La Sirene De Nuit
covered with STICK, CANDLE, BASKET>
We fear what we don't understand.
You have entered the Underworld.
The mystical, the magic, the dark art.
And all other forms of the human connection to the mystery of the cosmic.
The spiritual connection to the illusion of the human experience.
The great creator, we shall call Bahamut
There is a pain in this world...
It dwells in the heart of man.
The dis-ease of the conscious being.
It is the unrest of the collective spirit.
What we have forgotten is that everything and everyone is connected.
The broken ethos reveals all parts, gender, ethnicity, nationality, love, class, religion separately
but, this is not truth.
Tonight as we bend the secular and sacred across the curve of art.
We will join together all parts with the unknown to shed light on the whole
cosmic mystery of this realm.
The reality that we are, in fact, all here together.
And no one truly knows why.
Open your spirit and heart to this space and we will create together a ceremony of mark.
This will connect us over time and space.
We will weave this night into the behemoth of the infinite.
As it began before we can know and will continue forever.
Let us make good. Let us connect.
In the name of the Communitas
Marie Laveau II sits across from a client. A wooden basket on a desk to her left, housing her snake assistant Zombi. She reaches for payment from from the client. He places in her hand, a small trinket box that holds a mouse and a sum of gold coins. She checks the contents and feeds the mouse to her assistant. Moving the trinket box to her right side she bows her head and opens her hands upward, making space between them for the personal affects needed for the Spirit Invocation. In this case, it is a request for protection against a former lover. He slides a folded red handkerchief with a pocket knife, a necklace with a large distinguishable charm, and a small piece of rope in the space between her hands. She bends over the handkerchief undulating as if to absorb the essence of the request, and spirit of the target. Slowly the left hand massages the air above as if to manipulate the energy of the contents, charging them and preparing them for the ritual. Slowly she unfolds the kerchief, and makes eye contact with her client. She places the rope in the basket with the snake. To the right of her is a small bag. She retrieves a maroon colored doll and a small vile and sets them in front of her.
MLII: For your benefit you require a separation of heart and a binding of remarks. First you must accept the responsibility of all consequences unseen for the fulfillment of your desire. If you have come with hidden virulent intention the power of this mojo will cycle back around to your spirit and you will face your own spell. Do you wish to proceed?
MLII: Binding is simple, you will take with you a talisman bound by a possession of the target (she drops the necklace in the basket) and affected by an object related to the secret you wish to be bound (she fingers the knife. She looks back up at the client and slices through the doll. Setting the doll down she holds the knife just above the heart of the doll in front of her) The rite of the release requires a sacrifice, for you must acknowledge that freeing your memory from the heart of another must be paid for with pain. If you are not willing to allow the heart to heal itself by pain on its own time then you must suffer for a moment to exchange the toll.
(she gestures for the hand of the client who reluctantly reaches over. She places the inverted knife in the hand of the client and loosely closes his fingers. She now positions the vile beneath the hand and squeezes until we imagine blood has dripped in to the vile. Sliding the knife out of the still tightly clasped hand, she turns the hand upward and wipes the knife clean with the red kerchief. She sets the knife aside and ties the wound with the kerchief. She corks the vile and places it in the hole on the doll. At this point she takes her assistants basket and places it between her and the client.
MLII: With pure intent, only the separation and binding with no harm done to the target, you will retrieve the binding agent from the basket.
(he begins to reach and she stops him)
MLII: If you hold any malicious intention in your request, beginning with the retrieval of the binding agent you will reap the bounty of your own curse.
(she slides her hand away, the client takes a moment and retrieves the rope now 'magically' attached to the charm from the necklace. He holds it above the basket as she closes it and moves it back to her side. He drops the rope into her hand and she binds the arms to the body of the doll. She slides the doll to the client.)
MLII: To complete the release you must reverse the time it takes to fall in love. To do that you must keep the talisman with you at all times for the next 93 days. In the morning speak to it of alternate memory. Anything you like, this will confuse the memory of the target until she can no longer call to mind your secret, or even your romance. At night burn a single white candle, and wash the doll with sage ash to clear night visions from the target, memories speaking through dreams will be your most difficult battle. Come back to me to distinguish the mojo after 93 days, and not before or risk betraying your own secret. Be careful, be diligent, be warned.
Who are You? Don't be afraid. I am not Marie Laveau. Im no Priest of Catholicism of Voodoo, and yet You have made it to the middle of our mass. For those paying attention you will notice that this evening has so far followed the order of a Catholic mass, and now I invite you to share a gesture with your fellow huemans.
My name is Johanna Rose Burwell. I am from Durham. I am a mystic and performance artist and I request your participation in a ritual that we will create together in this sacred space.
There are a few rules
You must come bare, so leave all of your anxiety, animosity and prejudices behind as you step forward into the light, into a moment of belief.
Tonight we will create a mojo bag.
I wrote a piece recently on the paradox of Durham. Being a native, watching my city progress, as it leaves so many behind. The beauty and excitement of a budding cultural, intellectual and innovation hub, juxtaposed to the lives of those who created and continue to create this city, having a harder and harder time keeping place.
I ask for your support in creating this mojo bag for Durham. Its artists and innovators, natives and newcomers. Renters and owners, tents and mansions.
I ask your assistance in healing its wounds, and what we will manifest is a ripple effect, that will be felt around the world.
In case you didn't know already Durham is the center of the universe. The change we make for ourselves, this night in this city will change the world.
Durham is a place, maybe one of the only, where rEvolution is still possible.
So, reach in your pocket and find something, anything, a pen, a stone, a business card, a nickel and charge it with a positive intention for yourself.
It doesn't matter whether its a voodoo doll or a paper clip. What matters is intention and belief. It doesn't matter that it is an intention for yourself, because in filling ourselves we overflow for others. It is a falsity that what we do for ourselves cannot benefit another. With our positive focus on what we can become and what we can offer this beautiful place, we save ourselves and so the world.
For all of the shared intentions and those that rest in our hearts I accept the responsibiltiy of this mojo and take it forth on my journey as citizen, artist, and supporter of the community that raised me.
The highest potential in me recognizes the highest potential in all of you. Wishes you peace and love everyday. Thank you for your participation.
Now for Communion. My friend. Steve McRae has been working on a plating throughout our event. This plating has edible ritual pieces and we invite you to observe, and take part in his creation. The piece will be done and consumed by the end of the night, every bite taken, smeared liquid and ingested piece becomes a part of the work. You become a part of the work and the work becomes a part of you. It is my honor that he has joined me in this journey and I hope that it is one that you will not soon forget.
If you would please join me in a closing hymn, the words are simple and Im sure you know the tune
The one thing we did skip is the collection plate. If you enjoyed yourself tonight, if this art is something you would like to see more of, please support it. There will be a place to leave donations for the evening, and those donations go straight to the creation of more art.
Please sit for a reading, have drinks and connect with each other. This is one moment. We are all here, and we will never be this young ever again.
I legitimately am, because you are, and we are all part of something beautiful, much more beautiful than we can ever fathom with our human minds. And isn't that overwhelmingly beautiful.