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Flying into the island I was seduced by this rich, undulating view of Her unspoiled body. Unlike the other islands, human settlement remains an almost undetectable element in the interior.
How do the people who live here respond to such an overwhelming presence of nature in it's raw and sacred state?   There is still that Edenic innocence of being able to take a walk and feed oneself by throwing stones up into the towering mango trees to capture a ripe fruit, or picking a guava, soursup, sugar apple or breadfruit. It is not necessary for anyone here to go really hungry when fish and fruit are there for the taking.   Nearly everyone, young and old, knows about bush medicine and will rush off to return with leaves and herbs to treat their various ailments.

But spiritual wisdom and consciousness, the sort that comes directly from interaction with the sacred seems lost or buried beneath the overpowering Catholic and Evangelical ethos.   Religion Caribbean -style means hymns sung to the best reggae rhythms being played non-stop in certain houses or shops.   That's the overlay.   What lies beneath that, but hovering close to the surface is Obea - the local name for Voodoo.   One idea of Obea is of a creature half -animal half- spirit, with a cry like a wolf and habits like a vampire.   A lot of what I've been told is very garbled and I suspect it might take me a long time to get to the bottom of it.   Everyone seems pretty familiar with Jombies, who seem to be spirits of the dead who are called upon to aid the petitioner, and they seem capable of being both benevolent and malevolent.   They say they call them up from the graveyards, using special books and incantations.
They can be summoned to protect the family, or, it appears more commonly, to bring forth material gain for the querent.   A pact must be made with the jombie, however, and a debt is eternally incurred.   Some see this as a debt of blood, hence the vampire image, and others of life force which the jombie must have, of course, to maintain it's existence. I have had several people pointed out to me as jombies, and have been told that the spirit in some cases appears to take over the physical form of the person who relates to it.

All I can add is that when we moved into this house we found a clove of garlic stuck with a pair of rusty scissors concealed above the door lintel.   I wasn't to sure about what to do with it, so I smudge it regularly with sage and hope for the best! So what is left of true connectedness? Perhaps, before, as the people smoked their ganja, they were able more easily to harmonize themselves with Nature, to hear Her voice in their hearts. But now a new and deadly drug pervades this island paradise - as it does so many towns and villages throughout the world.   Big business, Government business has ensured that those who might seek to know and understand have been diverted from the truth by the insidious Crack cocaine.   It appears to be a menacing trap of consciousness, a sort of Black Hole leading to bondage of the spirit.   It is palpable late at night here in Portsmouth at the north end of the island.



 

 

 


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