Race and Religion in Creative Consciousness

A work in progress.


Dandade, Neal. Mango Chutney on Mesa Street. Live performance at Swarthmore College, 2006. My cheerful, cosmopolitan characterization of Gaṇeśa comes from this one-man show about growing up in El Paso, Texas.

Doniger, Wendy, translator. The Rig Veda. Penguin Group, 1981. My primary source for Agni, Indra, Sūrya, Varuṇa, Vāyu, and Yamarāja.

Jayadeva. Gītāgovinda. Translated by Barbara Stoler Miller, Columbia University Press, 1997.

Patel, Sanjay. Ramayana: the Divine Loophole. Chronicle Books, 2010. Beautiful picture-book adaptation of Vālmīki’s Ramāyāṇa by a Pixar animator, the same guy behind the also-Scion-relevant “Sanjay’s Super Team.”

Vyāsa. The Mahābhārata. Edited and translated by JAB van Buitenen, University of Chicago Press, 1980. Together with the Ramāyāṇa, this epic is the heart of how I imagine Scion.

Vyāsa. The Bhagavad Gītā. Translated by Eknath Easwaran, Vintage Spiritual Classics, 2000. My favorite translation of the Mahābhārata’s most important passage.


Lǎozǐ. Dàodéjīng. I have a

Wú Chéng’ēn. Journey to the West. One of the three great Chinese epics, this was my primary source for the Monkey King and for the shén’s Tiānmìng pantheon-specific purview. If you read it, the Anthony C Yu translation is my favorite—but Běijīng opera adaptations are even better.

Xǔ Zhōnglín. Creation of the Gods. Translated by Gu Zhizhong, New World Press, 1996.

Yang Lihui and An Deming. Handbook of Chinese Mythology. ABC-Clio, 2005.

Loa and Orisa

If you are interested

Chireau, Yvonne P. Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition. University of California Press, 2006.

Courlander, Harold. Tales of Yoruba Gods and Heroes. Crown Publishers, 1973.

Merrell, Floyd. Capoeira and Candomblé: Conformity and Resistance through Afro-Brazilian Experience. Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005.

Olúpọ̀nà, Jacob K. City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifẹ̀ in Time, Space, and the Imagination. University of California Press, 2011.

Olúpọ̀nà, Jacob K and Terry Rey, editors. Òrìṣà Devotion as World Religion: the Globalization of Yorùbá Religious Culture.

Thompson, Robert Farris. Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy. Vintage Books, 1984. This book is purportedly about art, but is actually an excellent introduction to West African and Afro-Atlantic religion in general.

Moreno Vega, Marta. The Altar of My Soul.

In addition to these texts, I highly recommend the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum to anyone curious about the particularities of Louisiana voodoo. The front room looks a little like a tourist trap, but I promise it’s worth it.