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1 Danse Nan T t Emily Hanson, University of Florida J.L.s Song 144, pg 175 I have something in my head, Its when Im in trouble. They will see whats in my head. Im going to see whats in my head. But when Im in trouble, My mothers lwa are unchained. This song refers to the presence of the l wa inside the head of a Vodouist during a possession ritual. The first line, I have something in my head, is allu ding to the belief that when a l wa chooses to possess a Vodouist, it mounts the chwal (horse) and is said to danse nan t t or dance in the head of the possessed individual. The next lines speak of the l wa being able to see the trouble in the speakers mind. Practitioners of Vodou view the lwa as protectors, healers and providers of insight. This section of the song is an expression of confidence that the lwa will see the speaker s problems and provide assistance. The next statement, Im going to see whats in my head, makes a transition from the lwa seeing into th e speaker s mind to the speaker engaging in internal reflection. Thi s calls to mind a passage from Vodou Songs that explains that the lwa do not provide examples of behavior for humans to follow, but hold up mirrors that clarify certain aspects of the liv es of those who serve them (Hebblethwaite 2012: 7) Possession by a lwa is not just a performative action for the benefit of the community, it may also provide the possessed with an opportunity for introspection. The song concludes with, But when Im in trouble, my mothers lwa are unchained , the song circles back to protection by lwa which is the primary focus of a V odou ritual, and the central motivation for hereditary passage of l wa from parent to child.


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Danse nan Tèt, Emily Hanson
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001362/00010
 Material Information
Title: Danse nan Tèt, Emily Hanson
Series Title: HAI3930, ANT3930, LAS3930, REL3938
Physical Description: Course Material
Creator: Raitano, Megan
Publisher: Hebblethwaite, Benjamin
Raitano, Megan
Felima, Crystal
Place of Publication: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Megan Raitano.
Publication Status: Unpublished
General Note: This is a collection of student essays from the Haitian Vodou class offered at the Universtiy of Florida. These essays are the results of a combination of in class material and independent research on individually chosen topics. The writing styles, citation styles, and views expressed in the essays are established by the students and do not necessarily reflect those of the professor or the Archive.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001362:00010

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Danse Nan Tet
Emily Hanson, University of Florida

J.L.'s Song 144, pg 175

I have something in my head,
It's when I'm in trouble.
They will see what's in my head.
I'm going to see what's in my head.
But when I'm in trouble,
My mother's lwa are unchained.


This song refers to the presence of the Iwa inside the head of a Vodouist during a
possession ritual. The first line, "I have something in my head," is alluding to the belief that
when a lwa chooses to possess a Vodouist, it "mounts" the chwal (horse) and is said to danse
nan t0t or "dance in the head" of the possessed individual. The next lines speak of the lwa being
able to see the trouble in the speaker's mind. Practitioners of Vodou view the lwa as protectors,
healers, and providers of insight. This section of the song is an expression of confidence that the
lwa will see the speaker's problems and provide assistance. The next statement, "I'm going to
see what's in my head," makes a transition from the lwa seeing into the speaker's mind to the
speaker engaging in internal reflection. This calls to mind a passage from Vodou Songs that
explains that the lwa do not provide examples of behavior for humans to follow, but "hold up
mirrors that clarify certain aspects of the lives of those who serve them" (Hebblethwaite 2012:
7). Possession by a lwa is not just a performative action for the benefit of the community, it may
also provide the possessed with an opportunity for introspection. The song concludes with, "But
when I'm in trouble, my mother's lwa are unchained," the song circles back to protection by lwa,
which is the primary focus of a Vodou ritual, and the central motivation for hereditary passage of
lwa from parent to child.