In the Americas and Caribbean Region, interest in the occultic religion Santería seems to be intensifying. According to an article in the online magazine Vibe, Cuba is seeing heavy profits from the religion’s popularity (especially in Latin American/Caribbean communities).
What is Santería?
Santería is an eclectic mix of African voodoo, indigenous Caribbean paganism, and Roman Catholicism. It was started by West African voodooists (Yorubans) who were brought as slaves to Cuba and their voodoo eventually evolved to incorporate other pagan beliefs. The religion’s main focus is to establish relationships with spirits, who they worship as gods called orishas, through divination, mediums, animal sacrifices, drugs, and other occultic means. Santerians believe their orishas can bring them health, wisdom, prosperity, and other good things as well as curses for their enemies. Many orishas are equated with Roman Catholic saints.
Cuba’s boom a spiritual bust
With tourism to Cuba growing, many people travel there to be initiated into the religion as santeros, or Santería priests, since Cuba offers the rituals for thousands less than in other places. Cuban Santeríans are also offering courses via the Internet for those who may not be able to travel to Cuba. With their economic struggles due to their Communist government, Santeríans have taken advantage of the economic opportunities that interest in their religion has presented. Although some Santerían purists have criticized such profiting from their religion, those who offer their fee-based services see it as a matter of survival.
But one must ask, “Survival at what cost?” As Jesus Christ so eloquently stated in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” That’s exactly what a person loses when they pursue the occult with its familiar spirits and never repent of it. The Lord repeatedly warns us for our own good in his word to stay away from the occult, because not only are the spirits harmful even though they present themselves as harmless (2 Corinthians 11:14), but they often influence humans to harm other humans in some way, especially if the Santerían opens themselves up to be possessed by a familiar spirit, aka a devil.
This growing interest in Santería is yet another sign fulfilling Paul’s prophetic warnings about the pervasiveness of devil worship in the last days (1 Timothy 4:1) and that the prophecy in Revelation will come true about the whole world openly worshiping Satan during the tribulation (Revelation 9:20, 13:4).
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Deuteronomy 18