You can’t control dance. It’s an act of self-expression – and what that means is that by dancing you’re taking a giant shovel and digging into your guts to see what you are made of.

Possession Trance

A journey into the fascinating world of the Voudoun religion of Haiti filmed by Maya Deren during 1947-1951, and edited posthumously by Teji and Cherel Ito. The viewer attends the rituals of Rada, Petro and Congo cults, whose devotees commune with the cosmic powers through invocations - ritual offerings, song and dance. The Voudoun pantheon of deities, or Ioa are introduced as living gods, actually taking possession of their devotees. Also featured are the Rara and Mardi Gras celebrations.

A fascinating journey into the world of Haiti's Voudoun religion. "Divine Horsemen" explores the rituals of the Rada, Petro and Congo cults. Also featured are the Rara and Mardi Gras celebrations. Because filmmaker Maya Deren was a Voudoun initiate, she was able to take her camera and recorder where few had gone before or since.

Between 1947 and 1951, pioneering experimental filmmaker Maya Deren lived in Haiti among followers of the Voudoun religion. She became an initiate herself after experiencing the possession of the Voudoun "living gods," giving her an unparalleled position from which to observe the rituals and dances practiced in the culture. Deren's respectful camera offers an unsensationalized view of the Rada, Petra, and Congo sects, as well as Mardi Gras celebrations and animal sacrifices. Deren was unfortunately unable to edit her footage during her lifetime, and this version was assembled by Teiji Ito and Cherel Ito.

Filmed from 1947-51 by Maya Deren. Deren lived in Haiti for over 10 years and filmed many hours of footage. However, she died before footage could be edited together. After her death, the film was edited by Teiji and Cherel Ito. A book by the same name on the same subject, written by Deren, is also available. Copyright: 1985 Cherel Ito.