Sacrifice in Cuba

In the heart of Liberty Island rages not known tour life - here, far from prying eyes, the practice of secret religious rituals fell and even sacrifice.
Many spiritual practices in Cuba is an unusual fusion of Catholicism and African beliefs, because the culture and traditions of many residents of the island are connected with their ancestors originated from the African continent. Mingling with the Catholic tradition, witchcraft rituals fell create an incredibly bright combination.
In this issue you will see pictures of the photographer Jan Sochor, who captured the scene of ritual sacrifice in Santiago de Cuba and Havana. All of them related to religion Palo Mayombo (also known as the Palo Monte) - African cult that practiced in secret or veiled slaves of African descent in the countries of Central and South America.






Novice initiation ritual in the tradition of Palo Monte. Religion Palo or otherwise "Rules of the Congo" is a synthesis of several denominations including communication with spirits, worship of the dead and the practice of black magic. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)




Cuban sells seashells, feathers and other objects of organic origin, which, according to the Afro-Cuban beliefs have mysterious properties. Palo Mayombo Religion teaches us that everything that exists around us, inhabited by spirits. And the rituals of Palo give team members the opportunity to communicate with these spirits directly. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)




Palo Priest preparing for the ritual in his home church. Palo originated in Central Africa among peoples speaking Bantu languages ​​and living in the region, which today is called the Congo and Angola. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)




The believer draws the symbol on the floor of the temple, which is considered important in the liberation forces associated with the altar. At the heart of the religion Palo are two ideas: the worship of ancestral spirits and faith in the power of nature. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)




Drawings on the walls of the center of the African heritage in Santiago de Cuba are associated with spiritual traditions, who got to Cuba due to the African slaves. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Goat decorated and prepared for sacrifice. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Priest Palo Monte with typical red-white bracelet in Havana. Traditionally, the inhabitants divided Palo priests to "good" and "evil." "Evil priests' fear not only the Palero, but also the followers of other religions, including voodoo. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Palo priest sacrificed a goat during the ritual in Santiago de Cuba. The forces, which interact Palero, for the most part are not good or evil in the human, the ordinary sense of the words. Basically, it's - "neutral, clean energy" that can both heal and destroy. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



The center of all the rituals of Palo is the boiler, which is called "Ngan" or "Prenda" (pictured). It is filled with sacred bones, sticks and earth from the cemetery. This boiler is home to the spirits of dead people, which act as intermediaries between man and other spirits. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Many spiritual practices in Cuba represent a fusion of Catholic and African elements. In order to practice in Palo Christian world, many of the original characters have been replaced by Christian. So today in rituals used images of Christian saints and a cross. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Religious signs and symbols Palo wall in Havana. Palo traditions inherent in great moral freedom than most other religions. Religion Palo definitely more focused on self-fulfillment of man than his self-restraint. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



A believer with red blindfolded during the initiation ritual. For initiation into Palo you have to pass a ceremony called Rayamiento (scratching), during which the skin scratching special characters. After that, according to the adherents of Palo, a newcomer receives protection from some specific spirit. Usually it is the same spirit that protects the godfather. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Altar with Catholic statues fell near other Afro-Cuban sacred objects. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



Bright Afro-Cuban patterns on the facades of buildings in Santiago de Cuba. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



I must say that on the surface, profane gaze fell - pretty dark and sinister cult. The fact that there are some people Palo mostly practicing what is commonly referred to as the "evil magic" does not give the right to brand the whole religion as "black magic". (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)



This slaughtered pig went to a religious ritual in Santiago de Cuba. (Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)

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