Haha! Ronald, you are “Inspector Gadget” of the Knob.
Tre L. Loadholt
11

The Weekly Knob prompt is broom? Hmm. Methinks someone is getting us ready for All Hollows. I’ve been thinking lately about the jumping the broom ceremony, I am also fascinated by Wicca and the Salem Witch Trials. Learned recently, from a Tom Robbins’s novel that Salem comes from Jerusalem and that is really two words Jeru Salem. And that Palestine comes to us from Palis, an ancient Donkey hermaphroditic deity.

But at the Salem trials there is a girl who is part Native American (Amerindian, not sure the correct term) and part I think maybe Dominican, not sure, who teaches the girls about divining from chicken eggs? Can’t remember exactly.

I am also very interested in Vodun, Santeria, white Umbanda and the Orisha of Nigeria and the way in which with the African Diaspora the Orisha get spread to the New World and exist has a totemic voice sublimating hegemony (usually white patriarchal but not always, often White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, WASP, the tea party founders) but also a vital strain woven into the fabric of modern America in art, music, culture and religion.

So I’m wondering if there is literature or research on whether the African American jump the broom wedding ceremony is related to African ceremonies and if they relate in any way to our sort of iconic candy Halloween definition of a flying witch?

I know that in the Nigerian region of what was traditionally Sokoto that is Muslim that there were traditionally Africans which were ethnically Middle Eastern transplants, the Fulani, and that the Orisha origins of voodoo and Santeria can mainly be traced to the Nigerian Christian sects (partially involving the role of British colonialism but also the role of Islam in combatting what it saw as either superstition or witchcraft) but is also present in variations of communist, democratic, Muslim, Christian sects, and individually as a hegemonic power structure beneath and subsuming all Nigerian politics and culture.

But that there is a region of ethnically African culturally communist religiously Muslim farmers where the men live communally in a region around where a young wife lives separately, that the tradition roughly comes from the Fulani and that the young wife is able to make a side-living doing hair, but also through selling fertilizer, swept up from the court between her house and the men’s where chicken are kept (the occasional goat or parrot as well).

And that while there are not supposed to be any magical tendencies left in this culture (the Fulani jihad of 1808, partially inspired by the Haitian revolt of Dessalines, sets free any African slave in Africa in Nigeria but at the cost of converting to Islam, thus giving up 'witchcraft' though the Fulani themselves still kept slaves) that it is still present. The Bush which had to be beat back to farm is cut with a machete (a Nigerian Yoruba word) which was sacred to Ogun and to Erinle. They believe that the Bush contains evil ghost spirits which need to be appeased.

The inner-head is sacred to Yoruba Nigerians and considered the province of Osun, goddess of fresh water and beauty. She is associated with brass, beauty and shiny objects, in South America with Oxun and waterfalls, yellow, gold and parrots. The practice of corn-row braiding comes from her devotees and has to do with the so-called five-paths (cinco caminos in Spanish) and the Ori (head) and Asi (inner-head) where gettin' your hair did (Missy) is important in terms of your spiritually, your future and your health.

So, these elements are still found, to a lesser extent, in the (non-Fulani) Muslim women farmers making side cash braiding hair and sweeping up chicken scraps for 'good dirt’ fert where similarly because of historical precedent involving slavery, colonialism and 19th century revolution and jihad, cultural artifacts continue to have totemic significance, namely the elements of the hair trade, and the machetes used for clearing bush for farming, where their cultural and religious significance has been systematically reduced by another form of patriarchy (Middle-Eastern born African variations on Islam, now present in Boku Haram) and/or erased or merely forgotten over generations. But the doorway threshold, with a step over it (similar to moving through sections of a submarine) to the young wife, making buck on the side as a voodoo hairdresser, takin in side jobs, broom wielding fortune teller, represents a magical portal and the broom is similar to a weapon used by their Yoruba cousins for young female warrioresses.

As far as I know, the jumping the broom ceremony is, like jazz, voodoo, soul food, hip-hop strictly American. But 'calling one out' and its antecedent calling one out on the carpet comes from these young female Yoruba warrior girls (dressed in bright red, protectors of the sacred calabash and adherents to Ogun) and the same form of public shaming is still found in the Sokoto Muslim young wife broom wielding hairdressers making a side-living, most often directed at no-good, money-owing, twelve sandwich eating older unmarried males still living in the communal hut with all the young dudes. Who also make a good side-living with other activities.

I don’t know, I did a lot of research on the subject researching the next book in my Road to Belroy series before my old 2008 Acer Windows Vista laptop crashed (thanks NSA stuxnet virus) and I lost all my work. So it is just stuck up in my head, a lot of time to gel I guess, but without a conclusion or thesis, mostly just random facts without cohesion most of which I can’t fact check because I’ve lost the sources in my notes.

But I do know there is too much left in my memory which matches up with things I can Google which turns out to be true for it all to be coincidence though in truth I’m not sure what that says and if there is any there there.

What I was left with becomes too racially and sexually charged, too veering on racism and sexism, in its conclusion for me, a white male, to really unabashedly go to without any shame or fear of misinterpreting without really examining how my own culture-bias and culture-deficits and ingrained prejudice inherent in my cultural upbringing would falsely influence my conclusion.

Oh! Just to add: I did, myself jump the broom, with Pamela, back in 1991. It seemed silly, but she insisted, before she took me to meet her Georgia cousins from down South at what I still think of as 'Big Hat Day’ down in the Valley of Paterson, NJ at the Seventh Adventists church one summer Saturday morning.

I guess that is why the sudden outpouring, forgive me if it was inappropriate. Shit, say broom da boy go on and on and on!

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