Jesse Hathaway-Diaz

Jesse Hathaway Diaz

Lecture & Workshop Host

LECTURE: Seeds of the Seance: The Plants of Spiritism from Victorian Supernatural Botany to Caribbean Creole Espiritismo

Certain plants and scents have long been felt as aiding in the connection to the spirit world, and with the rise of spiritism in the 19th century, many such plants became renowned for assisting the faculties of mediums to deliver messages and commune with spirits. While many such connections were born from existing cultural associations and carried in to spiritist circles, we can similarly see the incorporation of specific plants and botanical products due to contemporary availability and efficacy through trial or observation, such as with Florida Water and other scented colognes. Flowers served both a heraldic role by inviting certain spirits to the session, and also often were notably produced as apports, objects materialized in seances in the presence of a medium, such as the famous Ixora crocata and the Golden Lily of medium Elizabeth d’Esperance. As spiritism spread in the Caribbean and increasingly creolized into the various forms of espiritismo, a treasure trove of Afro-Caribbean and Indigenous plant lore became part of the spiritist repertoire. In this lecture, Hathaway Diaz will draw on documented history and personal interviews with both spiritists and espiritistas regarding the role of plants in spiritism, as inspiration, apport and proof, as offerings and heraldry, and as tools for the work of spirits.

WORKSHOP: Aguas Floridas- Augmented Floral Waters in the Spiritist Traditions
3 HOUR INTENSIVE– space is limited to 20 participants

Although not originally marketed towards the spiritual community, eaux de toilette like Florida Water, Kolonia, and Kananga Water were incorporated within Caribbean spiritist traditions quite readily. In this this workshop, we will dive into the history of prominent floral waters and in detail discuss their recipes, and their purported uses within the spiritist community, as well as common ways to augment them with chosen botanicals. Workshop participants will craft their own small samples of various waters by mixing their own scents and botanicals to have an amended floral water that may be used in similarly sympathetic work as spirit communication, spirit healing and more. An informal but focused spiritist session will close the workshop.

$65 workshop add on fee
$15 materials fee

BIO: Jesse Hathaway Diaz  Jesse Hathaway Diaz is a folklorist, artist, performer and independent scholar with a Masters in Performance Studies from NYU. With initiations in several forms of witchcraft from Europe and the Americas, he is also a lifelong student of Mexican curanderismo, an initiated priest of Obatalá in the Lucumí Orisha tradition, and a Tatá Quimbanda. He co-hosts an occult themed podcast called ‘Radio Free Golgotha’, and edits the ‘Folk Necromancy in Transmission’ imprint through Revelore Press. For the better part of two decades, he has been involved with Theatre Group Dzieci, a New York based experimental theatre ensemble which explores theatre and ritual as a way, blending service with self-exploration and performance. Dividing his time between the Bronx and a farm in the Hudson Valley, his artistic and written work navigate the world-as-magic through exploring orality and transmission, decolonialism, ritual theory and praxis, herbalism and healing modalities through private study, apprenticeship, and community involvement. You can find his artistic and written work at

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