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Dreaming in Color: Anti-Essentialism in Legio Maria Dream Narratives

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The article examines dreaming and dream narratives in Legio Maria, sub-Saharan Africa's largest African instituted church with a Roman Catholic background. Most Legios valorize a Black Christ and Black Mary but do so while espousing anti-essentialist attitudes towards racialization of the sacred. The social, cultural and symbolic hybridity of the Joluo (Kenya Luo), who still form the majority of the membership in this multi-ethnic, multi-national church, has influenced Legios' religious outlook. Legios' views are contrasted with some white and black theologies that take more monochrome, particularistic positions on the color of the Trinity, the Virgin Mary, Satan, saints, angels and demons. I discuss how Legios' eclectic altar iconography and dreams interact and influence one another. The article demonstrates that Legio Maria's theology of color has resonances with the perspectives on postmodern humanism and postmodern blackness formulated by scholars like Michel Foucault, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Vincent Anderson and bell hooks.


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