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Cover for Living Santería

Living Santería

Rituals and Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion

Michael Atwood Mason


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In 1992 Smithsonian anthropologist Michael Atwood Mason traveled to Cuba for initiation as a priest into the Santería religion. Since then he has created an active oricha “house” and has initiated five others as priests. He is a rare combination: a scholar-practitioner who is equally fluent in his profession and his religion. Interweaving his roles as researcher and priest, Mason explores Santería as a contemporary phenomenon and offers an understanding of its complexity through his own experiences and those of its many practitioners. Balancing deftly between a devotee's account of participation and an anthropologist's theoretical analysis, Living Santería offers an original and insightful understanding of this growing religious tradition.

Smithsonian Books, 9781588340771, 176pp.

Publication Date: August 17, 2002

About the Author

Michael Atwood Mason is an anthropologist and exhibit developer at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where he was a co-curator of the permanent African Voices exhibition.