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The Altar of My Soul
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About the Author

Marta Moreno Vega, a Santeria priestess, is the founder and president of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and an assistant professor at New York's Baruch College.

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When I first moved into a Cuban American community, I searched in vain for a book that would explain the Afro-Cuban religion that was practiced all around me. Artist and cultural historian Vega (Baruch Coll., CUNY) has written that book. As an adult who sought to appreciate her cultural heritage, Vega began the journey of initiation into the traditional African faith based on worship of the orishas ("nature spirits"). Vega elegantly describes the rituals, meaning, and continuing relevance of Santer!a, weaving her story into 12 chapters, each devoted to a different deity. Vega's account is rich with patak!s ("mythic stories") and the lessons they teach for daily living: "Once upon a time, Heaven existed on its own, as did Earth. Then, like two halves of a calabash, they joined and formed Heaven and Earth. So it is with humans. When our spiritual half connects to our physical part, we are complete." Vega completes her work with appendixes that give simple guidelines for developing a personal altar and for divination. Highly recommended.DSteve Young, Montclair State Univ., NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Highly recommended...Vega elegantly describes the rituals, meaning, and continuing relevance of Santeria." - Library Journal; "Engaging, scholarly, and accessible, this is an excellent book." - Booklist; "Vega makes an excellent, informed spokesperson on Santeria, and her accessible book will help explain Santeria beliefs and practices to a wide audience." - Publishers Weekly; "More than a compelling study of one of the world's most fascinating religions, this inspiring account maps one woman's profound journey from emptiness to overwhelming peace and joy." - Carib News (New York)

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