"A comprehensive, almost encyclopedic, introduction to Santeria . . . Cros Sandoval's greatest contribution is in tackling the question of why Santeria's Yoruba cosmology has proven so durable and compelling over time, even as it has been transplanted across an ocean and brought into contact with very different traditions in very different societies than its place of origin."--Kristina Wirtz, Western Michigan University
"A broad and deep synthesis of scholarship on Santeria . . . fully recognizes the heterogeneous nature of Afro-Cuban religious belief and successfully explores the origins of that heterogeneity."--Theron Corse, Tennessee State University
Cros Sandoval's authoritative introduction to the Afro-Cuban religion called Santeria explores how it emerged and developed in Cuba out of transplanted Yoruba beliefs and continues to spread and adjust to changing times and contexts. Systematically exploring every facet of Santeria's worldview, Sandoval examines how practitioners have adapted received beliefs and practices to reconcile them with new environments, from plantation slavery to exile in the United States.
Offering a distinctive perspective based on a lifetime of extensive research and firsthand knowledge, Cros Sandoval illuminates Santeria as a theological system and as a vital, continuously evolving community. The adaptation process that gave birth to Santeria was not the singular result of cultural resistance, she argues, but a successful attempt to find meaning linked to alien religious elements in a way that appealed to a diverse following.
Beginning with the transatlantic history of how Yoruba traditions came to Cuba and were established and adapted to Cuban society, Sandoval provides a comprehensive comparison of Yoruba and Cuban mythologies, followed by an overview of how Santeria has continued to diffuse and change in response to new contexts and adherents--with an especially illuminating perspective on Santeria among Cubans in Miami. As a reference work and historical treatment of Santeria, Sandoval's work will appeal to both scholars and nonscholars alike, ranging from anthropologists and students of religion and the African Diaspora to psychologists, social workers, and those curious about or inspired by this remarkably durable and adaptable belief system.