santeria (2)


For years I had this kinda funny (as in funky, not ha-ha) tree growing right smack in the middle of my front yard in Miami. It was admittedly not a particularly cuddly or friendly looking bit of botany, its trunk dramatically prickling all over as it is with stubby conical thorns. But for me it’s all about the mystique, being as it is a ceiba (English names include “kapok,” “silk cotton,” and “silk floss”). This is a genus of tropical flora which though found as far afield as

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In the Western Hemisphere, the religions brought over by African slaves have been part of the scene for centuries in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and most famously Haiti. But until not many years ago, they were largely condemned by the Roman Catholic church and dismissed as “ignorant” and “low-class” by all but the poor. But I’ve had the chance to observe various aspects of its Cuban variants, both on the island and in South Florida, and whether one believes in it

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