Friday, August 22, 2014

Twins of Voodoo: A Conversation with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Part 3 of 3

Cover of the forthcoming Psychic TV album, Snakes (photo courtesy of

In Parts 1 and 2 of this conversation, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge discussed h/er work in Psychic TV, efforts to share h/er experience in pandrogyny with others and some of h/er past exploits in '60s and '70s England. In this third and final part of our extensive conversation, Gen discusses h/er recent explorations into Voodoo – a journey that has been extensively documented in the upcoming film Bight Of The Twin by Hazel Hill McCarthy III.

It has been a great pleasure presenting this multi-part interview on this site, and I wish Gen nothing but the greatest happiness and success moving forward.

You're 64 now. In this stage of your evolution, what gives you the most joy?

Here's a letter somebody sent me from Canada: Currently, I'm busy making some major changes to my life. I spent most of last year recovering from a rather troubling depression. I thought it was time to take your example to heart and get on with living the life I've always wanted. So I will be quitting my job at the end of the year, possibly sooner, and starting my own business, with the added advantage that I will be able to work without having to stay in a permanent location. A big thank you goes to you for giving me the courage to do this. I'm actually scared shitless, which I believe is a sign I'm on the right path.

Isn't that sweet? That's when we feel some joy.

Obviously, my little dog, Musty Dagger [gives us joy]. She's a Pekingese, and she's absolutely wonderful. She's a rescue, of course; all of our dogs have been rescue dogs. Jaye always said she didn't want babies, but if she got the urge to have a baby around, she would always adopt.

We got a hell of a lot of joy from going to Africa...A friend of mine, Hazel Hill McCarthy III, lives in Los Angeles. A few years ago when I had a bit more money than usual, we took her with me as a companion to Kathmandu in the Himalayas and had a really beautiful time there. In the autumn last year, she came over to visit and showed me these photos she'd come across online of this festival that happens every seven years in Benin in Africa. We were both blown away by the costumes. I said, 'God, wouldn't it be great to go there and film that?' She took that to heart and actually found out how to do that, and bought me a ticket to go. I said, 'Well, you can’t do that.' She goes, 'You took me away somewhere amazing. Now, it's my turn to take you.' She and her husband Douglas, and Drew and Lewis – some friends of hers – came. We had a crew of four people with really high-end cameras, a still photographer and two people doing sound, and we went to Benin, which is just next door to Nigeria. It's the only country in the world where the state religion is Voodoo. We went thinking we'd film this festival, but we got there 10 days early. Our translator-cum-fixer Emmanuel took us on the second night to meet his father in his little compound. It's nighttime where there's no electricity, so there's some candles. His father –whose name was really long, but we called him 'Dah' - was sitting there, and he's wearing all these necklaces. Having studied Santeria and other disciplines, we knew it meant it was a priest...We realized that he was someone important, but not how important.

We're all just talking and drinking. He looks at me and points and goes, 'You had a twin who died, and she needs to have her soul and spirit joined with yours. Would you be prepared to do a ceremony so that we can have her linked with you?' Everyone went really quiet, because they knew all about Jaye, but he didn't. We went, 'Yeah!' Suddenly, this documentary film becomes Benin and Voodoo interacting with Gen! (laughs) Jaye used to call that, 'the Of Course Factor.' 'Well, of course they knew that you had a twin; of course it ended up like that.' That's how she would explain it. It was amazing, and we came back so energized and so rewarded with a magical view of the universe.

It's not the title of the documentary, but my running title is, “Voodoo: A Religion of Kindness.” They were so kind, so generous. They have nothing; to have a chicken is a big deal. Those people reconfirmed my belief in the possibility of humanity to still become something amazingly beautiful. All of it – not one bit or the other bit, not the ones who have this god or that god – but just humanity. No gangs, no cliches, no dogma, no better than yours. Just all of us loving what's possible.

Where is the documentary in terms of production at this point?

Hazel's made a trailer. There's no budget; she used her own money to get us there. As far as we understand it, the plan is to get the trailer as perfect as possible and then look for people to help sponsor it becoming a full-length documentary.

They allowed us to film everything – [things] that have never been filmed before. We have two ceremonies that we filmed. The five heads of the five cults of Voodoo met us in a sacred grove and said, 'You can ask any question you want. We'll answer.' No one's ever had that access before – and what they say is so different to that stupid Hollywood version of Voodoo. That's why we thought using the word 'kindness' could be so important, because it immediately shifts your mind from your pre-conceptions and stereotypes and sensational versions of what you've been told. It was nothing like that; it was just so embracing and loving and kind. At 64, to have another amazing adventure and another spiritual explosion of hope...that's what we live for.


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