Excerpt from the back cover:
Initiated into the Santeria priesthood at the age of seven, Raul Canizares unveils in Cuban Santeria the secret and seductive world of this rapidly growing, yet largely misunderstood, Afro-Cuban religion. With the knowledge of an insider and the insight of a scholar, Canizares examines the practices of Santeria, revealing many of its previously hidden dimensions while at the same time providing a fascinating account of its textured mix of African, Cuban, and Catholic traditions.
The Cuban-born Canizares describes the practices and rituals of the followers of Santeria - from magical herbal prescription and healing to spiritism and animal sacrifice - and explains how for many years the religion has been maintained under the guise of Catholicism to avoid religious persecution. Most initiates are sworn to a code of silence, but Canizares believes that the time has come to relax this code and move Santeria, a religion of beauty and resilience out of the darkness and into the light so that a more accurate picture of this rich tradition can emerge. Eleven color plates and black-and-white illustrations by the author enhance the text and further evoke the potent spirit of Santeria.