for the symbolism and ritual involved in casting a circle.) Wiccans embrace the same eight sabbat festival days celebrated by Neo-Pagans. Additionally, most groups regularly meet as close as possible to the full moon in ceremonies called "esbats" where they worship, discuss business, perform tasks such as healing, and enjoy each other's company.
Individual practice of the Craft includes mastering magic, ritual and psychic development as well as the regular worship of the Wiccan deities. As Witches practice the Craft, they pass through three degrees: the first acknowledges a full member of and initiates them into the coven; the second recognizes mastery of basic Wicca knowledge through becoming an accomplished Witch; the third degree admits one into the Priesthood. All worship, whether individual or within the coven, requires the use of at least four basic ritualistic items: the atheme, or ritual knife; the pentacle, a metal disc inscribed with magical symbols; a chalice; and a sword.
Witches do not use scripture books , relying instead on oral tradition. In keeping with that tradition, Wiccans keep a book listing their rituals and working notes called the "Book of Shadows" (or a grimoire in certain Wiccan traditions) that is usually copied by hand from one Wiccan to the next within each tradition. These may be written in one of the old magical alphabets or in English.
Cultural spiritualists are involved in syncretic belief systems, or those that combine two or more very different cultural and religious beliefs and rituals into one harmonious belief system. Thus, cultural spiritual faiths harmoniously blend magic or supernatural rites specific to one particular culture with certain religious traditions specific to another and very different culture. Because the religious beliefs of cultural spiritualists are deeply tied to foreign cultural roots and polytheistic religions which differ greatly from those of the American mainstream, many people fear their spiritual beliefs and often condemn their activities. Most persons involved in cultural spiritualist faiths, however, are simply practicing a belief system that is an integral part of their historical and cultural tradition.
While many different types of cultural spiritualism are practiced in the United States, the two most often referenced in law enforcement circles are those with Afro-Caribbean roots.
Such belief systems specifically evolved when African slaves were removed from their native culture and forcibly converted to a new cultural, economic, social and religious lifestyle in the Caribbean. Adherents of these faiths began their forced journeys to the United States several decades ago. Today, it is estimated that between 1 and 1.5 million people living in America practice some sort of Afro-Caribbean faith.
(Paulhus interview, August 16, 1989.) The vast majority of such practitioners are involved in two belief systems: Santeria and Palo Mayombe.
Before pursuing a more detailed discussion of these two Afro-Caribbean faiths, two points must be emphasized:
* Cultural spiritualist religions other than those discussed in this study are practiced in the United States. Brujeria, whose roots are tied to Mexico, is commonly practiced in parts of the Southwestern United States; the accompanying box describes some of the beliefs, symbols, and ritual components practiced by American brujos. Voudon, practiced in parts of the American South and other localities, shares some Afro-Caribbean roots but as the accompanying box indicates, is distinct from Santeria and Palo Mayombe.
* Santeria and Palo Mayombe have not been selected for an in-depth analysis in this chapter because practitioners are more often involved in criminal activities than other cultural spiritualists. These two specific belief systems and the activities of practitioners are reviewed, however, for three reasons: the number of santeros and mayomberos is growing, making it all the more essential that their culturally distinct rituals are accurately understood by law enforcers; law enforcers increasingly assume linkages between some Santeria and Palo Mayombe rituals and criminal activity; and all too often, law enforcers incorrectly refer to practitioners of these two faiths as Satanists, lumping them into one all-inclusive Satanic category.
Santeria, a syncretic belief system that combines the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the Southwestern Nigerian Yoruba tribe with the religious practices of the Catholic faith, involves using magical rituals to propitiate or satisfy a pantheon of gods primarily for positive personal reasons of the practitioner. Like all other Afro-Caribbean belief systems, Santeria found its way to South and North America through the system of slavery. When Yoruba slaves were first transported to Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries, their Catholic masters forbade traditional religious practices in which many gods or orishas were worshipped. Prior to granting legal entry into the country, the Yoruba were forcibly baptized as Roman Catholics.
To survive, the Yoruba arrivals, called Lucumi (after their way of greeting each other as "oluku mi" or "my friend"), developed a new cultural/religious tradition that was " at once a resistance to Catholic oppression and an accommodation to Catholic values. It came to be called Santeria, the way of the saints, because the devotions to the orishas were carried out beneath the images of the Catholic saints." (Murphy, 1988:32.)
By the mid-18th Century, the Yoruba tradition had been successfully and secretly adapted to Cuban society and the demands of the Catholic priests; the orishas were carefully disguised as saints (santos) and honored in church and during Catholic feasts. The new syncretism, called Santeria or Lucumi in Cuba, was eventually introduced to other Latin American countries: in Brazil, it became known as Candomble; Shango in Trinidad; and Voodun in Haiti.