Greetings God-brothers and God-sisters!
Now this is a truly humbling experience. As many of you know, my Solomonic practice was greatly influenced (and in no small way made possible) by one of my oldest friends and teachers – the Santo Ochani Lele. I knew him long ago, when he was still a Gardnerian High Priest and maknig his first discoveries of Palo Mayombe and Santeria. After he became an initiate of those systems, I literally spent hours discussing magick with him – comparing and contrasting my beloved grimoires with his form of magick and witchcraft. Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires was largely a result of those discussions.
Now he is a famous Lucumi author and teacher, with his own thriving House full of bright-eyed young aspirants. He has produced an (ever-growing) library of books about the Lucumi faith and practices. And, recently, he floored me by contacting me for an endorsement for his latest work: Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería: A Complete Guide to the Rituals and Practices.
Heh. Ochani Lele coming to me for an endorsement! How do you like that irony? And, after reading the book, I couldn’t help but to write what turned out to be a mini-review – part of which will be printed in the book, and is already included at the head of the Editorial Reviews on the Amazon page. Ah, the circle of life….
Since my review had to be edited down to make it fit as an endoresment blurb, I felt it would be cool to publish the entire review here for you good folks to see. So, here it is:
The Lucumi faith – better known to non-initiates as “Santeria” – has been one of the most misunderstood and maligned subjects in Western history. Its practitioners have been labeled as satanists, animal torturers, criminals and ignorant followers of a “fake religion” – not to mention any number of outright racial slurs. The good news is that this is finally changing. The faith is growing faster now than ever before, admitting members from every race and creed and even having a massive impact on other religions and mystical practices. For all of these reasons, at this point in our culture’s spiritual development, the importance of “Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santeria” cannot be overstated.For those inside the religion, it will doubtlessly be a useful textbook – containing not only the sacrificial rituals, but also information on the Orishas, what they eat, how to speak to them though divination, and the sacred mythos – or tales – that contain the true spiritual meaning behind the practices.For those outside the religion, this book is an absolute must-read! You will find here secrets never before revealed to the outside world. But, more importantly, you will find a detailed history of the origins of the Lucumi faith, the rise of “Santeria” in Cuba and its further migration into the U.S. and beyond. You will bear witness to the long and hard fight for the religious freedom and equality of its practitioners (from its survival amidst unsympathetic slave-owners to landmark cases brought before the Supreme Court in our lifetimes). And, best of all, you will finally learn the true meanings and motivations behind the often-demonized practice of animal sacrifice. No worse than butchering animals for food, and in fact many degrees better in its humane treatment of the animals involved, it is a deeply spiritual tradition dating back thousands of years. You don’t have to practice it, nor even agree with it, to come to a better understanding of a religious mystery that has such profound and moving significance for those in the Lucumi/Santerian faith.Ochani Lele has provided us with yet another magnum opus in his ever-growing library of Lucumi textbooks, instruction manuals and mystical explorations. If you study religious movements here in the West, you simply cannot ignore this book.