such a surge
of uncontrollable gratitude to this fine little pony which is my body. Ixwcx
-I kept thinking, all these years, it had been -such a fine little beast; it has
carried me so beautifully, and I had but it to so mapy hard tasks and had strained
its powers. But now, it was as if, this time, we had plunged ,into a cascading
whirlpool river,, and my horse ... my beautiful wonderful, horse had not let me
down ... he had carried me, he bad fought through and carried me to the other side,
and he had stood up, and snorted and puffed a bit, and there he was, prancing again.
He had not let me down! And the one thing that I kept thinking was that I wanted to
thank that pony, to throw my arms around it, to wreath it and crown it I had always
believed in my fine little thoroughbred pony, but never had I so much wanted to cele-
brate it.. that wonderful, valiant, little thDorughbred horse inside me. -That
little horse which is life I am almost bursting with the sense of splendor for
containing it, and I think of how it has always bounced back, so fast, no matter how
much I had burdened it and through whpt deserts and wildernesses I had pushed it,
And Gene, the wonder is not only that it carried me to the other shore; the marvel
is that, so soon, it has stopped shivering... thck that it doesn't plod valiantly,
but that it is frisky again.

And I said things like this, more or less, to people yesterday. And today, more
soberly, I wondered whether they realized that the Joy came not from the fact that
it was my little horse which was so splendid but that such horses exist.., that
it was possible, possible, possible, Wherever I see it, it make m jpyous.
tewxsxnu It was as if, on the scoreboard, we could chalk up triumph,
another point for our side, the side of life, of the good, of the glorious.

Then I thought... why don't the poSts write of this. Then I thought, perhaps I
am not a poi4 because all the best were obsebsed with death, and I am not. And
then I thought; but I am obssessed with lta.e Because I am a woman? the idea
came. Perhaps. Rwa I thought, They -- the poets, Mozart, the others -- are--
obsesed with life too, but for them-the moment of creating it is a moment of
,eath, and that is why they see life .c1 rg! twx from the side of death. But
I am a woman, and I see death from the side of life, for,HmIR when I come right
down to it/4ttee is no death. It never stops my eye. Jt is a fUmxpwruu1x transparency,
a darkly tinted glass through which I see sxts beyond and there is life. This
is what I discovered today, Gene.. This is what I had to tell you, that this too is
true... that it is possible to know death as a dark transparency a condition of the
light, in time -

I re-read this, and it does not sound as i.t does in my throat as I say it silently
to you.. Perhaps because I am really singing. Try to hear me.

I wanted to run out into the streets and shout out: No, do not listen to the
death singers, to the bell ringers. Listen to met There is no death! Believe
meV Do not believe what they say..., that from birth we move .towards death, that
life is..a process of dying, Believe me... there is no death i It is all B process
of living!"

Then I realized that this this is what bloods my little horse, this is my horses

Then I thought, skx well, if this is so, if all this is po, why don't I sayJ it,
celebrate it in my art, my poetry.

Then aSza suddenly there came to my mind the image of a cat lying still on t!e
floor. And a child pushed it with a finger, to see if it would move, to see if it
was dead.

And then I suddenly understood. Of course. This As why I am gbseessed with movement,
with movement in my films, with making movement with my camera, with dance It is
not an abstract, a tEchnical, a film-theoretical obbsesseion. It is my way of cele-
brating life, which is movement. In the simplest way -- as a child nudges the cat
to make it move, to make it life, to destory that stillness which is death -- so I,
have loved film above all other for;ns, for here I .can nudge things, make them move,
can celebrate the beatty, the fact of movement,which is ,to say, the fact of. life.
,I never understood all this before, or not in this way. I suppose I mean the dance
of life in its first meaning.

I feel the wildest kind of exhileration. I haven't had any benzedrine, nor anything
to drink. I just feel transported. Like being in love.

And now it is time to go and make dinner. AVd after that I shall have to concentrate
on the article. And I know that this moment s exhileration -- it is a kind of drunkedness--
will pass. But I don't mind because it.is there, inside, and it will come again. It has
come before -- as often probably, as these illuminations should, for, like being
poessessed, one could not bear it, contain it, for too long, or too often.

Mafch 16, 1954
Dearest Gene:

I know that it must be a full month ago that Al alerted you to a letter from me regarding
the Foundation. I spoke to him on the phone two days ago and when he learned that I had
not yet written he said I certainly should, that you had been expecting it, and that you
might be miffed Please don't be miffed. Please know once and for all that, in my case,
silences, delays, tardiness are due to the opposite of negligence Whenever anything is
of consequence -- a meeting, a letter, an article, a film -- it Just always seems to me
that I am not ready enough. There is always something more that I can do, some thing more
that I can perfect* In this case I kept postponing the letter because tomorrow always held
the promise of providing another piece of information, or more time for the writing of the
letter. I have written many letters in the interim -- business letters -- which were easy
to write. A letter to you is an undertaking. I do not want to do it when I'm too tired,
or when I do not have a generous stretch of time before me. In other words, when I write
to you, I want to do it nicely; and I postpone it until I can do it nicely, So I am paying
you a compliment. So dontt be miffed.

About the Foundation. This is its history. Some years ago, while I was shuttling back
and forth from Haiti, it occurred to me that however unlikely, it was still possible
that the plane blow up, or the ship sink, or etc. The thing that troubled me here, is
what would happen to all my Haitian film, my notes, my drums and ceremonial objects, ete.
which were of a certain value, though not monetary. It seemed proper to arrange for
disposition of these things in the event of my untimely demise. Joe Campbell and Odette
Rigaud were supposed to handle my Haitian material, since they best knew what I meant
and intended by it. But my lawyer suggested, since I was making some provisions, why
didn't I make provisions for my films, too. So I did, specifying that all my equipment
and the films and the proceeds thereof C of ft film rentals, etc.) be used to set up
a Foundation to assist other film makers in a similar exploration of the medium That
was that, More recently I got into a financial jam and went to seek help from Jimmy.
He did help me through the immediate emergency and told me that he wished to help me
more consistently -- so tha t I could get my films done in peace -- if only I could
find a way of his being able to give me money tax exempt, For about I day I investigated
the possibility of having such funds ear-marked for me through some non-profit institution.
This seemed an extremely awkward procedure, and when I talked to my lawyer about it, he
reminded me of my Foundation idea, and suggested that precisely such a foundation be
set up. For a day or so we thought of it as an expedient method of helping me raise funds
for film work. But immediately it was apparent that we might as well approach it on the
largest and best possible level. At this point I drafted a statement of purpose, which
I enclose, and also set down one of the provisions which seemed very appropriate for
such a foundation. Next we set about lining up a nucleus board of directors. Meanwhile
Larry Siegal ( who is contributing all his legal services free of charge) set about
filing the incorporation papers and cleariAg a name for it. What a time on this last
problem$. At least ten telegrams back and forth from the secretary of state. The one
we finally ended up with is I think, most excellent: CREATIVE FILM FOUNDATION, Ine.

Next we had to set a meeting of this nucleus of directors. This was difficult to do
since everyone is so busy, but I wanted it to happen before I wrote you so that it
would all be definite. The meeting was held last Thursday. The incorporation papers
are already filed ( with a dummy board of directors who resign as we appoint our dir-
ectors);we already have a written legal opinion on being tax-exempt; the by-laws are
being drawn up by the lawyer ( who has an awful lot of experience with this sort of
thing, having done it for .the Poet's Theater and other such groups) and a mimeographed
thing about it is being prepared.


Wou have, of course, been listed on the original board of directors. I have assumed
that you would accept. I suppose there are some papers which you have to sign, and
I am waiting for these from Siegal. The other board of directors nucleus was as fol-
lows: Toseph Campbell, James Merrill, Alexander Hammid, Albert Stadler, Lawrene*
Siegal ( the lawyer) Louis Barre ( electronics music composer) and myself. Since
then Rudolph Arnheim -- of long and respected standing as film historian and analyst --
has been added. The officers are: Campbell, president; Hammid, vice-president;
Merrill, treasurer; and myself, secretary.

During the meeting we discussed various possibilities for additional directors. In
general we are staying away t2ur from persons in the film field Of creative film
makers, there is only one u1hks who has worked long and consistently. Tha t is
Willard Maas, but nobody seems to like his films or his poetry, and consequently his
taste is not at all highly regarded Other film makers are primarily documentary, and
that is specifically not in the interests of the foundation. Alexander Hammid although
he is himself a documentary film maker, is this out of expediency and not ouf of principle,
as the others art. Since it was necessary to have someone well-versed in filmic techniqaus,
Sasha seemed perfect since he has no personal axe to grind has excellent taste, and is
familiar with the medium historically and technically. Arnheim is a psychologist, who
has long been interested in film, and wrote one of the best books on it, and is also
very objective in his judgements. But it would not be possible to include someone
like Lewis Jacobs or Arthur Knight, without immediately getting entangled in the entire
network of film people in New York. One would then have to ask Benoit-Levy, and Uecile
Starr, and Bosley Crowther and all the rest and the creative, artistic focus of the
foundation would be lost. In consequence, the directors are drawn from other arts.
Ttey are not necessarily the most outstanding in their field, but rather on the basis
of an interest in films and also the prestige which their names would add and which
would attract funds. The ones which were sifted out from among those suggested are:
Francis Ferguseon, Alfred Barr, James Sweeney, C Isherwood, Tennessee Williams,
Lincoln Kirstein, and Gloria Vanderbilt Stowkowski ( this latter is interested enough
in film to give money, it appears). All these people are being approached. Have you
any suggestions which I should propose at the next meet gg

As I said, by-laws are being drawn up and the next step after that will be to draw up
a pamphlet describing the foundation and designed to interest contributions. inmmy
has put up the initial cost of incorporating and has opened a bank abcount but certainly
he cannot be asked to carry the burden. I happen to know that he is giving money right
Uit and left -- to the Poet's Theater, to the madrigal singers, and what not, So the
problem is to build up the funds as rapidly as possible. Is there anyone whom you could
approach even before the leaflet is printed? What other ideas do you have?

And now that l ve got rid of all the details of it, I can proceed to my enthusiasm.
Isn't it wonderful to finally have a foundation specifically for creative film. It's
the first such, I believe. Just the fact of its existence, poor though it be at the
moment, is a kind of moral triumph.

I meant to write more about all sorts of things, but I'm very tired, and the cats are
screaming for food, and I have to make out my lists of things to do tomorrow-- phone
calls to make re the foundation, re the film printing, re the phone bill, send off an
exhibit to Wesleyan, where I am lecturk&gy at the end of the month, etc. etc. We 've
become friendly with the Kabuki musicians They've been here several times and we had
a marvelous time, communicating in pantomime. There are lots of new kittens. I have
a new second-hand projector, earned by editing someone's film. I'm sleepy. Goodnight.


,1 / . ,


The purpose of this Foundation is to encourage and promote the development of

motion pictures as a creative fine art form. To this end it shall give financial

assistance to film makers whose primary aim is creative artistic achievement,

whose productions would not normally fall within the scope of the existing

educational and commercial agencies which are involved in the sponsorship of

information, documentary or entertainment films ( as these categories are
generally understood) and who are particularly concerned with exploring the

filmic medium, experimenting with its techniques and altogether contributing

to the enlargement of the expressive range and scope of filmic vocabulary and to

the development of film form.

In the event that a film towards the production of which the Foundation

has made a contribution shall show profit, the Foundation shall receive 10%

of its proportionate contribution as followed if the Foundation contributed

the total production cost, it shall receive 105 of the profits, if it con-

tributed 50% of the production cost, it shall receive 5$ of the profits, etc.

These monies shall be used exclusively as grants for other productions .


Gene Bar '
Cross Creek
Route I1
Hawthorne, Florida


Maya Deren 61 Morton st. New York 14, New York

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Gene Bare
Cross Creek Route # 1
AIRMAIL Hawthorne, Florida

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Oct. 23, 1954

Dearest Gene:

I have postponed writing to you until basic outlines of activities, etc.,were
entirely definite, f was not sure until yesterday that I would have the -ioney
to get to Hqiti at all, but new, having wheedled 1800 out of the Paraspychelogy
Foundation on the grounds that I was.filming rituals and possessions, I am no*
set up to go, i I get stuck I think I.could write them for more, having written
that long article for their magazine TOMORROW, for peanuts. I am sending you,
under separate cover, a copy, HA* You snn6red at me for.wasting my time on
that article but HAe it led directly to this grant SQ THERE, HA4

I had originally planed to go to Haiti by boat, but not having had the cash to
make the reservations, I now find that the 6nly thing open on boats is the
first class type of accomodations which are mose expensive than plane. There
is a plane Nightcoach flight for $24400 to Maia4, and from there $75 to Haiti.
The problem of baggage weight remains -- cameras eta. weigh a lot -- and this
still has to be worked out. But in any case I was not going to make my Florida
stop until I was headed back from Haiti, Teiji would be traveling with me.
That is the only advantage for him or for meaof going to Haiti via Florida would
have been if he had gotten a fiee ride down ( as I suggested to you when I thought
you would be x leaving these parts much later). Otherwise, that 144 night coach
flight to Miami is cheaper than train, and only about $10 more than bus, if you
consider the cost of meals in transit by bus,

Anyway, we are planing to leave on or about Nov, 10. And are planning to return
in about the middle of January, This is where the Florida lectures and the
Sarasott shooting would fit in : between about Uan 15.to Feb. 15 or 20, I have
one potential lecture in Miami which I am now working on. It is my most fervent
hope that you may be able to arrange something at the U, of Florida perhaps at the
end of Tan, beginning of Beb. I could always taterrupt my shooting for a day or
two to go an give a lecture*

As for the circus film, not having heard from David Budd for some time I finally
wrote him at the central forwarding address of the circus. No answer. Then, un-
expectedly, a phone call from him from Florida, He had not received my letter,
but was going to write for it, Meanwhile he told me he was due up exnth in New
York at the end of this month. I have expected, however, to have a letter from
him in answer to the one he would have Sxww had forwarded to him from the circus
central address, but meanwhile no word yet. I am going to drop him a line in this
same mail, and am momentarily expecting a phone call from him, saying he has arrived
in New York. After all, I must settle all this about Sarasota before leaving N.Y.
The address he gave me in Sarasota was POB 105 and the phone # Ringling 4634I1
Have you heard from himt He you have any helpful information.

I am enclosing various materials on the Foundation. As you can see, a lot of
work has been done As a matter of fact, I have been doing my darnednest to
get it well launched before taking off, and I think I have succeeded. You will
receive mimeos of the by-laws, etc. when they are ready. Please note that list
of people whose address is unknown, and see if you can fill in some of the infor-
mation, The response has bee excellent* No money for it as yet, but several


As you can imaoginge, am terribly terribly rushed trying to be ready to take off.
So much to be done, including breaking in Paul Rickolt to eo my distribution while
I'm away. Incidently, he will be living in the apartment, taking care of the
cats and all my various things and projects during my absence -- a sort of personal
manager -- n will always know where and how to reach me, eto.

Please let me hear as soon as possible about the lectures, It~b 1a uluy3 Am enclosing
some material which might be helpful in this connection. You can, f course, boost
the lecture fee io whatever you think the traffic will bear. At he University
of Florida, itself, .Rafha B. Bartd, eof the college of Architectdre and Allied
Arts ran a seriesron film techniques in 1952, for which she rcted some of my
films, And late last year I had some correspondence with a Robert i* Fairing,
Head .f the Department of Citizenship Training, who seems to have replaced Bushong
in the nmaGeneral Extension Division, and is apparently, in a position to
make arrangements not only for lectures in Gainsville, but, through'the Film Classics
League for lectures in Orlando,.Tallahassee, etc, A letter to both of these people
is going out today or tomorrow katu and perhaps if you put in an extra word it
will do the trpck. .

I was sorry not to.have had a proper farewell.
nd, A t j~aisipsig around the country in Jan and

I hope you plan

to be in Florida


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As a finished product, Maya Deren's films -- with their haunting
poetic images, their unorthodox filmic concept and techniques -- are in them-
selves quite extraordinary. But even more extraordinary, perhaps, is the fact
that Maya Deren is all things to her films : writer, producer, director, actress,
light man, editor and distributor. Her versatility extends to recognized
accomplishments as a still photographer, writer and a lecturer, whose lively
and stimulating presentation is invariably a high-light of a university or
art museum season.

It was her interest in film which led to what has now become virtually
a second career that of an authority on Haitian Voudoun ( Voodoo), and the
ceremonial music and dance which attend it. Her initial visit to Haiti was as
a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow for creative work in motion pictures, but she
became so interested in the mythology underlying the dances which she had in-
tended to film that she made two subsequent visits Her recently published
book on Voudoun DIVINE HORSEMHM ( Thames and Hudson,-Vanguard Press, New York)
has won the highest praise for its literary style, its perceptions of ritual
function and meaning and the scope and accuracy of its anthropological detail.
The recently released Ip of her recordings of Voudoun ritual music VOICES
OF HAITI (Elektra Records) is considered by many to be among the best drum
records in existence. These recordings, as well as her films of Voudoun
rituals and dance, were made during the actual ceremonies. Miss Deren is the
only person to have filmed and recorded many of the ceremonies which will
appear in these films. A knowledge of the French language and a rapid grasp
of Creole, as well as her natural facility for learning dance movements and
her thorough enjoyment of doing them, made her an accepted member of the com-
munity and there was neither objection nor self-consciousness while the film-
ing was in process. These films are now being completed and will be released

For Maya Deren this diversity of achievement is no more than the'-ogic-
*ieal outcome of a varied background. Originally, she was a poet ("not a very
good one," she says) until she discovered that in film making she could not
only realize the poetic image, but could draw upon an equally strong concern
with dance movement and also with music, which contributes to her films a
structure of theme, variations, development and cadence. And if her films
have the disturbing "below-the-belt" impact of anr obsessive dream, it maybe
partially because, as the daughter of a psychiatrist, she has always respected
the imaginative and emotional world of all human beings as being as import-
ant and.real, as the material world

Simultaneous with her creative interest in the various arts, was an
aptitude for mathematics and the sciences, which persisted throughout-callege,
and even-resulted in a paper on the beginnings of relativity in the 17th centr-
-iry which she wrote while earning her Master's Degree at Smith College. This
aptitude accounts for her creative handling of the technical potentialities
of lens optics, camera speeds and the use of editing to create a subtle play
of time-space relationships in her films. This combination of artistic and
scientific-technical aptitudes provides.a uniquely fortuitous equipment for
creative film -making.

All these, varied activities, adventures and interests including
U8a4eflaht o.of rtcms and of cats -- along with her poise and gift for
articulate expression make Miss Deren an unusually exciting personalitY,
whether for interviewers, radio, television or lecture audiemeffs


In the course of over 75 lecture-demonstrations before university and art museum
audiences throughout the country (including Amherst, Berkeley, Chicago, Fiske,
Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, Syracuse,
Vassar, Wayne, Yale, etc.). Miss Deren has won recognition not only for the inter-
est inherent in her subject matter, but as an unusually articulate and lively
speaker, whose presentation made a stimulating and lasting impression. Although
her own films serve as demonstration, the lecture itself is designed to illuminate
the creative film form in general and to relate it to the methods and disciplines
of the other creative fine arts. This approach makes the presentation relevant
not only to the interests of a film audience, but to a much broader group, includ-
ing students of psychology, philosophy and of all the fine arts.

1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS (30 min.). Preconceptions which an audience brings to
a work of art and how their perception is effected. What is the purpose of
a work of art? How has the habit of scientific analysis and symbolic inter-
pretation affected our experience of art? What approach is the most rewarding?
2. SCREENING OF A Study in Choreography for Camera and At Land (18 min.).
3. THE NATURE OF CREATIVE FILM FORM (15 min.): The films which have just been
screened serve as a common point of reference for an analysis of film form,
including its camera eye, celluloid memory, and time machine, and as distinct
from theatrical, narrative and plastic forms.
4. SCREENING OF Ritual in Transfigured Time (15 min.).
5. THE CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF A FILM WORK (15 min.): How does a film artist
think? Tracing the conceptual, creative development of the final film.
6. SCREENING OF Meditation on Violence (15 min.).

The lecture-demonstration takes two and a half hours, and the usual liveliness
of the question and answer period frequently carries it quite beyond this. The
presentation can, however, be adjusted to shorter programs if necessary.


The basic fee for a lecture-demonstration is $70 (includes the rental of the four
films projected during the presentation); plus $10 per day traveling expenses; and
transportation costs to and from New York. If the lecture engagement is part of
a tour, traveling expenses and transportation costs are generally calculated by
zones or point-to-point. Those interested in a lecture-demonstration are urged to
write well in advance, specifying alternative dates, so that an itinerary can be
arranged which will make most economical use of time and reduce expenses to a
minimum. It has sometimes been possible to provide a lecture-demonstration at a
lower fee after a general itinerary has already been scheduled when the institu-
tion in question was able to take advantage of a free day enroute. This has been
particularly useful to small organizations with extremely limited budgets. In
general, Miss Deren's primary desire is to stimulate interest in and create an
informed audience for film as a creative art form, and every effort will be made
to meet the limitations of the budgets of interested organizations. Miss Deren
reserves the right to augment the basic fee when her presentation is to be a part
of an ambitious public event, such as a festival or similar circumstance.


neither to entertain nor to rnin urat. but to BE that rperitcnri uhzh i petr ...
and to create such a reality out of the tic'mporal- spatial manietrtpu/latoons peiulhor I,.
jrlm as an instrument. .,

.AIRTHL'UR KNIGHT. Saturday R'euLu. o Literature e
.. .Unquestionably the real spark of this American (avant-garde) movement
has been the tireless Maya Deren . no one has seen one of her films without being
st:m'lated by the fre:hness of its imagery and its sheer technical v;rluosity. No one
has left a performance without sensing the fact that she had opened new fields for
cinema-or, more correctly had reopened a field that had lain fallow for almost
twenty years ....

JOSEPH C.AIPBELL. author "'Hero I'ith a Thou,sad Facei"
"Miss Deren's intuitive grasp of the formal principles of traditional art and under-
standing of the pertinence of those principles to the modern quest for a spiritually
significant visionary language gives an importance to her work which far transcends
that of a technical exploration of the potentialities of a new medium. She is expanding
the art of the film by re;ntegrating traditional principles of visionary search and
realization that have been largely lost to contemporary life.'

"This cinema delivers us from the studios: it presents our eyes with physical facts
which contain profound psychological meaning; it beats out within our hearts or
upon our hearts a time which alternates, continues, revolves, pounds, or flies
away. . One stands before' spatial events and within the value of their time.
One escapes from the stupidity of make-believe. One is in the reality of the
cinematic fact, captured at that point where the lens cooperates as a prodigious
discoverer. This renewal of the contact between cinema and an essential part of
its means and ends opens up so much out of which intelligence. sensibility and
inventiveness can create poems. Poetry, after all, is the feast which life offers those
who know how to receive with their eyes and hearts, and understand."

JOHN G.-RTH, The .irgonaut. San
"One had been stirred, excited and
strangely satisfied . the subtle ap-
peal of it all seemed to elude defini-
tion, to sidestep analysis. . It is
astonishing how the Maya Deren
R- achievements appear to have been
S' evolved out of almost nothing at all.
: so to speak; no lavish setting, no
S- elaborate costumes, no costly props.

sound. To do everything with nothing
Srequire- an artist."

JESSE ZUvNSER. Cue Magazine
S. superbly dramatic and heroical-
ly tragic, the filming a thing of sheer
beauty and breathless imagery, filled
with a strange and wonderful poetic
quality . for any movie goer anxious
to view a remarkable quartet of st;r-
r:ngly effective illustrations of the best
work of the avant-garde movement in
this new and different kind of film
making. .. .

. technical innovationi m )' inipire, initi ily ct cilillOin / cOn- uions Of surprise, but
hat ris not thitr purpoi .i I in an Yprploration, .-i ,i-:ier'rtng lead, pait surr.rire, o1
meanr ug...

SA.-it }ER F.-LK', Dir. Dramatici Dep S.racurse Unwerstr v
After we had completed the screening. a committee came to my office
and asked that the films be shown over again immediately ..

.. 1 R SLLLE.AS, Cliairman Hhumrna ,t,'i Dw:,rion. Sitphnu Coillege
. For myself the fourth viewing was even more fascinating than the first. In
the anonymous quebisonna;re, the students stated almost unan;mousl! that seeing
these fims was an important experience to them ... .

JE.-I. CH.IL. ERS Il,,Nd S,'hool o. D,,rgn
. The whole school wa talking about it . Everyone wants them back again."

S.IR.AI L. HOL'STON. D, niion ULi.:,rs r.'
They have stimulated some fine discussion. We only wish that we could have
seen them through a half a dozen times more at least ....

CAROLYN. GC SS. .Luddo- l'lihgial Cntser. Idiana U'nive.rity
. The second set of prints which e are ordering is principally the result of
heavy classroom use . Art, psychology, and motion picture appreciation all are
making demands on them. ....

GEORGE H. H.-lIL7TOA. Diuiron ol th' rti, )'Yale L'tt.r'r,
. It was certainly a great success. The students are still talking about it . .
You may be sure that I shall want to include you and your films again next year."

BER..NARD GOLDAf.l.,\. College ol Ltbeal Arts, Il'a). ne L'niertitr
S. . All the groups concerned were highly pleased with both your lecture and
films. I was delighted to hear from the students affirmative discussions on the need
for a specific 'film aesthetic'; this is a tribute to the clarity of your presenta-
tion ... ."

ROBERT B.4CGLEI', Hobart and Wiilliam Sriilh C..ileeii
. the campus talked of nothing else for the 2 or 3 days following your visit....

CH-IRLES BUSHONG, ULiiier.,ity of FloIido
S. .. It undoubtedly ;s the highlight of our three years of programs.'

. What you say in this (book) is certainly much needed at th;s time .... It is a
relief to find someone getting back to solid fundamentals . Your words should
clear the air and have a vigorous influence upon new (and old) experimental film
makers .

FRANK ST.AUFFACHER. Son Francisco luscurm of .Art
. Your wall display was wonderful. It has been up all this time and made a
uniquely interesting display."

Address all inquiries to: Maya Deren, 61 Morton Street, New York City 14

LEI'IS IA.COBS. in i"Enperimci(t irn th Filmn" edited
br Roger .Mlan.cll
. Her pictures have been consistently individual
and striking. . In its intensity and complexity
Ritual in Transfigured Time is an unusual and dis-
tinguished accomplishment, as well as a further ad-
vance upon her previous uncommon efforts.

IOHN .11-IRTIN. Dane Cremi. A-; I'ort Timenu r a
Heretofore the dance has either been filmed
unimaginatively or, has been cut up and
distorted to make d cameraman's holiday. In Maya
Deren's approach we have the beginnings of a virtually '
new art of 'chorecinema" in which the dance and i
the camera collaborate on the creation of a single I-. A
work of art. .


The space of the field, the ritual temple and the theater
stage have been, historically, a place within which dancers
moved, creating, In terms of their own capacities and human
limitations, the physical patterns of emotions and Ideas. But
cinema provides a different order ol space, Is able to create
a ditterent kind of time, can even cause the human body to
perform Inhuman movement. These cnoreographles for camera
are not dances recorded by the camera, they are dances
choreographed for and performed by Ine camera and by hu-
man beings together.



By Maya Deren and Telley Beatty

A lyric episode In which Ine camera is the partner of Tal-
ley Beatty, transporting him from point to point, supporting
him In extended, accelerated pirouette, sustaining him In an
attenuated leap.


Conceived and directed by Maya Deren. Photographed by
Hella Heyman. Choreographic collaboration: Frank Westbrook.
Principal performers: Rita CnristianI and Frank Westbrook.

A Ritual Is an action distinguished from all others In that It
seeks the realization of Its purpose through the exercise of
form. In this sense rilual Is art, and. even historically, all art
derives from ritual. In ritual, the form Is the meaning. More
specifically, the quality of movement Is not a merely decora-
tive factor; it Is the meaning Ilsell of the movement. In this
sense, this film Is a dance.

This quality of Individual movement, and, above all, the
choreography of the whole, Is mainly conferred and created
by filmic means-the varying camera speeds, the relating of
gestures which were, in reality, unrelated, the repetition of
patterns so complex as to be unique In actuality, and other
means. In this sense, the film conleis dance upon non-dancers.
except for a passage in which the large pattern and the Indi-

vidual action coincide, briefly, in intention. Thus the elements
of the whole derive their meaning from a pattern which they
did not themselves consciously create; just as a ritual -
which personalizes by the use ol masks, voluminous garments.
and homogeneous group movements--uses all Individual ele-
ments Into a transcendent tribal power towards the achieve-
ment of some extraordinary grace.

Such efforts are reserved for the accompllsnment of some
critical metamorphosis, and, above all, for some Inversion
towards Ille; the passage from sterile winter into fertile
spring, mortality into Immortality; the child-son Into the man-
lather; or, as in this film, the widow Into the bride.

Being a film ritual, II Is achieved not In spatial terms alone,
but In terms of a Time created by the camera. Time here is
not an emptiness to be measured by a spatial activity which
may III It. In this film It not only actually creates many of
the actions and events, but constitutes the special Inlegrlly
ol the terms as a whole.


By Maya Deren. Performed by Ch'ao. LI Chi. With Music.

Chinese flute and Haitian drums

The camera can create danee, movement and action which
transcends geography and takes place anywhere and every-
where; It can also, as In Inis film, be the meditating mind
turned Inwards upon the idea of movement, and this idea.
being an abstraction, takes place nowhere or, as It were, in
the very center of space. There the Inner eye meditates upon
it at leisure, investigates its possibilities, considers first this
aspect and angle, and that one, and once more reconsiders,
as one might plumb and examine an Image or an dlea, turn-
Ing it over and over in one's mind.

The subject ol this meditation is the movements which have
been In traditional usage In two schools of Chinese boxing-
the Wu-Tang and the Shao-Lin-tor several centuries. The di-
verse sense and spirit of the three orders ot movement are
not merely registered by the camera, but, rather, are recreat-
ed In filmic terms, as the meditating mind of the camera both
fashions and Is fashioned by the subject It considers. During
Wu Tang the film flows with as constant a continuity and
recreates visually the regular cadence of the breathing which
Is the physical pulse of the movement Itselt During Shao-
LIn, It confronts with direct attitudes and abrupt rhythms the
formal aggressions. In the climactic duel it becomes itself the
embattled, blinking, frantically shifting adversary.


by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid

The mind begins with the matter al hand-with the Inci-
dental curve ol a road or the accidental movement of a pass-
ing figure. As It perceives these, il possesses them as images,
as the stulf of which it composes its night and day dreams
In the forms of Its desires and despairs But the mind Is not
completely master of these Images, they are charged with
the primal, Indestrucliole energy ol their origin matter
And thus II may occur that, of an afternoon, these restive
captives of memory refreshed by new contexts and re
leased by the lax discipline of sleep may triumphantly
regain the province ob actuality.

AT LAND (1944) :-

Conceived and directed by Maya Deren. Technical assistance

Hella Heyman and Alexander Hammld.

The universe was once conceived almost as a vast preserve,
landscaped for heroes, plotted to provide them with appro-
priate adventures. The rules were known and respected, the
adversaries honorable, the oracles as articulate and as pre-
cise as the alrectives of a six-lane parkway. Errors ol weak-
ness or vanilly led wltn measured momentum, to the tragedy
which resolved everything. Today the rules are ambiguous,
the adversary is concealed in aliases, the oracles broadcast
a babble of contradictions. Adventure Is no longer reserve
for heroes and challengers. The universe Ilsell imposes Its
challenges upon the meek and the brave indlscrlmlnately
One does not so much act upon ,uch a universe as re-act to
its volatile variety, struggling to preserve, in the midst ol
such relentless metamorphosis, a constancy of personal laen-


by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid

The mind begins with the matter at hand-with the Inci.
dental curve of a road or the accidental movement of a pass.
Ing figure. As it perceives these, it possesses them as Images.
as the stuff of which It composes its night and day dreams
In the forms of its desires and despairs But the mind Is not
completely master ol these images; they are charged with
the primal, Indestrucliole energy of their origin matter.
And thus It may occur that, of an afternoon, these reslive
captives of memory refreshed by new contexts and re
leased by the lax discipline of sleep may triumphantly
regain the province ob actuality.

* ,,s55

AT LAND (1944) % .

Conceived and directed by Maya Deren. Technical assistance,

Hella Heyman and Alexander Hammid.

The universe was once conceived almost as a vast preserve,
landscaped for heroes, plotted to provide them with appro-
priate adventures The rules were known and respected, the
adversaries honorable, the oracles as articulate and as pre-
cise as the directives ot a six-lane parkway. Errors of weak-
ness or vanity led.'with measured momentum, to the tragedy
which resolved everything Today the rules are ambiguous,
the adversary Is concealed in aliases, the oracles broadcast
a babble of contradictions. Adventure is no longer reserved
for heroes and challengers. The universe itself imposes its
challenges upon the meek and the brave Indlscriminalely.
One does not so much act upon such a universe as re-act to
its volatile variety, struggling to preserve, In the midst ol
such relentless metamorphosis, a constancy of personal Iden


The space of the field, the ritual temple and the theater
stage have been, hlstorloally, a place within which dancers
moved, creating, In terms of their own capacities and human
limitations, the physical patterns of emotions and ideas. But
cinema provides a different order of space, Is able to create
a different kind of time, can even cause the human body to
perform Inhuman movement These cnoleographles for camera
are not dances recorded by Ihe camera, they are dances
choreographed for and performed by the camera and by hu-
man beings together.



By Maya Deren and Telley Beatty

A lyric episode In which the camera Is the partner of Tal-
ley Beatty, transporting him from point to point, supporting
him in extended, accelerated pirouette, sustaining him In an
attenuated leap.


Conceived and directed by Maya Deren. Photographed by
Hella Heyman. Choreographic collaboratlon- Frank Westbrook
Principal performers: Rita ChristlanI and Frank Westbrook.

A Ritual is an action distinguished from all others In that it
seeks the realization of its purpose through the exercise of
form. In this sense ritual is art, and, even historically, all art
derives from ritual. In ritual, the form Is the meaning. More
specifically the quality of movement is not a merely decora-
tive factor; it is the meaning itself of the movement. In this
sense, this film Is a dance.

This quality of Individual movement, and, above all, the
choreography of the whole. Is mainly conferred and created
by .ilmic means-the varying camera speeds, the relating of
gestures which were, in reality, unrelated, the repetition of
patterns so complex as to be unique in actuality, and other
means..In this sense, the film confers dance upon non-dancers.
except for a passage In which the large pattern and the Indl-

vidual action coincide, briefly, In intention. Thus the elements
of the whole derive their meaning from a pattern which they
did not themselves consciously create; just as a ritual -
which personalizes by the use of masks, voluminous garments,
and homogeneous group movements-fuses all individual ele-
ments into a transcendent tribal power towards the achieve-
ment of some extraordinary grace.

Such efforts are reserved for the accomplishment ot some
critical metamorphosis, and, above all, lor some Inversion
towards life, the passage from sterile winter into fertile
spring, morality Into Immoriality, the child-son into the man-
lather; or, as in this film, the widow into the bride.

Being a film ritual, ii Is achieved not In spatial terms alone.
but In terms of a rime created by the camera. Time here is
not an emptiness to be measured by a spatial activity which
may illI it. In this film It not only actually creates many of
the actions and events, but constitutes the special Integrity
of the forms as a whole.


By Maya Deren. Performed by Ch'ao LI Chi. With Music

Chinese flute and Haitian drums

The camera can create dance, movement and action which
transcends geography and takes place anywhere and every-
where; It can also, as In this film, be the meditating mind
turned inwards upon the Idea of movement, and this Idea,
being an abstraction, takes place nowhere or. as it were, in
the very center of space. There the inner eye meditates upon
It at leisure, investigates its possibilities, considers first this
aspect and angle, and that one. and once more reconsiders.
as one might plumb and examine an image or an idea, turn-
Ing it over and over in one's mind.

The subject of this meditation is the movements which have
been In traditional usage in two schools of Chinese boxing-
the Wu-Tang and the Snao-LIn-lor several centuries. The di-
verse sense and spirit of Ine three orders of movement are
not merely registered by the camera, but, rather, are recreat-
ed in tilmic terms, as the meditating mind of the camera both
fashions and Is fashioned by the subject It considers. During
Wu Tang the film flows with as constant a continuity and
recreates visually the regular cadence of the breathing which
Is Ihe physical pulse of the movement itself. During Shao-
Lin, it confronts with direct attitudes and abrupt rhythms Ihe
formal aggressions. In the climactic duel it becomes itself the
embattled, blinking, frantically shifting adversary.




Joseph Campbell, President
Alexander Hammid, Vice-President
James Merrill, Treasurer
R. Lawrence Siegel, Legal Counsel
Maya. Deren, Executive Secretary


Rudolf Arnheim
Louis Barron
Albert Sfadler
James Johnson, Sweeney

The Creative Film Foundation has been founded
to encourage and promote the development of
motion-pictures as a creative fine art form. The
need for such a foundation arises primarily from
the fact=that the -motion-picture medium has -been
almost exclusively conceived of as a mass-com-
munications medium, to be directed at the widest
possible audience. Although the pressure towards
mass, appeal -is generally dominant in all the art
forms, there exist, nonetheless, various resident and
S traveling fellowships, cash prizes and other forms
of- subsidy arid- assistance which provide oppor-
tunities for poets, composers, dancers, painters
and other fine artists to freely experiment, de-
velop and create in their media. These subsidies
and assistance are supplemented by "little mag-
azines," paper-bound anthologies of new writing,
off-Broadway and cooperative theater groups,
dance-concert series in community centers, art
galleries, student orchestra performances of stu-
dent compositions, poetry centers and by various
other means. Altogether these provide an arena
of creative activity which serves not only to de-
velop individual talent, but acts, in general, as a
stimulating and vitalizing force in the evolution of
those art forms,

The creatively significant works which have been
produced within the motion-picture industry as
constituted are due to a fortuitous combination of
highly exceptional individuals and circumstances.
But an arena for the consistent exploration and
development of the creative potentialities of this
relatively new medium does not exist here, as it
does in the other art forms. Moreover, the costs
of even the most modest equipment and raw ma-
terials is even greater in this medium. The intent
of the Creative Film Foundation is to extend, to
this medium, the tradition of subsidy and assistance
which obtains in the other art fields and to make
possible that creative, experimental activity es-
sential to the development of motion pictures as
a fine art form.

In organizing a group, designed to fill this cultural
void, it was felt that. the specifically creative
emphasis could best be reinforced if, in addition to
artists and critics in cinema, the Directors and Ad-
visors of the Foundation included individuals who
have been creatively and critically concerned with
fine art forms. The presence of such individuals,
it was felt, would contribute a point of view to-
wards creativity, experimentation and artistic in-
tegrity which obtains in the fine arts generally and
which has been largely lacking in the approach
towards motion-pictures as a specialized, indus-
trialized and primarily commercial field.


"The purpose of this Foundation is to encourage
-and promote the development of motion-pictures
as a creative fine art form. To this end it shall give
assistance to film-makers whose primary aim is
creative artistic achievement, whose productions
would not normally fall within the scope of the
existing educational and commercial agencies which
are involved in the sponsorship of information,
documentary or entertainment films (as these cate-
gories are generally understood) and who are
particularly concerned with exploring the filmic
medium, experimenting with its techniques and al-
together contributing to the enlargement of the
expressive range and scope of filmic vocabulary
and to the development of film form."
. From the Foundation Statement of Purposes

"The Foundation shall'make its grants primarily
on the basis of the degree'fo which the applicant
is concerned with creative experiment in filmic
form and techniques; and it shall give preference
to projects of this nature even when the end result
is to some degree uncertain, provided they en-
large the existing range and scope of filmic vo-
cabulary and form....

"The Foundation shall interpret creativity and ex-
perimentation as a reference primarily to the man-
ner in which the film-maker composes his project
out of the available mechanical apparatus and
accessible technological procedures which consti-
tute the filmic medium itself. . .

"The intention of the Foundation is to meet the
varying needs of film-makers whose projects fall
within its declared scope and considered approval.
To that end it shall not only seek to enlarge its
financial resources for grants of financial aid, but
it shall also accumulate, by purchase and donation,
such equipment as might be useful to film-makers
and its grants may take the form of equipment
loans where this will answer the need of the ap-
plicant. The Foundation shall also solicit the use
of studio and other facilities in behalf of those
persons deemed worthy of assistance; moreover,
it will be prepared to provide all such pertinent
information and assistance to such persons as will
enable them to advance in their profession. . .

"In sum, it shall interpret its purpose of encourage-
ment and assistance beyond purely financial as-
sistance, and with an awareness of the fact that
even when the assistance which it can give is
limited by the resources and facilities at its dis-
posal, the act of assistance itself carries with it the
moral gift of encouragement, which is among the
important needs of an artist and film-maker. .. ."
S. From the Foundation Standards and Guides


Grants will be made in accordance with the principles, and
the standards and guides herein stated. The intention of the
Foundation is to give significant assistance to as many
projects as possible, according to its resources, and single
grants. for the total cost of any individual project shall be
given only in exceptional circumstances.

Production Grant. The amount of each individual grant
shall be determined by the Directors with a view towards
making possible the realization of a significant portion of
the proposed project.

Additional Grant. Additional grants may be made to the
same individual, either in connection with the project for
which he received his initial assistance, or for another

Equipment and Facilities Loan. Equipment and facilities
which the Foundation has at its disposal will be loaned to
applicants for production purposes.

Provisional Grant. A Provisional Grant means that the
Directors have in principle approved the application, but
that the grant is provisional upon their ability to find the
means of providing the required money, equipment or
facilities. In such cases they shall instruct the Committee
on Endowment to undertake action designed specifically to
meet these requirements. Funds, equipment or facilities
which are received explicit in behalf of such a project
shall be designated for that project.

Emergency Grant. Special emergency grants may be made
for funds, equipment or facilities in situations where con-
ditions essential to the project might be irrevocably altered
by the delay of the period for the regular procedures of
application review. Emergency applications will be acted
upon as soon as possible and every effort will be made
to meet the emergency situation.

Loan-Grant for Exhibition. The Foundation may loan funds,
equipment and/or facilities for the purposes of exhibiting
a film when this would serve to advance the general
purposes of the Foundation and could not be adequately
accomplished by other means. When admission is charged
to such exhibition, the amount of the loan shall be repaid
to the Foundation from the gross receipts.

Educational Activities Grant. The Foundation may, accord-
ing to its resources, sponsor film festivals, lecture series,
exhibitions and publications, with a view towards educating
and enlarging the public for creative films.


In the event that a film towards the production of which
the Foundation has made a financial contribution shall show
profit, the Foundation shall receive 10% of its proportionate
contribution. Such monies shall constitute a revolving fund
to be used exclusively as grants for other projects.


Application for Foundation grants may be made at any
time and are to be submitted to the Recommendations
Committee of the Foundation. Applications which are
judged to fall within the scope of the Foundation shall be
passed upon by the Board of Directors.

Grants will be made primarily upon the basis of past work
in film and upon an outline, in written or graphic form, of
the proposed project. In general, applicants shall be ex-
pected to have produced a film or to have contributed
substantially and creatively towards the production of a
film, and to be prepared to submit such a film as evidence
of their qualification. An interview with the applicant may
also be requested by the Recommendations Committee or
the Directors.

Application blanks and more detailed instructions to ap-
plicants may be secured from the Foundation offices, which
are located at 730 Fifth Avenue, New York 19, N. Y.,
Suite 301. All requests will be promptly honored and all
applications for grants will be passed upon as quickly as



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