Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Witch Doctor

Those of you who follow this blog, know that I've written a couple of books. At present, I'm toiling to complete THE OLD WHORE: A Novel of Cartel Wars, sequel to Bloody Mexico.  Today I had meetings in San Diego, CA and when they were over, I accepted an invitation from a witch doctor in the Santería faith to visit his office. He refers to himself as a witch doctor so I'm comfortable using the term. We had a nice meeting, I asked a lot of questions and took several pages of notes. One of the hallmarks of a good piece of writing is understanding the subject mater. I have experience with the Santa Muerte (or Holy Death) cult that is practiced by a lot of narcoterrorists in Mexico simply because you see it a lot when you deal with them. They worship Señora de las Sombras and at least some of those people I've encountered practice ritual human sacrifice. Really dark and wicked stuff. Then again, they are dark, wicked and troubled people.

Santería is typically white magic. It's black magic counterpart is voodoo. It's a system of belief that comes from Africa. African slaves brought it to the New World and the religion continues to flourish primarily in Latin America and in the Latin communities in the United States. 

The man I spoke to today is called a Babalawo, or a father who knows secrets. He is also an Oba, which means that he initiates/trains people in the mysteries of the faith. We discussed that process in detail but I won't include it here. He is originally from Cuba and has practiced Santería from a young age. There are many orishas (gods) which often take the form of dryads. They need to be fed and they are best satiated by blood, therefore the tenants of the religion require animal sacrifice. Usually those sacrifices are chickens or ducks but different dryads/oriahas.

When you read my novels, understand that my characters may be fictional, but the work is well researched. In this case,  there won't be much about Santería, but what little is woven into the fabric of the tome will be well researched.


darlin said...

Wow, now I am starting to understand why your novels are so well written, or a part of why they are. You are very thorough in doing your research, what an interesting individual you interviewed. I'm still trying to find the time to read, maybe while I'm on my trip in June I can read on the plane. I'll make sure to take your novel with me. I'd best get it read so that I'm ready for this one when it's out.

Euripides said...

Looking forward to the next one.

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