CUBA is home to African religions and cultural origins. The Cubans were quick to recognise the authenticity of the African culture. But more importantly the efficacy of the African religions that were brought with them from the 16th century to the 19th century.
The storm of Christian crusades got to Cuba, brought by the Spanish. Religion in Cuba is denominated by Christianity’s Catholicism in terms of number and affiliation. Many Cubans, both Christians and non-Christians, still consult African religions for premonition, diagnosis and solutions to problems.
Of all the African-rooted religions in Cuba, it is an open secret that Palo Mayombe is the most powerful and effective.
The root of Santeria is from the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin. The indigenous people of those regions were brought their African religion and practise with them to Cuba, in the era of the slave trade.
The current Santeria as practised can not be considered a potent and purely African magic and religion. It has been diluted by Catholicism brought by the Spanish. Palo Mayombe was first brought to Cuba by the Captives from Congo in the 16th century, Yorubas were first brought to Cuba in the 19th century.
The authenticity of Palo Mayombe has stood the test of time. It is true and less diluted African magic and religion. Its practises, ethics, magic and effects are as strong as ever.
Yoruba Religion was preceded by Palo Mayombe in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean. But it formed the fundamental of many syncretic religions. The heavy influence of Yoruba Religion can be found in Santeria, Vodou, Candomble, Umbanda and other syncretic religions across the Caribbean.
Yoruba religion has some practices in common with Palo Mayombe. It can not be ruled out the influence of one on the other. Yoruba Religion Olorun or Eledumare (sometimes spelt Olodumare) is the Supreme Being and the divine creator. The religion places high value on good behaviours and called someone that exhibits such behaviours, an Omoluabi. Like Palo Mayombe, the Yoruba Religion faithful believes in dieties who connect humans to the supernatural.
Vodou in Cuba
Vodou originally got into Haiti through the slaves from the Fon, ewe and Dahomey (present-day Benin). Haitian Vodou is a blend of the religious beliefs of these three tribes. Haitian Vodou will soon metamorphose into Cuban Vodou as a result of the migration of the Haitians to Cuba. Like Palo Mayombe, the Vodou faithful connects to the supernatural through the spirits. The spirits are called Loa.
There are three versions of today’s Cuban Vodou. They are
• The African version: with still origin and practices trying to find its root in original African practice.
• The European version: This variation is connecting the root of an African relation to the Spanish
• The American version: This branch of Cuban Vodou is tied to Taino spirits of the American origin.
The reality of this is the genuineness and maybe potency of the Vodou as practised the indigenous tribes from West African has been watered down. The same way the Haiti Vodou has gone through some changes to become Cuba Vodou. All these make Palo Moyambe stands head and shoulder above others. It is the most effective Afro-Cuba religions when it comes to casting spells, invoking the spirit to find the cause of unwanted situations and provide solutions to human problems.