Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting Religion

On my last night at Iguela, I was invited into the village to watch a Bwiti ceremony. Bwiti is a West African religion where participants chew the Eboga plant to hallucinate and communicate with their ancestors. They do elaborate dances with fire, flinging it (and themselves) around wildly, all while wearing grass costumes. At some points they even purposely lit their costumes on fire briefly and as they whirl around sparks go everywhere. It was very cool to see.
Dancing at the begining to start the ceremony
Carrying sticks with fire in his mouth, this dancer was rolling his head all around, diving and jumping. In the pitch dark you barely see the dancers, just balls of fire flying all around.

2 comments:

tess said...

Wow, how cool! I'm amazed that they allowed you to take photos of this. Would LOVE to hear more about it. :)

Lucy said...

Yes, I asked beforehand and they were ok with photos, although I tried not to take too many. Of course if they're already hallucinating and throwing around balls of fire, hopefully the camera wasn't much of a distraction! :-)