Water Spirituality Beyond the Basin: Detroit Dwarf, Celt Hound, Afro-Orisha

  • James W. PerkinsonEmail author


Chapter 5 intensifies the exploration by probing a new “rite of spring” created (in 2009) by white gentrifiers of the Car City’s urban core, problematically re-enacting the settler mythology of Detroit’s 1701 founding under the French “explorer” Cadillac, in the legendary account of his dismissive encounter with a part Norman dwarf/part Native trickster deity defending the river bend. The Celto-Gallic strand of this tortured amalgamation is followed back to the European theater itself by sustained attention to the Gaelic epic, the Táin Bó Cuailnge (“The Cattle Raid of Cooley”) in supplying a rich tapestry of herder memory of water-fords as sites of border struggle, conflict reduction, and hero-initiation. In amplifying the perspective yet further along the lines of 1492’s global reach, Afro-diasporic practice in Voudou of reclaiming dead souls from abysmal waters by way of a “tight-rope” of sound and possession and of reconfiguring the Atlantic as portal of spirit-traffic from Western World to home continent by way of “feeding” the great ocean spirit, Agwé, an elaborate re-past, will mark perhaps the most audacious water-rite construction ever attempted by our species.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecumenical Theological SeminaryDetroitUSA

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