Santeria is not an archaic religion. It is a vibrant force with fivehundred years of continuous history in the Western Hemisphere.Its African roots go back at least as far as Christianity's.Santeria has millions of followers spread across the United States,the Caribbean, Central, and South America. There is Voodoo inHaiti, Macumba in Brazil and Candomble in the Northern coastsof South America. Its adherents come from all walks o f life;doctors, lawyers, politicians, thieves and pimps. All those whoseek the power to control their own lives and want to lead them inaccord with the deepest parts of their beings are candidates for initiation into Santeria. As the traditional belief systems of theWestern world cease to provide a direct emotional involvementwith the mysteries of life, more and more people are turning to thethrobbing of the Santeria drums. It is a religion of trance, mystery, posse ssion, blood and sex. What follows is a brief glimpse intoSanteria. If you want to know more, go to the ceremonies, burnthe candles and dance to the drums. Skin color or language are no barriers. The ancient gods will recognize their own.
Santeria's roots are in Africa, in the Yoruba religions native to Nigeria. It was brought to the New World by the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who were hunted downand sold as slaves.The African religions had to undergo severe transformations inorder to survive. The changes that led to Santeria began in 1517,when Yoruba slaves had their first bitter taste of Catholicism inCuba.It is its Catholic content which gives Santeria its peculiar flavor.The combination results in a Santero being a devout RomanCatholic at the same time he or she is sacrificing a rooster to acement image of Elegua enthroned behind the front door.There are no records. There are only stories, echoes of voices longdead.