Interview with Ongan Michelet Tibosse Alisma Summary


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Interview with Ongan Michelet Tibosse Alisma Summary
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PDF file
Haitian Creole and English
Hebblethwaite, Benjamin
Jean-Baptiste, Tahiri
Benjamin Hebblethwaite and Tahiri Jean-Baptiste
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean Area, Haitian Creole, interview with a Vodou priest, Miami Vodou   ( lcsh )


This is the Haitian Creole transcription and English translation of Benjamin Hebblethwaite's interview with Ongan Michelet Tibosse Alisma. The interview took place in July, 2012, at Ongan Alisma's home and Vodou temple, Société Linto Roi Trois Mystères. I thank Michelet for sharing his time and knowledge with us. This work was completed thanks to funding from the UF-Duke NEH Collaborative Grant. Ayibobo!

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright 2014 Jean Baptiste, Raitano, and Hebblethwaite Funded by the UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant Summary of Interview with Ongan Michelet Alisma Summarized by Tahiri Jean Baptiste Edited by Megan Raitano and Benjamin Hebblethwaite At 38 years old, Ongan Michelet Tibosse Alisma has been practicing Vodou f or thirty one years. He was raised in a family that was both Vodouist and Catholic. According to Ongan Alisma, Vodou chooses practitioners without consideration for the o the r religious beliefs of Vodou candidates Parents who practice Vodou cannot force their children to follow. The children must enter the practice willingly or be chosen by the Lwa. Furthermore Vodou is transcendental. It is not exclusive to Haitian people or to black people. It is a religion of the world and is open to all people. According to Ongan Alisma Vo dou has no restr ictions based o n language or national boundary as a result of its transparency There can be no lies, racism, or hatred in Vodou because the Lwa will not allow it. Ongan Alisma also discussed the strict formulaic traditions of Vodou. For insta nce, all potomitan share similar shapes and are similarly oriented at every Vodou temple. There is a specified order in which the Lwa are saluted and all ceremonies follow prescribed patterns for saluting the sp irits, the temple, the altar, and the musicians. Ongan Alisma himself adheres to a strict code of personal discipline and respect. This is due to his consideration for the people who visit the temple and the Lwa. He does not believe in wasting the time of the Lwa or the people who leave their homes to c ome visit his peristil Ongan Alisma believes that the Lwa will serve you only as you serve them. These principles are inherited from his father. This interview also contains information pertaining to Vodou justice systems. In Vodou, individual Vodoui st s do not cause harm to others. I f they have been wronged they will pray to the Lwa and the Lwa themselves will enact a punishment equal to the crime committed. According to Ongan Alisma, t he Vodouist is not in volved in any acts of revenge. Consequently, there are Vodouist s who misuse Vodou and then turn to Christianity to cover up their crimes. The large number of older Christians that join church es can be attributed to these corrupt Vodouists. Ongan Alisma believes that Vodou is the first religion of the world and has properties that can be found in all religions, particularly Christianity. M any religious symbols found in Christianity orig inated in Vodou. These symbols include the staff of Moses that transforms into a serpent Easter Sunday, and the other snake symbol s found throughout the Bible The Bible itself features Vodouists and Vodou symbols. Ongan Alisma believes that Vodou is open to the world and that it surpasses national, race, language, and ethnic boundaries. To him, Vodou is the religion of the world and a ll living humans are inherently Vodouist. Keywords and phrases : Vodou rites, disc ipline, potomitan, Lwa, nationality, race, Vodouist, language, punishment, world religion