Todd Ramón Ochoa

in Society of the Dead

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520256835
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947924 | DOI:

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This chapter continues with the initiation rituals of a young woman named Virtudes in the Palo Monte Mundo Nuevo Guinda Vela praise house of Guanabacoa. Her blind walk exemplified the path to initiation faced by all ngueyos—one enters Palo ignorant and approaches its forces in a position of exquisite vulnerability. She was on the verge of losing her job at a hotel, accused of stealing money and sharing it with a superior, with whom she was rumored to be having an affair. Her madrina had advised her that the only way to counter the coming misfortune was to enter Ocha/Santo, but first through Palo. Ocha/Santo would steady her, and Palo would counter her enemies. It is best to join a Palo society of affliction before committing one's fate to an Ocha/Santo sovereign.

Keywords: Virtudes; initiation rituals; praise house; ngueyos; sovereign; Palo society

Chapter.  8000 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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