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• En Guise d’Éditorial

Notre autorité parentale déclinera toujours quand on insiste à se mettre au diapason (qui souvent frise la compétition) avec nos enfants. Certains diront que cela ne concerne que la famille en question jusqu’au moment la délinquance de leurs enfants devient un carcan pour notre paix d’esprit et voire même notre sécurité physique.

If you are confused about which side to be, read the following article and suggested reading to hopefully formulate your own opinion. Bonne lecture!

The collapse of parenting: Why it’s time for parents to grow up

If anyone can be called the boss in modern, anti-hierarchical parenthood, it’s the children

Cathy Gulli | January 7, 2016

Young girl shouting to camera. (Stuart McClymont/Getty Images)
Young girl shouting to camera. (Stuart McClymont/Getty Images)

For modern families, the adage “food is love” might well be more true put another way: food is power. Not long ago, Dr. Leonard Sax was at a restaurant and overheard a father say to his daughter, “Honey, could you please do me a favour? Could you please just try one bite of your green peas?” To many people, this would have sounded like decent or maybe even sophisticated parenting—gentle coaxing formed as a question to get the child to co-operate without threatening her autonomy or creating a scene.

To Sax, a Pennsylvania family physician and psychologist famous for writing about children’s development, the situation epitomized something much worse: the recent collapse of parenting, which he says is at least partly to blame for kids becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and disrespectful of themselves and those around them.

The restaurant scene is a prime example of how all too often adults defer to kids because they have relinquished parental authority and lost confidence in themselves. They’re motivated by a desire to raise their children thoughtfully and respectfully. In theory, their intentions are good and their efforts impressive—moms and dads today are trying to build up their kids by giving them influence; they also want to please them and avoid conflict. In reality, parents are at risk of losing primacy over their children.

The dinner table is ground zero. “When parents begin to cede control to their kids, food choices are often the first thing to slide,” Sax writes in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. A rule such as “No dessert until you eat your broccoli” has recently morphed into “How about three bites of broccoli, and then you can have dessert?” The command has become a question capped with a bribe, as Sax puts it. Dinner at home requires polling kids on what they’re willing to eat; the options might include roast chicken and potatoes or chicken fingers and fries. You can bet which they choose. So parents renegotiate: How about sweet potato fries?

EDITORIAL_02Parents in North America have become prone to asking their children rather than telling them. “It’s natural,” says Gordon Neufeld, a prominent Vancouver psychologist cited in Sax’s book. “Intuitively, we know that if we’re coercive, we’re going to get resistance.” For trivial choices such as which colour of pants to wear, this approach is fine, he says. But “when we consult our children about issues that symbolize nurturance like food, we put them in the lead.” That triggers an innate psychological response, and their survival instincts activate: “They don’t feel taken care of and they start taking the alpha role.”

So if the girl served green peas does eat one bite as her dad asked, Sax says, “she is likely to believe that she has done her father a favour and that now he owes her a favour in return.” Food may be the first manifestation of the collapse of parenting, but many of the problems within families are a result of this type of role confusion. In this way, what happens over a meal is a metaphor for how uncomfortable parents have become in their position as the “alpha” or “pack leader” or “decider” of the family—the boss, the person in charge. The grown-up.

That discomfort comes from a loving place, of course. Many parents strive to raise their kids differently from how they grew up. They say, “I can’t do the stuff I was raised with, it doesn’t feel right. I don’t want to yell, I don’t want to spank,” says Andrea Nair, a psychotherapist and parenting educator in London, Ont. “There’s a massive parenting shift between our generation and the one before. We’ve come a long way from when you called your dad ‘sir’ and when he walked in the house you would jump out of ‘his’ chair.”

The evolution hasn’t been easy, though. “We’re trying to pull off the emotion coaching but we haven’t received the training,” says Nair. “It’s like teaching your kids to speak French while you’re learning it in the textbook.” Parents have made it a top priority that their kids feel heard and respected from a young age. They want to be emotionally available to them, and for their children to be able to express their own emotions. “Kids have permission to have tantrums now because [they’re] learning how to manage feelings,” says Nair. “Someone said to me, ‘Are we seeing more tantrums now than we used to?’ And I wonder.”


Parents also want a democratic household where each family member has a say about what happens—Should we go outside now? Are we ready to have a bath? Would you like to have the party here?—and they cultivate independence and freedom of thought in their children. Strict obedience used to be praised; now it is seen as outdated and potentially dangerous. Compliance might mean your kid is a pushover, which no parent wants, especially as bullying has spread from the schoolyard to cyberspace.

There are broader influences shifting the parent-child dynamic as well. Over the past half-century or more, the public has come to scorn power imbalances based on gender, race, religion and sexual orientation, and historic gains have been achieved in the pursuit of equality. Even corporations are now replacing pyramidal management with “flat organization.” In Western society, where equality for everyone has become a cultural objective and a constitutional right, children are treated like they are one more minority group to honour and empower. “Empower has come to seem virtuous,” Sax says. “Empower everyone, why not?”

But many kids are actually overpowering their parents. That’s the problem, say those working in child development. A functional family unit hinges on the one social construct that contemporary society has been working hard to dismantle: hierarchy. “You need a strong alpha presentation to inspire a child to trust you and depend upon you,” says Neufeld of parents. “If we don’t have enough natural power then we’re hard-pressed to [make] the demand or [set] the limit” for children. “The parent always has to be honoured as the ultimate person,” he continues. “We need to put parents back in the driver’s seat.”

If not, the consequences can be far-reaching, starting with children’s eating habits, which might contribute to them becoming overweight and obese. Like the father in the restaurant, many parents can’t convince their kids to eat well. It doesn’t help that junk food is sometimes a reward for acing a test or scoring a goal. The message: healthy food is for losers. On-demand snacking—in the car, at the mall, while out for a walk—appears to disrupt metabolism and circadian rhythms, as well as hormonal balance. That many parents carry with them a canteen of water and a stash of goodies wherever their kids go is further proof of how much they want to satisfy their children, literally and figuratively. “I don’t want them to get hypoglycemic,” one mom told Sax while lugging a cooler of snacks to her car for a 30-minute drive.

Contributing to the extraordinary weight gain among North American children in recent years is a dramatic decline in fitness. There is even a medical term for it, “deconditioning,” which is described in the Collapse of Parenting as a euphemism for “out of shape.” It has landed kids as young as 11 and 12 in the cardiologist’s office complaining of heart-disease symptoms including chest tightness and shortness of breath. In fact, some hospitals in the U.S. have even opened pediatric preventive cardiology clinics.

While children are less active than ever, they do not, ironically, get enough rest. A common question Sax asks students is, “What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time, when you are by yourself with no one watching?” The most common answer in recent years: sleep. That’s because children are too busy with school assignments and extracurricular activities to go to bed at a good hour, or because when they get to bed, they are on their cellphone or computer, or playing video games.

This chronic fatigue may be associated with the rise of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and prescription drug use among children. “Sleep deprivation mimics ADHD almost perfectly,” writes Sax. In his experience as a doctor, insufficient sleep is one reason why kids are more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. In general, “It is now easier to administer a pill prescribed by a board-certified physician, than to firmly instruct a child and impose consequences for bad behaviour.” Stephen Camarata, a professor of hearing and speech sciences and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville echoes that point: “Parents say, ‘My child can’t do this particular exercise, they’re not paying attention,’ therefore I have to identify them as having a clinical condition.” A medical diagnosis might negate parental shortcomings or a child’s misbehaviour. “It displaces that failure,” he says.

Camarata worries that parents are asking too much of kids too soon, as he outlines in his latest book, The Intuitive Parent: Why the Best Thing For Your Child Is You. He points to the surge of books, toys and software marketed to parents of young children promising to accelerate learning. The ubiquitous metaphor that kids are information sponges has parents saturating them with educational exercises. “We’re treating them like little hard drives,” says Camarata, but “this idea of pushing children to the absolute max of their developmental norm doesn’t give them time to reason and problem-solve. It actually undermines both self-confidence and fluid reasoning, or the ability to think.”

Schools, too, have been focusing more on academic achievement than socialization. Sax documents how, 30 years ago, American students in kindergarten and Grade 1 learned “Fulghum’s rules,” which include tenets such as “Don’t take things that aren’t yours” and “Clean up your own mess” as well as “Share everything” and “Don’t hit people.” But since the 1980s, as other nations pulled ahead of the U.S. in scholastic performance, the primary objective of educators has become literacy and numeracy. In Canada too, says Neufeld, “we have lost our culture. Our society is far more concerned that you perform. Schools will always drift to outcome-based things.”

That’s partly why a “culture of disrespect” has sprouted in North America. As kids have become less attached to and influenced by the adults in their lives, same-age peers have come to matter more to them. It’s a theme in Neufeld’s book, Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, co-authored by Dr. Gabor Maté. Young children “are not rational beings,” says Neufeld. Part of growing up is testing boundaries; little ones, by their very nature, can’t be relied on to hold each other accountable—nor should they.

“Kids are not born knowing right from wrong,” says Sax, pointing to longitudinal studies showing that children who are left to discover right from wrong on their own are more likely to have negative outcomes in the future: “That child in their late 20s is much more likely to be anxious, depressed, less likely to be gainfully employed, less likely to be healthy, more likely to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. We now know this,” he says. “Parents who are authoritative have better outcomes, and it’s a larger effect than the effect of race, ethnicity, household income or IQ.”


With stakes so high, authoritative parenting would seem imperative. But there is a psychological hurdle that people will have to overcome first, says Nair: “How to respect their child but also be the decider” of the family. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that parents don’t want to fail—at nurturing and governing simultaneously—and they certainly don’t want their children to fail in their personal development, in school and at social networking. These worries feed off each other in the minds of parents; that’s why parents second-guess the way they speak to their kids, what they feed them, how they discipline them and what activities they permit.

This is all the more true for the growing number of parents who delayed having children until they were “ready” with a secure job, a good home and a dependable partner. “People purposely wait so they can nail it,” says Bria Shantz, a 35-year-old mother of two in Vancouver. “That creates even more pressure. They want to get this perfect.” Shantz is, in fact, the daughter of Neufeld, and she has called upon him for advice or reassurance. That Shantz, who has a leading child psychologist in her family, one who helped raise her, can still occasionally succumb to parental insecurity, says everything about its potency: “There’s this slight panic. You want to do everything right,” she says. “Nothing prepares you for how much you want it to go well.”

So as soon as parents conceive, they begin amassing a library of books on how to deal with the fantastic chaos about to enter their lives in the form of a baby; the collection grows with each developmental stage. They subscribe to online newsletters and smartphone apps that alert them on milestones their children should reach by a certain age. From the outset, parents are tracking how quickly their child is growing, how much they are achieving. For every expert a parent consults by phone or in person, they’re also checking in with the virtual wise man, Google. That almost never helps.

There is no parental concern too obscure not to have an online group devoted to it. Shantz is part of one focused on “baby-wearing” because she’s trying to decide whether a “wrap” or a “ring sling” would be better for her nine-month-old. “It’s the weirdest site to be on. You see posts and you feel guilty because [parents] are carrying their babies everywhere, doing all these things, having this connection.” And yet Shantz hasn’t been able to delete herself from the group, even though she keeps meaning to; nor has she been able to pick between a wrap or sling.

That pull and push moms and dads feel­—between caring about how other parents are raising their kids while rejecting the constant comparisons—defines this generation of parents for better and worse. Katie Hurley, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles and author of The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World, says, “We’ve been conditioned to question ourselves—to constantly look for information to make sure we’re doing it right. Because of that, parents are in a state of learned helplessness.”

So what are people supposed to do? The answer is so basic that at first it might seem unsatisfying: For starters, says Hurley, realize that “nobody knows what they’re doing when they leave the hospital with an infant. Every parent learns by trial and error”—every year of their child’s life, and with every child they raise. That’s as true today as it ever was, and parents who recognize this will shed some guilt and anxiety. Building on this idea, Nair says that parents must “have a higher tolerance for things not going well.” How they recover from their own occasional mistake, outburst, loss of patience or bad call may say more to a child than how they are in happy times. “We’re missing that opportunity, which is how learning works,” she says. “That’s how we become more confident.”

A significant portion of Sax’s book is devoted to the importance of parents modelling traits they want to encourage in their children. Chief among them, he says, should be humility and conscientiousness—which run counter to inflating a child’s self-esteem and sense of entitlement. To that end, he encourages parents to fortify their adult relationships so they are not overly concerned with pleasing their kids as a way of satisfying their own need for affection. Neufeld also urges parents, including his own adult children, to establish a network of surrogate caregivers—relatives, neighbours, daycare workers—who will not undermine their authority but back them up when they need help.

And invariably, they will. “Parenting is awfully frustrating and often a lonely place,” says Neufeld, especially when a child misbehaves. In those moments, he recommends parents reassure kids that their relationship isn’t broken. “When parents realize that they are their children’s best bet, it challenges them to their own maturity.” It gives them the confidence that they know what’s good for their kids, and that they should stand up to them—this is, in fact, an act of love required of parents. They become, in effect, the grown-ups their children need.

 Books by the same author:

Suggested Reading:

• Through the Grapevine…

Things read &/or heard here and there that may interest you or strike your fancy…

Click on the images and links to find out what our grapevine holds…























































































MARCH 2016

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In this issue:

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• En Guise d’Éditorial

How often do we wonder and have questions about specific behaviors that set us apart from most people around us? We might even ponder at times if we are from another planet. If you often seem to have an extra pair of eyes that can see the not so obvious and a heart that feels with an unusual acuity, you might be an empath. As the name suggests, an empath is someone who displays an abundance of understanding in certain circumstances. The following article is a study of that particular phenomenon. Read on to find out if you or someone in your immediate circle belong to that special group of people.

30 Traits of an Empath – How to know if you are an empath

What is an empath?

Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods.  Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  You either are an empath or you aren’t.  It’s not a trait that is learned.  You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others.  Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily.  These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.  Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.


Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others).

However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at “blocking out” others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings.

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.

Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!”

Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren’t released, the more power they build. The thoughts and/or emotions can eventually becoming explosive, if not crippling. The need to express oneself honestly is a form of healing and a choice open to all. To not do so can result in a breakdown of the person and result in mental/emotional instability or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease.

Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and may have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.

You will find empaths working with people, animals or nature with a true passion and dedication to help them. They are often tireless teachers and/or caretakers for our environment and all within it. Many volunteers are empathic and give up personal time to help others without pay and/or recognition.

Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the “keepers” of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history. Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree.

They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments, and others can query how empaths can listen to one style of music, and within minutes, change to something entirely different. Lyrics within a song can have adverse, powerful effects on empaths, especially if it is relevant to a recent experience. In these moments, it is advisable for empaths to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with their emotions!

They are just as expressive with body language as with words, thoughts, and feelings. Their creativity is often expressed through dance, acting, and bodily movements. Empaths can project an incredible amount of energy portraying and/or releasing emotion. Empaths can become lost in the music, to the point of being in a trance-like state; they become one with the music through the expression of their physical bodies. They describe this feeling as a time when all else around them is almost non-existent

People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet!

Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding. Then again, for empaths, it is always nice to actually be heard themselves!

Here are the listeners of life. They can be outgoing, bubbly, enthusiastic and a joy to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments! On the flip side, empaths can be weighted with mood swings that will have others around them want to jump overboard and abandon ship! The thoughts and feelings empaths receive from any and all in their life can be so overwhelming (if not understood) that their moods can fluctuate with lightning speed. One moment they may be delightfully happy and with a flick of the switch, miserable.

Abandoning an empath in the throes of alternating moods can create detrimental effects. A simple return of empathic love–listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment and/or condemnation–can go an incredibly long way to an empath’s instant recovery. Many empaths don’t understand what is occurring within them. They literally have no idea that another person’s emotions are now felt, as one’s own and reflected outwardly. They are confused as to how one moment all was well, and then the next, they feel so depressed, alone, etc. The need to understand the possibilities of empath connection is a vital part of the empaths journey for themselves and for those around them.

Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for peace of mind. This can certainly prove beneficial for others in their relationships, in the workplace, or on the home front. Where there is a will, there is a way and the empath will find it. The empath can literally (likely without the knowledge of what’s actually occurring) tap into Universal Knowledge and be receptive to guidance in solving anything they put their head and hearts into.

Empaths often are vivid and/or lucid dreamers. They can dream in detail and are inquisitive of dream content. Often they feel as though the dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of nonsensical, irrelevant, meaningless images. This curiosity will lead many empathic dreamers to unravel some of the “mysterious” dream contents from an early age and connect the interpretation to its relevance in their physical life. If not, they may be led to dream interpretations through other means.

Empaths are daydreamers with difficulty keeping focused on the mundane. If life isn’t stimulating, off an empath will go into a detached state of mind. They will go somewhere, anywhere, in a thought that appears detached from the physical reality, yet is alive and active for they really are off and away. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths will not be receptive to such teaching and can (unintentionally) drift into a state of daydreaming.

Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors.

Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. What may initially start as, “Oh, what a coincidence”, will lead to the understanding of synchronicities as an aspect of who they are. These synchronicities will become a welcomed and continually expanding occurrence. As an understanding of self grows, the synchronicities become more fluent and free flowing. The synchronicities can promote a feeling of euphoria as empaths identify with them and appreciate the connection to their empathic nature.

Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives. NDE’s (Near death experiences) and or OBE’s (Out of body experiences) can catapult an unaware empath into the awakening period and provide the momentum for a journey of discovery. Those who get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work etc., can become lost in a mechanical way of living that provides very little meaning. All “signs of guidance” are ignored to shift out of this state of “doing”. A path to being whole again becomes evident and a search for more meaning in one’s life begins.

These types of experiences appear dramatic, can be life-altering indeed, and are most assuredly just as intensely memorable in years to come. They are the voice of guidance encouraging us to pursue our journey in awareness. Sometimes, some of us require that extra assistance!

For some empaths, the lack of outside understanding towards paranormal events they experience, may lead to suppressing such abilities. (Most of these abilities are very natural and not a coincidence.) Empaths may unknowingly adopt the positive or negative attitude of others as their own. (This, however, can be overcome.) Empaths may need to follow interests in the paranormal and the unexplained with curiosity so as to explain and accept their life circumstances.

Here are 30 of the most common traits:

1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.

24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath.

Empaths are having a particularly difficult time at the present time, picking up on all the negative emotions that are being emanated into the world from the populace.



Suggested Reading:


• Through the Grapevine…

Things heard here & there that may interest you or strike your fancy…

Click on the images and links to find out what our grapevine holds…

Primaries and Caucuses

In America’s two-party political system, political parties rely on primary elections and caucuses to nominate candidates for general elections. Political parties provide resources to the candidates they nominate, including endorsements, social contacts, and financial support. Consequently, attaining a party nomination by winning a primary election or caucus is a necessary step to becoming a major election candidate. Primaries are held on different dates in different states and give national candidates an opportunity to campaign to smaller audiences than during the general election. The candidate who wins each state vote is granted a certain number of delegates,depending on the state’s size, and the candidate with the most party delegates becomes the party’s general election nominee. Not every election is preceded by a primary season, but most major races, such as presidential and congressional races, use primaries to narrow the field of candidates.


Primary Elections

Primaries began to be widely used in the United States during the Progressive Era in the early 1900s. The impetus behind establishing them was to give more power to voters, rather than allowing behind the scenes political maneuverers to choose major candidates. In modern elections, primaries are seen as beneficial to both voters and parties in many ways – voters are able to choose between a range of candidates who fit within a broader liberal or conservative ideology, and parties are able to withhold support of a candidate until they have demonstrated an ability to gain public support.

Primary rules vary by state, as does the importance of their outcomes. Primaries may be classified as closed, semi-closed, semi-open, or open. In a closed primary, only voters who are registered with the party holding the primary are allowed to vote. In other words, registered Republicans can only vote to choose a candidate from the Republican field, and Democrats can only vote in the Democratic primary. In a semi-closed system, voters need not register with a party before the election, therefore independent voters may choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. In an open primary system, voters can vote in either primary regardless of affiliation. Open primaries are the most controversial form in American politics. Supporters argue that open primaries give more power to the voter and less to the party, since voters are not tied to voting for a party that does not produce a good candidate. Critics, however, argue that open primaries will lead to vote raiding, a practice in which party members vote in the opposing party’s primary in an attempt to nominate a weak candidate.


Whereas primaries follow the same polling practices as general elections, caucuses are structured quite differently. In nominating caucuses, small groups of voters and state party representatives meet to nominate a candidate. Caucuses vary between the states in which they are held, however, generally they include speeches from party representatives, voter debate, and then voting by either a show of hands or a secret ballot . Like primaries, caucuses result in state delegates being allocated to a particular candidate, to nominate that candidate to the general election. The vast majority of states use primaries to nominate a candidate, but caucuses are notably used in Iowa, which is traditionally the first state to vote in the primary/caucus season. Since Iowa is first, it has a large impact on the primary season, as it gives one candidate from each party an advantage as they move into other state votes. Due to its small population and the small-scale, intimate structure of its caucuses, Iowa is notorious for allowing lesser- known candidates to do unexpectedly well.

Source: Boundless. “Primaries and Caucuses.” Boundless Political Science. Boundless, 14 Oct. 2015. Retrieved 30 Jan. 2016 from






• Sak pase, Ayiti Cheri?

Here are the recent news from or about Haiti and its people. Click on the pictures to access the articles.




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• Atis Lakay – Lobenson Civilma


ATIS LAKAY 10Récemment, j’ai fait une fabuleuse découverte que je suis impatiente de soumettre à l’estimation du lectorat de Coucou Magazine. Je vous laisse donc le soin d’apprécier ce jeune sculpteur haïtien aux doigts magiques à travers quelques pièces de son œuvre.

LOBENSON CIVILMA se presente comme suit, d’apres une interview dont la suite peut se lire ICI.

Je suis né le 7 octobre 1982 à Port-au-Prince Haiti. Après des études classiques, j’ai étudié l’Art Plastique au Centre d’Art de Port-au-Prince puis l’Histoire de l’Art & Archéologie à l’Université d’État d’Haiti (IERAH/IRESS). J’ai aussi obtenu un diplôme de plasticien après 4 ans passé à l’ENARTS (École Nationale des Arts); durant cette période j’ai suivi pendant deux ans une formation diplômante de muséologie et conservation du patrimoine à l’Université de Quisqueya en collaboration avec le collège Montmorency du Québec.

J’ai commencé à sculpter en 2007, aujourd’hui cela fait parti de moi. J’éprouve un bien être quand je sculpte, c’est pour moi une véritable obsession!


Les créations de Lobenson Civilma


Un cadeau de St. Valentin pour la délectation du lectorat de Coucou Magazine… Enjoy!




Love Quotes

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This Black History Month, we are honoring

Edition Feature 1

To chore assign or not to chore assign? That is the question of the day. What is your take on the matter? Do you see it as some kind of “child slavery” or teaching responsibility at an early stage in life? If you are confused about which side to be, read the following article and suggested reading to hopefully formulate your own opinion. Bonne lecture!

21% of Parents Don’t Require Their Kids to Do Chores

Ever feel like a meanie by requiring your kids to help with family chores, such as folding laundry or washing dishes? You shouldn’t, because as Time Magazine reports, children whose parents require them to do chores are likely to be more successful in life.

Reporting on a recent survey from Funifi, TIME notes the ups and downs of chores:

“Setting regular chores probably means you will argue more. A third of parents in the U.S. who require their youngsters to perform regular household duties argue with them once a week, according to the survey. That compares with just 21% of parents that do not require that their kids perform household chores.

But the payoff is big. According to the survey, among parents who require chores:

  • 87% report their kids are doing well in school, vs. 61% of parents who do not require chores.
  • 92% report their kids are creative, vs. 80% of parents who do not require chores.
  • 88% regard their kids as responsible, vs. 63% of parents who do not require chores.
  • 92% regard their kids as disciplined, vs. 78% of parents who do not require chores.”

There are an increasing number of complaints in today’s society that many in the younger generation have an overly-sensitive, entitled approach to family, school, and work. Would we see a decline in this type of attitude if more parents sought to instill responsibility and a strong work ethic in their children through chores like those in the list below?


Suggested Reading:



& Celebrating Haiti Independence Day!




La célèbre créatrice de mode Murielle Leconte se passe aisément de présentation. Elle est bien connue tant sur la scène haïtienne qu’à l’étranger. Son style, très apprécié, a été émulé par plus d’un. Voici une brève introduction pour ceux dont la renommée de ce phénomène national n’est pas parvenue jusqu’ici.

Biographie Murielle LECONTE
Murielle Leconte – Cool! Murielle de formation est Ingénieur, danseuse, et artiste peintre, née un 8 décembre à Port-au-Prince; toute sa vie depuis tantôt quatorze ans (15 ans) elle s’adonne à la danse, à la peinture sur vêtements, verres, céramiques, crée de jolies sac à main, des bijoux en corne, des coussins, des nappes sur commande, des vêtements pour hommes, femmes et enfants, Enfin c’est une artiste dans l’âme qui travaille pour tous les goûts et pour satisfaire sa clientèle. Ses créations sont uniques, originales; le public haïtien apprécie fort ses œuvres et sur Hi 5 ses fans à travers leurs écrits le prouve bien et c’est ce qui l’encourage. Chaque année, elle fête Murielle Créations en organisant régulièrement des défilés de mode et expositions de peinture.

Contact Information:

Murielle Leconte, PDG

Route de Frères, Pétion-ville, HAITI

Phone: 509-401-0051 / 509-257-6527


Les créations de Murielle Leconte



Je ne saurais passer sous silence cette récente trouvaille que je juge de toute importance, non pas pour un sélect groupe d’individus, mais pour l’humanité toute entière. Le phénomène de la création a soulevé bien des débats dans le passé et en enfantera davantage après connaissance de cette évidence scientifique sur la légitimité d’Adam et d’Eve. Il est un fait certain qu’il défrayera la chronique pendant longtemps. Je vous invite donc à prendre lecture de l’article qui suit sans délai, puis de vérifier à votre gré et surtout de commenter ici au bas de la page.  J’ai hâte de savoir ce que vous en pensez.

Genetics Expert Confirms the Reality of Adam and Eve

Modern-day DNA research is confirming the biblical account of Adam and Eve, according to one genetics expert.

Though Jeason’s timeline differs, his research echoes a study claiming all men can trace their lineage to a single man who lived 135,000 years ago, a “Genetic Adam.”                                                           “The Y chromosome is passed down identically from father to son, so mutations, or point changes, in the male sex chromosome can trace the male line back to the father of all humans,” LiveScience’s Tia Ghose writes. “By contrast, DNA from the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell, is carried inside the egg, so only women pass it on to their children. The DNA hidden inside mitochondria,          therefore, can reveal the maternal lineage to an ancient Eve.”

 Answers in Genesis’ Georgia Purdom has recently released a documentary explaining her findings and the scientific support for the records presented in Genesis.

“One of the most compelling genetic evidences for an original human couple created by God is mitochondrial DNA research done by creation geneticist, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson,” Purdom says. “He clearly shows that the common human female ancestor of us all (biblical Eve) lived within the biblical timeframe of several thousand years ago.”

Jeanson has also done research disproving the evolutionary timescale.

What the scientific jargon breaks down to is this: If evolution were true, if men and women had been roaming the planet for years, there would be more genetic diversity.

By focusing on the DNA, these scientists have been able to evaluate that men and women can trace their roots back to a man and woman, Jeason writes.

Though Jeason’s timeline differs, his research echoes a study claiming all men can trace their lineage to a single man who lived 135,000 years ago, a “Genetic Adam.”

“The Y chromosome is passed down identically from father to son, so mutations, or point changes, in the male sex chromosome can trace the male line back to the father of all humans,” LiveScience’s Tia Ghose writes. “By contrast, DNA from the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell, is carried inside the egg, so only women pass it on to their children. The DNA hidden inside mitochondria, therefore, can reveal the maternal lineage to an ancient Eve.”

For creationists, the scientific evidence backs not only the existence of Adam and Eve and the truth of Genesis, but the overwhelming support for the need of Christ in a broken world.

Without Adam, Eve and original sin, Purdom says, we wouldn’t have a need for a Savior—and salvation wouldn’t be a necessity.

But through this research, geneticists are proving the case for Christ, not just creation.

“We need the good news, grace and life, which is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Purdom says. “Jesus is the solution to the problem of evil that began in Genesis 3. Paul made this connection very clear in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15.”

SOURCE: Catholic Say

For your edification or enjoyment, here is a list of books and articles worth reading.

Résumé – En faisant recours à l’anthropologie, à la littérature et à l’histoire haïtiennes, l’article explore les liens qu’entretient le vodou d’Haïti avec le handicap et la maladie.

Le vodou, la déficience, la chute

par Denis Poizat [Maître de conférences à l’université Lumière Lyon 2]

IDEES DE LECTURE 01Le vodou d’Haïti nous aide à explorer les arrière-mondes de la déficience et de la maladie. Tournons-nous vers ce pays des Caraïbes, première République noire dont on célébrait, en 2004, le bicentenaire de l’indépendance. Combien de personnages en ont écrit la fresque? N’en citons qu’un, le chétif Toussaint Louverture . qu’on surnomme « fatras bâton » du fait de sa constitution fragile, étant lui-même « presque infirme » . D’autres, en revanche, sont de plus sinistre mémoire : le roi Christophe , par exemple, les deux présidents à vie Duvalier, le général Cédras ou, dernièrement, Aristide, curé des pauvres défroqué.

Romain Gary et André Breton comprennent, au début du xxe siècle, combien Haïti présente une expérience saisissante. Michel Leiris salue le récit de William B. Seabrook . tandis que naît la société d’ethnologie haïtienne, attirant vers elle savants et intellectuels haïtiens, africains, européens, américains. Haïti figure, dans les années 1930, l’un des pivots de la réflexion sur la négritude de l’étudiant Senghor.

Aucune énigme à découdre ici, sinon la quête de quelques traces, références ou sédiments qui nous parlent de la diversité humaine dans le panthéon vodou et dans la littérature haïtienne. À évoquer ici le vodou haïtien, on se plaît à citer Justin Lhérisson : « Dans ce pays, l’impossible est possible et le possible impossible. Retenez bien cela et vous ne vous étonnerez de rien, ou plutôt vous vous étonnerez qu’on puisse encore s’étonner de quelque chose. »


Moreau de Saint Méry fut l’un des premiers à décrire, en les condamnant, les rites religieux des esclaves arrivés à Hispaniola, mais la première description ethnographique du monde vodou ne paraît qu’en 1885.  Qui serait tenté d’y voir une religion ancestrale, que les siècles auraient affadie ou folklorisée, devrait admettre que rien n’est pur dans le vodou. La colonie n’a pas perverti une religion qui lui préexistait. Le vodou est le fait de la confrontation des esclaves provenant de différents pays d’Afrique aux rares Indiens Arawak, mais surtout fruit du frottement avec les colons chrétiens. Pas de pureté donc, ni d’orthodoxie véritable, mais un syncrétisme qui, depuis le lointain Dahomey jusqu’à Bahia, au Brésil, constitue l’arc de genèse, de circulation et de transformation du vodou. Ses rites, pour savants qu’ils puissent être parfois, ne sont pas toujours fixés. Ils laissent place à cent pratiques différentes . Son clergé concède une part importante aux femmes : hounsi, mambos qui, comme les sorciers houngans, savent tracer sur le sol avec une rare dextérité les vèvès, formes symboliques, à l’aide de farine, de cendre, ou d’un autre procédé. Cette diversité donne à entendre la récitation des pater alors qu’on en appelle dans le même temps à l’esprit Damballah. La cloche de l’église catholique, du temple protestant ou des témoins de Jéhovah résonne quand on frappe le tambour dans les lakous . Au point, en effet, que les spécialistes doutent aujourd’hui qu’il s’agisse seulement d’une religion , bien que l’État haïtien ait reconnu le vodou comme telle en 2003. C’est plus que cela : un art de vivre .qu’accompagnent de constantes métamorphoses. Il était pénalement prohibé jusqu’à la révision du Code pénal, en 1953. Deux principales forces lui ont été hostiles : la présence américaine en Haïti entre 1915 et 1934 et la campagne catholique de la « renonce » en 1941-1942, tant on redoutait son air de révolte contre les persécutions politiques et policières.

Un art de vivre donc, car les esprits pénètrent tous les pans de l’existence. Chacun leur doit empreinte ou signe : amour, santé, éducation, travail, nature, pouvoir. En observant cette sorte de « paganisme d’Occident », cela nous permet, écrit Alfred Métraux en 1957, « de renouer avec notre vieil héritage classique ». Le vodou « nous séduit aussi un peu à la manière des contes de fées en nous transportant dans un monde magique sans nous demander d’abdiquer nos habitudes et nos liens avec le présent ».

Dans ses formes publiques et domestiques, le vodou irradie tout. Alfred Métraux ne manque pas de relever ce qui frappe aujourd’hui encore le visiteur s’enquérant de la santé du paysan sur la sente d’un morne : « Pas plus mal ! » est la réponse assurée. Alfred Métraux y voit l’affirmation selon laquelle toute bonne fortune aurait, d’une manière ou d’une autre, trait à quelque tractation avec les esprits.

Le monde politique haïtien, à commencer par les héros de l’indépendance, n’en était pas éloigné, pas moins sans doute que le tyran Duvalier père, médecin spécialiste du pian et ethnologue, qui sut asseoir en partie son pouvoir sur la connaissance du vodou et amplifier, par une forme d’indigénisme , le recours à son usage. Ce mouvement de l’indigénisme haïtien (1920-1940), observé par l’anthropologie et l’histoire des religions, révèle, comme en Afrique et dans les Amériques, le recours à la culture populaire pour l’édification d’une littérature parfois nationaliste. Elle a ouvert les intellectuels haïtiens à la reconnaissance de ce qui fut longtemps méprisé. Nègre, médecin, anthropologue, intellectuel, tel est le portrait de Jean Price Mars qui réfracte à lui seul tous les regards portés sur le vodou.

Nous verrons, malgré les risques de folklorisation à laquelle une rapide présentation s’expose, que le rapport du vodou avec la déficience puise d’abord aux sources du rite. Cependant, nous tenterons de montrer que ces points renvoient, notamment dans la littérature haïtienne, à une conception inquiétante de la déficience.

Brossons maintenant quelques aspects du vodou dans les liens qu’il établit avec la déficience et la maladie.


Le panthéon vodou, selon l’écrivain haïtien Louis-Philippe Dalembert  se trouve « au cœur des corps ». Faiseurs d’ordre et de désordre, les esprits les traversent. Ils les possédent comme un cavalier son cheval, entraînant transes et danses, érotiques parfois, autour du poteau central . Il arrive que leslwas (les esprits) agressent le corps et tourmentent l’esprit. Ainsi, les êtres possédés par l’esprit Damballah-Wedo, que les vodouisants comparent à Moïse, bégaient . Le ko krasé (corps écrasé), dekonpoze (décomposé), demanbre(démembré) est le corps malade, mais il peut être aussi le corps possédé. Petit bon ange pour l’esprit, gros bon ange pour le nom , kadav ko (corps cadavre), on ne sait quelle part de l’individu participant au rituel est assaillie. Le corps est ainsi donné comme a priori vulnérable dès lors que nul esprit ne le protège.

Qu’un possédé mange un mets préparé pour un lwa, c’est l’esprit lui-même qui s’en repaît. Les personnes initiées succombent à cette conquête au point que, dans certains cas, des femmes procèdent à des mariages mystiques, ritualisant des épousailles avec l’esprit qui devient à la fois époux, parfois même père ou mère. C’est moins la justice que la pitié que les vodouisants sollicitent des esprits . Leur mansuétude doit être flattée, faute de quoi ils peuvent envoyer sur les hommes de grands tourments. Ainsi, la folie, d’après Métraux, « est presque toujours un châtiment surnaturel  ». Capricieux, les esprits peuvent jurer, blaguer, boire comme des outres, et exiger des hommes nourriture, obéissance et promesses. Lorsque mal nourris, ils le font savoir. Antoinette Z’haubans « réclame du sang ou, à la rigueur, une bouillie de manioc au lait, bien sucré ». Lors de certaines cérémonies, l’officiant jette alentour fruits secs, maïs grillé, cacahuètes pour les esprits des morts n’osant pénétrer dans le péristyle ; ils sont, du reste, le plus souvent misérables et infirmes, rapporte Alfred Métraux . Les écarts au culte dû aux esprits seraient punis par certains troubles : le mal kadi (épilepsie), par exemple, serait la juteuse spécialité de certains houngans qui ne soignent que des maladies surnaturelles.

Crainte des esprits donc, dont les noms sonnent de manière proche et lointaine : Agaou Frégate, Ogou-ferraille, Marinette Pied Cassé, ou encore Legba, ancienne figure du panthéon dahoméen que les vodouisants ont métamorphosée en un vieillard impotent marchant avec des béquilles et surnommé Legba-pied-cassé . C’est lui qu’on invoque avant tous les autres esprits dans les cérémonies car il est le gardien des barrières, l’intercesseur des hommes auprès des autres esprits. C’est lui, comme garde des frontières, qu’on sollicite pour guérir les maladies des trous du corps , comme son équivalent Exu dans le Candomblé du Brésil. L’on trouve Zaka, qui boite également, affecté d’une lésion pianique  et qui se manifeste aux hommes vêtu en paysan pauvre, mais aussi Ti Jean petro, « nain à un seul pied », que l’on rencontre au Brésil sous le nom de Joazinho . Et puis, on cite Bossu Trois Cornes, qui compte parmi les esprits du Dahomey, où il aurait été « un monstre sacré » servi par les rois eux-mêmes.

Autres croyances ; celle d’abord qui confère aux zobops le pouvoir de se métamorphoser en créatures prodigieuses : « Ils allongent leur tête, durcissent leurs traits et se transforment, selon leur désir, en boucs, en coqs géants ou nains » Ils sont le produit de l’imagination populaire comme en témoignent les minutes des tribunaux ecclésiastiques. Nombre de sorciers, porteurs du « point loup garou », ont la capacité de se changer durant la nuit en animal : vache, cochon ou chat ; ils en profitent pour jouer des tours à des passants. La frayeur, en gâtant le sang de leurs victimes, génère ainsi quantité de maladies .. L’on mentionne également la possibilité d’acheter une âme, en bouteille ; les plus redoutables étant celles d’anciens sorciers qu’un « baigneur de cadavre » a capturées pour les vendre. La proximité de ces âmes avec des mauvais esprits rôdant dans les campagnes, épousant parfois l’allure de monstres, évoque les noms de Ti-Jean Pied Chèche, Ezili-jé-rouge, Marinette-bois-chèche, par exemple, qui, terrorisant les voyageurs, demanderaient même, par duperie, des sacrifices humains. Les descriptions de ces esprits oscillent. Ici, l’on trouve Ezili kokobe (la recroquevillée) et là, l’on côtoie la Grande Ezili, perclue de rhumatismes, qui se traîne sur les genoux. Des esprits, tel Baron Samdi, portant redingote, haut-de-forme et lunettes de soleil, semblent bien identifiés alors que d’autres ont disparu ou sont oubliés. Il est difficile, en effet, de retrouver trace du tohossou, esprit « des enfants anormaux et monstrueux adorés au Dahomey  ».

Dans un autre registre, il n’est pas impossible de rencontrer des « expéditions » au détour d’un chemin. Il s’agit pour le houngan d’envoyer la mort à un individu, s’appuyant en cela d’abord sur saint Expédit et sur Baron Samdi. Les maladies issues d’une expédition sont difficiles à soigner tant la mort est agrippeuse. Le samedi et le mois de décembre, en règle générale, seraient plus dangereux que toute autre période si l’on est exposé aux maléfices.

C’est le sort de certains vodouisants, une fois passés de vie à trépas, que de séjourner un an et un jour dans l’eau. Lorsque le froid les gagne, ils sollicitent les vivants qui, s’ils ne répondent pas à la requête, sont accablés par de graves problèmes de santé.

Entre autres aspects, le culte voué aux jumeaux, faisant intervenir les prodiges de la génétique, s’étend aux malformations anatomiques. Le fait, par exemple, qu’une personne naisse « avec les doigts collés ou six doigts prouve qu’elle a mangé son frère dans le ventre maternel  ». En Haïti, et plus largement dans la Caraïbe, qu’une femme enceinte sursaute en apercevant une personne « infirme » ou un crapaud, c’est le nouveau-né qui sera marqué par une malformation .

Cessons cette énumération pour nous saisir de l’élément du vodou le plus connu, la zombification.


Dans le lexique du vodou élaboré par Alfred Métraux, le zombi est « un individu dont un bokor. a enlevé l’âme et qu’il a réduit en servitude ». Sorte de mort-vivant, le zombi a nourri toutes sortes de fantasmagories. Deux sources les irriguent principalement. Celle de l’Afrique d’abord, et de sa « sorcellerie » ; mais aussi l’imaginaire européen « projeté sur les soi-disant sorciers et possédés par le diable». Cependant un troisième courant traverse le vodou, de nature plus politique que mystique : celui de la servitude. C’est la mémoire vive de la dépendance, de la réduction et de l’amoindrissement de l’esprit. Le zombi incarne le souvenir de l’esclavage. Il est à la fois hybride et l’un des marqueurs de la conscience nationale haïtienne.

Voici l’un des courts récits dont Alfred Métraux truffe son œuvre : « Moi-même, à Marbial, j’ai bien pensé faire la connaissance d’une zombi. Les paysans, affolés, vinrent me chercher en pleine nuit pour m’en montrer une. Je trouvai une malheureuse folle, d’aspect farouche et qui gardait un silence obstiné. Ceux qui l’entouraient la contemplaient avec une terreur mal déguisée. Ce n’est que le lendemain que la zombi fut identifiée : une démente échappée de la maison où ses parents la tenaient enfermée  » Si cela ne nous dit rien de l’existence d’une véritable zombification, au moins en savons-nous un peu plus, au passage, sur l’enfermement. Cependant, Laënnec Hurbon  ne dédaigne pas citer des travaux. attestant l’usage de substances permettant une plus ou moins longue léthargie de personnes qui, s’éveillant, se retrouveraient captives et, en quelque sorte, esclaves. Mais c’est peut être à la signification de la mort en elle-même qu’il convient en premier lieu de s’attarder. En effet, la mort de l’individu frappe d’abord l’entourage. Les proches vérifient la réalité du décès, craignant un retour du mort parmi les vivants. Le rite du desounen consiste ainsi à détacher l’esprit protecteur auquel le défunt avait consacré son existence . La dépouille emportant avec elle toutes ses maladies, il arrive que l’assemblée lui bourre les poches, en quelque sorte, d’autres maux. Une femme, rapporte Métraux, soudoya un « baigneur » pour laver le corps du mort avec l’eau où elle avait trempé ses propres plaies, nourrissant ainsi l’espoir que le mort les emporte avec lui.

On est étonné de voir, en suivant un cortège mortuaire, qu’arrivée à l’entrée du cimetière, la clique de cuivres, solennelle jusque-là, entonne soudain un air plus vif. Tubas et buggles s’agitent et le cercueil porté à bras d’homme oscille d’abord, puis vire en rythme et se balance. Il s’agit, en le tournant en tous sens, d’égarer le mort pour qu’à son réveil, s’il est zombifié, il n’apparaisse aux vivants. Outre qu’ils sont gardés par la présence de Baron Samdi et, le cas échéant, par sa femme La grande Brigitte, les cimetières sont parfois le théâtre d’intenses activités économiques: fossoyeurs fournissant des ossements à des sorciers pour quelque préparation. Il convient, dans ce cas, de repérer ce que fut le passé des défunts, notamment parce que les talents, les imperfections ou les maladies se transmettent au-delà de la mort.

La croyance populaire confère à la zombification la faculté de faire perdre raison au zombi. Une autre histoire rapportée par Métraux  fait état d’une jeune fille zombifiée, trop grande pour entrer dans le cercueil, dont il avait bien fallu plier le cou et dont on avait, par accident, brûlé la plante des pieds avec une cigarette. Elle fut retrouvée des années après sa mort, bien vivante, la tête penchée mais sans raison recouvrée, et portant les stigmates de sa blessure aux pieds. L’on peut se perdre dans mille conjectures sur les affabulations, la déraison ou la vraisemblance de ces histoires. Le fait est qu’on les raconte, comme en ce proverbe : Zonbi ki goute sèl, pa mande rete (Le zombi qui mange du sel ne demande pas à rester).

Certes, nous sentons bien que tout cela peut être teinté de savantes et anthropologiques explications, mais certains, médecins notamment, ont souhaité analyser avec les outils de la science psychiatrique cet ensemble de phénomènes. Quel est ce peuple qui semble comme aimanté par le vodou ?


Beaucoup s’est dit et écrit à propos du vodou, au cœur d’une nation pathétique, pour reprendre l’expression de l’écrivain Jean Métellus. La surenchère ethnologique à laquelle s’expose le pays, sans en tirer du reste grand profit, n’est pas sans susciter des engouements étonnants chez les obervateurs. Peuple héroïque, plus encore, messianique, telle semble l’analyse de Bernard Hadjadj. Peu de peuples, en effet, ont supporté tant de dictatures  On ne s’étonne pas, alors, de ces vers de Price Mars : « Ce peuple qui chante et qui souffre, qui peine et qui rit, et qui danse, se résigne-t-il ? » ou de cette affirmation d’Émile Ollivier : « Notre substance est tissée de défaites et de décompositions. Et pourtant nous franchissons la durée, nous traversons le temps, même si le sol semble se dérober sous nos pas. »

Mais certains ont émis des hypothèses d’une autre nature. La pratique du vodou serait liée à un trait pathologique largement répandu. L’association du vodou à des descriptions de pathologies psychiques n’est pas nouvelle. En 1931, paraissait à Port-au-Prince Vaudou et névrose, sous la plume de Justin Chrysostome Dorsainvil. La capitale haïtienne est alors un lieu de débat pour la psychiatrie : la transe vodou est-elle proche de la grande hystérie de Charcot ? De nombreux diagnostics sont posés . On se questionne : il semble difficile de concevoir qu’autant de personnes dans le même pays puissent être sujettes à des troubles psychiques de cette nature. Au Brésil, à propos du Candomblé, l’on s’interroge aussi: « Si la possession en effet n’est qu’une crise hystérique, pourquoi y aurait-il, à Bahia, et seulement à Bahia, une telle proportion de malades ?» Certains, alors, faute de réponses satisfaisantes, considèrent que la transe ou l’allure de possession sont un phénomène normal dans certaines civilisations.

L’allure extatique des personnes, sur lesquelles les esprits paraissent avoir passagèrement mais totalement pris barre, semble dirigée, mais peut-être est-elle juste suggérée. Louis Mars  affirme que « la crise vaudouesque correspond à un état mental hystérique artificiellement créé par la suggestion ou l’hypnose », mais, observe Métraux, tout de même, ces personnes qu’on dit hystériques n’ont rien de véritablement désordonné, elles paraissent au contraire, toutes proportions gardées, assez mesurées et complaisantes. Voyons la scène qu’il rapporte: « C’est le moment que choisit Legba pour descendre sur une très jeune fille qui tomba à terre en se débattant au milieu de violentes convulsions comme pour fuir l’être invisible qui s’efforçait de la mater. Elle finit par céder et l’on profita de son abandon pour la relever. Elle tomba alors à genoux et resta ainsi les bras ballants, la tête mollement penchée sur la poitrine, au milieu des hounsi qui saluaient par leurs chants la présence du dieu. Puis la possédée, sortant de sa léthargie, reprit sa place dans le cortège comme si de rien n’était et l’on se remit en marche  » Laënnec Hurbon insiste  sur le rapport qu’entretiendraient des patients avec le bokor, atteints fréquemment, selon lui, de troubles psychiques. Mais, d’après lui, la maladie étant envoyée par les esprits, c’est à nouveau vers eux qu’il faut se tourner pour guérir ces patients ; « l’univers de l’esprit s’avère être le monde d’expression du drame de la reconnaissance pour le sujet vodouisant. Présenter un sacrifice aux lwas, se soumettre aux interdits des lwas, c’est permettre à la présence de l’autre de traverser le désir, c’est cesser de se laisser entraîner, happer par sa propre image spéculaire  c’est accéder à la parole ».

Faut-il trancher entre ce qui relève de l’histrionisme, de l’exhibitionnisme et la satisfaction que procure le rituel vodou à des gens souvent très pauvres de figurer, de temps à autre, comme des personnages importants dans le quartier ou le village? Faut-il, comme le prétend Roger Bastide, associer la possession à une confession silencieuse, une cure vivante et dansante qui n’aurait rien, ajoute Alfred Métraux, du sinistre divan psychanalytique? Ou faut-il admettre avec Émile Ollivier que les fêtes sont les splendeurs des pauvres?

Comment ne pas s’étonner, note enfin Métraux, de voir des personnes manipulant des barres de fer incandescentes, mais comment ne pas relever, aussi, qu’un regard un peu appuyé révèle qu’elles les tiennent par le bon bout… Doit-on ignorer la part de comédie, comme cette femme possédée qui épargne les taches à sa robe neuve et blanche, et cet autre qui s’interrompt dans son rôle de possédé pour répondre à son voisin ou rire d’une blague lancée par l’assemblée?

Si des diagnostics sont posés sur les vodouisants en transe, les avis se portent aussi vers l’ignorance du monde rural dans l’explication classique des causes des maladies ou des déficiences. Combien de récits montrent en effet que les déficiences ou les maux sont imputés à des maldioks , des sorts ou des malédictions ? Johanne Tremblay. souligne qu’existent les maladies dyab, bondyé et maladie lwa, sollicitant tour à tour différents systèmes de guérison ou d’intervention : médecine moderne, intervention des esprits ou de la magie. Ainsi, les matrones des mornes (fanm saj, sages-femmes), coupant encore le cordon ombilical avec un tesson de bouteille ou une lame « Gillette » rouillée, sont des vecteurs du redoutable tétanos. Et l’on se trouve en face d’au moins deux explications : mourir le corps raide du fait des loups garous ou du fait de la lame rouillée. L’observateur voyant la matrone qui, pour améliorer les conditions de l’accouchement, ajoute à la tisane quelques brindilles de nid d’oiseau ou une clé (pour que cela s’ouvre) plonge lui-même dans un état de perplexité profonde.


La métaphore de la zombification comme aliénation de la raison est l’expression d’un symptôme de dégradation. Une fois établis les parallèles entre le zombi et la servitude de l’esclave caribéen, l’on peut discerner également un signe de déchéance collective dont est responsable la ruse d’un système politique décadent. Naufrage en effet, et punition, ou encore vengeance, que cet abandon à la déraison : « de vrais regards de zombis, de demeurés », écrit Anthony Phelps . Frappante description de la zombification généralisée du peuple haïtien que donne Frankétienne, décrivant « une kyrielle de zombis pellagreux dans des rizières marécageuses ». Ils sont ces « fantômes muselés, nasillant au-dessous du silence, les zombis ont le visage défiguré, des yeux vitreux, des paupières en accent circonflexe, un nez en apostrophe, des oreilles envirgulées, des lèvres entre guillemets ». La littérature haïtienne n’a pas manqué de décrire l’enclos de la folie, ni d’évoquer la relation qu’entretiennent l’imaginaire populaire et la création littéraire avec la démence, la possession ou les troubles de l’esprit.

La zombification s’étend au peuple en une décadence collective, se portant aux nouveaux cœurs des villes, leurs bidonvilles. Rafael Lucas  montre ce grouillement dans les interstices de la ville, où naissent des êtres abrutis par la férocité : « La pluie fait pousser des nouveaux zombis, on en voit qui sortent des trous et des recoins de la ville. » Nombre d’écrivains haïtiens relatent ce déferlement épidémique de la dégradation, ils sont eux-mêmes comme hantés par cette figure du déclassé de l’esprit, automate lointain: « Les nouveaux protagonistes, écrit Rafael Lucas, sont parfois des personnages déclassés, des marginaux, des fous. » Et s’enchaîne la description de Louis-Philippe Dalembert « Démarche marine. Marmonnement. […] Épave indolente qui s’inscrit naturellement dans la mouvance du temps. Ni Diogène des Tropiques, ni artiste marginal » Désacralisation, banalisation, débâcle, détachement au bout du compte de tout processus magique. Société à vau-l’eau, comme les pluies torrentielles, lavalas, emportant hommes et esprit des hommes dans leur pente. La figure du zombi déclassé et esclave va plus loin encore, elle est celle de l’ordure et de la pourriture.

« Qu’avons-nous été sinon la preuve même qu’en cette bonne ville du Cap qui se prend pour une autre on peut pourrir armé du sens du ridicule en cercles restreints de zombies, vieux cadavres à répétition installés dans la moisissure? », écrit Émile Ollivier . Port-au-Prince est Port-aux-crasses sous la plume de Dalembert. Par le délabrement des institutions, celui de systèmes politiques dévorants, par l’effet d’une nature qui n’est plus pourvoyeuse mais croqueuse d’hommes, c’est de l’univers de l’homme dévoré et de son naufrage que se détourne le regard. Sa condition ultime, à cet homme défait, est la perte des repères.. Le fatras, qui désigne les ordures en Haïti, est le fatras bâton du peuple tout entier, pris dans une chute générale. Port-au-Prince est ville d’immondices, ville d’ordures: « ville où les microbes ont imposé leur règne triomphal sur les vaccins », écrit Émile Ollivier , elle est « vomie par la mer  ». Les individus s’y démembrent, s’y déclassent, devenant aveugles, aphasiques, déments, dans une ville fangeuse qui est « le marché de l’indigence, le parvis de la mort sans cesse recommencée ». D’un pays en débris « il ne subsiste plus qu’un pays léprosé, se désagrégeant en poussière, en rien» ; devenu un pays inconvenant, aux montagnes sans peau , ses habitants le seraient tout autant devenus ; « Quel merdier ! Tout un pays de merde… C’est dans cette merde que nous avons pris racine, que nous avons bourgeonné, que nous avons fleuri et flétri »

 Proximité, donc, entre déficience et poisse générale de la cité. La déficience est témoin de la chute, elle signe le passage de la roture au dépotoir. La dégénérescence s’atteste dans la perte des sens et dans la déraison. La géographie du pays, son allure et ses reliefs sont eux aussi déficients : mornes pelés, rivières au bord desquelles des lavandières battent le linge dans la poussière ; « elles le rinceront dans un filet d’eau, bave d’épileptique qui serpente au milieu des cailloux».

Cette lente dégradation collective, nous la lisons sous la plume de Lyonel Trouillot: « Amoncellement d’oiseaux oisifs, nous sommes les nains du mémorable, les meilleurs artisans de la contrefaçon […] ce n’est pas un pays ici mais fabrique d’échouages épiques, un lieu-dit, un herbage, précipice pour danseurs de corde, colin-maillard d’aveugles nés avec la folie des grandeurs. » Tout s’échoue, tout est vu par le filtre de la dégradation ; les tyrans sont eux-mêmes porteurs de la marque d’une inquiétante allure, le « général ivrogne et bègue » qu’évoque Émile Ollivier . dirige des sbires à propos desquels l’écrivain se demande: « Peut-être étaient-ils infirmes, le visage mutilé. Peut-être n’avaient-ils jamais eu de visage. Leurs mains, leurs doigts sur la gâchette de leurs mitraillettes étaient si crispés qu’ils se confondaient avec l’acier de leurs armes et celles-ci devenaient le prolongement de leurs corps, volumineux, gigantesques, pareils à des troncs de campêche . » On songe aussi, s’il fallait un exemple, au cinéma de Raoul Peck, à cette image d’un homme torturé par les macoutes de François Duvalier qui, ensuite, devient boiteux, têt chod et vagabond. On observe enfin, comme le souligne Rafael Lucas, dans le démembrement la phase ultime de la dégradation. C’est le « châtiment suprême » infligé au corps de Dessalines mis en morceaux et aux restes de Duvalier, qui furent déterrés et dispersés. Intégralité du corps contre peur du corps mutilé, ainsi se traduit, selon lui, la conscience haïtienne des corps, qui ne peuvent se penser qu’entiers.


Monde et hommes lentement se putréfient, gardant en mémoire cette phrase du curé Dutertre, et tentant d’y survivre: « leur servitude est le principe de leur bonheur et leur disgrâce la cause de leur salut  ». Certes, en Europe, les exorciseurs catholiques existent et prospèrent, qui marmottent ou qui hurlent. Les rebouteux, guérisseurs, faiseurs de malheurs et marabouts abondent. Les eaux des fontaines de Rome luisent de mille piécettes, les ursulines de Loudun, abonnées jadis aux transes mystiques, ont une large descendance. On la retrouve en multitude dans les églises cathodiques américaines qui ne sont pas en reste dans le nombre de transes et d’évanouissements. Le problème, en un sens, n’est pas là. Il est en dessous, dans le tréfonds du sentiment collectif d’infamie. À entendre ces récits, dans ce contexte, dans cet imaginaire aussi, la chute la plus rude, la plus aboutie, qui semble sans salut, est celle qui conduit à l’affreuse déficience et au démembrement.

Remerciement à Rafael Lucas pour sa relecture et ses conseils.

SOURCE:  logo-cairn   Reliance 3/2008 (n° 29) , p. 9-17

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and his wife Tracy open their doors for a peek inside their festive holiday home.

by Cindy Boykin | Plano Profile, December 2015

Click on the link above to access the article.







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European egg marketing regulations state that storing eggs in cold storage and then leaving them out at room temperature could lead to condensation, which could promote the growth of bacteria on the shell that could probably get into the egg as well…. Read More:





Is this a new trend? That doesn't look good for others who have been accused of the same previously.
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The cost of tuition for full-time college students has seen a steady increase for decades, a concerning trend for future high school graduates. This trend, coupled with the recent decline in median household income, makes the task of affording higher education even more challenging.

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An Israeli-tested drug that tackles cancer through sophisticated manipulations of the body’s natural immune system was key in helping rid former US president Jimmy Carter of life-threatening tumors that developed after he was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year.

If you have a student loan (and we're guessing you do—the researchers at say seven of 10 college students who graduated in 2013 owed money on a student loan, averaging nearly $30,000 in debt each) or would love to help others knock down those payments, you'll want to know about SponsorChange.
If you have a student loan (and we’re guessing you do—the researchers at say seven of 10 college students who graduated in 2013 owed money on a student loan, averaging nearly $30,000 in debt each) or would love to help others knock down those payments, you’ll want to know about SponsorChange.

Here are the recent news from Haiti. Click on the pictures to access the articles.

2015 est sans le moindre doute l’une des années les plus difficiles qu’Haïti ait connu, marquée par des tumultes de toutes sortes relatives à la période électorale et aux multiples confrontations entre le pouvoir et l’opposition politique. La rédaction de E-Haïti a sélectionné pour vous les 10 événements majeurs qui ont le plus marqué l’année 2015 non par ordre chronologique mais par rapport à leur degré d’importance et d’impact sur la vie socio politique.
2015 est sans le moindre doute l’une des années les plus difficiles qu’Haïti ait connu, marquée par des tumultes de toutes sortes relatives à la période électorale et aux multiples confrontations entre le pouvoir et l’opposition politique. La rédaction de E-Haïti a sélectionné pour vous les 10 événements majeurs qui ont le plus marqué l’année 2015 non par ordre chronologique mais par rapport à leur degré d’importance et d’impact sur la vie socio politique.







The two are thought to have died overnight between December 29 and 30 in their quarters in Cap Haitien, Haiti's second city, in the north of the country.
The two are thought to have died overnight between December 29 and 30 in their quarters in Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second city, in the north of the country.

Menacés d’expulsion, plus de 3000 Haïtiens sans-papiers, habitant principalement à Montréal-Nord et Rivière-des-Prairies, se montrent très anxieux pour leur avenir au Québec. Ils réclament au gouvernement libéral de Justin Trudeau une résidence permanente et n’hésitent pas à se faire entendre dans les rues.
Menacés d’expulsion, plus de 3000 Haïtiens sans-papiers, habitant principalement à Montréal-Nord et Rivière-des-Prairies, se montrent très anxieux pour leur avenir au Québec. Ils réclament au gouvernement libéral de Justin Trudeau une résidence permanente et n’hésitent pas à se faire entendre dans les rues.


Murielle Creation which started in the early 90's was the first of it's kind in the entire history of the country and its contribution to the Haitian culture is none to second.
Murielle Creation which started in the early 90’s was the first of it’s kind in the entire history of the country and its contribution to the Haitian culture is none to second.

Dans certaines régions d’Haïti, la mer est affectée par des algues