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Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America Paperback – August 23, 2004
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Choice Magazine, Outstanding Academic Book (2005)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"The author, who grew up in the Santeria faith, provides insight into the myths, rituals, worldview, history and cultural influence of the Afro-Cuban religion. Neither condemning nor condoning, he seeks to provide the information and context necessary to prompt discussion and understanding between Santeria believers and Christians."
"Writing as both an academic outsider and a privileged former insider, De La Torre retells Yoruba myths clearly and expressively, and his analysis of religious syncretism is both scholarly and accessible. Detailed descriptions of the various manifestations of each orisha make this one of the most comprehensive books on the subject, while the complex issue of Santeria ritual, which can include animal sacrifice, is handled unsensationally but vividly. This book should be part of any collection intended to represent the breadth of American religious experience."
Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo
"Miguel De La Torre has performed the almost magical academic feat of balancing the objectivity of a trained observer with the insights of an insider. He leads his readers on a historical, theological, and cultural journey that goes to the heart of this rich religious tradition unfolding within a rapidly changing American society."
"De La Torre succeeds fully in giving us the best general introduction to Santería, an Afro-Cuban folk religion brought to the United States by Cuban refugees after Castro's 1959 revolution. . . He draws on both lived experience (having grown up in the religion) and scholarly expertise . . . to strike just the right balance between the personal perspectives of the faithful and the distance of a non-believing scholar. . . Strongly recommended."
Religious Studies Review
"A well-balanced presentation of a complex religious system that is continually growing and beginning to attract educated middle-class Euro-Americans."
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Top Customer Reviews
by Miguel A. De La Torre.
Mr De La Torre writes in the preface that his approach to the topic will be "from the social location of a former believer.
Mr De La Torre also writes that his mother and father are members of the priesthood.
There is far too much in his book to indicate that he knows nothing at all about this religion and if his parents were consulted in the writing of this book and they did not correct the heinous amount of misinformation to be found in this book, then it is clear to me that either his mother and father are not Olorisa (members of the priesthood) or if they are Olorisa then they are two of the most ill-informed Olorisa I have ever heard tell of.
As a point of information, I am writing from the social location of a believer and an Olorisa (members of the priesthood).
I have been a "believer" since 1969 and an Olorisa (members of the priesthood) since 1978.
I offer the following examples to make my case:
In the chapter on the creation, Mr De La Torre writes about the Santeria concept of the creator, he states that Olodumare is the name of the creator and that Nzame and Baba Nkwa are the other two manifestations of Olodumare.
This is completely inaccurate, Olodumare IS the name of the creator but Olofi and Olorun are the other two manifestations of Olodumare.
Olodumare, Olorun, Olofi are more than just respectful terms of address. While Olodumare, Olorun, Olofi could be perceived as a "Trinity" of sorts these three names are not comparable to the Christian trinity, in that all three are equally the "father-creator." All there are also gender neutral.Read more ›
Santeria What is it? This goes into giving you a general idea of what Santeria is, a description of it's followers and members, a small description of it's initiations. It explains the Energy Ashe, and the Eggungun. "The Dead Ancestors."
Chapter Two; gives you a few versions of the Patakis, "Folklores or Legends" of the Creation of the World. Other legends such as the Flood is also within this section. There are a few Charts within this section. One for the many names of God. A comparison chart of the Orishas with Roman and Greek Gods. A chart describing each Orishas major influence. Colors of the Orishas. Most Likely Children of the Orishas. And another chart on the Orishas and their Catholic Identities. (Saint Paths)
Chapter Three, is a description of the Major Orishas, their attributes and their Patakis "Legend". Of the Orishas included are the major, Obatala, Eleggua, Oggun, Ochosi, Ochun, Chango, Yemaya, Aganju, Orunla, Osain, Babalu Aye, Oya, Orisa Oko, Osun, Inle, Obba and the Ibeji. Each gets a quick discription, and a legend, which really reminded me of Migene Gonzales Wippler's earlier works.
In this chapter are more charts. Each deducted to a particular Orisha and their many "caminos" their avatars, roads or paths.
Chapter 4 gives you a quick description or ceremonies and rituals, Bembe, Ilekes, Asiento, Ebbos and so on. Oh and more charts.Read more ›
recommended for those interested in anthropology, non western culture, perspective and religion
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is great it give u information about Santeria how it worksPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book on the religion. Very clear. I come from a family with several Lucumi, but as a first-generation Cuban-American this book was invaluable as I began my path.Published 18 months ago by Kitty LaRose
Great purchase had lots of info if your trying to start and get a understanding of the religion and how it started very educational would recommendPublished on July 26, 2014 by Carolyn Giribaldi
Some good info some incorrect info. Would not recommend to/for a novicePublished on July 24, 2014 by IyaEshu
After Migene González-Wippler stopped writing books on Santeria in English, there weren't a lot of good books written on the subject it seems because Americans had, had... Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by Derric (Rau Khu) Moore author of MAA AANKH vol.I, Kamta: A Practical Kamitic Path for Obtaining Power and Maa: A Guide to the Kamitic Way for Personal
I very much enjoyed this book. The author has a unique perspective as both a scholar and a former practitioner. He managed to balance both very well. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by Hilda Cuervo