Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08956-0_529-1


Santería is a common term referring to an Afro-Cuban religious tradition, also popularly known as Regla (“Rule”) de Ocha, intimately linked to its sibling ritual field, Regla de Ifá. It originates from the colonial and slavery-driven era of Cuba (see also Brandon 1993) and is identified as an import and progressive distillation of broad cosmological and ritual elements from central and western sub-Saharan Africa, of predominantly Yoruba (Lucumí, in the Cuban idiom) “inspirations,” as Ochoa (2010: 8–10) frames it, alluding not only to continuities but also to significant transformations. Also, one has to bare in mind the “political” agendas hidden behind labels such as “Afro-Cuban,” “witchcraft,” “animism,” or “syncretism” (see Palmié 2013). Should we have to find a minimum of continuity for the sake of descriptive cohesion, it could be said that a basic element around which ritual praxis and doxa revolve is the cult of the oricha-deities.


Divination, spirit...


Afro-Cuban religiosity Divination Ritual Initiation 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e HumanasUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal