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Is Santeria Witchcraft?

Religion and witchcraft have plenty in common. One can be confused with the other.

Both have some type of sacrifice to their god(s). Some offer money, others worship through singing and dancing, and the bizarre ones slaughter people or animals to appease their gods. The type of worship is also sometimes similar as well.

Santeria is one such religion that is believed by many to be some form of witchcraft.

With its endless animal sacrifices and other worship rituals, you’d be forgiven for thinking so.

In this post, I will set the record straight on whether Santeria is witchcraft or not.

What is witchcraft?

According to Wikipedia, witchcraft can be defined as the use of magic or supernatural powers by witches or sorcerers.

 In most cases, witchcraft is used to cause misfortune and harm to others.

The witches or sorcerers technically commune with evil beings to inflict pain and suffering on specific people.

 They do this to try and control the supernatural and manipulate reality.

Is Santeria Considered Witchcraft?

Based on the explanation of witchcraft above, Santeria is not really considered witchcraft.

 It is a religion that seeks to worship its creator, the Olodumare, using methods that are uncommon to many.

Granted, there is enough evidence that equates it to magic.

If you’ve ever attended one of the animal sacrifices celebrations, you will be convinced that you are witnessing magic right before your eyes.

The rituals which happen during the initiation of a new follower, during weddings, births, and deaths are rather intense and bizarre.

A priest or priestess technically slaughters an animal such as a goat, chicken, sheep, or dove and beheads it.

The blood that flows from the animal is ‘offered’ to a deity called the orisha.

The deity basically acts as the intermediary between the Supreme Being called Olodumare and the followers of the religion.

The blood is believed to be food for the orisha. The meat from the animal is eaten by the temple members.

That right there sounds like witchcraft more than it does religion.

However, the Santeria believers insist that the offering is given to their gods as food—nothing more.

They don’t do that to get the gods to do something bad to another person which is the case with witchcraft.

There are no ill motives for manipulating the supernatural. They do it to get the attention of their gods, worship them, feed them, and strengthen their faith in them.

Witches perform magic not to worship their gods but to control the supernatural and inflict pain on other people.

Witchcraft essentially seeks to harness the power of the supernatural. Santeria doesn’t seek to do that in any shape or form.

All their practices (however weird) are geared towards the adoration and worship of Olodumare and feeding the deities (orishas).

Also check: Everything You Need To Know About Santería Animal Sacrifice 

Is Santeria A Form Of Voodoo Or Black Magic?

Santeria originated partly from Africa, especially West Africa.

Slaves during the 16th century Atlantic slave trade brought the religion to Cuba and later to the Americas.

Back then, Cuba only allowed Roman Catholicism and no other religion.

The belief system of the slaves fused with that of the Roman Catholic faith making it Santeria as we know it today.

Africa has been linked with many forms of dark magic. The most common one is voodoo or vodoun as locals refer to it.

The practice originated in Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Those who practice it offer prayers and sacrifices to spirits in return for protection, health, and favor.

During the rites, people go into a trance where they drink and eat while performing strange dances. They may also give ‘supernatural’ advice to people around them.

Santeria may have some similarities with voodoo but it is far from it.

For one, the former doesn’t have any hierarchy or structure. There are no leaders or spiritual spokesmen. Anyone can perform the rites.

 Santeria is run like a church. Only priests and priestesses are allowed to conduct rituals.

Before getting into the religion, one undergoes an intense initiation that introduces them to the religion.

Also, the priests partake in the Roman Catholic sacrament and have some Christian principles with them.

And, yes during rituals, people aren’t possessed by spirits as is the case in voodoo.

So, one is witchcraft and another is religion. Period.

You may also want to check: Olodumare and Jesus: Here’s How Worship, Prayer, Beliefs, And Rituals Differ Between Followers

Faith Zion

Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.

Faith Zion
Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.
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