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African Narratives of Orishas, Spirits and Other Deities - Stories from West Africa and the African Diaspora: A Journey Into the Realm of Deities, SPI Paperback – March 16, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 990 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (March 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147872451X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478724513
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alex Cuoco is a native of Brazil, who came to reside in the United States at a young age. His fascination with African indigenous traditions was inspired early in his life by the presence of African cultures in Bahia, Brazil.
Alex has travelled to Africa where he spent a long time researching and studying West African deities, Yorùbá orishas and culture, as well as voduns from Benin and nkisi from Angola-Congo. He travelled extensively through Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Angola-Congo and across the continent to Mozambique and Madagascar studying the different religious beliefs and cultures. It was during this time that his bond and fascination with the orishas and other African deities grew stronger and they became a prominent and permanent part of his life.
Upon returning to the United States, Alex's fascination with African cultures and the veneration of orishas, voduns and nkisi had grown stronger. At that time, he went to live in New Orleans, where West African rituals took the form of "voodoo" a term used erroneously by western societies to refer to the religious practices of the Fõn people of the Republic of Benin.
During his years in New Orleans, Alex continued his extensive research on the presence and the diversity of orisha and vodun rituals throughout the African Diaspora. Since then, he has kept in touch with several of his friends, who are active worshippers of òrìṣà and vodun and, who are deeply rooted in the indigenous cultures of Yorùbá Nigeria, Angola, the Republic of Benin as well as the spiritual houses of Bahia, Brazil. This book is the result of 20 years of research and studies of West African indigenous religions.
In 1993, during one of his visits to the city of Salvador, in Bahia, Brazil, the prominent presence of African cultures and the magical devotion by the Bahian people to the worship of the orishas, was the culminating inspirational point for the creation of this book. Another magical source of inspiration was the magnificent Pierre Fatumbi Verger and his brilliant and detailed studies of the traditional culture of orishas, voduns and West African indigenous cultures, which without a doubt are masterpieces people refer to, to this day. After discussing this project with Pierre Verger and seeking his spiritual guidance this project was officially born. Sadly, Pierre Fatumbi Verger passed away in 1996.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maya Corneille on April 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
The author has thoroughly researched this difficult topic which covers all aspects of African Cultures, relating to the African Gods, Spirits and various narratives, cross-referencing the various legends. It is a barometer for all African Studies programs. The author has additionally listed valuable sources and bibliographical information on the subject which is well worth the price of this 964 page work.

This is an edition which has been sorely needed for African Studies Doctorate programs and will very likely soon become a required text. In fact, it may ultimately result in being the seminal source for African Studies majors. I highly recommend this book to all those interested in African Cultures and Traditions. It is an interesting and informative read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Gaffney on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 964-page book has lots of unattributed stories and tidbits but I found it disorganized. Because there's no index and information about different deities is scattered throughout, it doesn't function well as a reference. Moreover, Cuoco seems to be making a questionable attempt to compile a "bible" of West African deities; on page 795 he equates variations in myths with confusion, as if there had once been a single authorized version of the stories. After repeatedly asserting that the supreme deity is male and specifying the gender of deities in most of his stories, Cuoco admits on pages 817-818 that most orishas have no gender. Personally, I'd want to confirm whatever he says with more reliable scholarly sources.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tower on June 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative book. Very easy information to digest . This is a great read for anyone. Whether an initiated or not. It's a great book. The author has put this book together in great order. Every story has a message and lesson.
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