Accepted paper:

Afrocuban religions in Barcelona. Processes of cult transformation: from sacrificial blood to "breaking the egg"


Marta Pons Raga (University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The contemporary European scenario has become the perfect milieu for the proliferation of new religions and new definitions of spirituality, as the Neosantería; in which practitioners re-create their cult to make it fit into the modern secularist context and to establish it as the authentical one.

Paper long abstract:

The contemporary European scenario is based on highly differentiated logics, deepened into modern secularism, individualism, and authentification-driven strategies. Europe has thus become the perfect milieu for the proliferation of new religions coupled with the re-creation of spirituality definitions and cult practices. One of these new religions is what I propose to call Neosantería, which intend to overcome the so considered traditional afrocuban religions and to establish itself as the authentical religion by claiming its pristine past. Due to the huge heterogeneity of ways of practicing afrocuban religions, I will focus on a group of practitioners who are deliberately and consciously transforming their religion. More precisely, to find legitimacy in the contemporary European context, they have rejected the sacrifice—so important for the traditional practice of these religions in Cuba and elsewhere— and have proposed the "rompimiento del huevo" (breaking the egg) instead. Built upon a discourse of a supposed return to the origin of these religions, these practitioners have thus created a religion that perfectly fits into the modern secularist parameters as well as the New Age Movement, spread out across Europe. In conclusion, I propose to understand afrocuban religions in Barcelona as a synergic network submerged in a continuous process of evolution. A process that both entails the production of new religious and social realities underpinned by new discourses of an authentical past and intends to meddle in a contemporary European present where sacrificial blood is replaced by breaking the egg.

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