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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa Search

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Book Review:
Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa: A West African Spiritual Tradition

Author: Tobe Melora Correal
Trade Paperback, 182 pages
Publisher: Crossing Press
Publication date: 2003
List: US$12.95, C$20.95
ISBN: 1580911498
Price & More Info: Click Here


Over the years, the Santeria/Lucumi/Orisa faith has become a focus of cross-cultural interest. Once the exclusive domain of Afro-Cuban individuals, it has become much more wide-spread in its appeal. It is still controversial (both to "mainstream" religions and Pagan belief systems) because of its association with animal sacrifice. It is not an easy-to-understand religion, and it is not for everyone.

The book is divided into three sections: Basic teachings of the metaphysical underpinnings of the tradition; the ancestors and how to build a relationship with the spirits; and an overview of the tradition's structure. This is one individual's relationship to the religion and will not be universally accepted by all the followers of traditions which encompass the worship of Orisa.

This is not a book of ceremonies, oracles, and/or magic. It IS a book about bringing our life into alignment. Alignment with what, you ask? Good question. There isn't a single answer to that question.

Ms. Correal has ideas which are definitely not in accordance with the mainstream of Orisa-religion. Some of them border on the radical for a follower of Orisa. I am sure that many would view her writing with suspicion because of her attitude.

If you have no exposure to the Orisa-culture, I would hesitate to recommend this book as your only source of information. You would be well advised to pick up copies of Santeria: An African Religion in America by Joseph Murphy, Cuban Santeria by Raul Canizares, The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination by Ocha'ni Lele, and at least one book by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler. These offer very different perspectives, and will provide you with a much wider overview. Ultimately, of course, you should seek personal contact with practitioners of the religions.

Ms. Correal's works offers a perspective which has been missing from this field. I do not know how much respect she has from fellow practitioners in the Orisa community, but she is, to all appearances, sincere in her beliefs, and confident enough in them to share with others. For that she is to be admired, in my opinion

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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