Santeria, Afro-Caribbean Spirituality And The Courts


In the October, 1993 print edition of High Times, Eric Williams writes about the pantheistic Afro-Cuban religious tradition of Santeria.

Santeria is to the ancient African spiritual traditions what neo-paganism is to the pre-Christian European traditions. Santeria, which blends Roman Catholicism with the West African Yoruba tradition brought to the Caribbean by slaves, is found mostly in this country’s Latino communities along the eastern seaboard—the Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican barrios of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Miami. The religion is a survival of African spirituality in the New World in defiance of slavery’s legacy of cultural extermination. Yoruba gods and goddesses mingle with the identity of Catholic saints, and traditional African drumming, chanting and herbology figure prominently in Santeria ritual. But it was the practice of animal sacrifice that brought Santeria before the US Supreme Court. The high court’s June decision to permit the…


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