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Priests: Santeria is Rx to Heal Hugo Chavez

Santeria is pretty awesome. Santeria and other West Africa Diasporic Religions, also called ATR (African Traditional Religion), are fluid, adaptable, and from my perspective, effective, so Hugo Chavez might do well to heed the words of the Cuban babalawo (priests) who in their annual New Year “Letter of the Year” recommended that the Venezuelan President seek them out. Lazaro Cuesta, one of the babalawo said their priests are willing:

Whichever house he knocks upon, I expect he will receive the help he requires.

From the perspective of Santeria, Cuesta was referring not only to physical domiciles of the priests, but also to the casas (houses or worship) of the orisha, the Afro-Cuban gods, and the various lineages within each orisha’s worship, with their own initiated priest.

Chavez is currently in Cuba recovering from surgery for cancer; the type of cancer has not been reported. The babalawo will not perform a healing ritual for Chavez unless they are asked. Technically, someone aside from Chavez could ask for his healing, in the same way that Masses can be offered for someone by another.

Eleggua is the road opener and the messenger of the gods, and is syncreticized with Jesus, especially in the aspect of  the Infant of Atocha, and thus his altars often are decorated with toys and games, as well as the traditional rum and cigars. San Lazaro/St. Lazarus represents Babalú-Ayé, the orisha in charge of health and disease, especially epidemics, cancer, HIV/AIDS.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.