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The altar of my soul : the living traditions of Santería

Author: Marta Moreno Vega
Publisher: New York : One World, 2000.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Long cloaked in protective secrecy, demonized by Western society, and distorted by Hollywood, Santeria is now emerging from the shadows. In this book, the author recounts the compelling true story of her journey from ignorance and skepticism to initiation as a Yoruba priestess in the Santeria religion. This unforgettable spiritual memoir reveals the long hidden roots and traditions of a faith that originated on the  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Vega, Marta Moreno.
Altar of my soul.
New York : One World, 2000
(OCoLC)656731740
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Marta Moreno Vega
ISBN: 034542137X 9780345421371 0345421558 9780345421555
OCLC Number: 44110393
Notes: Includes index.
Description: ix, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Olodumare: the unknown is the path to knowledge --
Yemayá: no one knows what tomorrow will bring --
Obatalá: power resides in cool heads --
Ellegua: the obvious is not always the correct answer --
Ochun: the goddess of honey --
Oyá: in order to live you must die --
Shangó: born to make war --
Orula: guardian of knowledge --
Orí: we all have our personal Orisha --
Ochosi: in unity there is power --
Orishaoko: guardian of the earth --
Ayáguna: Yo tengo mi Aché: on having Aché.
Responsibility: Marta Moreno Vega.
More information:

Abstract:

Long cloaked in protective secrecy, demonized by Western society, and distorted by Hollywood, Santeria is now emerging from the shadows. In this book, the author recounts the compelling true story of her journey from ignorance and skepticism to initiation as a Yoruba priestess in the Santeria religion. This unforgettable spiritual memoir reveals the long hidden roots and traditions of a faith that originated on the shores of West Africa and was transported to the Caribbean and the Americas via the trans Atlantic slave trade that started in the fifteenth century. Today, with an estimated 75 million followers worldwide, Santeria is being recognized as one of Africa's gifts to the world. But gaining such acceptance was not easy. As an Afro Puerto Rican child in the New York barrio, the author paid little heed to the storefront botanicas full of spiritual paraphernalia or to the Catholic style images her parents turned to in times of trouble. Yet she often wondered why her grandmother prayed to those saints by other names: Yemaya, Ellegua, Shango. She became fascinated by her grandmother's ancestral altar table with its rose petals, candles, perfumed water, and figurines, among them one of a magnificent African woman. These memories comforted her in the trials she faced later in life as a minority student and teacher, as a divorced mother, and when a rift tore apart her once close family. But, in the deepest sense, she was living rootless. Her activist work for the community, where things African were mostly shunned, still left an emptiness inside her. In search of a religion that would reflect her racial and cultural heritage, she was led to Cuba by the spirits of her ancestors, where at last she awoke to the centuries old West African Yoruba based Santeria tradition, the Way of the Saints. Little by little, she learned the legends of the individual orishas: those African goddesses and gods who made us in their image, from Ogun the god of justice and the warrior god Shango to Yemaya, the ocean mother, and the messenger god Ellegua, who stands at the crossroads of life. She took part in the prayers and rituals, drumming and dancing, trances and divination that spark sacred healing energy for family, spiritual growth, and service to others. And finally, her initiation revealed the orisha with whom her personal affinity and destiny lay, her own guardian angel. Written by one who is a professor, santeria priestess, mother, grandmother, and godmother to new initiates, this book tells of a faith, passed down from generation to generation that sparks the sacred energy necessary to build a family, a community, and a strong, loving society.

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