Ròm San Domingo

“We use rum for many rituals”, Calviany told us. “When somebody dies in your house you sprinkle rum in all four corners of the room in which the person passed away. For certain rituals you take a shot of rum before and after the ceremony. The person who is with you at that moment also has to take a shot.”

“I remember we went to Bandabou to witness a ritual after a well-known elderly lady had passed away. One of the people present was the so-called ‘horse’, a person that could bridge the gap between people and spirits. As a horse you make your body available for the ritual and induce a deep trance.”

“This particular horse sat down in deep meditation and various ghosts spoke through him, we say the ghosts ‘mounted the horse’. Every ghost that mounts a horse asks for something. Most of the ghosts are saints. There always has to be someone present to supervise the process and protect the horse.”

“During these rituals the ghosts that mount the horse call people who are present to come salute. I was also called. When I went to salute the ghosts the horse started speaking a language that no one understood. He stood up on one foot holding two machetes and told me to step back. Other people started blowing rum in the face of the horse for it to return from its trance.”

“He stood up on one foot holding two machetes.”