Reuters news agency photojournalist Desmond Boylan (Desmond Boylan) had the opportunity to see the look of the usual routine ordinary Cuban witch and spy on witchcraft rituals.
At first glance, Myra (Mayra) - Cuban typical housewife. It conducts its daily business as well as all the others. But in addition to household chores at Myra (Mayra) have employment which distinguishes it from ordinary housewives.
After the last meeting of the Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, was drawn up a list of activities and commercial activities, which consists of 181 names. Cubans are allowed to engage in any activity from this list, the state is paying for taxes on income that it brings. Myra (Mayra) admitted: "I scanned the list and found something for everyone. I santero, a witch, a spiritualist and prophetess of the future, so at this moment I can not legalize their activities ».
Conversion of Myra (Mayra) of the housewives in the witch is very intense. Many people told me about it, but I did not believe, and now I saw with my own eyes. I am not a very religious, but after speaking with her, I decided to accept her invitation to the ceremony in which her husband would assist her.
Many have visited Myra (Mayra) several times, but no one was interested in was to take pictures of the ceremony. It was very interesting, and I decided to become a client of Myra (Mayra). Usually people following African-Cuban religion Santeria, are not allowed to photograph ceremonies. But I was allowed to take some points.
Santeria (Spanish. Santería - holiness) - a syncretic religion, common in Cuba. It is a Yoruba beliefs, mixed with elements of Catholicism, it has many similarities to Voodoo and other African syncretic religions. The number of the followers of Santeria is difficult to assess, as the majority of them either visiting Catholic churches and is registered as Catholics, or hide their belonging to this religion
When I arrived, the house was all clients who want to get help Myra (Mayra). They were mostly men and women of middle age. From the "house" - room house where the ceremony took place, could be heard the ritual songs and cries. My curiosity continued to grow.
One of the women troubled family problems. She came to ask advice from Myra (Mayra). Get answers to all your questions, the woman with quiet soul went home.
Shrouded in thick smoke cigarettes, with burning eyes, Myra (Mayra) turned into a witch. During the conversion, she falls into a trance, talking about dead people, ghosts, the future, the past, the ceremony of the need, improper use of black magic with animals, coconuts, plants, flowers and other items.
Once I was present at the ceremony. A visitor was a Dayan (Dayana), eighteen Cuban model. At Diana (Dayana) having difficulties, and her mother decided to bring her daughter to Myra (Mayra), clean of evil spirits.
The ceremony to expel evil spirits includes several religious ceremonies and prayers that use nuts, smoke cigars, alcohol and more. To banish evil spirits, a person must be dressed in ragged clothes.
The ceremony began. Myra (Mayra) sat in front of the sanctuary, and smoked cigars. The room gradually filled with smoke. And Myra (Mayra), it seemed, fell into a trance. But then her husband interrupted. After Myra (Mayra) asked Dayan (Dayana) to follow her to the back yard at home, in the sanctuary, and then began to pluck the girl clothes, shouting phrases in one of the African languages.
A few days later Myra (Mayra) went to sea to complete the ritual, which she performed on Dayan (Dayana). On the beach, Maira (Mayra) perform a simple ceremony, during which repeated the phrase in African languages, pouring liquid from a jar into the sea.
After a while I asked Myra (Mayra), how things are going at the Dayany (Dayana). She said that Dayany (Dayana) everything is good. Now the young girl, working model, went on a tour of the country.
African-Cuban religion - a mixture of the foundations of Catholicism with African cults, which were introduced with the slaves. To date, thousands of people believe Santeria.
For carrying out the ceremony Myra (Mayra) takes 240 pesos, which is about $ 10, and about 100 pesos - for a consultation.
Myra (Mayra) says, "There are times when I do not take money. Often people need help, but because of lack of money they can not pay. Many now follow the religion Santeria only because of the money and do good in this business. " To which I replied: "Do not worry, because in all religions. Not without it ».