Download Ritual, Discourse, and Community in Cuban Santeria: Speaking by Kristina Wirtz PDF

By Kristina Wirtz

How do Santería practitioners in Cuba create and hold spiritual groups amidst tensions, disagreements, and festival between them, and within the absence of centralized institutional authority? What serves because the "glue" that holds practitioners of alternative backgrounds jointly within the construction of an ethical group? analyzing the spiritual lives of santeros in Santiago de Cuba, Wirtz argues that those groups carry jointly now not simply because individuals agree on their interpretations of rituals yet simply because they generally disagree.
Religious existence is marked by way of a chain of "telling moments"--not basically the moments themselves yet their narrated representations as they're retold and mined for non secular meanings. lengthy once they ensue, spiritually increased studies circulation in narratives which may show skepticism or awe and carry the promise of extra such reviews. the writer unearths that those episodes resonate in gossip and different kinds of public remark in regards to the studies in their fellow Santería practitioners.
Drawing on ethnographic study approximately Santería ideals and practices, Wirtz observes that practitioners are always engaged in mirrored image approximately what they and different practitioners are doing, how the orichas (deities) have answered, and what the results in their activities have been or should be. through focusing their reflective awareness on specific occasions, santeros re-create, second to second, what their faith is. Wirtz additionally argues that Santería can't be thought of in isolation from the advanced spiritual panorama of up to date Cuba, within which African-based traditions are seen with a mixture of fascination, folkloric satisfaction, and suspicion. [Interactions one of the conflicting discourses approximately those religions—as sacred practices, folklore, or risky superstitions, for example—have performed a primary position in constituting them as social entities.] This e-book will curiosity students of faith, the African diaspora, the Caribbean, and Latin the United States, in addition to linguistic and cultural anthropologists.

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I found the ritual process of making cowrie shells speak or reading divine responses into coconut shell pieces compelling in the way such divinations provided a direct and personal message, as if calling up God on the phone. The messages received were, I noticed, sometimes cryptic, demanding interpretation, and sometimes simple and direct, demanding action. As I eagerly participated in rituals and willed myself to let go and believe, I wondered whether Cuban participants felt the same visceral response to ritual Introduction: Telling Moments 9 speech and song that I did.

However, rituals often provoke participants to reflect upon and discuss them, and those ritual participants who also take part in persistent circuits of reflective discourse, I argue, do tangibly coalesce as a community. The metaphor of an atomic nucleus and orbitals provides one image of the relationship I propose between these different categories of discourse events: rituals comprise a nucleus of religious activity around which swirls all of the surrounding discourse about rituals and religious life, like a cloud of electrons.

Chapter 7 analyzes several cases that reveal how even apparently divisive conflicts actually serve to reinforce the boundaries of the Introduction: Telling Moments 21 local moral community. My conclusions challenge the received notion in anthropology of community as an entity best characterized by homogeneity and consensus. What if internal conflict and controversy actually serve to reinforce a local moral community? Chapter 8 considers how the dialectic between ritual performances and the reflective, critical discourse they provoke promotes an ever-wider circulation of discourses about Santería rituals, even beyond the bounds of the local moral community.

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