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"I Bow My Head to the Ground": The Creation of Bodily Experience in a Cuban American Santería Initiation

Michael Atwood Mason
The Journal of American Folklore
Vol. 107, No. 423, Bodylore (Winter, 1994), pp. 23-39
DOI: 10.2307/541071
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/541071
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"I Bow My Head to the Ground": The Creation of Bodily Experience in a Cuban American Santería Initiation
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Abstract

Although much scholarship in performance-oriented folkloristics has focused on ritual, little attention has been given to the role of the body in such enactments. In an initiation in the Afro-Cuban religion Santería, the formal gestures executed by the neophyte's body show membership in and commitment to the religious community. The meaning of the gestures lies not so much in abstract formulations and concepts but in their performance within the ritual context.

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