Haitian voodoo is lecture topic

NEIGHBORS

November 13, 1995|By Lyn Backe | Lyn Backe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER and ethnobotanist Wade Davis will offer a lecture titled "The Serpent and the Rainbow: The Power of Voodoo in Haiti," Friday at 8:15 p.m. at St. John's College.

Dr. Davis went to Haiti in 1982, charged with finding the formula of a folk preparation that purportedly could induce a state of apparent death so profound that victims could be misdiagnosed as dead. Rumors of its power are the source of a great deal of myth and mysticism about Haiti, and about the culture of voodoo.

Dr. Davis, whose experiences in Haiti formed the basis of his dissertation research at Harvard, was the first outsider to be initiated into the secret Haitian societies that dealt in voodoo.

To quote Susan Borden of St. John's College, "He concluded that zombification as both a magical and physical phenomenon is a form of social sanction, a form of punishment for individuals who transgress the established codes of the traditional society."

Dr. Davis has written two books on Haiti, "Passage of Darkness" and "The Serpent and the Rainbow," the latter an international best-seller that has been translated into 11 languages. His lecture in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium is free and open to the public.

School days off

If you are the parent of a school-age child, you probably noticed the weekend before Halloween was rather long in Anne Arundel County. Schools closed Oct. 27 for an In-Service Day for teachers.

The Thanksgiving weekend will be even longer. Schools also will be closed Nov. 20, and Nov. 21, for in-service and professional teacher activities and training.

When I was a kid, 40-something years ago, a school-scheduled day off wasn't a big deal. Most moms were at home, and a friend's mom was happy to fill in if necessary. Twenty-something years ago, when my daughter was a kid and I was a single mother, I was lucky she had two stay-at-home grandmothers within 15 miles who vied for the chance to care for her.

It's a different world today. Moms are holding down full-time jobs, as are grandmoms, and an unexpected day off from school can create large problems.

Days Off Days

One way to prepare for the days off might be to take your child to Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. On Nov. 20 and 21, the center will hold Days Off Days for children ages 6 to 11. Full-day arts programs also have been scheduled for Jan. 25 and Jan. 26. Children will be challenged, and they'll be in a safe place.

The basic Days Off Days run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. are available. Information: Maryland Hall at 263-5544.

Maryland Hall also offers daytime programs for working adults. The first Brown Bag Lunch tomorrow deals with "Creating Sculpture through Assemblage." Maryland Hall faculty member D. H. Banker and artist Derek Arnold will use their own work to illustrate how to look at things differently, how to see the grace and line and perhaps humor of a cast-off item, and how to give it new life by incorporating it into a different environment.

The Brown Bag Lunch series (BYO sandwich or brie) alternates with the Lunchtime Video Series. Marc Chagall, whose paintings are filled with imagery from his dreams, will be featured Nov. 21. Both events begin at noon and are free. Maryland Hall is at 801 Chase St.

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