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Santeria - African Spirits in America - Research Paper Example

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This essay investigates the book “Santeria: African Spirits in America” by Joseph Murphy. Learning how Santeria becomes the heart of the Yoruba people’s life, the social cooperation and cultural belief paradigms help to understand the kind of Santeria worship in the US…
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Santeria - African Spirits in America
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Download file to see previous pages When African slaves escaped their bondage from Brazil and reached Cuba, they were given the ability to marry, have property and to live in such a way to be trained and conduct free, contributing lives to society. The only stipulation was that they become baptized into the Roman Catholic religion (Murphy 28). The relationship that was formed between the religious beliefs of the West African form of spiritual life and the tenets of Catholicism formed the beginnings of the way in which it the beliefs are currently practiced, similar reformations creating the many influences that have combined to form the current forms of Santeria practice. Because of this mixture of religions from which the practices in the Americas were created, there is no individual who can be named for being the founder of the religion.
The beliefs of Americanized Santeria still hold the worship of the orisha. The orisha is associated with the saints of the Catholic religion. Each of the saints is represented as an orisha with a principle, a color, a number, a food, a dance posture, and an emblem. The orisha is honored through sacrifice, often a ritualized taking of the life of an animal. The blood is used as an offering to the orisha to please the saints in order to bring good luck, purification and the forgiveness of sins. Other aspects of evoking spirits and creating possession by ancestors are accomplished through rhythmic dances that are freely expressed through fervent dances.           
Santeria is a cultural religion that began in Africa among the Yoruba people who lived in the region now considered Nigeria. Among the many developments of the Yoruba people was the development of a complex understanding of their spiritual life that reached into a subtle envelopment of their way of life. God was called ‘Olodumare’ and was considered the “owner of all destinies”. He was also considered the ‘almighty’ and ‘the ground of life’ (7). The power that is the force of Olodumare has a name that identifies its association within the culture. Ashe is an incarnate life force that is the ‘blood of cosmic life’ which is the power through which Olodumare imbues life, strength, and righteousness. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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