Monday, September 21, 2015

Haiti: Puer Aeternus? by Edwin BCK Magloire

                                                                                     


                                                                 


 
                                                                      Haiti: Puer Aeternus? by Edwin BCK Magloire

  For most Haitians, one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the current decrepit state of the Republic of Haiti. The frustration seems to be even sharper for a member of the Diaspora or any Haitian who's had the luxury of visiting countries such as France or the good old U.S of A. I have shared this frustration for what feels like a lifetime although I've never left the island. Why can't we do better? Why is everything run like a circus? Why is mediocrity the norm? Why are we living like animals? Why can't we even realize that? These are the thoughts that countless times put me to sleep, kept me or woke me up at night. During the day, like a farm animal, I was fed the same propaganda my father and my grandfather before him were fed: "the problem? it's the whites! It's the rich! It's the voodooists! It's the poor! It's the Catholics! It's the international community! It's Haitians! But your generation will make a difference and one day Haiti will be among the great nations". And for a long while... I was naive enough to believe that. But it is this false hope that brought us this "n ap gade pou n wè" mentality. Expecting things will get fixed miraculously. We are the first independent black nation, cursed to forever wait for good days to return. We have lost our godlike ability to make days ourselves.

    But this regurgitation of manje dòmi isn't the only tool that was used to mislead me. The world, whenever it feels like stroking our ego, which turns out to be quite often, only needs to use one word: Resilience. And again, I fell for it, like all Haitians I felt proud of my ability to take shit, to have shit under my feet, sometimes to have my head under feet smeared with shit and still survive. I was taught it is a sign of strength, that there is glory in it because apparently shit is supposed to kill. This abuse of resilience is what brought us this "pito nou lèd nou la" mentality. We are slaves to these ways of thinking and we have become a people devoid of any sense of self worth. But we are so good at trying to make the shit smell good. Only few Haitians will tell you there’s something wrong with life in Haiti. Despite living in two square meter sheet metal houses, we sleep. Every day we wake up and despite our incredulity, we pray. Despite earning nickels, we spend dimes. Despite being packed like animals in public transport, we enjoy it. Despite our disdain for democracy, we organize elections. Despite our basic needs being unfulfilled, we dance. Despite cries and deaths of our brothers and sisters, we laugh. Yes... We've a special kind of resilience. The kind that turns trash into floral embellishments, malice into a quality and mental disorders into the norm. Everything is perpetually pa pi mal in Haiti.

    I am grown now, a man. Fairy tales, unless gorgeously illustrated by Chevelin Illustration, mean nothing to me. I can see through propaganda and recognize when a first world country is patronizing me. I am so demanding that even my closest friends tell me I’m never satisfied. Yes, I’d wear this shoe even if didn't fit. I hate with a passion. I love too much to not hate. Finding this newfound take on life wasn't easy though, I had to basically become smarter and wiser than I ever thought I could. It took me the internet to come across concepts such as "Respect for human dignity" and "freedom of speech"  to realize we were living like animals. I had to co found integrAction to learn the word "sustainability"  and its value and to realize Haiti as a State has weak or nonexistent institutions. It took Stéphane Hessel for me to learn that outrage needs to be acted upon. It took me the book Anti fragile, to understand that resilience should be a bridge and not a city. Because as the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb states: "Antifragility is beyond resilience. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

    I had to grow a lot before I could feel this profound disdain for everything puerile. I had to grow a lot before I could admit to myself that Haiti is not a country, just a land with people on it. She is not a virgin like our power-horny politicians always propose, she is an infant suffering from stunted and crooked growth. The worst part is it's been so long since her birth, that we are convinced of a maturity that unfortunately is nothing but an illusion. Out of roughly 200 years of history, we've only had, and I'm being generous, approximately ten years of sustainable growth. Am I exaggerating? If you take away foreign aid, the involvement of the Church in education and the personal ambitions of a few businessmen what are we left with?
I am so demanding because I see clearly now. If the hibiscus represents Haiti, the image that should be used is that of an immature flower in partial bloom, not a full blown splendid flower because that is not what we are. Until government institutions have formalized structure and job descriptions, until our schools and universities properly educate good citizens to fill these positions, until it's not a matter of who is in charge but instead what needs to be done, we will not be a country. I have swallowed enough sugar coated shit and I'm tired of being resilient.

    So do I hate Haiti now? Is it time for me to leave this sinking piece of wood that I once thought was a ship? A man of long term relationships, I always believed truth brings freedom and closeness whereas lies and sugar coating leads to separation and a dysfunctional relationship. I wouldn't wish my contact lenses on everyone because not everybody can or should have to handle how I see things but for everyone who wants to help build Haiti, this reality check is my prescription. I know for instance that my generation will not save Haiti. But the decisions I make for myself and my future family will determine whether or not it will be up to my children or my grandchildren. Can we do that? Replace false hope with realness? Replace wishful thinking with proper planning? Can we respect and love ourselves just enough to feel shame and outrage? Can we renew our vows with values? I will be more demanding with myself than everything else. Can you be demanding with yourself? Because as Jean Max Bellerive, the former president of CIRH (Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti) said before it lamentably failed: "we have no right to fail".

To listen to the audio version (the spoken word), click on the link below:
                                                                      Haiti: Puer Aeternus?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

AT THE CROSSROAD, PAPA GHEDE GUIDES MAX G. BEAUVOIR TO GINEN

 AT THE CROSSROAD, PAPA GHEDE GUIDES MAX G. BEAUVOIR TO GINEN
by 

 Patrick Delices   



On September 12, 2015 as I rested on my couch contemplating the myriad problems that bedevil Black people, in which no Black politician, preacher, academic, lawyer, accountant, CEO, etc., has yet to solve; I received a telephone call from my intellectual and spiritual preceptor, Professor James Small. Prof. Small informed me that Papa Legba opened the door to the immaterial world for Max Gesner Beauvoir as Papa Ghede waited patiently at the crossroad to guide Beauvoir’s soul to the Ginen (Guinea), the ancestral-spiritual realm known as Africa. 

In Haitian Vodou, the ancestral-spiritual realm is understood to be Africa, the place where humanity was born and the life-force abode where our souls, ancestral-spirits return to live. Prof. Small expressed that the goal of Haitian Vodou “is to be reborn by releasing the soul from the body to bring out the God within you for the greater good of humanity.” Thereby, for Prof. Small, “Max Beauvoir, for the greater good of humanity, brought out the God within all of us.” 

“If Vodou is the soul of the Haitian people, Max was its eyes and heart,” asserted Prof. Small. Thus, Vodou, as Beauvoir would often remind us, is “the soul of the Haitian people” and it answers the philosophical and scientific questions of what is life and what is death? Although western society teaches us that life and death are separate entities where death is to be feared; Haitian Vodou teaches us that life and death are complimentary forces that are synthesize into one entity where death is simply an extension of life and should not be feared.

Last year in Haiti, with Prof. Small, I was fortunate to have spent some time with Max G. Beauvoir, one of Vodou's most venerated supreme servant (Supreme Servitur) and chief supreme, high priest (Ati Houngan). Ironically and prophetically, my visit to Haiti in addition to meeting with Beauvoir last year was providential as it took place during the same time of his transition this month to the afterlife. My meeting with Beauvoir was also providential because he taught me something that I have not learned in school - the secret of life, which is not to fear death.

Thus, with over 150 graduate credits and four graduate degrees, my time with Beauvoir in Haiti surpassed any graduate course that I have ever taken at any university. His wisdom was supreme as his humility along with his humanity was sublime. No trickery, no games, no pettiness or foolishness, Beauvoir was humble and honest as he took a sincere interest in my intellectual and spiritual development. 

Similarly to Manning Marable at the scholarly level, Beauvoir at the spiritual level was ready and willing to take me under his guided wings to learn the sacred science and mystical craft of Haitian Vodou. Incidentally and undoubtedly, if properly embraced, Vodou would ensure the solutions to our problems as evident in the Haitian Revolutionary War of Independence of 1804 which created the first Black sovereign republic in the western hemisphere by eradicating the problem of slavery, colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and non-citizenship status for Blacks. Under the constitution of JanJak Desalin, the founding father of Haiti, every Black person was considered a citizen of the Republic of Haiti. 

In Vodou, we learn the lessons of life along with its purpose, which is not to fear death because death does not exist - it is simply a continuation of life as we travel from the material world to the immaterial world. For practitioners of Vodou (vodouists), not fearing death along with serving the ancestors/spirits and understanding the universe is the only way to live life to its fullest.
Equally as important, it is also the only way to live forever as we are reborn during our transition from the material world to the immaterial world. Beauvoir would often state that “we are no longer afraid of dying” because Vodou teaches us that “nobody ever dies”- “we are the same essence with God” as manifested in nature, the ancestors, and the universe. Thus, for Beauvoir, “God is manifested to humans in sprits” and “cannot die!” Accordingly, Prof. Small stated that the power of Haitian Vodou teaches us that “we are gods having a human experience,” and “this powerful philosophical reality was Max Beauvoir greatest contribution to not only scholarship and service, but to our spiritual manifestation as gods on earth.” 

For vodouists, the philosophical science of Vodou is the highest level of being liberated from those individuals who think that they can control our minds, bodies, and souls. Vodou, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, never financed nor sanctioned the enslavement, colonization, dehumanization, and genocide of millions of human beings. Vodou actually liberated people from slavery, colonization, dehumanization, and cultural genocide. 

Vodou unifies the mind and body with the soul as it creates a synergy between two worlds: that of the material with that of the immaterial. Moreover, Vodou establishes the necessary synergy between the living and the dead. Therefore, Vodou respects life and death, and it is more than merely a religion.
Vodou is indeed a sacred philosophical science and as a sacerdotal scientist, Beauvoir was Vodou's highest priest and most supreme servant. Beauvoir provided us with a spiritual synthesis by cementing scholarship with service and by connecting the living with the dead and the dead with the living. Beauvoir also championed for the rights of vodouists as he advocated for an accurate portrayal of Vodou at a global scale. 

Max Gesner Beauvoir was born in Haiti on August 25, 1936, two years after the U.S. Marines vacated Haiti and a day before Haitians celebrate the Kingdom of the Kongo by way of the Petro rites as manifested at Lakou Soukri. In celebrating the Kingdom of the Kongo, Haitians honor their ancestral homeland and the Congolese warriors, who during the Haitian Revolution played a prominent role in defeating the Napoleonic forces of France in 1804. 

In 1958, Beauvoir earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at the City College of New York. From 1959 to 1962, Beauvoir studied at the Sorbonne where he earned a graduate degree in biochemistry. By 1965, he had a bright career with Cornell Medical Center as a leading biochemist/chemical engineer. However, in 1973, as his grandfather was meeting Papa Ghede at the crossroad; he summoned Beauvoir to a more promising career and higher calling – that of a Vodou priest.
A year later, in Mariani at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Beauvoir founded Le Péristyle de Mariani which served as a local Haitian Vodou temple and healing center. It is at around this time that a young Bill and Hillary Clinton met Beauvoir during their honeymoon in Haiti. Impressed and fascinated by Beauvoir and Vodou, Clinton in his autobiography, My Life, stated “I describe my brief foray into the world of voodoo because I’ve always been fascinated by the way different cultures try to make sense of life, nature, and the virtually universal belief that there is a nonphysical spirit force at work in the world that existed before humanity and will be here when we all are long gone.”

That nonphysical force that existed before humanity is the spirit. In Dahomey, the Fon word for spirit is Vodun. In Haiti, the word Vodou means in the company, family or house of gods or spirits. Furthermore, Vodou explains the scientific observations and explanations of the unknown, the invisible, or nothingness (spirits) which existed before humanity and will exist after humanity.
In understanding the above truism of Vodou, Beauvoir merged his scholarship and service with his spirituality by establishing vital spiritual, socio-political, and scholarly institutions, such as Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Traditionnelles (GERT), Bòde Nasyonal, the Temple of Yehwe, the KOSANBA group at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and Federasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen which was renamed Konfederasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen. 

In addition to his institutional building, Beauvoir retained the patent for extracting hecogenin from plants in Haiti which led Harvard trained ethno-botanist Wade Davis to seek out Beauvoir for advice and intel regarding the living dead. Beauvoir’s advice and information helped Davis obtain his PhD at Harvard and it also led to a lucrative book deal and movie production known as the Serpent and the Rainbow.
Even though the Serpent and the Rainbow added to the unwarranted racial stereotypes of Haitians and Vodou, Beauvoir’s work as a scholar, scientist, and spiritual servant was rewarded on March 7, 2008 when he became the first person to be appointed to the National Ati of Haitian Vodou. Beauvoir often stated that “my position as supreme chief in Vodou was born out of a controversy.”
As such, Haitian Vodou priestess, Manbo Dòwòti Désir expressed that “we did not all agree with how or why his Eminence Ati Nasyonal Beauvoir became the official head of the Haitian Vodou community, but I found myself shaken by his passing as I planned on sitting with him in another month to let him know more about my plans as the appointed Gwètòdé Outre Mer, of his administration. Gwètòdé Outre Mer is the foreign or overseas representative of Haitian Vodou.
Désir also asserted that “Ati Beauvoir’s legacy shall be what we make of it. If we do not choose or embrace our leaders, history shall do so for us. I hope we in the AfroAtlantic world will come together, to honor and respect his passage to Ginen, as we would any venerable, spiritual leader of our time. As Catholics and non-Christians do the Pope, or Buddhist and others, would of the Dali Lama, let us gather in a great circle, to pay homage to Max G. Beauvoir, the path he has forged for us, and the shade he provided each of us on our Gran Chemin — the Great Road of Life.”
In Vodou, to understand what life is, one would need to travel the Gran Chemi; however, to understand what death is, one would need to consult with Beauvoir, not at Mariani in Haiti, but at the crossroad in Ginen.

On September 12, 2005, Ati Hougan Max Gesner Beauvoir lost his battle against cancer at the tender age of 79 while residing at his home in Mariani. Beauvoir is survived by his daughter Rachel. His other daughter Estelle is with him at the crossroad in Ginen. 

Homage was rendered to Beauvoir at his home-going which took place on September 15, 2015 in Haiti. On September 16, 2015, Haitians around the world gathered for a national tribute and traditional Vodou ceremony which commenced at his Hounfour (Vodou temple or peristyle) in Mariani.
May Ati Hougan Beauvoir have a peaceful transition and eternal life as Papa Ghede guides him to Ginen.

Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy” in the Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College and served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. Patrick Delices can be contacted at pdelices@gmail.com. Please visit his website at www.patrickdelices.com.
- See more at: http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/latin-america/at-the-crossroad-papa-ghede-guides-max-g-beauvoir-to#sthash.m6LbVZ8M.dpuf

AT THE CROSSROAD, PAPA GHEDE GUIDES MAX G. BEAUVOIR TO GINEN

Max G. Beauvoir, Patrick Delices, and James Small in Haiti (Photo courtesy of Patrick Delices).
-A +A
0
On September 12, 2015 as I rested on my couch contemplating the myriad problems that bedevil Black people, in which no Black politician, preacher, academic, lawyer, accountant, CEO, etc., has yet to solve; I received a telephone call from my intellectual and spiritual preceptor, Professor James Small. Prof. Small informed me that Papa Legba opened the door to the immaterial world for Max Gesner Beauvoir as Papa Ghede waited patiently at the crossroad to guide Beauvoir’s soul to the Ginen (Guinea), the ancestral-spiritual realm known as Africa.
In Haitian Vodou, the ancestral-spiritual realm is understood to be Africa, the place where humanity was born and the life-force abode where our souls, ancestral-spirits return to live. Prof. Small expressed that the goal of Haitian Vodou “is to be reborn by releasing the soul from the body to bring out the God within you for the greater good of humanity.” Thereby, for Prof. Small, “Max Beauvoir, for the greater good of humanity, brought out the God within all of us.”
“If Vodou is the soul of the Haitian people, Max was its eyes and heart,” asserted Prof. Small. Thus, Vodou, as Beauvoir would often remind us, is “the soul of the Haitian people” and it answers the philosophical and scientific questions of what is life and what is death? Although western society teaches us that life and death are separate entities where death is to be feared; Haitian Vodou teaches us that life and death are complimentary forces that are synthesize into one entity where death is simply an extension of life and should not be feared.
Last year in Haiti, with Prof. Small, I was fortunate to have spent some time with Max G. Beauvoir, one of Vodou's most venerated supreme servant (Supreme Servitur) and chief supreme, high priest (Ati Houngan). Ironically and prophetically, my visit to Haiti in addition to meeting with Beauvoir last year was providential as it took place during the same time of his transition this month to the afterlife. My meeting with Beauvoir was also providential because he taught me something that I have not learned in school - the secret of life, which is not to fear death.
Thus, with over 150 graduate credits and four graduate degrees, my time with Beauvoir in Haiti surpassed any graduate course that I have ever taken at any university. His wisdom was supreme as his humility along with his humanity was sublime. No trickery, no games, no pettiness or foolishness, Beauvoir was humble and honest as he took a sincere interest in my intellectual and spiritual development.
Similarly to Manning Marable at the scholarly level, Beauvoir at the spiritual level was ready and willing to take me under his guided wings to learn the sacred science and mystical craft of Haitian Vodou. Incidentally and undoubtedly, if properly embraced, Vodou would ensure the solutions to our problems as evident in the Haitian Revolutionary War of Independence of 1804 which created the first Black sovereign republic in the western hemisphere by eradicating the problem of slavery, colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and non-citizenship status for Blacks. Under the constitution of JanJak Desalin, the founding father of Haiti, every Black person was considered a citizen of the Republic of Haiti.
In Vodou, we learn the lessons of life along with its purpose, which is not to fear death because death does not exist - it is simply a continuation of life as we travel from the material world to the immaterial world. For practitioners of Vodou (vodouists), not fearing death along with serving the ancestors/spirits and understanding the universe is the only way to live life to its fullest.
Equally as important, it is also the only way to live forever as we are reborn during our transition from the material world to the immaterial world. Beauvoir would often state that “we are no longer afraid of dying” because Vodou teaches us that “nobody ever dies”- “we are the same essence with God” as manifested in nature, the ancestors, and the universe. Thus, for Beauvoir, “God is manifested to humans in sprits” and “cannot die!” Accordingly, Prof. Small stated that the power of Haitian Vodou teaches us that “we are gods having a human experience,” and “this powerful philosophical reality was Max Beauvoir greatest contribution to not only scholarship and service, but to our spiritual manifestation as gods on earth.”
For vodouists, the philosophical science of Vodou is the highest level of being liberated from those individuals who think that they can control our minds, bodies, and souls. Vodou, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, never financed nor sanctioned the enslavement, colonization, dehumanization, and genocide of millions of human beings. Vodou actually liberated people from slavery, colonization, dehumanization, and cultural genocide.
Vodou unifies the mind and body with the soul as it creates a synergy between two worlds: that of the material with that of the immaterial. Moreover, Vodou establishes the necessary synergy between the living and the dead. Therefore, Vodou respects life and death, and it is more than merely a religion.
Vodou is indeed a sacred philosophical science and as a sacerdotal scientist, Beauvoir was Vodou's highest priest and most supreme servant. Beauvoir provided us with a spiritual synthesis by cementing scholarship with service and by connecting the living with the dead and the dead with the living. Beauvoir also championed for the rights of vodouists as he advocated for an accurate portrayal of Vodou at a global scale.
Max Gesner Beauvoir was born in Haiti on August 25, 1936, two years after the U.S. Marines vacated Haiti and a day before Haitians celebrate the Kingdom of the Kongo by way of the Petro rites as manifested at Lakou Soukri. In celebrating the Kingdom of the Kongo, Haitians honor their ancestral homeland and the Congolese warriors, who during the Haitian Revolution played a prominent role in defeating the Napoleonic forces of France in 1804.
In 1958, Beauvoir earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at the City College of New York. From 1959 to 1962, Beauvoir studied at the Sorbonne where he earned a graduate degree in biochemistry. By 1965, he had a bright career with Cornell Medical Center as a leading biochemist/chemical engineer. However, in 1973, as his grandfather was meeting Papa Ghede at the crossroad; he summoned Beauvoir to a more promising career and higher calling – that of a Vodou priest.
A year later, in Mariani at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Beauvoir founded Le Péristyle de Mariani which served as a local Haitian Vodou temple and healing center. It is at around this time that a young Bill and Hillary Clinton met Beauvoir during their honeymoon in Haiti. Impressed and fascinated by Beauvoir and Vodou, Clinton in his autobiography, My Life, stated “I describe my brief foray into the world of voodoo because I’ve always been fascinated by the way different cultures try to make sense of life, nature, and the virtually universal belief that there is a nonphysical spirit force at work in the world that existed before humanity and will be here when we all are long gone.”
That nonphysical force that existed before humanity is the spirit. In Dahomey, the Fon word for spirit is Vodun. In Haiti, the word Vodou means in the company, family or house of gods or spirits. Furthermore, Vodou explains the scientific observations and explanations of the unknown, the invisible, or nothingness (spirits) which existed before humanity and will exist after humanity.
In understanding the above truism of Vodou, Beauvoir merged his scholarship and service with his spirituality by establishing vital spiritual, socio-political, and scholarly institutions, such as Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Traditionnelles (GERT), Bòde Nasyonal, the Temple of Yehwe, the KOSANBA group at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and Federasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen which was renamed Konfederasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen.
In addition to his institutional building, Beauvoir retained the patent for extracting hecogenin from plants in Haiti which led Harvard trained ethno-botanist Wade Davis to seek out Beauvoir for advice and intel regarding the living dead. Beauvoir’s advice and information helped Davis obtain his PhD at Harvard and it also led to a lucrative book deal and movie production known as the Serpent and the Rainbow.
Even though the Serpent and the Rainbow added to the unwarranted racial stereotypes of Haitians and Vodou, Beauvoir’s work as a scholar, scientist, and spiritual servant was rewarded on March 7, 2008 when he became the first person to be appointed to the National Ati of Haitian Vodou. Beauvoir often stated that “my position as supreme chief in Vodou was born out of a controversy.”
As such, Haitian Vodou priestess, Manbo Dòwòti Désir expressed that “we did not all agree with how or why his Eminence Ati Nasyonal Beauvoir became the official head of the Haitian Vodou community, but I found myself shaken by his passing as I planned on sitting with him in another month to let him know more about my plans as the appointed Gwètòdé Outre Mer, of his administration. Gwètòdé Outre Mer is the foreign or overseas representative of Haitian Vodou.
Désir also asserted that “Ati Beauvoir’s legacy shall be what we make of it. If we do not choose or embrace our leaders, history shall do so for us. I hope we in the AfroAtlantic world will come together, to honor and respect his passage to Ginen, as we would any venerable, spiritual leader of our time. As Catholics and non-Christians do the Pope, or Buddhist and others, would of the Dali Lama, let us gather in a great circle, to pay homage to Max G. Beauvoir, the path he has forged for us, and the shade he provided each of us on our Gran Chemin — the Great Road of Life.”
In Vodou, to understand what life is, one would need to travel the Gran Chemi; however, to understand what death is, one would need to consult with Beauvoir, not at Mariani in Haiti, but at the crossroad in Ginen.
On September 12, 2005, Ati Hougan Max Gesner Beauvoir lost his battle against cancer at the tender age of 79 while residing at his home in Mariani. Beauvoir is survived by his daughter Rachel. His other daughter Estelle is with him at the crossroad in Ginen.
Homage was rendered to Beauvoir at his home-going which took place on September 15, 2015 in Haiti. On September 16, 2015, Haitians around the world gathered for a national tribute and traditional Vodou ceremony which commenced at his Hounfour (Vodou temple or peristyle) in Mariani.
May Ati Hougan Beauvoir have a peaceful transition and eternal life as Papa Ghede guides him to Ginen.
Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy” in the Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College and served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. Patrick Delices can be contacted at pdelices@gmail.com. Please visit his website at www.patrickdelices.com.
- See more at: http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/latin-america/at-the-crossroad-papa-ghede-guides-max-g-beauvoir-to#sthash.m6LbVZ8M.dpuf

AT THE CROSSROAD, PAPA GHEDE GUIDES MAX G. BEAUVOIR TO GINEN

Max G. Beauvoir, Patrick Delices, and James Small in Haiti (Photo courtesy of Patrick Delices).
-A +A
0
On September 12, 2015 as I rested on my couch contemplating the myriad problems that bedevil Black people, in which no Black politician, preacher, academic, lawyer, accountant, CEO, etc., has yet to solve; I received a telephone call from my intellectual and spiritual preceptor, Professor James Small. Prof. Small informed me that Papa Legba opened the door to the immaterial world for Max Gesner Beauvoir as Papa Ghede waited patiently at the crossroad to guide Beauvoir’s soul to the Ginen (Guinea), the ancestral-spiritual realm known as Africa.
In Haitian Vodou, the ancestral-spiritual realm is understood to be Africa, the place where humanity was born and the life-force abode where our souls, ancestral-spirits return to live. Prof. Small expressed that the goal of Haitian Vodou “is to be reborn by releasing the soul from the body to bring out the God within you for the greater good of humanity.” Thereby, for Prof. Small, “Max Beauvoir, for the greater good of humanity, brought out the God within all of us.”
“If Vodou is the soul of the Haitian people, Max was its eyes and heart,” asserted Prof. Small. Thus, Vodou, as Beauvoir would often remind us, is “the soul of the Haitian people” and it answers the philosophical and scientific questions of what is life and what is death? Although western society teaches us that life and death are separate entities where death is to be feared; Haitian Vodou teaches us that life and death are complimentary forces that are synthesize into one entity where death is simply an extension of life and should not be feared.
Last year in Haiti, with Prof. Small, I was fortunate to have spent some time with Max G. Beauvoir, one of Vodou's most venerated supreme servant (Supreme Servitur) and chief supreme, high priest (Ati Houngan). Ironically and prophetically, my visit to Haiti in addition to meeting with Beauvoir last year was providential as it took place during the same time of his transition this month to the afterlife. My meeting with Beauvoir was also providential because he taught me something that I have not learned in school - the secret of life, which is not to fear death.
Thus, with over 150 graduate credits and four graduate degrees, my time with Beauvoir in Haiti surpassed any graduate course that I have ever taken at any university. His wisdom was supreme as his humility along with his humanity was sublime. No trickery, no games, no pettiness or foolishness, Beauvoir was humble and honest as he took a sincere interest in my intellectual and spiritual development.
Similarly to Manning Marable at the scholarly level, Beauvoir at the spiritual level was ready and willing to take me under his guided wings to learn the sacred science and mystical craft of Haitian Vodou. Incidentally and undoubtedly, if properly embraced, Vodou would ensure the solutions to our problems as evident in the Haitian Revolutionary War of Independence of 1804 which created the first Black sovereign republic in the western hemisphere by eradicating the problem of slavery, colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and non-citizenship status for Blacks. Under the constitution of JanJak Desalin, the founding father of Haiti, every Black person was considered a citizen of the Republic of Haiti.
In Vodou, we learn the lessons of life along with its purpose, which is not to fear death because death does not exist - it is simply a continuation of life as we travel from the material world to the immaterial world. For practitioners of Vodou (vodouists), not fearing death along with serving the ancestors/spirits and understanding the universe is the only way to live life to its fullest.
Equally as important, it is also the only way to live forever as we are reborn during our transition from the material world to the immaterial world. Beauvoir would often state that “we are no longer afraid of dying” because Vodou teaches us that “nobody ever dies”- “we are the same essence with God” as manifested in nature, the ancestors, and the universe. Thus, for Beauvoir, “God is manifested to humans in sprits” and “cannot die!” Accordingly, Prof. Small stated that the power of Haitian Vodou teaches us that “we are gods having a human experience,” and “this powerful philosophical reality was Max Beauvoir greatest contribution to not only scholarship and service, but to our spiritual manifestation as gods on earth.”
For vodouists, the philosophical science of Vodou is the highest level of being liberated from those individuals who think that they can control our minds, bodies, and souls. Vodou, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, never financed nor sanctioned the enslavement, colonization, dehumanization, and genocide of millions of human beings. Vodou actually liberated people from slavery, colonization, dehumanization, and cultural genocide.
Vodou unifies the mind and body with the soul as it creates a synergy between two worlds: that of the material with that of the immaterial. Moreover, Vodou establishes the necessary synergy between the living and the dead. Therefore, Vodou respects life and death, and it is more than merely a religion.
Vodou is indeed a sacred philosophical science and as a sacerdotal scientist, Beauvoir was Vodou's highest priest and most supreme servant. Beauvoir provided us with a spiritual synthesis by cementing scholarship with service and by connecting the living with the dead and the dead with the living. Beauvoir also championed for the rights of vodouists as he advocated for an accurate portrayal of Vodou at a global scale.
Max Gesner Beauvoir was born in Haiti on August 25, 1936, two years after the U.S. Marines vacated Haiti and a day before Haitians celebrate the Kingdom of the Kongo by way of the Petro rites as manifested at Lakou Soukri. In celebrating the Kingdom of the Kongo, Haitians honor their ancestral homeland and the Congolese warriors, who during the Haitian Revolution played a prominent role in defeating the Napoleonic forces of France in 1804.
In 1958, Beauvoir earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at the City College of New York. From 1959 to 1962, Beauvoir studied at the Sorbonne where he earned a graduate degree in biochemistry. By 1965, he had a bright career with Cornell Medical Center as a leading biochemist/chemical engineer. However, in 1973, as his grandfather was meeting Papa Ghede at the crossroad; he summoned Beauvoir to a more promising career and higher calling – that of a Vodou priest.
A year later, in Mariani at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Beauvoir founded Le Péristyle de Mariani which served as a local Haitian Vodou temple and healing center. It is at around this time that a young Bill and Hillary Clinton met Beauvoir during their honeymoon in Haiti. Impressed and fascinated by Beauvoir and Vodou, Clinton in his autobiography, My Life, stated “I describe my brief foray into the world of voodoo because I’ve always been fascinated by the way different cultures try to make sense of life, nature, and the virtually universal belief that there is a nonphysical spirit force at work in the world that existed before humanity and will be here when we all are long gone.”
That nonphysical force that existed before humanity is the spirit. In Dahomey, the Fon word for spirit is Vodun. In Haiti, the word Vodou means in the company, family or house of gods or spirits. Furthermore, Vodou explains the scientific observations and explanations of the unknown, the invisible, or nothingness (spirits) which existed before humanity and will exist after humanity.
In understanding the above truism of Vodou, Beauvoir merged his scholarship and service with his spirituality by establishing vital spiritual, socio-political, and scholarly institutions, such as Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Traditionnelles (GERT), Bòde Nasyonal, the Temple of Yehwe, the KOSANBA group at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and Federasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen which was renamed Konfederasyon Nasyonal Vodou Ayisyen.
In addition to his institutional building, Beauvoir retained the patent for extracting hecogenin from plants in Haiti which led Harvard trained ethno-botanist Wade Davis to seek out Beauvoir for advice and intel regarding the living dead. Beauvoir’s advice and information helped Davis obtain his PhD at Harvard and it also led to a lucrative book deal and movie production known as the Serpent and the Rainbow.
Even though the Serpent and the Rainbow added to the unwarranted racial stereotypes of Ha