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MODERN MANBO introduces The Spiritwalker Collection at the Haitian Ladies Networking Weekend in DC

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

MODERN MANBO launched the Spiritwalker Collection of Veve scarves at the Haitian Ladies Weekend in Wash. DC this weekend. It was a beautiful event, featuring inspirational speakers, Michele Montas (Journalist and former spokesperson of the UN), Karine Jean-Pierre (Press Secretary to the White house), Solnges Vivens (Vivens Media Group). Also some wonderful artists (Jimmy Jean Louis, Pauline Jean, Regine Chassagne from Arcade Fire) and so many others who working to bring change to Haiti.

It reminded me of the beauty and strength of our people and culture and gives me great hope for the future of Haiti! Many asked me why I named my company MODERN MANBO. Modern Manbo literally means a modern Vodou priestess and speaks to the idea of Haitian and other women taking control of their destiny! My goal is to change the narrative on what we see of the Haitian people and Vodou culture in the press and history books and bring to light the beauty, creativity, resilience and contributions of the Haitian people from the time of our independence in 1804 (56 yrs before slavery was abolished in America) until today, where our people are making landmark contributions all over the world and in all fields including medicine, the arts and politics. Our spiritual heritage is an important part of what we are and my goal is to open the conversation on Vodou and Haiti in an effort to make our young people realize that we are who we are not limited to how we are portrayed in the press. The images of gangsters, corruption and poverty are the conditions we endure, not the the essence of who we are. Indeed, we are survivors and we carry within us, the legacy of our African and AmerIndian Vodou culture. Vilified by the settlers and later, Hollywood, Vodou was veiled in darkness and secrecy, since before the uprising that led to Haiti’s independence in 1804. Conscious of the unifying and mystical power of Vodou, everything was done to stop its practice and erase its very existence from the minds of the enslaved, to keep them from organizing and fighting for their freedom. Over time and until today, this practice has continued in Haiti and the Caribbean, with the Church and the bourgeoisie refusing to recognize and honor the existence of our Vodou heritage and even outlawing it in certain countries. Vodou is a culture and belief system which honors nature. The forests, the oceans and streams, the plants, the very air we breathe, all carry within themselves a soul or a spirit, which is a pure energy. This energy is shared amongst all the inhabitants of this earth and is to be revered. The need for balance and respect for the earth are essential teachings in Vodou and very pertinent in these times when global warming is accelerating.

Vodou has contributed over the years to medical studies and our sacred creator spirit Damballah, the great white snake, is even featured on the symbol representing medicine! He is also found on the Pharaohs head-dresses and has been honored by people all over the world throughout history. Erzuli, our Spirit of love, is honored as Aphrodite or Venus, or the Black Madonna. The wisdom and knowlege held within Vodou is immeasurable and it is time for us to discover what it holds.

This collection of 100% silk scarves depicts the VEVE or sacred symbols of the spirits. These symbols are unique to Haitian Vodou and were passed down by the indigenous Indian tribes who inhabited AYITI (Haiti). Drawn in cornstarch on the ground they serve as portals to summon the spirits.

I have chosen to feature 5 spirits in this collection, boldly displayed in the colors they love and accompanied with a card speaking about each LWA or spirit.

May they serve as your introduction to Haitian Vodou.

Meditate with your beautiful VEVE scarf and call on the spirits.. you may be surprised to hear them respond.

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