This Really Burns My Biscuits.

I am not a subscriber of the ‘ancient alien’ theory. In fact, I find the entire thing laughable and ridiculous. I have looked into it. I have read the book that started it all, Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daaniken. I gave it a shot; I really did. However, I just couldn’t put any faith in it. It doesn’t help that a lot of the ‘experts’ in this area could be qualified as complete nut jobs and quacks. I mean. No, you know what? Never mind. That’s not the point.

The point is that last night, I happened to catch an episode of Ancient Aliens, which is on the History channel. Occasionally, I watch the show because I learn new things. I’ve picked up various new pieces of information that are of vague interest to someone who wants to major in history. Well, last night, they were playing the episode, Aliens and Deadly Cults. I’m fascinated by ‘deadly cults’ and have done a lot of research on the topic. So, I thought, “What the hey? I can disregard the alien portion of the show.”

WRONG.

The entire premise behind the series would seem to have been that gods were really aliens that have come to us throughout the years. I’ve long since stopped ranting about this whenever I catch an episode or walk through the room when the Hubby is watching it. (I have not stopped from muttering deprecations under my breath.) However, in this particular episode, not only are the gods ancient aliens that were pulling the wool over our eyes, but they are also the very entities that were communicating with cult leaders. That the gods, wait, aliens were telling these people what to believe and how to go about it. And while the whole show premise is offensive to me, as a polytheist, it was something else entirely(in this particular episode) that got my blood boiling…

About ten to thirteen minutes into the program, they begin to talk about the Mexican cult leader, Adolfo Constanzo. He was a cult leader who offered his services to the drug cartels in the area, claiming that he could keep them from being found out by the cops. This went on for quite some time and I’m led to speculate that it was obviously fairly successful since he never ended up dead at the hand of the cartel he was working for. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The point stems from his religious beliefs: he was born into palo mayombe, which is a part of the African diaspora religions. It’s related to Haitian vodou and Santeria and and and. It’s just another version of a faith that has morphed throughout the centuries.

Apparently, however, his faith was closely related to Yoruba and Haitian vodou because the program was quick to mention this after they gave the gory details of Mr. Adolfo’s crimes. The deity that he had sanctified himself to was Kadiempembe. This deity is referred to in various articles as a Satan figure, but when I managed to catch what little information about him as I could, that while I found that Kadiempembe is considered a devil figure in their pantheon–and in worshiping him, one does not tread lightly–it would seem that this is the result of ‘Christianization.’ In an interesting aside, this deity was once considered the high god of the Congo peoples, to be replaced later (probably, also, do to ‘Christianization’) by Nzambi.

Before I move on, I would like to mention that it was spoken of with almost distaste that Mr. Adolfo practiced “witchcraft” and “sorcery.” One expert seemed almost surprised that he was using words like “spell.”

Back to Kadiempembe.

A statue is brought out and it’s made mention that it has wide eyes like the gray alien depictions. After this awe-inspiring piece of evidence, they mention that Kadiempembe is also known as Eshu. Now, Eshu is a cross-spiritual-barriers kind of a deity. He is found in Yoruba, Candomblé, Santería, and Lukumi. Eshu is a more common name found under direct lineage to Yoruba-based religions. However, Eshu is also known by numerous other names, such as Exu, Esu Eleggua, Esu Elegbara, Eshu Elegbara, Elegba, Legba, Papa Legba and Eleda. I would like to point out that nowhere in that extensive list does it say “Kadiempembe.”

But what really got to me was this point.

First, they were sure to point out that Eshu is a trickster deity. They were also good to point out that he was all around a “not nice” kind of a god. It wasn’t insomuch that this could be the truth, but how it was portrayed. They made it seem that his being a trickster was a very negative thing and that it only led people to bad places. “He’s the master of lies,” they said. Anyway, after going through this, the narrator says: “Eshu is also represented in Haitian vodou as Papa Legba. A god that has been linked with another notorious mass murderer.”

Say, what?

If I wasn’t pissed off before, I was getting there at this point. But, I decided to give what they had to say a shot. It could be an interesting avenue of research after I got done being severely fucking pissed off. Oh, boy. I should have just gone to bed then. “…Papa Legba can speak all languages, even the languages of animals. So he channels his energy through dogs and actually is somewhat fond of that particular species, so he’ll more often take that animal form than others. …The terrible serial murderer, the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, said he got his orders from dogs. One could speculate Papa Legba is speaking through the dog to the sinister end.”

WHAT THE FUCK.

WHAT THE FLYING MOTHER FUCK.

I am so beyond outraged at this as a person who worships Papa Legba, but also as a pagan. I feel like my beliefs are being stomped on, pissed on, and that on top of all of this bullshit, they’re laughing in my face to boot. And where the fuck did they get this shit about Papa Legba telling David Berkowitz to kill via dog chatter? And I mean, I have never once in all of the research I have ever fucking done on this lwa come across this, this affinity for dogs as is suggested in this program. Not to mention, as someone who was once a dark-interested teenager who did avid research on various serial killers, I can heartily assure everyone that it was NEVER suggested ANYWHERE that the Son of Sam killer was given orders from Papa Legba via the German shepherds he claimed were giving him these ideas.

I couldn’t watch anything else of that program. I just came within seconds of tossing a shoe at the TV, I was so mad. I couldn’t believe how completely one-sided and fear-inducing the whole shebang was. I understand that to get the good ratings, the show has to be edgier, darker, and willing to give a good scare. But, all they’re doing is giving more fodder for the people who hate pagans. They’re just giving them something more to look at when a cult leader is discovered abusing or killing the members. It’s just like Satanism being the be-all, end-all of all bad behavior in the 70s/80s. Now, it’ll be paganism.

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9 thoughts on “This Really Burns My Biscuits.

  1. You can’t be serious. If anything is rediculous about this, it is your over-reaction to a television show. Last I checked, the show said ‘one can speculate that …’ and not ‘every human must believe this and all pagans are evil,’ which seems to have been your takeaway.

    If anything, Ancient Aliens is far, far more ‘pagan-friendly’ than almost any another mass documentary program. It was a simple speculation about Eshu, not proclamation of fact. That’s what the show does: it speculates about the possible origins and futures of humankind and the possible extraterrestrial or divine intervention thereof.

    On another hand, I more than agree with you about the ‘slant’ of certain stories/facts/discourses on the show. Fact of the matter is, we live in a Christian dominated country and Ancient Aliens is already pretty controversial. It’s not like the scientist’s/scholar’s testimonies on the show fully reflect the final ‘spin’ given to the program — that’s the editor and director’s doing.

    Even still, the show does more good than bad, unlike your reaction to it. It shows (and hopefully educates) people on other cultures and (fingers crossed) opens their minds even the tiniest bit. Personally, I found the bit about Berkowitz to be humorous intellectual discourse and nothing more. Certainly not a slew of hateful, anti-pagan propaganda, which you seem to believe.

    So, instead of kvetching about the slight misappropriation of one deity the show mentions, instead revel in the fact a show that even mentions deities like Eshu is on the air.

    • By shitting all over the beliefs I hold deeply, this show is clearly not “pagan friendly”. The fact that you think of it in that context is fantastic… for you. After having to sit through a few of these episodes because the Husband watches it, I can assure you that no matter what you say or think, I will never consider this show friendly towards my religious persuasion.

      Also, by portraying the ATRs as superstitious drivel, they are clearly not “non-mainstream religion friendly.” They are in fact making it seem like religions such as Santeria, Palo Mayombe, Lukumi, and Vodou are “less than” and nothing more than superstitious drivel. This is a common occurrence in Hollywood based on the mistaken belief that Christianity is the religion of “sound reasoning.” The “mystically derived religions” of the “less than peoples” is a continuing and racially motivated piece of fucking bullshit that no one, whether they practice the religion or not, should tolerate.

      You obviously do, which is fantastic… for you. I, however, am not going to sit around and watch a completely fabricated shitty television show based on an even worse and shittily done theory written by a guy who can’t even get his facts straight.

      Also, if you don’t think I should “kvetch” about this stuff in my blog, then don’t read it.

    • Papa Legba is often synchronized with Saint Lazarus who does have an affinity with dogs. I assume that’s how they made the connection. Kadiempembe.couldn’t even be considered the Palo equivalent Of Papa Legba that would be Lucero. Kadiempembe. aka lukankasi is not evil per say but a very dark deity with a hot temper. He represents raw power and the impossible becoming possible such as lycanthrope.

  2. I am not in the least surprised that Ancient Aliens would pull that kind of sensationalist BS, because that is all the theory is. I haven’t seen the particular episode you’re talking about, but wow. wow. I would not have been able to keep from throwing things.

    That show, and Van Daniken and his cronies, are operating from a fundamentally racist and colonialist assumption that these “primitive” ancient peoples could not have possibly created the megaliths and temples and pyramids that they did without modern western technology and THEREFORE ALIENS. The whole thing is deeply insulting to, well, humanity in general! it relies upon bullshit deus ex machina savior complex only dressed up in pseudoscience and misreading of symbolism for a modern-day spooky aliens flair.

    And it seems that no matter how much people rail against it, there is never going to be any sort of acknowledgement from those behind the theory that yes it’s based in some deeply problematic views about the world.

    To the above poster, it sounds like you’re bordering on “stop worrying it’s just a show” territory and here I find it useful to mention Moff’s Law:
    http://www.racialicious.com/2009/12/21/and-we-shall-call-this-moffs-law/

    you can view it as a humorous show all you want, but please realize that other people might have different reactions than your own, and find it deeply problematic. Ancient Aliens might not be taken seriously by the general public but that doesn’t mean it can’t do more harm than good, and it doesn’t mean people who are offended and marginalized by its viewpoints have to sit down and shut up and be happy with the crumbs the show throws by mentioning pagans at all.

    • I have the exact same issue with the ancient alien theory: it’s pretty much assuming that humans are too stupid to do anything like create masterful works in architecture, mathematics, science, and art. We’re all drooling fucking idiots to the point where the thought that we may actually CREATE something as epic as the Pyramids or the Pythagorean theorum is too beyond us.

      Puh-fucking-leeze.

  3. All my colleagues agree on one thing. That “Ancient Aliens” deserves some credit; For being the only television show thus far, that gives it viewers A potpourri of the Ancients. It’s A horn of plenty- filled w/ theology, history as well it being THE ONLY American show to date; that tours UNESCO World heritage sites!
    An I believe I read that you were A Historian.. So aren’t you being A bit “square” in your presumptions that Ancient Aliens has nothing to offer?

    Furthermore Kadiempembe/ Khali-enpentdé, As well as A DOZEN other versions of this originally Northern African/ Congonese deity (we believe); has had its name ran through the mud & recycled multiple times. Unfortunately this is 100% due too the slave trade. Fingers can also point too [unequipped] 17-19th translations. Documented by Spanish/Portuguese friars, early American Historians/ theologians etc. One must also factor in that bondage tends to make private ritual come up absent in log books, If not disappear altogether. Please keep in mind that many African tribes had their Religions literally stolen from them, during both Islamic-Arabian Conquests. Understand that at the tip of A Saracen sword- many Northern Africans were forced to denounce their sacred beliefs. Thus through time, ambiguity sets in and meets “Lost in translation” years later. So when early American theologists read that the King’s English is now speaking of A Black [foreign God] named “Kali”, Who deals only in absolute’s. Stacked on top of the powerful ledgends of another -similar in annunciation- Congonese dark force named “Mokele-mbembe” (cryptid). Ergo, Modern theologians today can see where ALL THIS AMBIGUITY comes from. Throw in Eshu, Papa Legba even the Orishra stories brought over from South Americans migrating Northeast & everything “We think we know” is now one big misconstrued mess of let’s go ask Dr. Voodoo. Who than adds more names or lies to an orgey Stew of “Have they forgotten as well” or are they keeping secrets out of academia because they still hold a grudge. And Possibly see us as our taskmaster forefathers.
    In conclusion;
    When it comes to “Kadiempembe” & narrowing an origin or A precise narrative the jury is out & I don’t believe they’re coming back anytime soon. And that is probably how A Real trickster god would want it,,,, IF IT REALLY IS A TRICKSTER GOD TO BEGAN WITH.. Hmmm.

    PS: You have to admit its Really Odd the statue they show, that depicts “Eshu” (Kadiempembe contemporary) looks A lot Like A modern Grey Alien.. A Grey alien whose Org. template comes from an A.Crowley sketch, via A séance! A template we can also see in the Australian, Kimberley caves region (see: Wandjina Pictographs). All of which is A bit uncanny,, wether you believe in them or not. Those are spooky facts!

  4. I know this is an old post but just an FYI: It is not acceptable to mix and match or equate deities of different tribes. Eshu/Ellegua is not the same thing as Papa Legba. They are not the same entity. They are not honored in the same way. They do not have the same temperament.

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